Sleeping Beauty's Castle

July 1955

Disney's theme parks -- at least those based on the basic Disneyland format -- are famed for their castles. Each of them has its own version. A quick comparison will make the differences clear.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle Park: Disneyland
Name: Sleeping Beauty's Castle
What's Inside: Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough attraction. Opened in 1957, this shows a series of miniature scenes recreating the story of Sleeping Beauty. Closed in 2003 for permanent remodeling after complaints about Aurora's nude scene.
Cinderella's Castle Park: Magic Kingdom (Florida)
Name: Cinderella's Castle
What's Inside: Cinderella's Royal Table, a fine restaurant named after a piece of furniture.
Some French place Park: Disneyland Paris
Name: Réveillez la Dame de Château (Sleeping Beauty's Castle)
What's Inside: Ne Me Mangez Pas Dragon (The Den of the Dragon) -- a cavern with an animatronic dragon in it. It hardly ever malfunctions and eats someone.
Cinderella's Castle Park: Tokyo Disneyland
Name: Cinderella's Castle
What's Inside: Cinderella Castle Mini Tour, in which tiny models of villains' palaces from various Disney films are destroyed by a giant Cinderella (who is, quite obviously, just an actor in a rubber suit).

An interesting note is that the restaurant in the Magic Kingdom's Cinderella's Castle used to be named King Stefan's -- unintentionally revealing a relationship between Disney princesses that had until then been kept carefully under wraps. The restaurant has since been renamed Cinderella's Royal Table.

The fact that Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella each have two castles has lead to a number of political problems. When Tokyo Disneyland was in the planning stages, Snow White was quoted (by an unconfirmed dwarven source) as saying, "I was first -- where's my darned castle?" Mulan is apparently lobbying heavily for the new park in Hong Kong to have "Mulan's Stronghold" instead of some "wimpy, foo foo palace."

Trivia: Most of the castle's spires are tipped with real gold, but one is left ungilt. This is symbolic of the fact that Walt Disney never had enough money to do everything he wanted to do.

Update: Blueprints for Hong Kong Disneyland's castle have been leaked. It will be have seven floors, a grand dining hall, a dungeon, decorations of real gold, a working drawbridge, and incredibly intricate artwork throughout. However, in keeping with the park's small overall budget, the castle will only be eight feet tall.

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