If you’re visiting Disneyland Park in California, be sure to stop by the Sleeping Beauty Castle and take a walk-through! This beautiful structure is one of the most beloved attractions in the park, and for good reason. Let’s explore everything there is to know about the Disneyland castle!
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All About Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in California
Sleeping Beauty Castle Overview
Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle stands in the center of the park and has been delighting visitors since the park opened on July 17, 1955. This iconic structure – the Disney Parks castle that started it all – was inspired by various European castles, including Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany and French chateaus.
When Walt Disney started overseeing the construction of Disneyland in the 1950s, he instructed the engineers and contractors to “build the castle first.” Walt wanted the castle to be the centerpiece of Disneyland, and all the other lands would branch off from it.
The first thing you may notice on the 77-foot-tall castle is the elaborate turrets along the castle walls and the shiny gold spires that glimmer in the California sun. The color scheme of Sleeping Beauty Castle has changed over the decades, but recently it is painted in beautiful shades of pastel blue and pink, with shimmering blue roof tiles.
Disneyland’s castle is surrounded by a moat and enhanced by landscaping with flowers, trees, and shrubs. Fountains were added to the moat during the Disney100 celebration in 2023.
Once visitors see Sleeping Beauty Castle close up, it’s easy to understand why its beauty captivates those who visit the park. Some may say the Disneyland castle is too small when compared with Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World. But I think the Disneyland castle is just right!
Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle: A Walkthrough
Did you know you can step inside Sleeping Beauty Castle? It’s true! While the castle was originally meant to simply be a façade, Walt realized there was space inside that he didn’t want to go to waste!
Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough is an exhibit which takes you on a journey through the story of Disney Animation’s Sleeping Beauty, complete with intricate dioramas, audio dialogue, and special effects. As you make your way through the exhibit, enjoy the excitement of knowing you’re walking through the castle that started it all!
Note that Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough requires climbing steps in narrow passageways. For guests who have mobility issues, there is a virtual walkthrough on the ground floor. Just ask a nearby Cast Member for directions.
Tips for Photographing Sleeping Beauty Castle
If you’re a photography enthusiast, you’ll definitely want to capture the magic of the Disneyland Castle on camera. Here are some tips to help you get the perfect shot:
- Get up early: The best time to photograph the castle is right at opening, before the park gets too crowded. You’ll have fewer people in your shots and the lighting shouldn’t be too harsh.
- Experiment with angles: Try shooting the castle from different areas and angles to capture its grandeur. Don’t forget to walk through into Fantasyland to photograph the castle from the other side, as well.
- Look for reflections: The moat is a great place to capture reflections of the castle and its surroundings. You can also experiment with the surrounding landscape and floral displays, which change depending on the season.
- Wait for the perfect moment: If you’re patient, you can capture some truly magical moments at the castle. Wait for the Disneyland Band to stop by, or watch for characters doing impromptu visits in front of the castle. On select nights you may be able to photograph fireworks going off behind Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Sleeping Beauty Castle During the Holidays
The winter holiday season is such a magical time to visit Disneyland Resort, and the castle plays a big part of that!
During the holiday season, which typically starts the second weekend of November and lasts through the first week of January, the castle transforms into Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle, boasting over 500,000 twinkling lights. You may also spot snow on the rooftops and the occasional “snow fall” during the evening.
Fun Facts about Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland
- The castle is 77 feet tall but uses “forced perspective” to make it appear taller. It is the smallest of all the Disney Parks castles.
- Sleeping Beauty Castle was originally supposed to be just a generic castle, but Walt Disney decided to tie it into Disney Animation’s upcoming film, Sleeping Beauty.
- The castle has a functioning drawbridge that has been lowered twice. Once on Disneyland’s opening day, and again in 1983 during the re-dedication of Fantasyland after a major refurbishment.
- The Disney Family crest is placed above the castle entrance. The castle used to house a shop where guests could look up their own family crest and purchase merchandise bearing it. The Castle Heraldry Shoppe closed in 2017.
- More couples get engaged in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle than anywhere else in Disneyland!
- Sleeping Beauty Castle was inspired in part by Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle, which is also featured in Soarin’ Around the World, an attraction at Disney California Adventure and EPCOT.