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A Welcoming Problem at Walt Disney World

Although it’s not as popular as the ubiquitous castle shot, taking a picture of the “Welcome to Walt Disney World” sign is an important part of many visitors memories. At least it was until a few months ago when signs went up saying that parking in the area was for emergencies only. That has cut down on the number of photos dramatically, or shifted them to ones taken from inside the cars. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel safe knowing that the driver in the car next to me could be trying to take a photo at the same time.

There is another welcome sign that is even more popular than Disney World’s. The “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign is a hugely popular icon. And for much of its life it had the same problem Disney World did. People would stop on the side of the road and take photos. Only in Las Vegas it was worse, becasue the tourists would run across the street to get a photo in front of the sign. Then a few months ago there was a change in Las Vegas too.

They added a parking lot. Yep, Las Vegas realized the value of their sign as free marketing for the city and made it easier and safer for their visitors to spread the news about the city.

This is one area where Disney can learn from Vegas. Disney and the county need to add a parking lot. The only difference from Las Vegas is that there are two of them. There is plenty of room along either side of the 536 and Osceola Parkway to add a safe parking area with a fence between visitors and the busy road. It would make visitors happy and work as a great advertisement for the resort. This is one of the best marketing tools to attract future tourists to Central Florida and it’s just going to waste.

Photo credit: Princess Ashley from Flickr.