Earlier this week we celebrated the most fatigued princess of them all, Aurora!
She made her debut in Sleeping Beauty on January 29th, 1959, so it’s safe to say she’s getting most of the love for this anniversary. But we’d like to give her reputable place of rest some of the spotlight for just a moment. Yep, we’re talking about Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
A historic symbol of The Walt Disney franchise, it’s the castle that hundreds of people take photos in front of each day. While the actual film was released in 1959, did you know that Aurora’s castle actually made its debut nearly four years before the film was released? It’s also the only castle whose construction was overseen by Walt himself.
Here are 6 facts celebrating Sleeping Beauty’s Castle:
- Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in California is Disney’s oldest castle.
Opening July 17, 1955, the same day that Disneyland opened, Walt Disney wanted something at the new park to help capture the essence of both magic and imagination-- and there’s no doubt that this castle embodies those qualities.
- Its was originally inspired by the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.
In English, the name translates to “New Swanstone Castle” and was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, also known as the “Fairytale King.” It’s no wonder that Walt Disney’s re-creation of the castle is now, years later, perhaps one of the biggest fairytale symbols of all time.
- Don’t let it fool you, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is only 77 feet tall at its peak.
Designed by Herbert Ryman, he purposefully used a design trick called “forced perspective” in order to make the castle appear much taller than it actually is. The process includes making design elements on the bottom of the structure smaller, which tricks our brains into thinking that the building is much taller than it actually is.
- The drawbridge of the castle has only been lowered twice.
The first time it was lowered was at the opening of the park in 1955, followed by the second time in 1983 at the grand opening of Fantasyland. It’s been 36 years since the drawbridge has been lowered, which begs the question, when (if at all) will it happen next?
- Visitors were able to walk through the Sleeping Beauty’s Castle to view models/three-dimensional figures depicting the story behind Sleeping Beauty.
Opening in 1957, about two years after the opening of the park, the voice of Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio could be heard singing "When You Wish Upon a Star" throughout this display in the castle. For unknown reasons, this original exhibit closed in 2001, but…
- ...the walkthrough reopened again in 2008!
This event brought crowds so large to experience the walkthrough that the lines reached all the way to the Main Street Hub. But it wouldn’t be a Disney attraction if it wasn’t bigger and better the second time around-- visitors are also able to virtually experience the walkthrough in a special room located on the Castle's ground floor. It offers both comfort and the experience for those who may not be able to climb stairs or journey the nooks and crannies of the castle.
While there are many pieces to the puzzle that make each Disney theme park special, it’s clear that Sleeping Beauty’s Castle helped create the foundation for all of the magic.