Faux Disney Attraction Posters

When I started making TILT a few years back, I realized that I’d need to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator in order to pull off the animation I wanted to have in the film. To teach myself I created some drawings that emulated the style of the Disney attraction posters I collect (the early Disney posters have a silk-screened style that Illustrator is ideally suited for.) UPDATE: You can print your own copy of these posters.

First I did a straightforward copy of the Skyway poster up on my wall; after a while I tried creating some original content to commemorate some long-gone Walt Disney World attractions that, sadly, never received their own poster.

The amazing conclusion to the story is that these were discovered online by a Disney exec, and I soon got a job creating attraction posters for Disney for real. Definitely a dream come true.

I like the Swan Boats poster the best of the three:

Swan Boat poster

Tomorrowland Poster

If You Had Wings Poster

28 thoughts on “Faux Disney Attraction Posters

  1. the “if you had wings” poster is gorgeous. that attraction kicked the bucket when i was young, so i’ve only been on it once, but my mom still sings the song.

  2. Superb! The pictures remind me of classic cover illustrations from 1940’s and ’50’s science fiction cover art for hardback books.

  3. I adore the Tomorrowland poster… any chance of getting a high resolution version of the poster suitable for printing at poster sizes?

  4. Excellent work indeed. I am wondering the same thing about the high res version suitable for printing at poster size. Both myself and my mom worked for Eastern and have fond memories of IYHW.It would be a perfect match to the other WDW posters hanging in my office.

  5. The posters are great, and I would like to see the work you did for Disney. My questions are more about how you created them in Illustrator. Did you build everything from scratch or import images to get started? These would be great to sell through one of the fan websites like Mouse Planet, Laughing Place or The Disney Blog. If that ever happens let me know. As a former Cast Member, I love the nostalgia of old attractions as much as you. Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. Thanks for everybody’s nice comments. It’s funny…I did these images five years ago, and it never occurred to me to send them to BoingBoing…now a lot more people have found them!

    To answer a couple of questions:

    – Matt: “any chance of getting a high resolution version of the poster suitable for printing at poster sizes?”

    In terms of making these available, I’ll look into it and post on this blog in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled and your RSS readers going…

    – Jason: “My questions are more about how you created them in Illustrator. Did you build everything from scratch or import images to get started?”

    Both. Typically I look up the thing I’m going to be drawing (say, the Swan Boats) in Google Images so I have some idea of what to draw. If I can find an image that looks like what I want to draw (viewed from the correct angle, etc.), chances are good I’ll bring it into Illustrator and trace it. (In the Swan Boats poster, I traced the image of the Swiss Family Robinson tree in the background.) But in case of the boat itself, not only could I not find an image that I wanted to trace, it turned out the boats didn’t even look like the boat in my mind that I wanted to draw! (The swan on the real swan boats is a lot smaller…I wanted mine to have a really long, graceful neck.) Some of the people in the boat are traced from the classic Jungle River attraction poster; some are drawn from scratch. The bridge is drawn from photos of the bridge in front of WDW’s Crystal Palace, but it’s not traced. In the If You Had Wings poster, just about everything is traced from some photo. And in the Tomorrowland poster, the only thing that was traced was the people in the foreground, which I got from the classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction poster. (These were my first drawing projects…I had to cheat a bit to pull them off!)

    – Chad: “You might also enjoy my tribute to Superman and the classic poster illustrations of old…”

    Very nice. It was a little unclear to me…where did the original Fortress of Solitude poster come from? I was intrigued by that, because the style of the fortress itself is exactly what was in the original Christopher Reeve Superman movie, and I thought that style originated with that film. Also, it’s a shame that the Medusa image you linked to doesn’t seem to work properly…I’d love to see it.

    – Jason: “I would like to see the work you did for Disney.”

    I’d love to show it, but I don’t think I’m allowed to post it here. In case I find out I can, I certainly will.

    Thanks again!


  7. Greg,

    The original art is created by me. I also made a ‘used’ version as seen on that posting.

    The Fortress of Solitude is indeed inspired by Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie TV design.

    That is a link off of Jeremy’s website. Nice stuff.

  8. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions about your poster designs. I will try and find a great place to put your poster of Tomorrowland. That is the first area I was a Cast Member, so it brings back many memories. It would be great if you were able to show the work you did for Disney, or find out somewhere that can display it legally. Thanks again.

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  10. What awesome artwork you have shared with us!
    I just went to DisneyWorld this past March, and you captured the feelings and moods in these pieces of art…thank you for sharing them with us all…..wish you had more!!!

  11. so cool! love, love, love these. have seen them other places and am so excited to see i can download them here. if we do pics will follow.

    love the “if you had wings” that was my fave ride as a kid. any chance you might make a “carousel of progress” poster? :)

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