Review: Poster Art of the Disney Parks

Written by George Taylor. Posted in Disney, Disney History, Features, Imaginerding

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Published on September 17, 2012 at 2:05 am with 9 Comments

It’s rare that Disney releases a book that completely galvanizes everyone’s attention months before its release. The last book to even come close was Walt Disney Imagineering from 2010. When Poster Art of the Disney Parks was announced, speculation ran high and people wondered if this book would live up the the nostalgia and the vision of the famous Disney attraction posters.

What makes the Poster art of Disney Parks so satisfying is that Disney thought about the end product, the subject, the fans and the enthusiasts while putting it together. It is a large-scale book (11″ X 14″), which makes for eye-popping and big reproductions of the posters. Sometimes I offer a caveat with a review, like it is only for the hard-care nerds, but this book really offers something for everyone. Case in point: my wife was looking at the book and thought it was spectacular and she is not into Disney stuff like I am (she humors me, though).

The book is divided into nine chapters that cover all of the Magic Kingdom-style parks together, based on land. There are two chapters devoted to Tokyo DisneySea and Disney California Adventure. The few posters featured for the other parks, like Epcot, are inserted into an appropriate chapter. The authors, Danny Handke and Vanessa Hunt are Imagineers and Disney fans. Danny has worked on many attractions and a Mr. Toad attraction poster. Vanessa works in the Walt Disney Imagineering Art Library and often curates exhibits. Both were fantastic choices to write this book.

The first chapter lays the groundwork for the book, looking at how the posters used to be produced, including concept art and production works. The fantastic Monorail poster from Walt Disney World is used as an example of the older screening process. It is amazing to see how they were produced; obviously these must be considered works of art. There is some behind-the-scenes information about how the posters evolved and changed as different processes developed. There was a major dearth of attraction posters from the beginning of EPCOT Center until the development of Disneyland Paris (EuroDisney). The cost of screening the posters became very prohibitive and it wasn’t until computer artistry made the process simpler and cheaper that the poster program was revised.

With Disneyland Paris, Imagineers Tony Baxter and Eddie Sotto wanted to bring the posters back to create that Disneyland feel. The computers also allowed the posters to be incredibly complex. It is amazing to see the change from the bolder and simpler designs of the 50s, 60s and 70s with the posters from the 90s and beyond.

One of my favorite parts of the book is the notation of the artists that created the works. Any Disney researcher knows that identifying artists can be problematic if not impossible. Very few posters displayed are without an artist. With 142 pages, there are a lot of posters and it is great to see old favorites and once that we haven’t seen before or in a long time. The inclusion of the overseas parks is nice, to see how divergent messages are created.

So, is this a book you are going to purchase?

ImagiNERDing is written and edited by George Taylor

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About George Taylor

George has been obsessed with Disney theme parks since the first time he saw a photo of the Haunted Mansion in the early 70s. He started writing about Disney in 2007 and has amassed one of the world's largest Disney-related libraries.

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Comments for Review: Poster Art of the Disney Parks are now closed.

  1. The EWP at WDW needs and deserves a poster!!

    • That would be an excellent poster!

      Thanks for commenting.

  2. Already have it. The book is quite large-perfect for showing the posters.

    • It is a great size. I would love to have a copy with extra pages I could frame. ;)

  3. Bought this book on the prepurchase. Wonderful size for the illustrations it contains. Everyone I have shown it to has loved the pictures and can remember at least a few of the posters it contains. A wonderful book for a wonderful part of the Gisney Parks.

    • Thanks! The nostalgia is amazing…

  4. Looks lovely, I’ll have to purchase it sometime soon.


    • I hope you enjoy it and can get a copy soon!

  5. I pre-ordered the book and was very pleased with the results. I’m amazed that this is being sold on Amazon for under $24! They seem to have done painstaking work to try and reproduce the authentic colors, which allows for the reader to better appreciate the differences over time or as posters were tweaked for different parks. I was also floored (happily!) by how much the overseas parks were included. In other books articles it seems like the non-U.S.A. parks are included as an afterthought with just a few pages at the end of a book. Here they are fully included and interwoven, and I loved that. I consider my one trip to Disneyland Paris as one of my Disney highlights, and it was so nice to have my Paris memories jogged along with my Disneyland and Walt Disney World ones.

    A couple of notes for people on the fence–several posters are printed on full-pages, others are not. While there are a few that I wish had gotten there own page that did not (the Paris castle poster is a good example!), all the “big ones” get there own page. What this means is that it wouldn’t be that hard for someone to use an exacto knife to cut out a page and frame it. Once I got the book in my hands I immediately ordered a second copy for just this purpose (it arrived yesterday) :)

    Personally, I wish it were an even larger book, but I think it is still a great size and finds a nice balance between something large enough to appreciate the details, but still able to be held in two hands. It’s a steal at the current Amazon price!

    Brer Dan

    p.s. One great little touch is that they intentionally included a “tear-out” poster in the back. It’s clearly designed for framing, as the poster is printed in heavier stock paper and is perforated for removal. It features Pirates on one side, and the Railroad on the reverse. Since those both already are featured on individual pages within the book, this is clearly meant for framing. What a great touch!