Beloved Castle To Receive Elegant Overlay For Golden Anniversary


ANAHEIM , Calif. , May 5, 2004 Since its drawbridge first welcomed guests in 1955 Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland has become an international symbol of Disney magic –an adored Fantasyland landmark of hopes and dreams, becoming one of the most photographed icons of the 20th century.  On May 5, 2005, as Disneyland kicks-off its 50th anniversary “The Happiest Homecoming on Earth” celebration, the park will officially unveil a whole new look for Sleeping Beauty Castle; a transformation into a breathtaking centerpiece for this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Gowned in swaths of richly colored royal banners, bejeweled with precious stones, trimmed in gold and topped by five regal turret “crowns,” representing each Disneyland decade, Sleeping Beauty Castle will glow with magic as never before.  By day, this majestic showpiece will be the stage for numerous fanciful celebratory moments. 

“Sleeping Beauty Castle is the crown jewel of Disneyland and it’s our desire to highlight it with a new, regal décor treatment befitting such a milestone anniversary,” said Kim Irvine-Allison, Art Director, Walt Disney Imagineering, who is overseeing the Castle’s makeover.  “We’re not altering the castle, it will still be very recognizable, but we are enhancing its look by adding a festive and elegant overlay that will dress the Castle in even finer glory.”

As night falls the Castle will be transformed into an animated, kaleidoscopic canvas of ever-changing whimsical colors and charming imagery, creating an all-new evening spectacle never before seen in a Disney Theme Park .  The Castle will experience different looks and depictions throughout the evening, beginning at dusk and extending through the new “Remember . . . Dreams Come True” fireworks spectacular and then continuing until the close of the park. 

“By using state-of-the-art, high powered and precise projection systems we can turn the Castle to shimmering gold, make it appear to be wrapped with a big bow or we

can have animation of 101 Dalmatian puppies running across the face of the Castle,

leaving behind their black spots on every tower and turret,” said Scott Givens, vice president of entertainment, Disneyland Resort.  “It is simply going to be an amazing visual, an experience wholly unique to Disneyland .”

For 50 years Sleeping Beauty Castle has stood as the symbol of Disneyland and, in a larger context, a symbol of “Disney” overall.  Beginning with the “ Disneyland ” TV series in 1954, Sleeping Beauty Castle has been the gateway title graphic to various incarnations of the Disney anthology TV series including the present “Wonderful World of Disney.”  The imagery of Sleeping Beauty Castle is so symbolic of Disney that it is also part of the logos for Walt Disney Home Video, Walt Disney Pictures and the Walt Disney Parks & Resorts division of The Walt Disney Company.

The pinks and blues of the regal, Germanic-style castle (designed by Disney Imagineer Herb Ryman and inspired, in part, by Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria ) are a nod to the princess for whom the castle is named.  Sharp eyes will notice such details as Walt Disney’s family crest above the entrance, 22-karat gold-leafing adorning the spires, “squirrel” water spouts inspired by Princess Aurora’s woodland friends and hand-rendered fresco paintings depicting scenes from the Disney animated masterpiece Sleeping Beauty (considered by many to be the most beautifully rendered of all Disney animated films).

Sleeping Beauty Castle is more akin to a real castle than any of its Disney counterparts around the world due to its real functioning drawbridge (only utilized twice – on the opening day of Disneyland and the rededication of Fantasyland in 1983).

Another notable difference between the castles is in regards to height and size.

Sleeping Beauty Castle is significantly smaller (77 feet from moat to tallest tower) than its sister castles because during its construction Walt Disney had recalled stories concerning the building of European castles.  Often, the huge castles were built to intimidate the peasants.  Walt believed a smaller castle would appear friendlier and more appealing.  So as the other Disney castles may be spectacular in their height and scale, the stature of Sleeping Beauty Castle is charming and elegant.