The Visit Twin Cities crew takes a walk down the yellow brick road through Macy's 8th Floor Display history

Image by Kyle Smelter

By Kyle Smelter

Look closer, even closer, EVEN closer. What are you looking at? We’re not quite sure. But our crack team of detectives believe the long, delicately curved nose with the single wart protruding from it like a volcano, the wispy strands of hair hot-glued to the scalp, leftover from a wig of long and luscious, raven-colored locks, the broken fingers that now leave the hands looking like an ancient reptilian predator, and the single ruby red slipper adorning the left foot and shimmering in the fluorescent light of a tenth floor office are what’s left of the Wicked Witch of the West and Dorothy from Macy’s 1994 The Wizard of Oz 8th Floor Display.

For nearly six decades, Macy’s in downtown Minneapolis created enchanting and whimsical displays during the holiday season on their eighth floor, each one expertly crafted to reenact our favorite scenes and moments from beloved fairytales and children’s stories. Who could forget Santa’s Enchanted Forest in 1963—the one that started it all—How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Dr. Suess) in 1977, Harry Potter in 2000, or 1964’s Nameless, animated animals preparing for Christmas?

But before the last bits of signage from clothing companies were chipped off the walls, the remaining and heavily discounted—almost free—racks of 5XL and 6XL threads by Polo Ralph Lauren were picked clean and Macy's squeaked out its final breaths, the Visit Twin Cities crew ventured over through the skyways to see what treasure we could drum up on a Friday afternoon, and we weren’t disappointed.

When the elevator doors opened up to Macy's fourth floor, it felt like we were immediately transported from the hustle and bustle of a busy downtown metropolis into a magical—and sometimes nightmarish—fantasy world that answers the question: I wonder if they kept all the sets and displays from previous years? Yes, yes they did. But like a lot of things, the years sitting in what was probably a dark and musty basement or spare room haven’t been kind to them.

For starters, we have everyone’s favorite headmaster. Is that missing finger the result of the curse of Marvolo Gaunt’s Ring, one of the Dark Lord’s seven horcruxes? Or was it gnawed off by a baby while their mother put in the work to get the angle and lighting just right for a selfie? Sleep well, my prince.

Animatronics in bunk beds from one of Macy's holiday displays.

Image by Stuart Wainstock

We also stumbled upon an orphanage, or maybe it’s the lost boys from the 1990 Peter Pan display? Or is it a bedroom at the Duggar household? We don't really know. Either way, Waldo needs to be careful otherwise he’s going to fall off and bonk his noggin. If anyone knows which display these tired children are from, feel free to help us out!

A close up of an animatronic used in one of Macy's holidays displays.

Image by Stuart Wainstock

Look at this happy guy! He seems perfectly content to have a bunch of sand or mud coming out of his mouth and chunks of his forehead missing. And let's not forget Santa who's just hanging out in the background. I guess we know what he does when he's not breaking into homes across the world, eating baked delights and leaving presents.

A woman animatronic from one of Macy's 8th floor displays.

Image by Stuart Wainstock

Woah! Stay back. This little lady looks like she just polished off one of her hands, and is staring down her remaining one with an insatiable hunger the likes of which can only be seen every Fourth of July on Coney Island at the famous Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Lastly, since you took the time to make it the end of this post, we'd like to offer you the chance to win our historic and treasured—and possibly Wizard of Oz—piece. You read that right, you can bring home this one-of-a-kind gem from Macy's 8th Floor Display history. Put it on the mantle over your fireplace for a unique talking point, use to scare it the bejeezus out of those closest to you, or maybe use it as a center piece for your next Thanksgiving feast. We don't really care. But whatever you decide, please put some clothes on them and give them a loving home. The contest runs from now until Sunday, April 2 with a winner being chosen Monday, April 3. If chosen, you'll need to stop by our office downtown to claim your prize.

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