Sleeping Beauty Castle

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Why Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland is the Best Park Castle

Growing up in southern California, and with a mom who worked for Disney, I spent a lot of time at Disneyland. You might say that it’s for that reason that I believe Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland is the best castle of all the parks, but I’d disagree.

Full disclosure, I have yet to visit Shanghai Disneyland or Hong Kong Disney, but after spending quite a big of time at Magic Kingdom and Paris Disneyland parks, I can say with confidence that the original is still the best.

Here’s why:

Walt’s Touch

Walt Disney was there for the conception, construction and fulfillment of Sleeping Beauty castle. For that reason alone Disneyland’s castle stands out from the rest. There’s something special about knowing that when you walk through the castle, you’re walking down the same path Walt took. Sure the ground’s probably been repaved, but Walt stood there at one point seeing his dreams realized. That’s a priceless feeling.

The Midas Touch

Sleeping Beauty castle in Anaheim is the only theme park castle with real gold. Back when the castle was in development, Walt wanted real gold to coat the spires, but Roy thought it was a frivolous expense and rejected the idea. Walt, having final say, went around Roy and had the spires coated in 22-carat gold leafing, which makes Disneyland’s castle extra special.

The Glitter

I won’t say every, but most little (and grown up) girls love glitter. Ever notice the touches of sparkle in the stone and walls of Sleeping Beauty’s castle? That extra shimmer makes the castle shine and glisten in the sun.

The Size

If you’re a millennial or the parent of one, chances are you remember the “My Size Barbie.” Oh man I wanted one so bad, and loved mine when I got it. Girls wanted to play with a doll that was their size, someone they could share clothes with and play with. I was never small enough to fit into the clothes, but I do remember dressing my cousin up in the outfit.

Walt had a similar idea for his castle. Traditionally castles were built to intimidate enemies and peasants. Walt Disney built Disneyland’s castle intentionally small, because he wanted his castle to be friendly and welcoming. If you’ve ever stood in front of Cinderella’s castle you can’t help but feel intimidated by it’s tall towers, but Sleeping Beauty’s castle is cute and comfortable – large enough to seem grand to children, but small enough to seem like a toy to be played with and enjoyed.

The Architecture

This may be a matter of personal preference, but I also prefer the German architecture of Sleeping Beauty’s castle vs the Midieval look of Cinderella’s. Take a close look at Cinderella’s castle and you’ll see the similarities between it and a Lego castle set. Sleeping Beauty’s castle was inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. It’s much more romantic in my opinion.

The Walk Through

Both Sleeping Beauty Castles, the one in France and the one in Anaheim, both have walk-through experiences. While Paris Disneyland’s castle has the added bonus of being able to walk along the outside, and open feel, Disneyland’s walk-through includes updated graphics and depictions of the film’s most popular scenes. Guests can see the fairies put guards to sleep, the burning of the spinning wheels and prince Philip awakening the princess with a sweet kiss.

The Dragon

Paris Disneyland does have one advantage over the original castle, and that’s Maleficent in dragon form. The attraction is called “La Taniere du Dragon.” Those who dare can enter the caves under the castle to see Maleficent herself chained in imprisonment for her evil doings. The dragon is remarkably life-like and animated. She also blows smoke and awakens with fire in her belly.

What’s your favorite Disney castle? Do you prefer the friendliness of Disneyland’s castle or the splendor of Cinderella’s? Share your experiences in the comment section below.

Michelle McKinley is a journalist and digital marketer from Los Angeles, CA. She earned her Journalism degree from Pepperdine University, and has been writing for the web since 2003. She’s a life-long Disney fan who travels and writes about her experiences for fun.

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