Sleeping Beauty Castle Fantasyland Disneyland
Sleeping Beauty Castle, the entrance to Disneyland’s Fantasyland, lies at the end of Main Street. This symbol of Disneyland, with its towers and turrets and flying pennants, is a true fairytale castle. Take a walk through the castle and relive the story of Sleeping Beauty, presented in a series of vibrant animated scenes.
Sleeping Beauty Castle opened on Disneyland’s Opening Day, July 17, 1955. The neo-romantic castle, which has become a beloved symbol of Disneyland, was inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany and designed by Imagineer Herb Ryman. The castle has many interesting architectural details, including water spouts shaped like squirrels and the Disney family coat of arms above the entrance.
The working drawbridge has only been publicly lowered twice: once when the park opened in 1955, and again when Fantasyland was rededicated in 1983. It’s quite common to see swans and ducks swimming serenely in the moat.
The Castle Walkthrough attraction tells the story of Sleeping Beauty in a series of brightly illustrated storybook pages and animated 3-D window scenes inside the castle. Guests enter a doorway on the back side of the castle, and proceed up the stairs and through the passageways. Along the way there are windows that look into rooms where scenes from the the movie are portrayed. Most scenes contain some additional special effects.
The 77-foot castle was extensively decorated for Disneyland’s 50th and 60th anniversary celebrations. Banners and tapestries draped the towers and walls, pennants flew from the towers, and elegant crowns or diamond accents adorned the turrets.
With the addition of high-tech lighting and projection systems, the castle has become an animated backdrop for Disneyland’s firework spectaculars. Choreographed lighting effects illuminate the castle and images of stars, spaceships or even hitchhiking ghosts are projected on its walls.
During the holidays, patches of snow adorn the castle’s turrets as it becomes Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle. At night thousands of LED lights transform it into an ice palace covered with glistening snow and icicles. During several nightly light shows the ice shimmers and shines with additional lighting and color effects.
The walkthough involves climbing up and down stairs in a rather enclosed space. There is a virtual experience available in a special room on the ground floor for those who are not able to participate in the walkthrough.
Take time to look at all of the scenes – some of the special effects may not be visible right away.
This attraction does not usually have a line, but there are often people lingering in front of the windows to see them, so it might take extra time to see/experience everything.
When passing through the castle’s main entrance, take a look at the beautiful murals along the walls, which depict scenes from the Sleeping Beauty movie. Along the back wall of the castle is a drinking fountain surrounded by sculptures of Aurora, Philip, and the three fairies.
There are three different ways through Sleeping Beauty Castle: over the drawbridge and through the main entrance; the narrow archway by the Heraldry Shop that leads toward Tomorrowland; and a small path next to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique that ends at Fantasy Faire.
Don’t miss Snow White’s Grotto and Wishing Well, located along the right side of the castle.
Some kids might find the darkened corridors and the images of Maleficent and the dragon to be frightening.
The special effects in the Corridor of Goons are mostly at kid’s eye level, but they might be a little startling for some children.
Disney characters are usually found in the mornings in front of the castle and along the path that leads back to Snow White’s Grotto.
Several of the Disney princesses are available for meet and greet during regular park hours at Fantasy Faire.
Check the daily Times Guide for times and locations of other character greeting opportunities.
Village Haus in Fantasyland serves burgers and pizza.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – Princess makeovers for little girls, offering Princess clothing, toys, and accessories.
Heraldry Shoppe – Get your family’s coat-of-arms on personalized plaques and clothing.
The original Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough opened on April 29, 1957, and closed in 2001. It featured a series of animated dioramas which told the Sleeping Beauty story. The attraction was co-designed by Eyvind Earle, the animation art director for the movie Sleeping Beauty.
The “reawakened” Sleeping Beauty Castle opened on November 26, 2008. The new attraction was also inspired by the Eyvind Earle style, but instead of animated dioramas, the updated attraction combines live animation with the static backdrop of each room, employing a number of special effects to animate the scene. Characters appear and disappear, the Good Fairies cast their magic spells, and a flaming dragon menaces from on high.
The Corridor of Goons features Maleficent’s henchmen, and various effects take place when guests place their hands in the windows.
For Disneyland’s 40th anniversary in 1995 a 40th Anniversary Time “Castle” was buried in the castle’s courtyard, to be opened in 2035.
Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle is the only Disney castle with a functioning drawbridge.
Hong Kong Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle has the same design as Disneyland’s.
50th Anniversary Hidden Mickey and Crowns
40th Anniversary Time Capsule Plaque
Squirrel Water Spouts
Disney Family Coat of Arms
“Love’s First Kiss” Mural
Castle Water Fountain
Castle Walkthrough Storybook Page
Castle Walkthrough Scene
Castle Walkthrough Maleficent Scene
Snow White’s Wishing Well
Snow White’s Grotto
Christmas Castle – Daylight View
Christmas Castle – Nighttime, Blue Lighting Effect
Christmas Castle – Nighttime, White Lighting Effect
Christmas Castle and Partners Statue
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