On opening day, large-scale souvenir maps could be purchased on Main Street ($.50) in lieu of complimentary main-gate maps. These maps continued to be sold (through 1974) once complimentary guides were introduced.

WDW News CoverWDW News Interior

Complimentary copies of the Walt Disney World News were distributed on Main Street beginning in mid-October 1971. They filled the role of “main-gate maps” until the spring of 1972 when GAF-sponsored guides were introduced.

The GAF “pocket guides” were made available to guests free of charge before the advent of the modern main-gate. Left-to-right: Original GAF pocket guide (“Castle Moat” cover), distributed throughout 1972 (beginning in the spring); Spring/Summer 1973; Summer/Fall 1973; Winter/Spring 1974; Summer/Fall 1974 (“Castle Swan” cover); Winter/Spring 1975 (“Pirate Auction” cover); Summer 1975 (“America on Parade” cover); Fall/Winter 1975; Winter/Spring 1976; Summer 1976.

The GAF “booklets,” a slightly larger design than the pocket guides, were issued to guests starting in the fall of 1976. Left-to-right: Fall  1976 (Castle Sunset” cover); Winter 1976; Spring 1977 (“Castle Bloom” cover); Summer 1977 (“Fantasy in the Sky” cover).

The “in-house” booklets replaced those produced by GAF when their sponsorship ended. Disney handled publishing duties until 1979 when Polaroid stepped in as sponsor. Left-to-right: Fall/Winter 1977 (“Castle Reflection” cover); Winter/Spring 1978 (“Castle Garden” cover); Summer 1978 (“Castle Trolley” cover); Fall/Winter 1978 (“Castle Mice” cover); Winter/Spring 1979 (“Castle Souvenirs” cover).

Polaroid retained the “booklet” design for the next five years before handing the reins over to Kodak in early 1984. Left-to-right: Spring/Summer 1979 (“Castle Bloom” Polaroid edition); Fall/Winter 1979 (“Castle Mist” cover); Spring/Summer 1980 (“Main Street Night” cover); Fall/Winter 1980 (“Big Thunder Inset” cover); Spring/Summer 1981 (“Castle Balloons” cover); Fall/Winter 1981 (“Tencennial Closeup” cover); Spring/Summer 1982 (“Tencennial Wide-Shot” cover); Fall/Winter 1982 (“Framed Castle Balloons” cover); Spring/Summer 1983 (“Mice and Dogs” cover); Fall/Winter 1983 (“Leader of the Band” cover).

The Kodak “Red-Frames” return to the more convenient pocket-size dimensions, though with a drastic cut in content, and adopt the “guide book” title in the first iteration of what is now thought of as the traditional “main-gate” map. Left-to-right: Spring/Summer 1984 (“Birthday Donald” cover); Fall/Winter 1984 (“Arm-in-Arm” cover); Spring/Summer 1985 (“Patriotic Mickey” cover); Fall/Winter 1985 (“Banner Rose” cover); Spring/Summer 1986 (“Banner Tree” cover); Fall/Winter 1986 (“15th Parade” cover); Winter/Spring/Summer 1987 (“15th Cake” cover); Fall/Winter 1987 (“So Much More Castle” cover); Spring 1988 (“So Much More Train” cover); Summer/Fall/Winter 1988 (“Party Hats” cover); Spring/Summer 1989 (“Mickey’s House” cover); Fall/Winter/Spring 1989-90 (“S.S. Mickey” cover); Summer/Fall/Winter 1990 (“Mickey’s Starland” cover).

Kodak’s “Gold-Tone” guidebook (now stylized as a single word on the cover) design lasted four issues before content/thickness was once again trimmed and the name revised. Left-to-right: Spring/Summer 1991 (“Starland Collage” cover); Fall/Winter 1991 (“20th Collage” cover); Spring/Summer 1992; Fall/Winter 1992 (“Splash-Right Collage” cover).

The updated “Gold-Tone” guidemap (reflecting the name-change) eliminated the stapled-binding design in favor of the now-familiar folding-map design. As a result of the streamlined design, and thus printing process, map editions in the coming years would increase under a single front-cover image. Left-to-right: “Splash-Left Collage” cover (used from Winter/Spring 1993 to Fall 1993); “Lion King Collage” cover (used from Fall 1993 to Summer 1995).

