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  1. #1
    MainStreet, USA's Avatar
    MainStreet, USA is offline I'm walking right down the middle of Main Street, USA!
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    Mar 2005
    Southington, CT/Daytona Beach, FL/ Main Street, USA!

    Castle Watch - Sleeping Beauty Castle, DL CA

    The idea for a "Castle Watch" thread was proposed to me by fellow DWTer BamaJen in the "Castle repainting... Pink?" thread over in the Ask the Experts forum here. The idea was to record the physical changes the castle underwent throughout the years, from the fresh new paint jobs, to the fading of old ones. I liked the idea, and proposed a similar idea, a common thread which covered not only Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom, but all of the castles from around the globe.

    The thread as I see it, should consist of two parts. The first part will deal with the history of the many castles, begining with the grand opening of each, and continuing through to today. I will do the research and writing of this part myself (unless anyone wants to help me out with the project?), but I will of course welcome any comments on my findings. The second part of the thread should be the actual Castle Watch segment, where our aim will be to document any and all changes that should take place to the castles. This part will depend on the viewers and contributers of DWT to help keep our "Castle Watch Database" up to date with their own photos and descriptions of any and all changes taking place.

    Where I'm at now: Currently, I am busy digging up everything I can regarding the history of each Disney castle in the order they were erected, covering everything from the height of its spires, to what's been on the inside. It's a slow process as I have discovered, having just spent all afternoon researching the first castle on the list, but despite working around busy class and flight schedules for school, I feel that I should be able to finish the history aspect of this thread sometime in the next few weeks.

    So, without dragging this out any more, I give to you the first segment of Disney World Trivia's new Castle Watch.

    Disney Castle #1 - Sleeping Beauty Castle, Disneyland, CA.

    Photo by Jeff Keller

    Sleeping Beauty Castle saw its opening day on July 17th, 1955, naturally coinciding with the opening of the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California. While the 77 foot tall structure was originally to be named for Walt Disney’s first feature length animated film, Snow White, the castle’s name was changed prior to its opening to Sleeping Beauty Castle in order to help build public interest in the Disney film of the same name, which ironically would not be released until 1959. Sleeping Beauty Castle is the ideal central focal point of the park, serving to draw guests down Main Street, USA and into Fantasyland, intended to be the heart of the Disneyland park.

    Serving as little more than a visual icon for its first few years, Sleeping Beauty Castle became home to an attraction for the first time beginning April 29th, 1957, when a small walkthrough exhibit opened inside the castle. Hardly a major attraction, it consisted simply of a series of glass-encased story books and window-shaped dioramas telling and depicting the story of Sleeping Beauty. Even the entrance to this little known attraction was somewhat obscure, consisting of small sign above a doorway in the left side courtyard wall. This attraction would remain in this location until 2001. The exact reason for its closing is debated, but the most popular theory is that it was closed for security reasons related to post September 11th activity.

    The walkthrough exhibit inside Sleeping Beauty Castle.
    Photo by Karl Buiter

    For nearly thirty years, Sleeping Beauty Castle stood bathed primarily in a dull white color, with its blue spires being its only real splash of color. This all changed in the early 1980s, when Fantasyland received its much needed refurbishment. On May 5th, 1983, the real, working drawbridge at the entrance to the castle was lowered for only the second time in the history of the park’s operation (the first occasion being on opening day in 1955), and an all new paint job beckoned visitors to New Fantasyland. The “stones” making up the outer wall of the castle became a multi-tone color composed of browns and blues, and the upper part of the structure was given a soft pink hue. The new rooftops appeared a light blue, but closer inspection revealed a number of soft pastel colors and faint diamond-shaped designs worked into the shingles. This is the color scheme that Sleeping Beauty Castle would be best known for over her years.

    Sleeping Beauty Castle would receive yet another paint job in 2005 as preparations began for the Happiest Celebration on Earth. Signifying the 50th anniversary of the Disneyland park and 50 years of Disney theme park magic worldwide, this celebration brought to Disneyland guests a new, brighter colored castle, adorned with glimmering jewels, gold trim, banners, and other décor, as well as five massive crowns sitting atop a number of its towers, each significant of a special magical event occurring during each of the five decades of Disneyland history.

    Photo taken from

    Now that you've read about it... Castle Watch it!

    It's up to you now, the reader, to keep our primitive Castle Watch Database on Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland, CA up to date with your pictures, discriptions, and first-hand accounts. Don't forget to check out the Castle Watch thread on our second castle, our very own and much beloved (and of course my favorite), Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World!!! Oh, and please tell me what you think of the idea for these threads. It's still a new concept, even in my brain, and I'm VERY open to your ideas on how it should work.

    Primary sources of my findings include:

    Four Kingdoms <>, which has a Disneyland page offering a rather detailed history of the park.
    (Okay, for some reason this link is not working when you click on it. I'm not techno savvy enough to know why. But they still seem to work if you copy and paste them into your browser bar, so try that.)

    Jeff Keller's spectacular photography displayed on his website "Digital Disneyland" <>. The first picture in this review is from this website.
    (Same as the last link - copy and paste into your browser.)

    Karl Buiter's photo-tour Walking Through the Sleeping Beauty Castle over at "Mouse Planet" <> The photo of the walkthrough exhibit was taken from this article.

    Ultimate Orlando <> offered a great mini-site specifically on Sleeping Beauty Castle, which in turn had a great history page current through 2003.
    (Clicking on this link only brings you to the Ultimate Orlando homepage. Copy and paste the link into your browser to bring you right to the Sleeping Beauty Castle mini-site.)

    Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia offered a pair of very helpful articles, <> and <> on Sleeping Beauty Castle and Disneyland itself, as well as the Happiest Celebration on Earth castle photo.
    Last edited by MainStreet, USA; 11-18-2006 at 09:07 PM. Reason: Tried fixing stupid links, changed order of some text, updated with new link to Cindy Castle
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  2. #2
    Optimus Stitch's Avatar
    Optimus Stitch is offline Count down to Florida Vacation begins!!!!
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    Aug 2006
    Evansville, IN
    Nice concept. I just read through it and loved it! I like any facts at all on these castles. Nice work!
    My dream is to play all day long at WDW!!!!

  3. #3
    trickster's Avatar
    trickster is offline Hakuna Matata!!... It means no worries!!
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    Mar 2005
    Lancaster - NW England
    Great work, Don!! Now to keep it up - LOL!!

    "Most of my life I have done what I wanted to do. I have had fun on the job.
    I have never been able to confine that fun to office hours." ~ Walt Disney

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