Secrets of Sleeping Beauty Castle

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Secrets of Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland is the subject of today’s blog post. Being one of the most iconic and most photographed spots in Disneyland, it has a lot of history. After being around since opening day July 17, 1955, Sleeping Beauty Castle still looks great and it has some secrets or things that you may not know about it. Let’s see what we can uncover in today’s post Secrets of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Secrets of Sleeping Beauty Castle

Even though I have been to Disneyland numerous times throughout my life, one place I always go to and photograph is Sleeping Beauty Castle. Today I thought I would share with you some secrets of Sleeping Beauty Castle and also share some things that you may not know about this beloved Castle in Disneyland. 

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Early Beginnings of a Castle

First on the list for Secrets of Sleeping Beauty Castle is some history regarding this castle. When Walt Disney was designing Disneyland, he knew all along that he wanted to have a castle with a moat. So when the time came to build Disneyland, Sleeping Beauty Castle was one of the things being built.

Did you know that Disneyland was built in one year? It is so crazy to think that would be possible because it seems to take years for one attraction or land to be built now.

Another thing you may not know about the castle is the design of Sleeping Beauty Castle. This castle was designed after Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. Disneyland used to have a window display in the Castle with photos and descriptions that talked about its design. 

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Sleeping Beauty Castle during Disneyland’s 50th celebration.

 

Please Note: My posts may contain affiliate links. If you use the links, it won’t cost you more, but I may receive a small commission to help keep the Disney love going! Life in Mouse Years is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting Life in Mouse Years!


Drawbridge Moves?

Another fact for the Secrets of Sleeping Beauty Castle is that the drawbridge has only been opened two times. Once on opening day in 1955 and then again at the Fantasyland rededication after the lands refurbishment in 1983. 

Unfortunately, after many issues with guests climbing things around the park, Disneyland started to change things and add fences to prevent any accidents from happening. One of those changes happened to the bridge and drawbridge area of the castle which prevents it from moving now. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am glad they are trying to keep the guests safe! I’m just sad that due to people not using common sense anymore, that changes to originality have to come. 

Opening of Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough

Next on the list for Secrets of Sleeping Beauty Castle is that the walkthrough was not open until 1957. That means that in 1955 when Disneyland opened, no one was able to walk inside of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle like you are able to today! 

After Disneyland opened, Walt Disney asked his Imagineers to come up with a way to use the space inside of the attraction. And by 1957, Disney Imagineers came up with a diorama display that tells the story of Princess Aurora from the 1959 Disney animated classic Sleeping Beauty. 

I know what you must be thinking…

How can they have built the walkthrough attraction two years before the movie came out???

Well, the storyline for the movie originally started in 1951! There were changes and delay’s through the years that prevented the release of the movie. But the story was there!


Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough

First of all, once you enter this attraction, the story of Sleeping Beauty is told by the storybook which is in various places throughout the walkthrough, along with dioramas.

You can see the dioramas of the characters that depict the story of Sleeping Beauty. Complete with Maleficent! 


Changes to Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough

Next on the list for secrets of Sleeping Beauty Castle is regarding some of the changes to the walkthrough. When the walkthrough first opened in 1957, Jiminy Cricket told the story of Princess Aurora and When You Wish Upon a Star played as you went through. 

In 1977, Disneyland changed the walkthrough to be done in the same fashion as the windows on Main Street, U.S.A. that are around the Emporium store. In addition, Jiminy Cricket no longer told the story of Sleeping Beauty.

Unfortunately, in 2001, Disneyland closed down the Sleeping Beauty Walkthrough after the terrorist attacks. Due to it being dark and no visual monitoring. However, in 2008, the walkthrough was refurbished they added modern enhancements to tell Princess Aurora’s story once again! (Think projection.) It is amazing what can be done with projection.

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The banner at the entrance to Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough

If you would like to know more about Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough, you can find a post I did recently here.

Alternative to Walkthrough

Next on the list of Secrets of Sleeping Beauty Castle is that there is an alternative to the walkthrough if you or anyone in your group is unable to maneuver the stairs or handle dark enclosed spaces. 

