Disney signage

A couple weeks ago, my girlfriend and I flew to Orlando, Florida to spend some time with my father. Since he works for Disney, we took a day and hopped through a few of the parks for free. I hadn’t been to Magic Kingdom since I was a kid. It’s odd how you see things differently as an adult. Not unexpected, just odd.

When I was a kid, Disney was gradiose, the characters larger-than-life (literally), and this place was where all my dreams came true for a day. Now, I focus on different things, my awareness and perception are different, and my expectations much lower. The heat and high humidity might have had something to do with it. I kept thinking how miserably hot and sweaty those poor chaps inside the heavy Mickey and Pluto costumes must have been. Maybe they use ice packs or portable air conditioners inside those things.

Despite having a hard time thinking about all the money these families were spending on their vacations, I still had fun. The funnel cake was good, Space Mountain was still a blast, the Haunted Mansion still wowed with its illusions of dancing ghosts, and walking down Main Street brought back memories. Sadly, we never made it to Pirates of the Caribbean, my favorite ride there.

At some point in the middle of our day, I became obsessed with all the signage and type everywhere, and started snapping photos of it. I wasn’t as rigorous as I could have been, and we were only in Magic Kindom for half a day anyway, so my collection is nowhere as complete as this big list of type spotted at Disney World. But nonetheless, my geeky design souvenir of the visit: Disney Signage.

Title image for the Disney Signage photo gallery featuring the Main Street Cinema


  1. Daniel Schierbeck

    You ought to visit Tivoli in Copenhagen if you have some spare time while you’re there. It’s really great, and has a better appeal to adults than Disney Land, Orlando has.

    It’s just a five minute walk from the railroad station.

  2. jharr crawlspacemedia.com/weblog/

    My wife and I moved to Orlando about a 18 months ago, we live minutes from Disney. My parents came to visit and my father spent hours looking at the Disney signage. He’s an old school sign painter who still works by hand and also does gold leaf and pinstriping. We had a great time looking at the work at all of the parks as well as the resorts.

  3. Knut Karnapp kk-works.de

    “I kept thinking how miserably hot and sweaty those poor chaps inside the heavy Mickey and Pluto costumes must have been.”

    A few years ago, I earned money this way beside school and though it was damn hot and stinky inside – my friend and I had a pretty cool time : )

  4. James Thomas

    It’s too bad our websites don’t have better type, among other things. (I work at Disney Internet Group here in Celebration, FL).

    Good post.

  5. Thanks for the nostalgia. Makes me want to drop a few hundred again. ;)

  6. chrispian chrispian.com

    What shocked me about Disney (was there in Jan) was the way they kept the grounds clean. Ducks, Squirrels and various birds would literally ATTACK anything that even resembled food. I dropped a pringle and before I could bend over to pick it up I was nearly torn to shreads by birds on the swoop. Ducks would walk right up to you and try to disarm you of your corndog bites. Squirrels pirched on tables ready to spring into action.

    Either Disney trained them, or the engineered them. I’m not sure wich is scarier, but I don’t sleep so good since I got back from Disney. There are squirrels outside my window even now. Disney spies no doubt. :)

  7. Nice, Brings back memories since I worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando on the College program.

  8. Jason Klein randombanter.com

    I hope to God that you typed up this post at a rustic London pub while enjoying a room temperature black and tan and a package of salt and vinegar crips.

  9. jharr crawlspacemedia.com/weblog/

    James, drop me a note through my site, maybe we could meet up.

  10. Jeff Wheeler nokrev.com

    I went to Disney World about two years ago, and was twelve. It really is quite an awesome place, but back then I really could have cared less about typography.

    I can’t believe somebody has such a comprehensive list of typography. They have way to much time.

    Your pictures are as great as usual, and I still love your gallery. I can’t wait for your guide about those roll-overs.

  11. Hans sidulus.textdrive.com

    Finally the curious bunch (including me) can rest assured: someone’s started a list of typefaces used in the Disney themeparks.

  12. goodwitch glendathegood.com

    glad you still found the magic at disney…despite the heat, crowds, lines and high prices…i too found myself enchanted. i like to use my trips to disney to remind me that anything is possible.

    Adventures that took my breath away:
    1) mission space – so realistic that actual astronauts say it is accurate
    2) soarin’ – is it a movie? is it a ride? or is it real?
    3) magic kingdom lighted parade + fireworks – i swear i saw tinker bell!

    pirates of the carribean has been updated…leave it to the imagineers to take a classic and add the spark of surprise and wonder.

    i’ve always thought of the internet as one giant playground for the mind…and we are the imagineers!

  13. Jason Beaird jasongraphix.com

    I spent my college days in Orlando and although I didn’t drop much money on Disney while I was there, I did buy an anual pass to the Universal parks. Even after you’ve memorized every detail of those places, they never get old. If not for the excessive detail and typography, at least for the people watching fun. I’m actually going back to the land of the mouse for a few days of vacation with my wife and her family in July and to see La Nouba. If you’ve never been to a Cirque show…they’re amazing!

  14. Excellent selection of signage! It’s good to know I’m not alone in my neurosis. :)

  15. Josh joshuaturner.net

    This is funny because I did the same thing when I went to Universal Studios 2 years ago! My girlfriend thought I was a geek (and still does but for other reasons).

    What is very cool is that I am working with the dessigner who did the Universal Islands of Adventure logo and some of that signage that I was admiring. Was interesting to ask him about the process.

  16. Dave

    Hmmm… Must be serious…

  17. Jen awesomeday.blogspot.com/

    Very nice stuff. Go typography. :) I will be sure to visit your blog again!

  18. Thomas innate.com.au

    Great stuff, everything looks so squeaky clean too.
    Fascinating how the type of work we do influences what we see in our surroundings. I was recently on a cruise ship and ended up photographing the range of buttons and floor indicators in the elevators.

  19. saleem seedat

    i am a person who is passionate about the signage world, which i have been involved for over 17 years, from designing to costing, rigging and site surveys.

    Looking to go abroad to perheps see what the world has to offer, and disney is the place to start.

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