Sleeping Beauty Castle – A Present for Disneyland on its Birthday

Walt Disney and Shirley Temple dedicate the Sleeping Beauty Castle Diorama

Disneyland gave itself a wonderful present yesterday for its 53rd Anniversary when it was announced that by late this year the Sleeping Beauty Castle Diorama would re-open with a new show.

When the attraction is unveiled later this year, the “show” will differ from the dioramas of the 1980s and ‘90s, returning to the unique style of the original 1957 show and motion picture. Enhanced with new scenes and special effects magic, the re-Imagineered attraction will employ technology not available in the 1950s to represent scenes from the story of Sleeping Beauty, including the magic of good fairies Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, and the more sinister spells of the evil Maleficent.

This is a most magnificent development and as along as Maleficent keeps her evil fingers out of the development, Sleeping Beauty Castle should return to entertain new generations of Disneyland visitors.

The full press release is below the cut.

(Above photo: . Photo courtesy and copyright Disney)


DISNEYLAND PREPARES TO OPEN SLEEPING BEAUTY CASTLE WALKTHROUGH
July 17, 2008 – Anaheim, CA – The interior of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland will open in time for the December holiday season, offering guests a “reawakened” version of its classic walkthrough presentation kissed with vibrant scenes of Aurora, her charming prince, the evil Maleficent and other characters from the beloved fairy tale film.

“It is fitting that we are announcing the return of a classic on the 53rd anniversary of Disneyland,” said Tony Baxter, Senior Vice President of Creative Development for Walt Disney Imagineering, who unveiled a model of the castle on July 17, the birthday of Disneyland park.

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty,” and the excitement generated by the anniversary of the motion picture spurred interest in the return of the Disneyland attraction.

Also celebrating the milestone 50th Anniversary of “Sleeping Beauty” is Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, which will release a two-disc Platinum Blu-ray™ Hi-Def disc, making “Sleeping Beauty” the first Walt Disney animated classic title to be released in high definition, as well as on two-disc Platinum DVD. A bonus feature on the new release will be “The Original Sleeping Beauty Walk-Through Attraction With Walt Disney Imagineering,” an immersive experience recreating the original castle walkthrough.

On April 29, 1957, nearly two years before the premiere of Walt Disney’s animated feature “Sleeping Beauty,” the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough opened with an in-park ceremony featuring Walt Disney and actress Shirley Temple who, some 20 years earlier, had presented Disney with his special Academy Award – one Oscar and seven little ones – for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

The crafting of the 1957 walkthrough show fell to Walt Disney Imagineer Ken Anderson and animation art director and color stylist Eyvind Earle, credited with giving the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty” the distinctive and colorful look of storybook illustrations in medieval style. An entirely new look appeared in 1977 when the attraction’s redesign featured miniature dioramas, including moving figurines similar to the window displays in the shops on Main Street, U.S.A.

When the attraction is unveiled later this year, the “show” will differ from the dioramas of the 1980s and ‘90s, returning to the unique style of the original 1957 show and motion picture. Enhanced with new scenes and special effects magic, the re-Imagineered attraction will employ technology not available in the 1950s to represent scenes from the story of Sleeping Beauty, including the magic of good fairies Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, and the more sinister spells of the evil Maleficent.

For the first time, guests who are unable to climb stairs or navigate the passageways of the Castle will be able to experience the walkthrough “virtually” in a special room on the ground floor of the Castle.

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7 Responses to Sleeping Beauty Castle – A Present for Disneyland on its Birthday

  1. Tony says:

    Is that child-star Shirley Temple (as an adult) in the photo?

    • Cyndi says:

      Yes, as stated above…

      “On April 29, 1957, nearly two years before the premiere of Walt Disney’s animated feature “Sleeping Beauty,” the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough opened with an in-park ceremony featuring Walt Disney and actress Shirley Temple who, some 20 years earlier, had presented Disney with his special Academy Award – one Oscar and seven little ones – for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

  2. Greg says:

    I’m liking Disney’s new trend of creating special viewing rooms for ADA compliance, as they did with the subs. It seems like a good compromise that preserves the integrity of the attraction. The subs would be nearly pointless if they had to adapt them to accommodate a wheelchair lift, and likewise the castle walk-through would never have happened if Disney had to install an elevator. There are a few members of my family who are very appreciative that they can enjoy the subs without having to clamor down into the claustrophobic boats.

    So my question is, where is the viewing room? Will it replace the heraldry shop? I can’t imagine that shop turns a huge profit.

  3. Chris Wade says:

    Actually, it would be easy to provide access on the subs. One one of the subs, remove one of the stairwells (and a couple of seats, replace it all with a lift, with cables. When the sub docks, those cables attach to a motorized mechanism that would raise and lower the lift when the wheelchair rolls on it, on the other end you would have to remove a couple of seats, so that both sides could load from the one end. You would only do this to one sub, to maintain a higher capacity.

    I think this should still be done in addition to the viewing room, the viewing room is nice and should definitely remain, but there should be options where possible for everyone to enjoy every aspect of the attraction.

    Now, with this system, that one sub could get quite busy, which is why I would recommend that if implemented, there be return time passes given to those in wheelchairs that want to use that sub, as it would be limited to one wheelchair at a time (two at most, if they can go back to back I suppose).

    Now as for the Sleeping Beauty Castle, I think it is nice that they are providing this, but there would also be ways to provide access, but all of them would be fairly costly and not themed well at all, I think this may be a great compromise here.

    I also wonder where they are going to put it though.

  4. Mark says:

    I’ve missed the walk through since it closed and I can’t wait until it opens again.

    And it is timed to the new DVD, Blu-Ray release of Sleeping Beauty, too.

  5. Ken Pellman says:

    This will bring back one of those special little touches that I enjoyed about Disneyland. Now, if they’d just turn the Fantasyland Skyway station into the Dream Suite and bring back The Disney Gallery… …and if they’s stop getting rid of lap seating (Splash Mountain, Matterhorn…)… and if they would….

  6. Neely says:

    I don’t know what Disney was thinking when they decided to close down the castle. In my opinion Disney has been getting rid of too many attractions that have become a staple of the park! Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln, The People Mover, The Skyway, The Swiss Famiy Tree House..I’m relieved that the story of Sleeping Beauty will be returning.

    Walt Disney said that “Disneyland will never be completed”, and I believe that it is important for the future of the park to expand and add new things in order to keep it fresh, but not at the expense of losing old guest favorites.

    I’ve got an idea! If Disney wants too add a bunch of new attractions just knock down that dreadful California park. There is tons of space for the imagineers to build and create to their hearts content.

Comments are closed.