Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Book Review: Poster Art of the Disney Parks by Daniel Handke and Vanessa Hunt

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Full color collection of classic Disney attraction posters
Cons: None for this Disney fan
The Bottom Line
Love Disney posters?
Then you'll spend hours looking through
Those collected here

The Book of Disney Poster Art I've Been Waiting Years to Own

With each trip to Disneyland, I drool over the various reproductions of the attraction posters I see.  If they weren’t so expensive, I would have bought many of the lithographs years ago.  And I have long said that if I could, I would buy a book of them.  Someone must have finally heard me because this year, Disney released Poster Art of the Disney Parks.

This is a large coffee table type book and the kind of thing you can pick up and browse through, set down, and come back to enjoy later.  It is mostly art work, reproduced in full color on every page, so you can “read” it cover to cover in a very short period of time.

The book starts out with an introduction to the posters, why they were originally created, how they were made, and how that process changed over the years.  They even explain why the Magic Kingdom parks get posters and many of the other theme parks don’t.

Once that is out of the way, the book is broken down into various chapters by lands.  After a brief one page introduction to that "land" and the styles used in creating the posters, the rest of the pages are filled with the posters for the attractions and restaurants in that area of the park.  That can create some cross over for things like the Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean that appear in multiple places in the various parks.  But that’s what the index in the back is for.  They include posters for old attractions that aren’t in the park any more.  While posters are really only something for the Magic Kingdom, they do have chapters devoted to Tokyo Disney Sea and California Adventure as well.

And the reproductions of the posters are glorious.  Sometimes, you get a full poster on a page, but many times you get two or sometimes three posters.  There is a notation beside them telling you the artist and the year the poster was created.  As I mentioned earlier, these are in full color, so you are missing nothing from the experience of seeing them in the park as advertisements for other attractions.

There are several things that make this book fun.  The first is the fact that posters for old attractions are included.  There are a few I have only read about and several I remember from when I was a kid.  This time capsule is fun.

But they don’t just include one poster per attraction.  If several have been created over the years, they include them, so you can see how styles have changed.  They also include all the posters from all the Magic Kingdom parks around the world, so you can compare how the posters are changed to appeal to a different audience.  Sometimes it’s just the name of the park (Disneyland vs. Disneyland Paris) or land.  But sometimes it’s a completely different poster, like the one of Small World in the states versus Hong Kong.  And they also include art for posters in development, so you can compare to the final product.

I have never seen a complete list of posters created, so I seriously doubt that every poster is included here, but the most famous ones are here and its hard to think of many attractions that should be included but aren't.  And considering they have included the attractions for CarsLand in the chapter on California Adventure, I think it's fairly complete.  After all, those attractions just opened this year.

There are roughly 150 pages in this book, the vast majority of it the poster art.  And with all the examples, it is everything I dreamed of and more.

So if you enjoy your time at Disney parks and find the posters fun, you need a copy of Poster Art of the Disney Parks.  This is a well done book that Disney fans will treasure.

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