Disney World in 3D Through Google Earth

Whilst this feature sadly isn’t for Disneyland Paris and is [currently only] for Disney World Orlando, it’s still a pretty sweet new feature and hopefully a sign of things to come. Google and Disney have teamed up to created a complete 3D map of Disney World for browsers to peruse as they choose. I thought I’d get in and take a look at how well it works.

A screenshot of Disney World in 3D from Google Earth

The last time I used Google Earth was around when it was first released and I found it a bit slow and fiddly, which rendered it mostly useless for me. It’s definitely improved a bit since then, certainly speed-wise, but the controls still don’t feel quite responsive enough and it’s initially confusing to work out which of the controls is turning and which is moving, and how to navigate quickly in 3D.

Despite those problems, I still had a good look at Disney World in 3D. It’s good to get an idea of perspective and just how big the place is. You could also plan a route, find the best place to park, see where exactly your hotel is. There’s definitely no shortage of uses for this update. You don’t have to roam around aimlessly, either. You get given options of places to visit via a pop-up and upon clicking, you’ll whiz to that location.

I think it also is quite fun for kids. I remember spending hours just eyeing a paper map of Alton Towers when I was really little. Being able to explore a full virtual 3D map of Disney pretty much blows that out of the water. It’s also probably handy for reference and research. If you need to know where a particular place is or more info about a certain property in Disney World, this could be a great way of finding out.

Still, despite its uses, the software hampers the experience. It’s difficult to really pinpoint an angle and get the camera in just the place you want. Google Earth might benefit not just from control improvements, but to have a pedestrian feature where you can actually walk around. You can’t really get a proper idea of the size of buildings by just floating aimlessly above them. I definitely like the idea of a full 3D map of Disney, but it’s still a long way off being really effective.

If you want to try it for yourself, you’ll need the latest Google Earth. Download and install, then run it. Search for “Disney World” on the left hand side and wait whilst it rotates the Earth and zooms in. After it’s finished loading, you should see golden Mickey’s ears in the centre of the map – click them to get started.