March 29, 2010

Wonderful World of Weenies: The Original Castle

This week we will be doing a Wonderful World of Weenie series, we just won’t have a Weenie Wednesday. This week’s series will be focusing on Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, and today we will start off with the Original Disneyland Castle.913075734_08ffdb47cb


While designing his Disneyland park in the 1950s, he wanted an icon for the park, something that related to everything. In 1953, Herbert Ryman created the first visualization of Sleeping Beauty Castle, which would grace the entrance to Fantasyland in Disneyland.

The design of the castle was inspired by the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, with some French inspirations, but Walt felt that this interpretation was a little too realistic. So, at a design review of the model based on Ryman’s sketch, the top half of the castle was turned around backwards and the landmark was born.

Neuschwanst_TitelRGB276  Neuschwanstein

Many people wonder why Walt Disney built the castle relatively small, as it only rises 77 feet above the moat, but Walt had a very good reason. He recalled that the tyrants of Europe built huge, imposing castles in order to intimidate the peasants. Walt Wanted his castle to be friendly, so it was build on a smaller scale.

Though Walt Disney’s film Sleeping Beauty, the Castle’s namesake, didn’t debut in theaters for four years after the opening of the park, Walt Disney used it as an “advertising” tool, and when he had a hard time thinking of the name of the castle, he thought of the recent movie that his animators and him were working on, and to be released in a couple years. While being filmed, Walt Disney accidentally referred to the castle as Snow White's Castle. This blooper sparked false speculation among fans that the castle was originally going to be called "Snow White's Castle", but later changed to “Sleeping Beauty Castle”.




Opened July 17, 1955, the castle is the oldest of all Disney castles.  The Disney family crest is located above the archway of it. 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.scene_sbeauty_concept


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 Sleeping Beauty, and were then redone in 1977. The 1977 walkthrough was sometimes referred to as the “Barbi and Ken” version, as it consisted of oversized dolls in static positions reenacting some of the scenes. The walkthrough was closed for unspecified reasons in October 2001.

4_29_57_ST_Walt  K2TPBKYC_7_62_N12R_detail sbwalkthru_entrance sbwalkthru_kiss

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, 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.


Sleeping Beauty Castle Diorama  Sleeping Beauty Castle Diorama

The castle’s drawbridge has only been drawn up and down twice: when the park opened in 1955, and when Fantasyland was rededicated in 1983. The gears that control the drawbridge were removed during a refurbishment in 1996 and have not been replaced.


Unlike some of Disney’s other castles, this castle has only really been decorated once, for its 50th Anniversary in 2005. 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.



Though a lot of pins for various attractions and parks don’t really show a big difference throughout history of the item, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle pins do.

Many of the first pins featuring Sleeping Beauty Castle, the icon of the original Disneyland, featured it simply with the Disneyland Logo, and either white or pink with blue roofs.


pin189 pin2852 pin6600 pin10380 pin12295

For the 50th Anniversary in 2005, many Castle pins were released, the first two here feature the castle in its “retro” state.pin37595 pin44955

Then these feature the castle in that “Current” state, in which it was decorated for the anniversary with the gold crowns and embellishes.pin45673 pin47727

pin39102 pin39104 pin39581 pin40074 pin40185

After the 50th Anniversary, the castle went back to its normal state, and so did the pins, featuring the Partners Statue and Sorcerer Mickey.

pin46234  pin54700

Beginning in 2008, the Castle got a Winter Overlay, and this 2008/2009 in features the overlay with snow covering the roofs of the portions of the castle.pin57916

This Piece of Disneyland History Pin was released in 2009, and features a piece of one of the flags that fly over the castle, one unique feature of this pin is that it features the castle in its originally intended main view, what is now the back was intended to be the front, with Princess Aurora standing infront of it.


This final pin, features Tinkerbell flying over Sleeping Beauty Castle during the fireworks, which she does when the Fireworks are performed.pin75943

There are many, many, many more Sleeping Beauty Castle Pins, but they are repeats (a lot of them) as they are the “icon” pins with the castle and various characters in the background. If you’d like to see more Sleeping Beauty Castle Pins, check out PinPics.

Please vote in this weeks GDP Blog Poll at the top left hand corner of the site: What is your favorite Sleeping Beauty Castle?

This post is apart of the DisMarks Blog Carnival, where you can find a variety of Disney articles.


Pictures and Information from PinPics, Daveland Web, and Yesterland

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading about Sleeping Beauty Castle. I went to DL once and enjoyed viewing the walkthrough. Sleeping Beauty Castle has its own special charm, for sure!