Have you ever heard someone refer to Walmart as “Wally World?” Were you confused? Well, we’re here to help. To answer your burning questions, we’ve scoured the internet for the history and theories surrounding Walmart’s most popular nickname. Hint: it has something to do with Chevy Chase, Six Flags, and a guy from Arkansas.
The mystery of why Walmart is sometimes referred to as “Wally World” isn’t actually much of a mystery at all.
It all starts with a movie called National Lampoon’s Vacation starring Chevy Chase, originally released in 1983. In this cult classic, the Griswold family takes a trip to a fictional amusement park called “Walley World,” known in the movie as “America’s Favorite Family Fun Park.”
Known for its enormous size, Walley World (changed to “Wally World” in this context) quickly became a colloquial nickname for the popular American superstore, Walmart.
While some sources claim that the original name of the Walmart company was Wally World, this is not true. The first ever Walmart store was called Wal-Mart Discount City and opened in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962.
As far as we can tell, Wally World (or, rather, Walley World) is and has always been fictional.
How Did Walmart Get The Nickname Wally World?
Now, let’s look even further back.
How exactly did Walmart come to be known as Walmart in the first place?
Well, that answer is also pretty simple. The man who founded the Walmart company, which would eventually go on to become the largest retailer in the world, was named Sam Walton. Prior to opening the first official Wal-Mart store in 1962, Walton operated a store called Walton’s Five and Dime in Bentonville, Arkansas, which now operates as the Walmart Museum.
So, with a name like Walmart, is it any wonder people adapted this into Wally World over the years?
Is There A Real Wally World Amusement Park?
While it would be pretty cool if Walley World was a real place, no such amusement park has ever actually existed.
Walley World is a fictional amusement park from the 1983 film National Lampoon’s Vacation. However, the fictional park is clearly a take on one of the major theme parks we all know and love, as it was set in southern California and billed as “America’s Favorite Family Fun Park.” Sound familiar? Disneyland, perhaps?
To add even more food for thought, the Walley World scenes in the film were shot at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California.
Why Did Walmart Change Its Legal Name?
Walmart has never changed its name in any significant way. Originally Wal-Mart Discount City, the Walmart Corporation has simplified its name over time to become the now familiar and recognizable Walmart.
Walmart retained its hyphenated name until 2008, but the hyphen was stylized as a star between 1992 and 2008. Some stores and trucks still bear the star logo, while the official name and logo have since been changed to an unhyphenated version.
What Are Walmart’s Other Names Aside From Wally World?
While regional nicknames undoubtedly exist, the only widespread nickname for Walmart as far as we know is Wally World.
What is the meaning of Walmart’s logo?
The current Walmart logo, introduced in 2008, represents the “spark” of inspiration that led Sam Walton to open the first ever Wal-Mart in 1962. The six “sparklets” making up the sun-burst-like spark represent the customer, the associates, respect, integrity, service, and excellence.
What does Walmart stand for?
The name “Walmart” is a reference to the store’s founder, Sam Walton. In essence, “Walmart” means the store or “mart” of “Wal,” Walton.
Where was the Walley World scene filmed?
The Walley World scenes from National Lampoon’s Vacation were filmed at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California.
When did Walley World close?
Walley World is a fictional place, so it was never open and therefore never closed.
There you have it. The mystery is finally solved. Walmart and Walley World don’t really have anything to do with each other, but that doesn’t stop people from snatching up a catchy nickname.
Now, if you want to check out the “real” Walley World, take a trip to Six Flags for your next vacation. Just hope your trip goes better than the one the Griswolds took!