Book Review: “Poster Art of the Disney Parks” is Much More Than Just a Picture Book

Poster Art of the Disney Parks is so much more than just a picture book.

The second edition of Poster Art of the Disney Parks is a stunning collection of posters from Disney theme parks around the world, featuring more than 85 new posters, as well as concept art pieces and a lively narrative about their behind-the-scenes development. It is not just a book but an entire experience that transports readers to the heart of the Disney Parks from the comfort of their favorite reading chair.

Disney attraction posters have been an important means of communication since Disneyland began displaying them in 1956. The eye-catching pieces of artwork adorn the parks with flair and style and are displayed to build excitement and disseminate information about the newest additions to the Disney landscape. As evidenced by the evolution of the attraction posters, art styles and design techniques have changed over the years. These characteristics also differ from continent to continent. Posters from EPCOT, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Shanghai Disneyland exhibit the nuances in presentation that give each park’s pantheon of posters its signature look and story.

Eric Tan, graphic designer for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Global Product Creation, is quoted as saying:

“I want guests to be drawn in by the unique design direction and bright color palette. Hopefully that’s followed by the feeling of nostalgia and excitement as they’re taken back to the memories they have of the attractions themselves.”

This is precisely the feeling I had just opening the second edition of Poster Art of the Disney Parks. What I expected was a lovely large coffee table book featuring different Park posters on every page. What I got was a story, a creative journey, a behind-the-scenes look at just how much thought goes into creating the posters, as well as a huge nostalgia trip. There are a variety of vibrant voices quoted throughout the book, with insights about the development of the posters over the years and the interconnection among art, typography, and graphic design. I did not expect much text in this book, but the text readers do get is worthwhile, rich and interesting, especially for art buffs, Disney fans, and history and entertainment enthusiasts. The colors, too, are vibrant and dreamy and it helps that the overly large pages help readers feel like they are almost falling into the art.

In addition to taking a trip down memory lane, Poster Art of the Disney Parks also takes readers to Parks they may have never been to before. This is also a huge plus for this book as it is not limited to Park posters for one or two Parks. I am lucky enough to have been to Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida, but I dream of also venturing to Disney Parks in Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai (and perhaps others to come!). It was fascinating to see the different poster designs for different Parks across the world, as well as to see how they have evolved over time. While I may not have any global Disney Parks trips planned yet, this book took me there in the meantime!

This book is also an inspiring showcase of the many, many art styles used by Disney artists. There is no one uniform look and Walt Disney is fondly remembered as embracing all forms of creativity. In addition to the art styles, the layout features different sizes of posters throughout, making each page a visual feast. The images are crisp and clear which is helpful to those who are otherwise trying to hunt down these treasure pieces from unclear scans or older photographed copies found on the internet.

The expanded and updated second edition of Poster Art of the Disney Parks is a must-have for anyone who loves the original book, for Disney collectors, for history buffs and for students of the arts. It contains an incredible collection of past and present Disney Parks posters and insights from across the globe and is an exciting snapshot and testament to the infallible creativity that has kept the giant Disney Parks machine turning since Walt’s early dreams of Disneyland. It is a heartwarming, aesthetically pleasing, joy-filled demonstration of dreams made real.

The second edition of Poster Art of the Disney Parks was released on October 11, 2022.

Jess Salafia Ward
Jess Salafia Ward is an Aussie, an attorney and a die-hard Disney fan. She grew up in a city not too far from P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney; and she still enjoys dancing around in Snow White pajamas and serenading her family members with Sleeping Beauty’s “Once Upon A Dream” (though, unlike Princess Aurora, she is not blessed with the gift of song). Jess is an Elvis-lover like Lilo, and when she doesn't have her nose stuck in a book, she delights in sharing with fellow fans all things Disney, books, movies and history.