The Park Guidemap: An Endangered Species?

The Park Guidemap: An Endangered Species?

One of the most beloved (and cheapest) keepsakes of any Disney visit are the park guidebooks or guidemaps. These navigational and instructional tools have been showing guests where to go since the early days of Disneyland. Though they have evolved over the years, they have been a touchpoint for experiencing the Disney magic. But are they in jeopardy of being replaced eventually by the My Disney Experience app? This post and podcast looks at signs of expiration for the legacy of Disney guidebooks, guide maps old and current, and what the future may hold.

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

Signs of Maps Being Endangered

  1. Cost of Production
  2. Not Conservation Friendly
  3. Emergence of Electronic Tools
  4. Role Reduction
  5. Unavailability
  6. Sponsor Loss

The Personal Navigator is an example of how such paper-prepared communications are becoming more endangered. They are available at Guest Services on the ship, but no longer brought to your room.

History of Information Guides, Guide Books and Guide Maps

It helps to know how the guidebooks/guide maps have evolved over the years. Disneyland Daily has a terrific and thorough history of the guide maps from the Happiest Place on Earth. It focuses entirely on the Disneyland Resort. But that evolution for Walt Disney World is fairly similar.

  • 1955: The first guide is a single sheet of paper and tri-folded.
  • 1965: the guide to Disneyland becomes a printed booklet with photos. It is sponsored by INA . These are more pocket size.
  • 1977: the guide maps become larger in size and around 30 pages. GAF is the sponsor followed by Polaroid and then Kodak. The maps become more accurate.
  • 1994. The maps went to a single sheet fold outs, with some folding out and up and others just folding up.
  • 2020 The park map today is a six sided fold out

Yesterday’s Information Guide: Walt Disney World Winter/Spring 1974

On the podcast we examine my first guide book I ever received from Walt Disney World. It has taken some wear and tear, but we shared a couple of key pages for you here.

Today’s Guidemap: Epcot 2020

App Advantages:

  • Accesses the entire property
  • Allows zoom in and zoom out of park maps
  • Allows different menu overlays of park maps
  • Provides park hours
  • Permits you to find your location
  • Allows you to make, modify and delete FastPasses
  • Permits you to make and check up on boarding passes
  • Allows you to make dining reservations
  • Allows you to mobile order
  • Provides a Play app
  • Allows promotion of options
  • Allows you to modify hotel reservation details
  • Allows GPS marketing
  • Allow you to make purchase decisions instantly

App Disadvantages:

  • It is not a keepsake or a record in time
  • It depends on the internet
  • It’s harder to emotionally connect

Souvenirs for Your Organization

Here are some questions to ask as it relates to how you communicate to your customers:

  • How can you make information easy and accessible to your customers?
  • How can technology improve your communications delivery?
  • How can you provide real time updates in your communications?
  • How do you back up your communications so they are always available in some form?
  • How do you back up your communications so they are always available in some form?
  • How can you make providing information profitable? How can you increase per caps and sales via your communications?
  • How can you emotionally connect with your customers via your communications

J. Jeff Kober