The Disneyland Sign and Pictorial Shop

DISCLAIMER: It is rare that I delve into realms of gushing adulation at Imaginerding, but I have wanted to post about the three Imagineers that made the Destination D experience at Walt Disney World so much fun. I ran across an older article that I thought they would enjoy and present an opportunity to tell them how awesome they are. They have also entered the Twitter-verse and have been quite engaging.

Jason Surrell

At the D23 Destination D: Walt Disney World’s 40th event in May of 2011, Disney brought in plenty of Disney Legends to help tell the story of the Florida property. One of the more entertaining and engaging presentations was Disney D-Tales: The Little Things that Tell the Big Stories presented by Imagineers Jason Surrell, Alex Wright and Jason Grandt. After watching their presentation, I realized that they are destined to be the future stars of Imagineering. Disney enthusiasts will be writing about them like we do with Hench, Blair, Davis, Broggie and so many more.You can read my full review of the event, here.

Alex Wright

I took 1971 pictures at the event, but I got very few shots of the guys that weren’t blurry. I am a huge fan of Tom and Sarah Bricker from the Disney Tourist Blog; their shots from the parks are imaginative, creative and stunning. Tom had been posting some mini-reviews of the Destination D event and I asked if he had any good shots of the presentation. He sent me a few to use (I’ve included the other shots from Tom at the end of the post).

Jason Grandt

The guys spent time honoring the Imagineers of the past (like John Hench and Marc Davis) before diving into their own work at the Vacation Kingdom of the World. One of the segments focused on signs that they had created. I ran across the following article in the Spring 1982 Disney News and I knew that they would appreciate it. If you are on twitter, you should follow them: Jason Grandt @43SquareMiles; Alex Wright @27000Acres; Jason Surrell @2Manhattans (they are truly funny and do not shy away from interacting). By the way, you can always follow me, too!

Click for a larger version.

At Disneyland and at Walt Disney World, as in any other organized establishment, how could you hope to find your way around without the visual aids of signs and directions? 

This means of communication, in its early form nothing more than a simple printed signpost, has become an art in its own right, with the use of delicate to bold lettering and graphics. 

At Disneyland, 14 dedicated artists in the Sign and Pictorial Shop make sure that identifying signs within the Park are easy to read, pleasant to the eye and themed to the area and time which they represent. Their talents go beyond the painting of signs, since they are also responsible for the fresh and realistic appearances of Disney character heads, animated figures, posters and stage backdrops. Although designs and art work may originate in the Walt Disney Studio or from WED Enterprises (the “Imagineering” Division of Walt Disney Productions), it’s up to the craftsmen and women of the Sign Shop to mix the authentic colors and apply their handiwork by brush or airbrush to any project where touching up is needed. 

When the horses on the carrousel in Fantasyland begin to resemble Paint” in the flesh, it’s off to pasture in the Sign Shop they go. When the fishes and other aquatic decorations seen on the Submarine Voyage begin to fade from the effects of the “sea” water, they are put in the shop’s drydock for fresh paint during the attraction’s “rehab.” 

But it is to the colorful signs throughout the Park that the Sign Shop artists point with the most pride. Just look at them! The Disneyland City Hall, the American Egg House, Candy Palace, Camera Shop, Antiques, Pirates of the Caribbean, the good ship Columbia, Jungle Cruise, Space Mountain, and many, many more. Every lettered board, window sign or other display used to identify is a beautiful example of their demanding albeit satisfying art. 

Where would we go—wandering aimlessly, searching, forever searching——without them?

The following photos are provided courtesy of

Jason G. and the recipe for a great Disney attraction!

Jason S. making a point!
Actually, he is probably poking fun at Jason G.
Attack of the 50 foot Jason S.!
Alex and Jason G. listen intently to Jason S.’s words of wisdom.

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One thought on “The Disneyland Sign and Pictorial Shop

  1. I have a sign from Disneyland that nobody can identify for me. Can I get in touch with the disney Sign dept directly? Or is there a place on your site where I can post a picture and someone may be able to help me?

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