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Sleeping Beauty Castle
Sleeping Beauty Castle Disneyland.jpg
Disneyland Park
Land Fantasyland
Theme Sleeping Beauty
Opening date July 17, 1955

Sleeping Beauty Castle is the fairy tale structure castle at the center of Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. It is based on the Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, Germany with some French inspirations (Notre Dame de Paris and the Hospices de Beaune especially).


Opened July 17, 1955, the castle is the oldest of all Disney castles. Though it reaches a height of only 77 feet, 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. Sometimes swans will swim in the moat, so the WDI workers lined the moat with junipers. Swans won't eat junipers. 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.

It is a common myth that the Disney family coat of arms hangs above the archway to the castle. The Disney family coat of arms is composed of three fleur de lis whereas the coat of arms on the castle is three lions passant in pale. The origins and meaning of the coat of arms on Sleeping Beauty Castle is unknown at this time. It is known that the coat of arms was not originally on the castle but was placed there sometime between June 1965.

During the 50th Anniversary

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.

During the 60th anniversary

This year, World of Color changes to the Wonderful World of Walt Disney. A new nighttime show In California Adventure. Disneyland also has there new lightnight show Paint the night and there newest fireworks show called Disneyland Forever. There will be a 24-hour Kickoff Celebration event on May 22. Plexiglass "Diamonds" were placed on several of the towers.


  • The drawbridge was initially functional, but has not been used since the rededication of Fantasyland in 1983.
  • The coat of arms over the entrance is that of the Disney family.
  • Any money thrown into the moat is donated to charity.
  • The story that one spire of Sleeping Beauty Castle remains purposely unplated to visually represent Walt's theory that "Disneyland will never be completed as long as there is imagination left in the world" makes good copy, but it's not true. Rather, when the castle was refurbished in the 1990s, that spire was finished with a patina process that was expected to yield better results than the golf leafing previously used. It didn't and ultimately, the ensuing dullness simply made the spire look like it had been forgotten.


See also

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