Let the Cast Member at the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough know you need the alternate experience and they will help you out. It is a separate room with a television so that you can have a virtual experience. 

This is a wonderful feature! One that I wish we would have used during our last trip due to my Mom having trouble with stairs. 

FYI-There is an alternative experience for Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage as well!

Outdoor Theming

Secrets of Sleeping Beauty Castle is now moving outdoors. There are so many details about the design of this castle. I would like to point out a few things that are on the outside of the castle.

First of all, as you walk across the drawbridge and on the front of the castle is the Disney family crest. This crest wasn’t always on the castle. It was added sometime during the summer of 1966. Shortly before Walt Disney passed away. 

Next, as you walk through to Fantasyland, just before you exit the castle, take a look up. There is a chandelier of sorts. The look of it reminds me of  Cinderella’s coach. It is a clock. However, the clock is not functioning. But it looks very neat up there. 

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Chandelier Clock that hangs in the castle.

In the same area as the chandelier on each side of the castle wall are large paintings of scenes from Sleeping Beauty with a saying on them. They are very pretty up there.

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One of the paintings that hang in the castle.

Another secret on the list of Secrets of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is that Sleeping Beauty Castle was originally going to be Snow White’s Castle.


 

 

Themed Drinking Water Fountain

One of my favorite water fountains at Disneyland is the one on the backside of the castle. Before you reach the entrance to the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough, there is a big drinking water fountain. On top of it, there is a bronze statue of Prince Phillip and Princess Aurora dancing. 

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The water fountain that is behind the castle.
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Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip dancing statue.


Ways to Get Around (and Through) the Castle

Next on Secrets of Sleeping Beauty Castle is the pathways around and through the castle. First, looking at the castle from Main Street, on the right is a large walkway that goes on the side of the castle and between Matterhorn Bobsleds. This walkway takes you to the back part of Fantasyland.

Another walkway is to just go straight through the castle across the drawbridge, right into Fantasyland. 

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The backside of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Next is a pathway on the right of the castle, that takes you to Snow White’s Grotto and Wishing Well. Just behind the well, is a path that goes through the castle.

Finally, there is a pathway on the other side of the castle. Looking at the entrance to the walkthrough, on the right, is a pathway that takes you to Fantasy Faire. This pathway is the one with the windows that used to display the facts and photos of the castle. Last trip they had chairs with something on each chair that represented the different Disney Princesses.

Bathroom in the Castle

Finally on the list of Secrets of Sleeping Beauty Castle is that there is a bathroom inside of the castle. Even though it is not Sleeping Beauty themed, it is still a very well themed restroom. Having an Alice in Wonderland theme, the Queen of Hearts has decorated in true hearts fashion. From having hearts on the walls in tile to the light covers on the ceiling having hearts all around, this is one heartwarming bathroom. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)  But in all seriousness, this is one of my favorite bathrooms in the park! 

The door of the woman’s bathroom in Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

If you would like to know more about bathroom theming at Disneyland, check out my Secrets of Disneyland Bathrooms here.

In Conclusion

There are so many things to learn about Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland! It’s design, decorations, theming, pathways and so much more! I hope that you enjoyed today’s post Secrets of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

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Sleeping Beauty Castle at night during the holiday season.

Questions or Comments?

Do you have any questions or comments on today’s post-Secrets of Sleeping Beauty Castle? Please feel free to leave them below. I would love to help!

Thanks for stopping by Life in Mouse Years!

 

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About Melisa Rice 144 Articles
Melisa has had a love for Disneyland that started at a very young age. Her family traveled to Disneyland every year or two when she was growing up. As she got older, she began to read anything she could get her hands on regarding Disneyland. If you ask her anything about Disneyland, she is always willing to share her knowledge. As a former Manager of a video store, she has a wealth of knowledge about movies as well. In addition to these experiences, she also loves to take landscape photography, do crafting, bake cakes for her nieces and nephews. But most of all, she enjoys reading the Bible.

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