Why Do People Call Walmart “Wally World”? (The Surprising Story)

When it comes to large-scale retail stores, Walmart has become synonymous with savings and convenience.

But did you know that this hugely successful store has a nickname? That’s right; its fans often refer to Walmart as “Wally World.” But why do people call it that?

It’s one of the most recognizable nicknames for a retail store in history, but where did this nickname come from?

Let’s take a look at the history and origin of the term, and see why it has stuck with Walmart for over 40 years.

Why Do People Call Walmart “Wally World”?

Walmart officially launched in 1962, but it was a decade before that when the company received its famous nickname.

The term “Wally World” was first used in 1983 in the iconic film National Lampoon’s Vacation.

In the movie, Chevy Chase’s character Clark Griswold takes his family on a cross-country road trip from Chicago to Los Angeles to visit Wally World, an amusement park modeled after Disneyland.

The scene is famous for its comedic elements, with many viewers finding parallels between their own vacation experiences and those of the Griswolds.

Although the theme park was actually called “Walley World” in the film, many people began referring to it as “Wally World.”

From there, the nickname caught on with customers who frequented Walmart stores—especially those living near or visiting cities that had a location close to them.

But why did people start calling it “Wally World”? One possible explanation is that people associated it with the Walley World theme park featured in Vacation because they both had similar-sounding names.

The nickname has grown in popularity over time due to its similar pronunciation and is now used by both customers and employees alike.

Another reason may be that customers found humor in comparing Walmart to an amusement park because of its wide variety of products available for customers at low prices.

Whatever the reason, “Wally World” quickly became synonymous with Walmart stores all over America and remains popular today.

What Are Alternative Names for Walmart?

Walmart has established itself as a household brand across much of the world. Yet, in the United States, it often goes by several alternative monikers, many of which are less than complimentary.

Common terms such as “Wally World,” “Balls-Mart,” “Walfart,” and “Hellmart” can be heard among customers and staff due to its expansive size and low-cost products.

Additionally, Walmart operates differently in other countries under separate names.

For example, it is known as Walmart de México y Centroamérica in Mexico and Central America, ASDA in the United Kingdom, Wo er ma in China, the Seiyu Group in Japan, and Flipkart Wholesale in India.

Despite the colorful nicknames used here at home or abroad – and no matter what they may be called – Walmart continues to proudly provide convenient access to affordable items from coast to coast.

Does Wally World Exist?

Anyone familiar with the popular comedy National Lampoon’s Vacation will likely recognize the fictitious amusement park Wally World.

The only problem is that it does not exist in reality. While some people have tried to locate an attraction similar to the one depicted in the film, none have turned out to be the real thing.

From a legal standpoint, it even lacks official recognition since it has never been incorporated as a business or registered as a trademark.

It remains unclear if there is any truth to rumors that such a place will open up in the near future or if Wally World will remain nothing more than a fantasy represented onscreen.

Wally World has continued to exist in the collective imagination since ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ was released in 1983.

Although it may remain an elusive dream for some unfortunate Griswolds, its popularity speaks to the power of our yearning for a perfect place of fun, relaxation, and togetherness.

This idealized vacation spot highlights our own fantasies about what family road trips should consist of – plenty of laughter and outrageous antics, with no price tag attached.

If Wally World does indeed exist, one thing is certain: It will remain a symbol of our treasured memories of childhood escapades for generations to come.

Is The Term “Wally World” Derogatory?

The phrase “Wally World” is a colloquial term used to refer to stores, primarily of the Wal-Mart variety, and its usage is traditionally meant lightheartedly.

However, while the intent may be benign, there are several reasons why such an expression can create offense and be perceived as derogatory.

For example, when someone uses the phrase “Wally World,” they are generalizing by associating similar stores to a single chain; this implies an exclusivity not shared with other establishments, which can lead to discrimination.

Additionally, some feel that the phrase has become synonymous with lower-tier merchandise and services due to price point alone; in essence, it becomes an indicator of economic class judgment.

If a speaker is using the phrase to insult big box stores or the people who shop there, then “Wally World” could certainly be seen as derogatory.

However, if it is being used more affectionately—perhaps with an ironic edge—then the sentiment behind it can be quite different.

Ultimately, how one chooses to use this phrase says a lot about their value system and should be used with care.

To avoid hurting feelings or giving offense, it may be best for one to use less loaded terms such as “discount store” or simply “Wal-Mart” instead of “Wally World.”

In 2008, Walmart changed its official legal name from ‘Wal-Mart Stores, Inc’ to ‘Walmart Inc.’.

This shift was part of an effort to redefine the company’s brand and goals to better compete with the growing e-commerce market.

By dropping the hyphen and discarding the word ‘stores,’ Walmart sought to communicate its commitment to becoming a significant player in online retail.

The change of name emphasized that Walmart saw itself as more than just a brick-and-mortar shopping experience but now included access to its products via digital mediums.

This move signaled the company’s desire not only to cater to existing customers but also to reach out and acquire new customers abroad.

In recent years, the company has continued to expand its online presence, investing in infrastructure and e-commerce technologies to create an optimal user experience for consumers worldwide.

Why Do Some People Dislike Walmart?

Walmart has become the world’s largest retailer, but it isn’t without its detractors.

Many people have voiced their dislike of the chain due to its perceived lack of focus on quality goods and its presence in lower-income communities.

Other popular critiques of Walmart are the use of off-shore labor for production, questionable contributions to local communities, and wages said to be too low for employees.

To some, these issues indicate a company that is more about quantity than quality without doing enough to improve the lives it touches.

Some oppose Walmart simply out of principle, refusing to support such a large corporation that profoundly affects their lives and those around them.

As the opinion of Walmart varies from person to person, it is certain that this massive retailer is still being evaluated by consumers around the world.


The nickname “Wally World” has been around since 1983 when National Lampoon’s Vacation movie hit theaters.

Although initially intended as a joke associated with an amusement park featured in the film, many customers began using it as a nickname for their local Walmart stores due to its similarity in sound.

Over time, this name has become part of our culture and is still used today by shoppers everywhere who frequent Walmart locations across America.

Whether you’re looking for low prices or just like saying, “Let’s go to Wally World!” you can rest assured that your local Walmart will have what you need.

You might also wonder if Walmart sells Amazon gift cards, what is Walmart’s email address, or how much are eggs at Walmart.

Sunny Hoi

Sunny Hoi

Sunny is an experienced content strategist. He has a deep understanding of the retail and finance industries. Sunny has written extensively about products, services, stores, stocks, cryptocurrencies, and investment strategies. Sunny's writing reflects his deep understanding of his subjects and commitment to providing clear, concise information that helps readers make informed decisions.

Wealthy Magnate