Sleeping Beauty Castle

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This article is about a structure at Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland. For the structure at Disneyland Park (Paris), see Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant. For the structures at the Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland, see Cinderella Castle.
Sleeping Beauty Castle
Sleeping Beauty Castle DLR.jpg
Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park.
Area Fantasyland
Coordinates 33°48′46″N 117°55′08″W / 33.81276°N 117.91894°W / 33.81276; -117.91894
Status Operating
Opening date July 17, 1955
Hong Kong Disneyland
Area Fantasyland
Coordinates 22°18′45″N 114°02′28″E / 22.31262°N 114.04113°E / 22.31262; 114.04113
Status Operating
Opening date September 12, 2005
General statistics
Attraction type Castle
Theme Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty Castle is the fairy tale structure castle at the center of Disneyland Park and Hong Kong Disneyland. It is based on the late-19th century Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany,[1] with some French inspirations (especially Notre Dame de Paris and the Hospices de Beaune).

Disneyland version[edit]

Sleeping Beauty Castle decorated for Christmas
Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle at night, February 2005.

Opened July 17, 1955, the castle is the oldest of all Disney castles. Its primary inspiration was the Château d'Ussé in France. Though it reaches a height of only 77 feet (23 m), it was designed to appear taller through a process known as forced perspective; design elements are larger at the foundation and smaller at the turrets. The castle initially featured an empty upper level that was never intended to house an attraction, but Walt Disney was not satisfied with what he viewed as wasted space, and challenged his Imagineers to find some use for the space.

Beginning April 29, 1957, visitors were able to walk through the castle and view several dioramas depicting the story of Sleeping Beauty. The original dioramas were designed in the style of Eyvind Earle, production designer for Disney's 1959 film Sleeping Beauty, and were then redone in 1977 to resemble the window displays on Main Street, U.S.A.. The walkthrough was closed for unspecified reasons in October 2001; popular belief claims the September 11th attacks and the potential danger that ensued played a major factor in the closing.

On July 17, 2008, Disney announced that the Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough would reopen in the style of the original Earle dioramas, enhanced with new technology not available in 1957. The walkthrough reopened on November 27, 2008 at 5:00 PM, drawing long lines going as far back as the Hub. Unlike previous incarnations, visitors who are unable to climb stairs or navigate the passageways of the Castle can still experience the walkthrough "virtually" in a special room on the Castle's ground floor. This room is lavishly themed, and presents the closed-captioned CGI walkthrough recreation on a high-definition TV. This same virtual recreation is included on the Sleeping Beauty 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition DVD.

The Disney family coat of arms hangs above the archway to the castle. [2] It is composed of three lions passant in pale.[3] It is known that the coat of arms was not originally on the castle but was placed there sometime between June 1965 [4] and July 1965.[5]

At the rear of the castle, shaded by the archways and driven into the ground is a gold spike marking the geographical center of Disneyland as of the addition of Mickey's Toontown in 1993. Previous Disneyland centers were the directional star on the ground in front of the castle which was added with the expansion of Fantasyland and ensuing addition of "it's a small world" in 1966. But the original geographical center of the park was at the hub which now hosts the "Partners" statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse.

Fiftieth anniversary[edit]

In celebration of Disneyland's 50th anniversary, the castle was repainted and five turrets were decorated with stylized crowns, each representing a decade in the park's history:

  • The creation of Disneyland is represented by a pair of famous "Ears" peeking up over the horizon to see the wonders to come.
  • "A World on the Move", otherwise known as the "New Tomorrowland" of 1967, is represented by rocket ships and accented by opalescent planets.
  • The Blue Fairy represents the debut of the Main Street Electrical Parade.
  • The Indiana Jones Adventure is represented by the evil Eye of Mara, guarded by snakes.
  • The 50th Anniversary of Disneyland is represented by fireworks and Tinker Bell.

Logo usage[edit]

As Sleeping Beauty Castle is a Disney icon, it and Magic Kingdom's Cinderella Castle have become the basis for the logo of Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Television, Disney Music Group and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It was also heavily featured in advertisements for the Wonderful World of Disney, formerly shown on the Disney Channel.


  1. ^ "See the Inspiration for Sleeping Beauty Castle". 2013-08-25. Retrieved 2013-08-25. 
  2. ^ "Disney Coat of Arms / Disney Family Crest". 2011-12-24. Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  3. ^ Erik, Irrawaddy. "The Disney Crest | Flickr - Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  4. ^ "Daveland Disneyland Photo". Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  5. ^ "Daveland Disneyland Photo". Retrieved 2011-12-29.