The Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Paris has been getting some tender loving care over the last 12 months. This renovation took place ahead of Disneyland Paris’ 30th-anniversary celebration that begins on March 6, 2022. This is the first major refurbishment of this scale that the castle has received since the park opened in 1992.
“It was the first time we undertook something so monumental. Certain effects have even been improved so that the castle’s structure will be even more resilient in the upcoming years,” she said. “It took nearly a year to complete these works on site with all of the teams. Painters, electricians, gilders, craftspeople in charge of the tiled roofs… It was a hive of activity.”
The refurbishment of the castle was done in accordance with Europe’s cultural heritage. This is what inspired so many different Disney movies through the years. A lot of work was put into renovating the monuments on the castle.
To get the work done, Walt Disney Imagineering Paris – Design & Show Quality and Construction partnered with French experts in the field of historical monument refurbishment. This continues the trend of Disneyland Paris partnering with French and European craftspeople to both build and maintain decor throughout the parks. For this project, nine French contractors were brought in to work on projects in carpentry, roofing, painting and ironworking.
“Some of the suppliers with whom we were lucky to collaborate on this project only work on historical monuments. When they accepted this assignment, we realized that they viewed our castle as a historical monument that is a part of our heritage. It was very touching,” said Tracy Eck.
Throughout Sleeping Beauty Castle references to France can be found. This includes snails covered in fine gold leaf that seem to be trying to get away from French cooks by climbing the two golden spires. The geometric gardens were inspired by The Lady and the Unicorn tapestry. Even the symbol of Disneyland Paris is a combination of the shape of Mont-Saint-Michel and illustrations from castle illustrations of the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (The Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry). Inside the castle, the tree-shaped twisted pillars are inspired by the supports found in the ambulatory of the Saint-Séverin church in Paris. The tapestries in La Galerie de la Belle au Bois Dormant are authentic Aubusson tapestries. These were made specifically for this castle utilizing the methods of master weavers. This continues the legacy of master weavers that goes back 500 years.
Disneyland Paris shared some facts about the castle upon the completion of its renovation. Check them out here:
- Sleeping Beauty Castle is 43 meters (141 feet) high.
- Its tallest tower is 16.8 meters (55 feet) high and weighs 15 tons.
- It took 50,000 hours to renovate it.
- 19,900 slate tiles were custom designed and installed on the roofs using 19,900 hooks. As a result, 7.8 km (4.8 miles) of slates were cut.
- 41,200 gold leaves were applied by gilders by hand to gild certain parts of the castle.
- Between 170 and 200 tons of scaffolding were required to carry out these massive renovation works.
- The fifteen tarps that covered the scaffolds throughout the duration of the works were designed by Walt Disney Imagineering Paris – Design & Show Quality to make it possible for guests to continue to take perfect souvenir photos from Main Street, U.S.A., while being under the impression that they were in front of the real castle.
- 1,200 liters of paint were required to paint the castle by hand.
- Sleeping Beauty Castle’s color scheme is made up of 14 shades of pink.
- Like all Disney castles, Sleeping Beauty Castle faces north. This ensures that the sun never passes behind the castle, allowing guests to photograph it at any time of the day from Main Street, U.S.A.
- It is the only Disney castle in the world that is home to a dragon, which is just one of the biggest Audio-Animatronics® characters designed by Walt Disney Imagineering. It is 24 meters (79 feet) long and it weighs more than 2 tons.
- Since Disneyland Paris is Europe’s top tourist destination, Sleeping Beauty Castle is the most visited castle in Europe!
- A stone arch linking the western part of the Castle to La Chaumière des Sept Nains shop, bears the coat of arms of the Disney family. Walt’s ancestors lived in France, in Normandy when it was conquered by English King William I, better known in France as William the Conqueror. The name Disney is derived from the village of Isigny-sur-mer which, by transformation would have become Isigny to be anglicized as “Disney”.
What do you think of the newly renovated Sleeping Beauty Castle? Have you visited it before? Do you hope to visit it in the future? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!