Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mad Tea Party | Alice in Wonderland

In this week’s Designerland typography case study, we'll look at the wild fonts from the Alice in Wonderland dark ride and the Mad Tea Party.  The Alice in Wonderland dark ride is a classic of the Disneyland Resort. Opened in 1958, the attraction honors the time-treasured animated classic where guests follow Alice down the rabbit hole and through her many adventures in Wonderland. As an East Coaster, I’d never had the privilege of riding this attraction until about two years ago while visiting the Disneyland resort for the D23 Expo week. I truly enjoy this dark ride, but what dark ride don’t I enjoy?
Having grown up with the Disney World Resort as a second home, my only experience with Alice in the parks was the Mad Tea Party. Mad Tea Party is a copy of Disneyland's version, only Walt Disney World Resort's Mad Tea Party features an elaborate pavilion-type awning that offers relief from the harsh Floridian sun and tropic storms. 

The classic spinning tea cups and saucers have become a staple in Disney Theme Parks across the globe. Every park has its own version with only a few differences, such as adjustments in the names of the attractions, the color palettes, and the pattern designs on the tea cups.  Also, some have awnings while others do not.
Disney designers took a whimsical and wacky approach when selecting fonts for the signage and logo treatments. The theme is extremely fitting, seeing how the attractions are based on Wonderland and the famous Mad Hatter tea party scene. All of the fonts used in this attraction are display fonts that include curled or swirl serifs (which mimic the theme of the spinning tea cups) and fonts that look as if they bounce up and down the baseline. This attraction doesn’t feature some of the highly-used fonts of Fantasyland, such as Bradley Gratis. However, Devinne Swash, another favorite font of Fantasyland, is present in the signage for both of these Alice attractions. In my research, I could only find one bit of signage that pays tribute to the fact that Alice in Wonderland is a classic British novel. Other than that, this attraction abandons the storybook village look of Fantasyland, but does it appropriately well. 

That about does it for this week’s case study. Tune in on Monday for another Retro 71 concept design and look forward to some new colors added to our Wonderful World of Kuler account. As always, thanks for popping in and have a swell weekend.