Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle Premieres a Magical Makeover

Sleeping Beauty Castle, the iconic centerpiece of Disneyland park in Anaheim, California, will soon reopen with a reimagined look following its beautification as part of a multi-month refurbishment.

Now boasting a bolder, more colorful paint scheme flavored with sprinkles of pixie dust, Sleeping Beauty Castle's all-new color scheme brings with it deeper blues and warmer pinks, including cobalt blue turrets and vibrant golden spires.

The new colors reinforce the use of forced perspective, making the landmark appear taller, and replaced roofs have individually painted shingles with fire-proof and weather-resistant coatings, some applied with luster to accentuate its highlights.

Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle
(Photo: Rob Sparacio, Disneyland.)

Walt Disney Imagineer and project lead Kim Irvine sought to emphasize the castle's primary colors and honor the original designs of Herb Ryman while moving away from "everyday" beige, allowing for a more realistic — but still fantastical — piece of iconography, which acts as the gateway to Fantasyland.

"Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle is probably the most beloved icon at Disneyland Park," Irvine said in a video announcing the project. "Because it is such a beloved icon and one of the most Instagramed places in the world, just like everything at Disneyland, we take care in maintaining and refreshing our assets."

The refurbishment, announced in January, is part of Project Stardust, a plan bringing a "number of enhancements" to the Disneyland Resort to "continue to deliver a world-class guest experience" ahead of the May 31 opening of its largest-ever single-theme expansion, the 14-acre Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.

"We're so proud of how it's turned out," Jim Slagle, Disneyland's director of facility asset management, told the OC Register. "It's going to look incredible when the fences drop and the scrims come down."

Sleeping Beauty Castle is expected to reopen to guests May 24. When it does, park goers will be met with a refreshed, but familiar, icon.

"People get used to seeing it faded," Irvine said. "Even if we painted it the original colors, it would look strikingly different. These are not far off of the original colors at all. The only thing that's quite a bit different is the roof. The pinks are all very much the same and the trim colors are exactly the same."

Added Slagle, "We're looking to showcase the park. Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is a nod to the future of the park as we expand. This is really about our heritage. We don't want to lose our heritage as we expand the park. The castle doesn't play second fiddle to any other structure here in the park. We're very proud of her."

As the premiere Disney park castle and the only one to be visited by visionary Walt Disney, it was important for the castle to stay true to form while undergoing its latest refresher.

"She is the first. She is perfect just the way she is," Irvine said. "She's Walt's castle so she will always stay the same."

In addition to a number of accessibility improvements and other enhancements made to Main Street, U.S.A., including a new horse-drawn streetcar track, guest queues for Fantasyland attractions Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Matterhorn Bobsleds, and It's a Small World were reconfigured to improve guest access and comfort.

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Adventureland has since debuted Tropical Hideaway, a new marketplace housed between Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room and the Jungle Cruise, and a park-wide effort has been made to "plus" the 64-year-old Happiest Place on Earth with additional walking space, more efficient stroller areas, and an increased amount of seating by the time Project Stardust is completed.

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opens May 31 at the Disneyland Resort. The land will only be accessible to guests with a pre-arranged reservation between May 31 and June 23, 2019.