Top Disney Parks Poster Art

Top Disney Parks Poster Art

Let’s visit my top 10 pieces of Disney park poster art. These pieces never cease to inspire you in visiting a Disney theme park.

You can find our podcast here on PodbeaniTunesSpotifyMyTuner, and ListenNotesKey notes, photos and links are below, but you’ll find most of my commentary on the podcast.

Why I Love These Posters

A big part of visiting a Disney theme park is the anticipation that goes with it. Perhaps that’s planning the trip. Making the drive from your home town, or getting on your favorite airline. For me, it was a drive from Phoenix Arizona, where I would look out my window for the Matterhorn though we had just driven by Palm Springs. I was that excited.

Once you got there, the anticipation was fed in the form of poster art that would adorn the monorail berms and as you went underneath the train tracks toward Main Street, U.S.A. These weren’t just inspiration. These were intended for many years to sell you on the idea of buying additional tickets to go on the rides. So they met a very real business need in the same way a promotional poster as you entered a movie theater got you excited about the next flick coming to town.

If you haven’t obtained a copy of Poster Art of the Disney Parks by Danny Handke and Vanessa Hunt, you definitely need to obtain a copy. The introduction is done by Tony Baxter. It is the definitive volume, though it does not include the poster art for Shanghai Disneyland. That set is very nice as well, and my favorite in that set is the one for Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure.

10. Space Mountain

This poster was my first love. I hung it in my bedroom as a teenager in 1977 when the attraction premiered. There is no poster for Space Mountain when it opened a few years earlier at Magic Kingdom. It simply took on this poster after it opened at Disneyland.

Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Tokyo Disneyland, Jim Michaelson, Ernie Prinzhorn, and Rudy Lord, 1977

9. Red Car Trolley

Disney California Adventure became the second Disney park that isn’t a Magic Kingdom to have a Disney poster collection (Tokyo Disney Sea being the first). All of these posters were developed by Greg Maletic.

Disney California Adventure, Greg Maletic, 2019

8. Mark Twain Riverboat

Love the wood cut design, which is found in both the Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland versions.

Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland Debbie Lord, 1983

7. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea–Tie

This choice is a tie between two attractions of the same name. But both attractions are completely different. I also note how the 20K ride at Magic Kingdom really parallels the Submarine Voyage at Disneyland.

For Disneyland, Bjorn Aronson, 1955.
Disneyland, Sam McKim, 1959
Magic Kigdom, Richard Hebner in 1971

6. Pirates of the Caribbean New Orleans Square

This piece was organized by Marc Davis, but was completed by Collin Campbell. He used his own face as inspiration (check his image below), and also used Marc Davis’s classic pen style to capture the complete image. I think it’s the best of all Pirates of the Caribbean pieces.

Disneyland, Collin Campbell, 1967

5. Adventure Isle

Disneyland Paris has a fantastic collection of poster art for its attractions, though less so for Walt Disney Studios Paris than the main Magic Kingdom park.

Disneyland Paris, George Stokes, Chris Tietz, and Mimi Sheaean, 1991

4. Country Bear Jamboree

This is truly one of the great pieces of poster art, which poster was done on a six foot piece of canvas to create all of the carved detail found in the wood-frame design.

Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Tokyo Disneyland, Jim Michaelson, Marc Davis and Eddie Martinez, 1978

3. Alice in Wonderland

This poster art inspires you to visit what is perhaps my favorite Disney dark ride. It spells out in text and graphics what the journey is composed of.

Disneyland, Sam McKim, 1958

2. Swiss Family Treehouse

This is a great example of a poster that takes advantage of the silk screening technique. What I love is how the color choices truly pop out. Below is the original but variations have been done for Tokyo and Disneyland Paris. Also a Tarzan version was done for Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyland.

Disneyland, Paul Hartley, 1962

1. Grand Canyon Disneyland Paris Railroad Poster

The railroad poster collection is probably the largest for any one type of attraction. That’s appropriate, because large poster concepts were common in railroad stations, all promoting sights to see around the world. Two tie as a big stand out for me, not because they are of the railroad, but because they promote the Grand Canyon Diorama. The first is of Disneyland:

This was done in 1958 by Paul Hartley.

The second, and probably my favorite of all attraction posters was done for Disneyland Paris. It’s created by Eddie Sotto, Peter Polombi, and Tom Yorke, 1991

Honorable Mention

I should mention this piece which was framed at the entrance of Spaceship Earth, but really does not mention the attraction by name. It really was more of a promotional piece for Epcot, not specifically as an attraction poster.

J. Jeff Kober

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