(this photo is in the public domain and is available here)
Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Castle of the beauty in the woods sleeping, or Sleeping Beauty’s Castle) opened along with Disneyland Paris in April of 1992. Because Disney Imagineers knew that there were already actual castles in the French countryside which visitors had perhaps already seen, they didn’t want to simply build a Disney replica of a castle as they had done before. Instead, they created a castle with luscious landscaping, stained-glass windows, winding walkways, waterfalls and a wishing well.
Jack Spence, from AllEars.net visited in 2008, and has some wonderful pictures and great information available on his blog. Two other great sites are PhotoMagique, which has many great photos, and DLRPMagic (Disneyland Resort, Paris), which has photos, videos, and more information about the resort in general.
The castle has gone through a number of special decorations throughout it’s twenty-one years, and was actually the first castle to have a cake overlay, albeit less cartoon-y than the Walt Disney World 25th anniversary birthday cake). It has also had golden ribbons, Disney characters, and a giant not-so-hidden Mickey as a part of its festoons.
(This photo is in the public domain and is available here)
In the lair below the castle lives an 89 foot long dragon, which is typically sleeping, but from time to time lifts its head and greets guests with a puff of smoke, and stirs its tail in pools of water. If you head over to YouTube, you can search for “taniere du dragon” and see some amateur guest videos of the dragon in action. (Here are the results)
Inside the castle are two shops and a gallery. La Galerie de la Belle au Bois Dormant, the gallery on the second floor, features a number of beautiful stained glass windows and tells the story of Sleeping Beauty in pictures and tapestries. On the ground floor is La Boutique du Château, which sells Christmas and holiday ornaments, gifts and keepsakes, as well as Merlin l’Enchanteur, which specializes in hand-made glass figurines.
Are there parts of the Disneyland Paris castle that you wish were in Walt Disney World in Florida? What changes would you make? Leave a comment below!