First a new satellite dish atop its mast and later the removal of the old, circular Disney Channel sign — changes to the exterior of Walt Disney Television Studios are coming surprisingly early for the March 2008 opening of Stitch Live.

Today, the most major change began to take place — the installation of a brand new entrance sign for the interactive CGI show. Not exactly a small or discreet piece of signage either, as the previous design, but a loud and colourful cartoon burst with an illustrated Stitch waving from his space station, remarkably similar to the design seen in the original concept art.

Studios’ fourth new attraction sign in one year! — Guigui, DCP

It may certainly be that, upon first look, the sign is a complete surprise. Neither refined like Art of Disney Animation nor glitzy and traditional as CinéMagique, closer inspection actually reveals the Imagineers have taken more than a few hints from the kitsch, happy, consumerist styles of the 1950s.

The red burst has a ’roundness’ as if right out of a cheap ’50s cartoon show, the illustration of Stitch rounded and colour shaded like the most classic advertisements of the time, and the black oval with small white stars inspired by many a ’50s neon diner sign.

Classic 1950s advertisements —

The only detail which breaks the surprisingly specific timestamp of the sign is the addition of a small, modern Disney Channel logo in the bottom-left of the Stitch illustration, as planned from the first concept. Clearly, the Disney Channel still wants to keep its branding here — and, with any luck, they’ll continue to use that same logo for a long time to come.

The lettering has yet to be installed, but from the white outline it’s clear to see that ‘Stitch’ will use the same font as the original logo of ‘Lilo & Stitch’, whilst ‘Live’ is a much bolder, blockier style — perhaps similar to the bold text of an “On Air” light? Note also the addition of an exclamation mark, missing in resort publications, but now making the official in-park title “Stitch Live!”.

The 1940s/50s style might be familiar to fans, either from the Coca-Cola advertisements near Café des Cascadeurs or larger details such as the “Treat yourself like a star!” Hertz billboard inside Disney Studio 1

Similar styled billboard in Disney Studio 1

It’s particularly interesting here, however, because the original concept, though similar, called for a far more modern design of colours and protruding, square neons.

Positioned as it is at the heart of what is strongly rumoured to become a ‘Theater District’ expansion of the current Hollywood Boulevard placemaking, a place where film and television technologies are put on show, clearly the design has been taken back in time… to prepare for future plans.

— Images by Guigui, and

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