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The Story Behind Windows on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland Park Honoring Roger Broggie

When we visit a Disney Park, did you know that there are clues all over as to the people who helped Walt Disney create all that magic?

One great example of this are all the windows on Main Street USA.  Those clever and comical windows often make reference to a creative influence behind the park’s creation.

Such is the case with Disneyland’s Main Street USA and this window honoring Roger Broggie, without whom much of Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts would look drastically different.

Here is Roger’s window in Disneyland…

Broggie was honored with a Window on Main Street, U.S.A. , at Disneyland park on March 30, 2007. His window is above the Magic Shop and fittingly refers to him as “Roger Broggie, Shopmaster” and “Advisor to the Magic Makers.”

The Disneyland Railroad was inspired by Walt Disney’s love of trains. Since he first conceived the idea of Disneyland  Park, every concept design had one thing in common: “… it will be surrounded by a train,” said Walt. Roger Broggie, the first Walt Disney Studio employee to be recruited for the hand-picked team at WED Enterprises (now called Walt Disney Imagineering), was instrumental in helping Walt fulfill this dream.

Hired in 1939 as a master machinist, one of Broggie’s first assignments was the installation of the multiplane camera at the Burbank studio. Because he was familiar with fabricating small camera parts with great precision, Walt approached him to create a one-eighth scale live steam locomotive. Broggie helped create the Lilly Belle , a miniature live steam engine named for Walt’s wife, Lillian. A replica of the Lilly Belle is currently on display in the Disneyland Main Street Train Station. In 1949, Broggie helped Walt build his miniature trains in the Studio Machine Shop and later installed the Carolwood Pacific Railroad in the backyard of Walt’s Holmby Hills home.

In 1950, Broggie was promoted to head of the Studio Machine Shop and he became the transportation specialist. As plans for Disneyland progressed, he oversaw the development of the Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad, the Monorail system  and Matterhorn Bobsleds . He also worked on new processes and techniques such as Circle-Vision 360, a motion picture format with screens that completely surround the audience, and “Project Little Man” which became the prototype for Audio-Animatronics technology.

While working on “Project Little Man,” Broggie and fellow Imagineer Wathel Rogers constructed a 9-inch-tall figure of a moving, talking man that mimicked vaudevillian tap-dancing using cams, cables and tubes. The original figure is on display as part of the D23 Presents Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum through April 30, 2013.

Broggie was honored with a Window on Main Street, U.S.A. , at Disneyland park on March 30, 2007 fittingly refers to him as “Roger Broggie, Shopmaster” and “Advisor to the Magic Makers.”Broggie is known for epitomizing the essence of Walt Disney Imagineering – the blending of creative imagination and technical know-how. His legacy lives on at Disney as his grandson Garry (son of Imagineer Roger Broggie, Jr.) carries on the tradition as a third-generation machinist and supervisor at the Disney Studio machine shop.

Broggie was honored with a Window on Main Street, U.S.A. , at Disneyland park on March 30, 2007. His window is above the Magic Shop and fittingly refers to him as “Roger Broggie, Shopmaster” and “Advisor to the Magic Makers.”

Additionally, he has a window dedicated to him at Magic Kingdom Park  in the Walt Disney World Resort , and on October 21, 2003, Walt Disney World Railroad Steam Engine #3, was re-dedicated as the Roger E. Broggie in his honor. In 1990, Broggie was named a Disney Legend .

 

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Animating the Disney Parks: Marc Davis

Marc Davis

So far, we’ve covered how Claude Coats and Herb Ryman brought their skills as artists to the creation of the Disneyland Resort; this week, we finish the “Animating the Disney Parks” series with a look at the contributions of Disney Legend and animator Marc Davis. At D23’s Destination D event last month, Imagineer Tom Morris shared insights and remembrances about this remarkable artist.

One of Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men, Marc Davis started with Disney in 1935 as an animator on “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” He went on to create iconic Disney characters like Bambi, Cinderella and Tinker Bell. When the time came to develop Disneyland, Davis brought his skills in story and character development to bring attractions to life within the park.

 Pirates of the Caribbean through the eyes of an animator and storyteller

“If the parks didn’t have great animators from the Walt Disney Studio,” Morris said, “I don’t think Disneyland would be what it is today.” Davis, he said, approached an attraction like Pirates of the Caribbean through the eyes of an animator and storyteller.

“I drew every scene you see there as an animator would,” Davis once said regarding the attraction – whose characters were brought to life with the help of his wife and fellow Disney Legend, Alice Davis.

Disneyland's  Jungle Cruise

Davis also brought his animator’s eye to attractions like “it’s a small world,” Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise. Two scenes personally added by Davis to the Jungle Cruise – the elephant pool and the trapped safari – have become guest favorites throughout the attraction’s 57-year history.

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