10 Years Ago Today … Costume Designer Alice Davis received the high honor of receiving a Window on Main Street at Disneyland. Below is our coverage of that event including a full video and an interview with Davis.
There are many honors that the Disney organization has offered over the years, but it is an elite group, indeed, that is honored with a window on Main Street USA. On Thursday, May 10, Alice Davis received her window in a ceremony that was touching, rollicking, and well deserved.
The Dapper Dans welcomed the assembled crowd, and introduced Disneyland Resort President George Kalogridis. Kalogridis explained the meaning and significance of the Main Street windows—that they were established by Walt Disney himself to serve as tributes to the creative personnel who were responsible for making Disneyland what it is.
“These windows,” he said, “are our way of paying a permanent tribute to those whose passion and dedication have touched others and made a positive impact on the Disneyland Resort.”
Tom Staggs, the Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts next addressed the crowd. “We get to do a lot of fun things in these jobs,” he started, “but this is right up there.” He recognized the many contributors who were already noted in the Main Street windows, and stated it was an honor to offer that tribute this day. “Based on the applause, I guess you know Alice Davis,” he said.
Staggs outlined Alice Davis’ career with Disney, noting it began when animator-turned-Imagineer Marc Davis needed a costume designer for a dress for live action reference for Sleeping Beauty. He turned to a talented student at Chouinard, where he was an instructor. “The costume was exactly what Marc was looking for… and so was Alice,” concluded Staggs. Noting that they married in 1956, Staggs pointed out how fitting it was that Alice’s window is right next to Marc’s.
Alice’s sketches and notations to ensure authenticity within the it’s a small world costumes
In 1963, Walt Disney himself contacted Alice and asked her to work with legendary artist Mary Blair on the designs for over 150 dolls to populate it’s a small world, one of Disney’s contributions to the New York World’s Fair. That request was followed up in 1965 for costumes to dress Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean. Other projects included Carousel of Progress and Flight to the Moon. As Staggs was mentioning that Alice Davis had been named a Disney Legend in 2004, there was an interruption. A band of pirates suddenly appeared, looking for “Miss Alice.”
As a startled Staggs took a step back, the unruly rogues demanded, “Where be Alice Davis?” They were fairly certain she wasn’t in the lovely red dress on display, nor was she among the figures that were shrunken down to the size of “wee children.” But their search was not in vain, as one cried out that he’d found, “Sweet Alice,” and further announced, “You’re just as pretty as the first time we met you!”
As pirates will, they got right down to business, bargaining for new outfits, pointing out they’d been wearing the same clothes for nearly 50 years. Although they couldn’t pay her, they did offer a song. It was a familiar song, with a few new lyrics:
Yo ho, yo ho! Miss Davis with a “D!”
She dresses and presses and then she distresses
These rags are mighty keen!
Without Alice, oh where would this lot be?
We’d all be berated and prob’ly R-rated,
We couldn’t sail the sea!
Alice Davis! She put the pants on me!
As the crowd, led by Alice applauded the pirate’s efforts, Tom Staggs attempted to restore order, noting, “Alice didn’t dress me.” He then said, “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the one and only Mickey Mouse.”
Mickey (who did get the pirates to behave) was there to unveil the window. With a deft tug of the cord and a burst of confetti, the window was revealed for all to see. Illustrated with a small dress, it read:
Small World Costume Co.
Seamstress to the Stars
Alice Davis’ Main Street Window appears alongside the one for her husband, Marc Davis.
Alice Davis herself was then invited to offer a few words. She began, “I was raised with the thought that the greatest thing you can have in your life are good friends.” She noted the presence of so many good friends that day. She was especially pleased that, at 83, she was seeing a wish come true—a wish to have her window next to Marc’s. She slyly noted that every time she came down Main Street, she noted that the window next to his was empty, and so she continued to hold that wish. She concluded that the only thing that brought her greater pleasure was knowing that Marc and she had brought fun and joy to so many people.
A final presentation was then made. A miniature version of the window had been prepared for Alice to take as a keepsake of the occasion. After it was presented, the Dapper Dans serenaded Alice with a favorite song, “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Mickey presented her with a bouquet, and then it was time for Alice Davis and her many friends to enjoy a reception in the Opera House, just down Main Street.
Alice Davis and her presentation window
Additional images from the 2012 Main Street Window Ceremony for Disney Legend Alice Davis
Alice's window awaits unveiling
Iconic red dress from Pirates of the Caribbean
The Dapper Dans entertained the crowd before the ceremony
Guests included Carlene Thie, Disney Legend Bob Gurr and Disney Studio Head Archivist Rebecca Cline
Author Charles Solomon
The pirates find "Sweet Alice"
The pirates raise their voices in song
Alice Davis receives a congratulatory kiss from Mickey Mouse
Disneyland’s Dapper Dans serenade Alice Davis
Mickey Mouse presents Disney Legend Alice Davis with a bouquet of roses.
Mickey Mouse and Alice Davis
Disneyland Resort President George Kalogridis, Mickey Mouse, Alice Davis, and Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Tom Staggs along with a replica of Alice’s Main Street window
Alice with Tom Staggs (left) and Bruce Vaughan of Walt Disney Imagineering
A few words with Oscar Martinez, Main Street chef since 1956
Alice Davis with fellow Disney Legend, artist Tyrus Wong
The window is located between DIsneyana and the Main Street Cinema
— Text, Video and Pictures by Doug Marsh
— Originally Posted May 17, 2012, Reformatted May 10, 2022