Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Castles

If you are someone who has been to Walt Disney World but never spent time in Disneyland, you might assume that overall things are pretty much the same. The spot where the differences are most evident stands at the end of Main Street in both parks. The castle at Walt Disney World has been seen in pictures from more than forty years. It has become the symbol of Disney pictures and dreamed about by children for several generations.

The castle in Walt Disney World stands 190 feet (just below the height that requires a red blinking warning light) and is surrounded by a moat and features numerous spires and turrets. The castle is said to belong to Cinderella and features mosaic wall designs as guests wander through to begin their journey into Fantasyland.

In Disneyland, Sleeping Beauty’s castle stands only 77 feet tall. It is surrounded by a moat where guests may be treated to sights of elegant white swans swimming around. Inside the castle is a set of stairs that leads to a set of dioramas featuring the story of Sleeping Beauty. This feature did not open until 1959 when Walt Disney recognized that this space was wasted. The dioramas have been updated through the years and now mirror the original style with updated technology. During the history of this feature, it has remained closed for years at a time.

The castle uses the forced perspective design with its smaller features in the more elevated features. The castle is a combination of pink and blue. There is a working drawbridge that has been opened only twice. The first time was opening day in 1955 and the second time was the reopening of Fantasyland in1983.

When turning the corner onto Main Street from behind the train station, the frequent guest to Walt Disney World may wonder what happened to the castle. The width appears to be about the same in both structures, but the difference of more than 100 feet makes their stature drastically different.

With so many wonderful memories attributed to both locations, I wouldn’t change either. It is great to capture the reaction of the first time guest on film. There is typically an audible gasp that is great to catch with a video camera. The opportunity to see either castle is the start to a magical day.

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