Sleeping Beauty Castle
|Sleeping Beauty Castle|
Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park in 2009.
|Opening date||July 17, 1955|
|Hong Kong Disneyland|
|Opening date||September 12, 2005|
Opened July 17, 1955, the castle is the oldest of all Disney castles. Its primary inspiration was the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. Though it reaches a height of 77 feet (23 m), it was designed by Roland E. Hill 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 voice of Jiminy Cricket from Walt Disney's Pinocchio (1940) singing "When You Wish Upon a Star" is piped into the castle. 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 on October 7, 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 p.m., drawing long lines going as far back as the Hub at the center of the park. 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. It is composed of three lions passant in pale. It is known that the coat of arms was not originally on the castle, but was placed there sometime between June 1965  and July 1965.
At the rear of the castle, shaded by the archways and driven into the ground is a gold spike that is widely, but wrongly, believed to mark the geographical center of Disneyland as of the addition of Mickey's Toontown in 1993. In reality, the spike is a surveyor's mark that was used to ensure that the castle bridge and entrance lined up with Main Street USA when the park was first constructed. The original geographical center of the Magic Kingdom was in the middle of the round park, where the "Partners" statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse stands. The addition of Toontown moved the actual center of the park a few yards northward, but still on the hub side of the castle drawbridge.
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.
For Disneyland's 60th Anniversary, World of Color changed to the World of Color: Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney. Disneyland Park introduced Paint The Night and a new fireworks show, "Disneyland Forever". A 24-hour kickoff event occurred May 22, 2015.
As part of the celebration, the castle was covered with diamonds and glitter, with a large 60th logo in the center. Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney California Adventure was also decorated for the Diamond Celebration.
Hong Kong Disneyland
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Hong Kong's Sleeping Beauty Castle is a nearly identical copy of the original in California. However, the two castles can be differentiated through very subtle details. If one were to look closely enough, Hong Kong Disneyland castle is built with much more precision compared to Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle. This can be observed through straighter and sharper edges on towers and walls as well as more ornate turret toppings. Hong Kong Disneyland also uses a different color scheme compared to that of Disneyland, with natural white and pink for the accents and cornice, giving the castle a more medieval look while the original uses slightly more saturated colors for its cornice and decorations, giving it a more fairytale look. Disneyland frames its castle with lush trees and gardening to compliment its fairytale aesthetic. Hong Kong Disneyland has less trees surrounding its castle, allowing a more open view to accompany the nightly fireworks show. While Disneyland did not begin its nightly fireworks tradition until one year after the park opened, Hong Kong Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle was built with the firework performances in mind. This resulted in the fortress-themed buildings to the sides of the castle, which house the Fantasyland dark rides, being much more extended to both sides compared to Anaheim's, allowing a much more panoramic view to the pyrotechnic display.
During the 5th Anniversary
In celebration of Hong Kong Disneyland's fifth anniversary, Celebration in the Air, the castle was transformed into Tinker Bell’s Pixie Dusted Castle. The castle was decorated with golden pixie dust, which sparkled and shimmered in the sun and was illuminated by night.
During the 10th Anniversary
Although no significant decorations is added to Hong Kong Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle for the park's 10th anniversary, the nightly "Disney In The Stars" fireworks show is added with elaborate projection mapping with visuals to compliment the display. This, however, resulted in the elimination of a few pyrotechnic elements launched from the front of the castle during the show.
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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland.|
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- Barnes, Brooks (November 22, 2016). "Hong Kong Disneyland, Seeking Return to Profit, Plans $1.4 Billion Upgrade". The New York Times. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
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