Why Do People Call Walmart Wally World? Is It A Real Place?

Updated on October 6, 2021 by
Common Cents Mom is reader supported. We may receive compensation from the products and services in this article. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Please read our disclosure for more information.
wally world

Ever hear somebody referring to Walmart as Wally World?

Here's where the nickname comes from, why people use it, and what it means exactly.

Why do people call Walmart Wally World?

The original Wally World has nothing to do with Walmart the store. Wally World is actually a fictional amusement park from the 1983 movie, National Lampoon's Vacation.

wally world 1

They used the name Wally World in the movie because the theme park was actually Disneyland. To avoid copyright and trademark infringements, they couldn't call say that they were in Disneyland in the movie, and instead they called it Wally World – presumably after Walt Disney.

The film became so popular that people started using the term Wally World when referring to Walmart.

Although the film is from 1983, the slang term Wally World is still used and understood today.

Is Wally World a real place?

When referring to Walmart – Sure, it's a real place in that sense.

The actual Wally World Amusement Park does not exist because it's not a real place. It was a fictional theme park from the movie, National Lampoon's Vacation.

Here is the Griswolds family arriving at Wally World in the movie:

At first glance, the Wally World amusement park really has nothing to do with the Walmart store.

But there are a few theories as to why the nickname caught on. In the movie, Wally World is absolutely massive, contains everything you can think of, and is labeled as America's favorite amusement park.

In that sense, the description isn't too far off from Walmart, a store with ginormous warehouses filled with anything and everything you could need.

What other nicknames does Walmart have?

Here's a fun tweet by the official Walmart Twitter account sharing some of their most common nicknames:

Sometimes, slang names catch on quicker than others. Some terms last longer than others.

People still referring to Walmart as Wally World has got to be one of the most longest-running slang usage in history. It's especially surprising since the original Wally Mart has nothing to do with Walmart the store.

Although not confirmed, most people believe it was in reference to Walt Disney, since the original Wally World set was shot in Disneyland.

Funnily enough, the slang term Wally World today is used in reference to Walmart's founder, Sam Walton.

They both work!

But, I've got to say, Wally World has a nice ring to it, and it's fun to say 🙂

There's a high probability that I'll start referring to Walmart as Wally World from now on.