Monday, July 29, 2013

Where Is King Stefan's Castle in 'Sleeping Beauty'?

'Round King Stefan's Castle, cast my spell. Photo via Disney Screencaps

In the non-celluloid world, a forest of thorns has never inconvenienced King Stefan's Castle. At least not any of its replicas in Walt Disney theme parks worldwide. 

Stefan's Castle, endeared to most as 'Sleeping Beauty's Castle,' was actually built before the movie was released. The structure publicly opened with the rest of Disneyland in Anaheim, California in July 1955, or more than three years before Sleeping Beauty premiered. The movie had taken almost a decade to finish, and the park beat it to opening day.

Sleeping Beauty Castle looks taller than its 77 feet. Via Tom.Bricker
See 3D dioramas of Sleeping Beauty's concept art as you meander through the upper passages. Via jdhilger

In 1992, while the Disney movies were experiencing their 'Renaissance,' a taller repro of Stefan's Castle rose in Disneyland Paris.

Faire attention! Watch out for the Maleficent robot in the dungeon. Via WJMcIntosh

Locally known as Le Ch√Ęteau de la Belle au Bois Dormant, the structure moves Disney's Sleeping Beauty story closer to its European roots. Neuschwanstein Castle, the model for Sleeping Beauty's palace, is in fact located in nearby Bavaria.

Now this is the real Sleeping Beauty Castle. Via lucky.alvy

Disney continued its park expansion eastward in 2005, when it opened Hong Kong Disneyland. Once again Aurora's castle, albeit a more sedately colored version, became the centerpiece.

Sedate what? Mulan would feel right at home in Disneyland Hong Kong. Via Green International Tours

Ironically, nothing about these castles will put visitors to sleep. Their beauty will certainly keep uninitiated tourists wakeful throughout their visit.

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