The Disneyland Castle in California [whose is it and other interesting facts]

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Do you love the beauty of the Disney castles? Do you know whose castle is in Disneyland California? It may not be who you think. In this article we’ll talk about which princess has the Disneyland castle, AND some really curious facts about the castle.

Plus, we’ll briefly look at the other Disney castles around the world. (Can you name all the castles? Quiz yourself and scroll to the end to see if you were right.)

Whose castle is in Disneyland California?
Disneyland Castle

Whose Castle is in Disneyland California? (it may not be who you think)

When Disneyland opened on July 17,1955 Walt Disney lowered the working drawbridge on this original Disney castle to welcome children through Sleeping Beauty’s castle into Fantasyland.

Disneyland Castle (Photo credit: LearnAlongWithMe. Taken September 2019)

I initially thought it was Cinderella’s castle. But this is a common mistake. The Disney World castle in Orlando Florida is actually Cinderella’s castle.

The Castle’s Strange Timeline

The timeline of Disneyland’s castle is a little strange because Disneyland opened in 1955, and the movie “Sleeping Beauty” didn’t come out until February 1959. A full 3.5 years later.

But Walt still called this iconic castle the Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Talk about building anticipation for your upcoming movie!

Walt had huge commercial success with his first full-length animated film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” released in 1937. (It was also the first full-length animated film in the world.)

So you may have thought he named it after her. But no.

And “Cinderella” which came out in 1950 was also very popular and profitable. But it wasn’t named after her either.

Instead the folks at Disney used their marketing magic to promote a movie that was still in production.

Walt Disney was already stoking interest in his upcoming Sleeping Beauty movie years before the movie’s release.

Millions of children would see this amazing fairy tale castle that was the centerpiece of Disneyland and wonder “whose castle is that?”, and “Who is Princess Aurora?” Marketing genius.

Interesting Facts about the Disneyland Castle – Sleeping Beauty’s Castle

Inspiration for the Disney Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle - was inspiration for Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle

The Neuschwanstein castle in Germany was an inspiration for this enchanted castle. Look at the similarities in the turrets atop the towers.

Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough

When Disneyland first opened in 1955 the Sleeping Beauty castle didn’t have an attraction inside it.

It wasn’t until two years later in 1957 that the interior of the castle was made into the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough. You can see the story of Sleeping Beauty unfold through amazing artwork in the style of Eyvind Earle (the artistic genius behind the look of Sleeping Beauty).

For more information on the walkthrough, click here.

The only one that Walt saw…

Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland California was the only castle that Walt Disney lived to see.

Walt died in December 1966 and Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida wasn’t built yet. Disney World didn’t open until 1971.

So the man with the grand vision of what he could build in the “swamps” of Florida never lived to see it built.

Looks can be Deceiving

The castle isn’t as big as it looks. The real Neuschwanstein castle is 213 feet tall. (Reference)

While the Sleeping Beauty castle is only 77 feet tall. (Reference)

The creative designers and builders at Walt Disney Imagineering used “forced perspective” techniques to give the illusion the castle is larger than it is.

For instance, the bricks at the bottom of the castle are larger than the bricks higher up. The progressively smaller bricks give the illusion that the castle stretches high into the sky.

They used similar tactics on the Main Street USA buildings.

But the first time you see the castle you’ll still be awed by its charm. It’s like it’s been fairy dusted by Aurora’s fairy godmothers.

Myth about the Golden Spike

There is a golden spike in the ground floor of the castle that many believe is the geographical center of Disneyland park, but this isn’t true. This is a common myth about Disneyland.

This golden (or brass) spike isn’t near the front of the castle, it is closer to the rear of the castle, and it is not the centerpoint of the park. This spike is a surveyor’s spike to help ensure clear sightlines from the Main Street USA right to the eye-catching castle.

Castles at the Other Disney Theme Parks

Disneyland resort was the first Disney theme park, but now there are 6 Disney resorts around the world. And they all have beautiful castles. (There are 12 Disney parks total – not including water parks – because some resorts have multiple parks within the resort.)

All of the international castles are a popular tourist attraction and a top spot for Disney fans to get their pictures in front of.

Whose castle is in Disney World?

The Walt Disney World Resort in Florida has the Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom park.

Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Orlando Florida. (Image by thetravelnook from Pixabay)

Since 1985 it is this Cinderella castle that you see at the beginning of most Disney movies when the Disney logo appears onscreen. (Reference)

Inside this magnificent castle you’ll find a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Cinderella’s Royal Table and the Cinderella Castle Suite.

Walt Disney World’s Cinderella castle is much bigger than Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty castle.

Cinderella’s castle is 189 feet tall, while Sleeping Beauty’s castle is only 77 feet tall.

Whose castle is in Tokyo Disneyland?

Tokyo Disneyland has another Cinderella Castle. This one has Cinderella’s Fairy Tale Hall inside it.

Whose castle is in Tokyo Disneyland - Disneyland Tokyo Castle is a Cinderella Castle
The Cinderella Castle in Tokyo Disneyland (Image by Chu Đỗ Tâm from Pixabay)

Whose castle is in Disneyland Paris?

The Disneyland Paris castle is another Sleeping Beauty castle, or Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant in French.

Whose castle is in disneyland Paris - it is another Sleeping Beauty castle or Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant in french.
Disneyland Paris Castle – a more fairy tale-ish version of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle (Image by Uwe Kern from Pixabay )

In Life magazine’s “Inside the Disney Parks: The Happiest Places on Earth” they mention how they had a bit of problem when it came to creating a castle for Disneyland Paris.

France and Europe have such amazing, “real” castles, how would they compete?

So what they did was to make the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Paris look like it jumped off the pages a children’s book and less like a real castle.

Check out the squared trees next to the castle.

Whose Castle is in Hong Kong Disneyland?

The Castle of Magical Dreams is the centerpiece of Hong Kong Disneyland.

Upon the park’s opening in 2005 it was basically a replica of the Sleeping Beauty Castle.

But it recently had a major overhaul of both the theme and the physical building.

It was transformed into the Castle of Magical Dreams and it officially opened in November 2020.

What’s cool is that it isn’t dedicated to just one princess, but instead it is dedicated to 13 Disney princesses and queens.

The Disney company caught some flack with Disneyland Paris for not being culturally sensitive to France, so they changed their ways when it came to their subsequent international parks. For instance, with Hong Kong Disneyland they worked with a feng shui master during the planning process to ensure a proper flow of qi in the park.

Below is an Instagram photo shared by the official Hong Kong Disneyland Instagram account. Looks amazing.

Whose castle is in Shanghai Disneyland?

The Shanghai Disney Resort is the most recent addition to the Disney parks. The Shanghai Disneyland park has the Enchanted Storybook Castle as its centrepiece.

This is the largest Disney castle, and it also features a ride inside the castle called the “Voyage to the Crystal Grotto.”

The Enchanted Storybook Castle makes Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty castle look like a quaint cottage in comparison.

Does Disney California Adventure Park have a castle?

No, California Adventure doesn’t have its own princess castle. But it does have an awesome Mickey Mouse Ferris Wheel called the Pixar Pal-A-Round. This ride had both fixed gondolas (for a gentler ride) and also swinging gondolas for a bit more excitement.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on the Disney castles.

If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland California, you may also like the following articles.

Disneyland Single Rider Rides and Lines (tips for going to Disneyland alone)

Disneyland Hidden Secrets Checklist

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