The “Purple Castle” guidemaps were the first to receive printed dates on the cover and were generally issued on a weekly (give or take) basis up until the park’s twenty-fifth anniversary. The top color blocks, which were elongated in late-95, alternate between green, red, and blue designs. Additionally, the bottom WDW logo was updated for the new year (1996), while the font and size of the printed dates vary by map. Left-to-right: Aug. 20-26, 1995 (“Purple Castle” cover with old logo); Jan. 22-27, 1996 (new logo).


One-off map distributed the week of the park’s twenty-fifth anniversary, depicting the newly-outfitted Cinderella’s Castle (“25th Anniversary” cover).

While the cover image switched to an alternate view of the castle on the maps following anniversary week, the surrounding graphics and border remained until the following October (1997) when the Magic Kingdom logo was simplified and the image of Sorcerer Mickey removed (which in turn prompted a slight elongation of the castle cover image). This updated design was used through January 1998, continuing on a top-banner color rotation (as introduced with the initial anniversary edition) of red, green, blue, purple, and pink. Left-to-right: Feb. 24-Mar. 2, 1997 (anniversary logo: “Cake” cover); Oct. 6-12, 1997 (simplified logo: “Cake/Lawn” cover); Jan. 5-11, 1998 (interior top-panel addition).

Christmas 1996 saw the introduction of the guidemap holiday design that would be used with various peripheral designs and borders for the next six seasons through the end of 2001: a three-image tree-ornament collage featuring Holiday Mickey and Minnie in the foreground. The lone exception was the New Year’s Eve 1999 one-off map, which featured a gold-colored banner and “Castle Fireworks” image to commemorate the new millenium. Left-to-right: 1996/97/98/99/00/01 “Ornament/Holiday” cover (excluding periphery); New Year’s Eve 1999 (“Millenium” cover).

From February 1998 to early August 1999, the “Castle Flowers” image graced guidemaps, while retaining the former purple periphery and rotating top-banner design (with the exception of the green color scheme). An image of the Main Street Electrical Parade replaced it through the remainder of August and into September, when the long-running (through September 2001) Winnie the Pooh design (thanks to the recently-opened attraction) took over. In early April 2001, the “Official Sponsor” title was added to the Kodak logo. Left-to-right: Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 1998 (“Castle Flowers” ’98 edition); Aug. 2-8, 1998 (“Castle Flowers” ’99 edition); Aug. 9-15, 1999 (“MSEP” edition); Oct. 4-10, 1999 (“Pooh” ’99 edition); Jan. 1-9, 2000 (“Pooh” Millenium edition); Sept. 8-16, 2001 (“Pooh” 9/11 edition).

The dated, weekly-issue maps continue from October 2001 through the end of the year with an image featuring Mickey Mouse in the Share a Dream Come True Parade (honoring Walt Disney’s 100th birthday). Beginning in 2002, the dates were removed and traded out for the “Fantasy Reigns” headline, while publication returned to an irregular schedule. The maps retained the same cover image through the end of 2002, employing a red and yellow banner rotation in favor of the alternating black and white color scheme of the past fifteen months. Early 2003 saw a new image arrive in the form of Mickey, Minnie, and various animated stars, as seen in the new Castle stage show, Cinderella’s Surprise Celebration. The design ran through October, when it was replaced by an animated depiction of Mickey’s Philharmagic (which opened Oct. 8, 2003). The Philharmagic design was used through the end of 2004. (No holiday designs were issued in either 2003 or 2004.) Left-to-right: Nov. 5-11, 2001 (“Dream Come True” cover: final dated/weekly style); February 2002 (initial “Fantasy Reigns” style); July 2003 (“Surprise Celebration” cover); April 2004 (“Philharmagic” cover).

The “Fantasy Reigns” theme and color scheme persisted throughout 2005, though the cover image shifted to a photograph of Cinderella’s castle with a super-imposed animated Stitch in the upper-right corner (in promotion of the recently-opened Stitch’s Great Escape). In May, the image transitioned to a straight-on shot of the castle with Stitch and the attraction logo moving to upper-left and the “Guidemap” font shrinking in size, which is how the cover stayed through the end of 2005. (No holiday design was issued in 2005.) In January to June 2006, the photographic image remained the same, sans Stitch and logo. In July 2006, Jack Sparrow took up residence in a feature role he would hold until the 2007 holiday season. (Again, no holiday design was issued in 2006.) With the new cover shot, came a re-designed Kodak logo and reduced title banner, and in November 2006, the upper title/color block received a complete makeover from blue to pink. Finally, after a four-year hiatus, Christmas 2007 saw a return of the holiday design, this time featuring a shot of the Toy Soldiers from the long-running holiday parade. Left-to-right: January 2005 (“Stitch-Right” cover); September 2005 (“Stitch-Left” cover); January 2006 (“Hidden Stitch” cover); July 2006 (“Jack Sparrow” cover); January 2007 (“Jack Sparrow” cover with revised banner); November 2007 (“Toy Soldiers/Holiday” cover).

