Sunday, May 24, 2009

Disneyland Paris: The. Best. Castle. Ever.

The original Disneyland has the first Sleeping Beauty Castle, with its recently reopened classic walk-through attraction.

Disney World's Cinderella Castle has beautiful tile murals designed by Disney's Dorothea Holt Redmond...not to mention a full-fledged restaurant inside.

Both castles are beautiful and special in their own ways. But the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Paris, otherwise known as Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant... something truly remarkable.

The approach to the castle on an overcast day in May:

A closer look:

One walks inside the castle and discovers stunning, cathedral-like beauty:

Guests can climb the stairs and closely examine the stained glass windows and tapestries which tell the story of Sleeping Beauty (click any photo to enlarge):

The creation of the stained glass windows was directed by Peter Chapman, who worked on the restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral.

A book on Disneyland Paris says Chapman came out of retirement to work on Disneyland Paris.

The castle has an exterior balcony accessible to guests, which makes a great photo spot. Here is Fantasyland's Le Carrousel de Lancelot viewed from the castle balcony:

The park was quite empty as it was the start of Extra Magic Hours for resort hotel guests.

Fantasyland, Disney park fans will note, looks like the Anaheim park's 1983 New Fantasyland, rather than the "medieval fair" design of the Florida park -- which in turn copied the look of Disneyland's original Fantasyland.

But wait, there's more to this castle, specifically La Taniere du Dragon:

Yes, the castle has its very own dragon underneath the castle!

All Ears Net writes that since Europe is filled with castles, the Imagineers "realized that Europeans could easily be blasé with their design unless they came up with something truly magical. And that they did. Paris’ Sleeping Beauty Castle is arguably the most beautiful of any of the Disney structures. It’s absolutely stunning and can transform even the most cynical adult back to childhood."

Previously: Eurostar to Disneyland Paris: The Only Way to Travel!; Disneyland Paris: Walt Disney Studios Park; Disneyland Paris Resort: Sequoia Lodge.

Coming soon: more on Disneyland Park; Disneyland Paris resort hotels; books on Disneyland Paris; London.


Blogger Parsley said...

We LOVE Disneyland. I'm so glad they have re-opened the castle.

I enjoyed your blog. Feel free to stop by mine. Love meeting new blog friends ;)

8:17 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks for your note! Hope you will enjoy visiting again.

Best wishes,

12:00 PM  
Blogger Irene said...

Wow. I had heard about and seen pictures before of the dragon. I'll bet that was exciting. Glad they have the newer version of Fantasyland. I can't figure out why they don't redo Florida's (I know, probably $$).

1:52 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

It really is a "wow," Irene. I hope you have the opportunity to see it in person one day. Setting aside the issue of food, I have to say that overall I think the Paris Magic Kingdom is more impressive than Florida's. I was very surprised to arrive at that opinion!

Best wishes,

8:08 PM  

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