Walt Disney World has always excelled at taking a simple task and making it an experience. Take for example, the signage you see around the park. Early on it was simply a means to the end, directional signage to alert the guests to location, but has since grown into its own art form.
Peter Pan’s Flight
Peter Pan’s Flight, in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, has got to be one of my favorite rides. I had never ridden the ride as a child, but was hooked the first time I rode it in High School on a family trip.
The story is so rich and compelling, it allows a lot of ways to bring that whimsical sensibility to the signage.
Originally, the sign was more esoteric and appears to be designed to blend more with Fantasyland than highlight a popular attraction. There is the marquee that showcases the attraction’s name and an hint of Neverland above. The familiar Fantasyland shields adorn the columns and the tenting above the marquee, again, reflects the look and feel of Fantasyland.
The sign is certainly attractive and denotes the attraction, but it does lack some of the originality that the Imagineers have come to be known for from their decades of design.
The problem is that it looks too much like Fantasyland and not enough of Neverland. The importance to brand the attraction has been superceded by the land it resides within. As design has grown to play a larger role in our everyday lives, the hierarchy of destination design (true interactive design) must come into play.
With this continual evolution of design the Imagineers have kept with the times. They are the stewards of some of the most cherished traditions in the Walt Disney Co. and have elevated the signage in the park to keep it current with the demands of the guests in today’s society.
The newer marquee for Peter Pan’s Flight, maintains the storybook script of its predecessor, but takes it off the page and gives it dimension. Peter Pan, Wendy, John and Michael have broken free of their bounds and are flying around the clock tower from Westminster and you can almost hear Big Ben chime the hour.
The forced perspective heightens the belief that the children are far above the city street and making their way towards the second star to the right. The color paletter is vibrant and can attract your attention even during the brightest Florida day.
They have taken what was once simple destination graphics and enlivened it with the main characters of the story and a preview of the ride contained within.
Wrapping it up
As time marches on and the taste of the public changes Walt Disney World changes to suit. This sometimes has the dramatic effect of removing a beloved attraction from the park while other times (most times actually) brings forth enhancements that make the Walt Disney World Resort an even more magical place to visit.
I look forward to seeing what other new technologies the Imagineers will combine tomorrow to make the Magic Kingdom, and all of the Walt Disney World Resort, more interactive, exciting and fun.