The Jack Sparrow covers shot was retained through May 2008, but with the addition of a gold title bar and revised headline (“The Year of a Million Dreams”) starting at the first of the year. An animated Mike Wazowski image replaced the Pirates theme, in celebration of the recently-opened Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. A “Lighted Castle” shot debuted for the 2008 holiday season (and was used again for the 2009 season), before Mike returned for the first part of 2009 (January through May). A Splash Mountain “Log 55” cover took over for the summer months, continuing the updated 2009 headline, “Celebrate Today.” (Over the next couple years, the headlines would alternate, sometimes haphazardly, between “Celebrate Today,” “What Will You Celebrate?” and “Let the Memories Begin,” before the latter firmly took hold at the end of 2010.) The “Splash/Log 55” cover returned in January, followed by a “Partners” shot, and then a “Castle Rosebush” shot to round out the spring months. A “Disney’s Electrical Parade” (DEP) cover ran from Summer 2010 to Summer 2011, with a holiday design in the middle (“Parade Float/Holiday”). A new “Jack Sparrow Portrait” cover took the helm for Summer 2011 in promotion of the DVD release of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The first one-off anniversary map since 1996 debuted October 1, 2011, before Jack filled the short gap before the holiday season, in which the 2010 cover was recycled. Left-to-right: “Jack Sparrow” cover; “Mike Wazowski” cover; “Splash/Log 55” cover; “Lighted Castle/Holiday” cover; “Partners” cover; “Castle Rosebush” cover; “DEP” cover; “Parade Float/Holiday” cover; “Jack Sparrow Portrait” cover; “40th Anniversary” cover.

The pink/gold banner template persisted throughout the five cover designs used in 2012. Left-to-right: “Partners Closeup” cover (January-February); “Flying Dumbo” cover (March-April); “Big Thunder” cover (June-August); “Splash/Headfirst” cover (September-October); and “New Fantasyland Beast” cover (November-December). (No holiday design was issued in 2012.)

Early into 2013, the pink/gold banner template was replaced by a curved purple banner that continues to be used in present-day guidemaps (with minor peripheral variances over the years: banner hue, trim, social media footers, etc.). Also, cover images were recycled more frequently over the next five years, though no holiday designs were issued in either 2015 or 2017. Left-to-right: “New Fantasyland Belle” cover (January-February); “New Fantasyland Ariel” cover (March-April); “New Fantasyland Beast” cover (with revised purple-curve banner: May 2013, September-October 2013, January 2014); “New Fantasyland Gaston” cover (June-August 2013, February 2014); “Glowing Castle/Holiday” cover (November-December 2013, November-December 2014); “Festival of Fantasy” cover (March-April 2014, February-mid-March 2015); “Mine Train/Grumpy” cover (May-September 2014, June-September 2016, January-February 2017); “Mine Train” cover (October 2014, January 2015, March-May 2016); “Chickapin Hill” cover (March-April 2015); “Big Thunder” cover (with revised purple-curve banner: May-August 2015); “MI-SI-DaPI” cover (September-November 2015, October 2-31, 2016); “Wishes” cover (December 2015-February 2016); “45th Anniversary” cover (October 1, 2016); “Santa Boy” cover (November-December 2016); “Once Upon a Time” cover (March-April 2017); “Happily Ever After” cover (May-December 2017).

Throughout 2018-19, the same purple-curve banner template continues to be employed with varying social media/app footers. Left-to-right: “Father-Son” cover (January-April 2018); “Incredibles” cover (May-August 2018); “Pumpkin Head” cover (September-October 2018); “Snow Lights/Holiday” cover (November-December 2018); “Surprise Celebration” cover (January-April 2019); and “Castle Hub” cover (May-August 2019), which marks the 90th unique cover image in Magic Kingdom main-gate map history (excluding the souvenir map and WDW News).

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