Posted Friday, February 4, 2022 10:08 AM | Contributed by Jeff
The final vestiges of a once iconic wayfinding system are now being replaced. The purple roadway signs used to direct vehicular traffic around the resort have begun being swapped out with new blue-based signage. Like the purple before it, the blue aesthetic can be seen on signage throughout the resort.
This was a story that I wasn't going to post, but Orlando Weekly did such a great job going into the history that I felt it was actually newsworthy. Iconography and font nerds will dig it. It wasn't until this started happening that I realized how "off-brand" the old signs were. If you really look around at the web sites, the apps, ads, blogs, printed materials, there is some level of consistency across all of it, and those signs were way off that consistency.
If you ignore the nostalgic draw of the purple signs, I think it's pretty easy to see the improvement here. As a designer, I can appreciate the choices they made.
Walt Schmidt - Co-Publisher, PointBuzz
Interesting. I never get the sense that I am entering a special place when I drive on to the Disney property. It's just more highways but with tacky signage. This design change doesn't seem to change that but it does look more modern.
Tacky might be the word that I was thinking of, especially when I moved here and saw the signs more regularly. I remember with changes that some states have made in recent years (like Ohio), I think it's more important for these to serve function over fashion. We're creatures of habit, and consistency in this case is important because your brain can react without thinking. For many examples of what not to do, go to most any large airport. You can't process the road signage quickly because it isn't rooted in convention.
WDW has come a long way with road signs.
I don't think they needed signs back then; there was basically one road that took you to the monorail station, two hotels, and a campground.
The new font looks like it will be a lot easier to read from a moving car.
I can remember the property had standard highway signs. They didn’t need many signs back then, but I find it comical how the original entrance sign was so basic compared to the large marquee of the smaller Anaheim property.
The new signs do look good.
I have only traveled on property in Disney buses/boats. So signs don't mean much to me. I would expect a lot of people driving themselves are using mapping apps. As long as the signs are consistent with mapping apps (all of which are not necessarily consistent), shouldn't be an issue.
Navigation and maps are a crap shoot when it comes to getting people in or through the property. It's hard for me to pin down, but out-of-town friends have struggled with it. Maybe it's because the roads are technically public but in that gray area that is Reedy Creek, but I've seen mapping apps route people in some strange ways. Also, in Tesla navigation, it shows an area just east of the property as being a "manatee speed limit zone," which is not exactly near the water.
I've definitely had some strange suggestions from nav apps. For a while, they consistently wanted me to enter Old Key West using the (gated) service entrance, because it is closer to the rest of property than the guest entrance is. There have also been a few routes that take me through "Backstage Lane" which isn't gated but always feels sketchy especially at night, and a couple suggested routes that were not gated, but had "Cast Only" signage here and there.
That reminds me, I've heard tales of strange Uber drives going far out of the way, presumably for similar reasons. A friend staying at Boardwalk had a driver go down to 192, when I'm two miles from the MK cast parking.
If the goal is to more effectively and efficiently move people through and about Disney properties, wouldn't it be better to get better mapping info to the mapping apps/companies than it would be to update signs (given the number of people, at least in my experience, who pretty much exclusively rely on map apps to get anywhere (even places they know well--and to the extent your app includes traffic, it makes sense).
I don't know how easy it is for a municipality to influence the map/traffic vendors which is basically what you'd be asking for.
I think the main issue is that some routes are designed for high throughput, but they aren't always the shortest/fastest routes between two places. For the infrequent oddball driver taking the shorter route, that's fine. If everyone suddenly does it, it's a problem. The physical signs are posted along the high-throughput routes. The nav apps will pick the shorter routes unless they are congested, but probably the only reason they'd be congested is that too many guests are using nav apps for routing.
This also comes up when people talk about "just getting dropped off" at Contemporary and bypassing TTC. If a few people are doing it, no big deal. Before the flyover was built, there is no way that even 5% of MK traffic could do that without completely snarling Seven Seas Dr. Even with the flyover as an exit, I bet the capacity into/out of the Contemporary is a small fraction of the capacity into/out of the MK lot.
Maybe. Though this isn't a normal municipality. On multiple fronts. Seems to me there would be sufficient interest on all sides. But maybe that is not the case.
People are losing their sh!t over the purple signs going away. I am all for it because those signs were awful to read at night. Plus at night when your headlights hit the signs, you could clearly see all the different types of "purple" used as the paint was not consistant as signs were updated.
For many examples of what not to do, go to most any large airport. You can't process the road signage quickly because it isn't rooted in convention.
This is a big annoyance with me. Travel in/out of enough airports and it'll drive you crazy trying to read quickly before missing your exit to return your rental. I especially hate when they add logos to the signs instead of the name. Airport navigation sucks.
Also, in Tesla navigation, it shows an area just east of the property as being a "manatee speed limit zone," which is not exactly near the water.
This shows up on Google Maps too and it has always confused me.
Google feeds the maps for Tesla, but the navigation I think is their own thing, because self-driving.
Disney seems to understand that they can't restrict movement on roads, because they're municipal. If they're private property, they have to pay county taxes. First they opened up Western Way, though we obviously understand the bigger vision there now. Then there's Floridian Place, which will eventually be four lanes from World Drive all the way up to Reams. (Who knows when the county will finally complete Reams/Fiquette as four lanes.) It's so fast to get home from Epcot now, but when Floridian is connected, it'll be even faster.
So yeah, yay for better signage.
The Floridian Place connector was a huge win for when they have to shut down Floridian Way each night for fireworks. The changes with roads at the mouth of the Magic Kingdom have been a huge improvement. Getting around or trying to cut through property just a few years ago was annoying. The fact that I can bypass the toll plaza and the awkward intersection that was beyond it was worth all the construction. Now I can't wait for the Bear Island Road intersection to be complete!Last edited by 99er, Friday, February 4, 2022 10:15 PM
Is that still gated at one end? I wouldn't normally have any reason to go that way, but am curious.
And on a related note:
New to Dorney in 2022: Purple Signs!
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