After our last trip to Walt Disney World in February, I returned with some surprising revelations: Disney's Hollywood Studios was wonderfully themed, and my once beloved Animal Kingdom was actually now at the bottom of my Florida park list.
Most every visit after the opening of the Studios in 1989, left me with the strong impression that the park was just a jumbled mess of structures without reason for placement, thus breaking the beautiful functionality at layout that was initially designed.
Certainly in its purest form, both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot reamined true to their design roots. Disney's Hollywood Studios, however, had fallen prey to lack of a master plan and a true visionary to guide its development and growth.
As I discovered. these facts did not change the park from having an abundance of beautiful detail- if you looked for it. One of the more obvious places was in the signage found everywhere I looked.
So, here's part two of my gallery of sign photos.
The small Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost sign(top) effectively captures the nature of the film's excitement. Although somewhat predictable, the play on the compass background, stylized airplane, and iconic logo all come together quite well.
The most imposing and attention grabbing building in the park, The Hollywood Tower Hotel, home of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, has signage high above which quickly identifies the mood of the attraction. Or is it the lightning scarred remains behind it and the sounds of screaming from the inside the long abandoned elevator shaft that give the tower its powerful drawing power?
Just down the way, a giant guitar announces we've reached the G-Force Records studio and Rock and Rollercoaster starring Aerosmith. The less noticed and much smaller sign for the shop around the corner, Rock Around the Shop, is no less effective in capturing our attention.
Not every sign is at eye level or higher. Just outside the shop, a drainage cover in the street also announces the building owned by G-Force, its circular shape mirroring the compact disc- or record, for those of you still familiar with the old school method of playing music.
Herein lies a lesson for us Disney park lovers and those who are newbies to them: Look everywhere for detail! The Imagineers love to place layer upon layer to acheive the ultimate effect in transporting guests from the everyday world. Even in the rightfully criticized California Adventure and Walt Disney Studios Paris, there is detail to be found and signage worth noting-and soon enough, more attactions that are truly Disney quality! Watch for the signs- they are everywhere!
(Photos copyright Mark Taft.)
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