Why the road signs at Disney World are purple
You won’t find an ordinary green and white road sign around Disney World. Here’s the story behind the fun purple and red signs the park uses instead.
If you’ve been to Disney World, you’ve probably noticed that the park goes out of its way to make visitors believe that this is truly its own “world” and that they are out of the ordinary. And that Disney magic isn’t limited to the park itself, you’ll even see clues of it around the Disney property. Disney World is distinguished from the rest of the world by its road signs. You won’t see a trite green and white road sign on Disney property. Instead, whimsical purple and red signs will guide you to Disney World parks, hotels, and attractions. The moment you spot these signs, you know your Disney adventure has begun. All Disney Fanatics Should Know These 23 Secrets Park Employees Won’t Tell You.
But the colors of these signs, mostly purple with white text, with a red stripe containing yellow text at the bottom, are not an arbitrary combination of fun colors. They were carefully chosen by Deborah Sussman, a famous graphic designer. Disney Development Co. contacted Sussman’s company, Sussman / Prejza & Co., in 1989, requesting a signage design for their ever-expanding park. According to the company’s description of the project, the signage was to be “unique in spirit, clean, easy to follow and capable of being extended”.
So Sussman was inspired by something that was, indeed, unique to Disney – his most famous character, Mickey Mouse himself. The Disney Mouse Cat podcast calls the color combo an “abstract view” of Mickey’s color scheme. The basic structure of the panels, predominantly dark in color with a bit of red and yellow at the bottom, is reminiscent of Mickey’s black fur, red pants and yellow shoes. This is especially evident in the small panels, many of which have the iconic real mouse ears at the top! Find out these surprising facts you never knew about the most famous Disney characters.
It’s not known for sure why Sussman chose to swap black for purple, but there are a lot of valid assumptions to be made. For one thing, a predominantly black traffic sign would be difficult to see at night. On the other hand, purple is just a less common and more colorful choice than black, while still being in the same dark color family. Disney YouTuber Midway to Main Street speculates that Sussman chose purple in particular because it complements yellow, which was already in the design. You’ll also see a slight meerschaum tint of the complementary color of red, green, in the posts supporting some of the panels.
All of this shows the extreme amount of detail that goes into every aspect of the Disney World experience! Read on to uncover more awesome Disney secrets that only insiders know.