The Walt Disney World Resort guide maps have a new look to them. A few weeks ago, Disney replaced the maps at the Orlando theme parks, water parks and Downtown Disney with new, more modern looking designs. The front of each map now has a more sleek design to it. Each map front still features the park name and a photo of one of the attractions.

WDW Map Fronts 2013

The inside is where you will find the most dramatic change. The maps now have a less cartoony feel to them. They appear more articulate, yet less cluttered.  The maps are also all scaled onto the left hand side of the fold out. All of the numbers and text that describe what the attractions and dining are have been moved over to the right hand side in a more organized fashion. Previously, they were scattered around the map layout. Here are the insides of the four WDW Guide Maps as of March 2013:

MK Map 2013

AK Map 2013

DHS Map 2013

Epcot Map 2013

As much as I do enjoy the new look, both inside and out, the orientation of two of the parks jars my senses quite a bit. While the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom still have their park entrances drawn at the bottom of the map page… Epcot and Hollywood Studios do not. When I first looked down at the Epcot map, I thought Test Track was accidentally on the wrong side.  Also, DHS’s entrance is now in the top right corner of it’s map. While, of course I can easily find my around the parks, it was still odd to look down and see that new layout. It makes me wonder, from a first time visitor’s perspective, if this layout causes any issues. I believe this change now has all the parks geographically correct on the maps. However, I would think a guest pre-assumes the entrance, where they just walked in, is at the bottom and the map is laid out as the park sits in front of them. Maybe not, but it would be interesting to know why Disney made that specific alteration. I honestly did overhear one group talking about having the map upside down and trying to locate themselves on it.

I like collecting the various cover and style changes of all the park maps over the years. So these will certainly go tucked away in my collection. What are your thoughts about the new designs?