Many of us disneygeeks spend hours studying park maps and concept art. Not so much for navigation as glimpses of things to come or history of what was there. If you are like me you have boxes full of them from various trips over the years. Or endless photos on your computer of the maps found in the parks. So when Disney announced a book with the focus being park maps it instantly went to the top of my book list. Maps of the Disney Parks was released a few weeks ago and I just finished reading through it. The finished product is different from what I had originally envisioned. I was expecting to see page after page of park guide maps including covers from over the years, but instead what I found was a great collection of aerial concept art from the parks, park fun maps, and other map related artwork and samples from over the years. The artwork is drawn from the Imagineering Art Library collection.
The book is organized by decade starting in the 1950s and going all the way up to 2016. It includes artwork/maps from all the Disney parks around the world including Shanghai Disneyland. It also features some maps found in the parks of attractions (Tom Sawyer Island, Pirates, Peter Pan, etc..).
Each decade starts off with a description of key happenings and what you would be seeing in the subsequent pages. Then as you flip through the chapter most pages have a picture of the entire map or piece of art on one half of the spread then the other is a more detailed look at a portion of it. Text is minimal throughout the book. Each piece is identified with a title, artist if known and year. No other information is given. The book is a medium format (11.2 x 1 x 12 inches), not quite as large as the Poster Art book but still good size. It also has an unique cover. It opens from the middle outward, flipping open in both directions, then you flip through the pages as if it was a normal book.
While not what I had originally envisioned this book is a solid addition to a geek’s library. I really enjoyed the trip through Disney Parks history. I would like to see a follow-up to this book along my original idea someday though.
Also interesting on the about the author blurb on the inside cover Vanessa Hunt is working on a book featuring the art of Marc Davis and one on the history of the Disney Monorail.