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Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty’s Castle Gets a Makeover

By Maya Stanton, Lonely Planet Writer
January 12, 2022
A more colorful Sleeping Beauty's Castle debuts at Disneland in spring 2019
Christian Thompson/Disneyland Resort
Just in time for summer and the hordes visiting Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, the Imagineers at Disneyland have unveiled a colorful new look for the park’s iconic centerpiece.

Sleeping Beauty isn’t the only one with a set of fairy godmothers. Since January, Disneyland’s Imagineers have been hard at work refurbishing the princess’s castle, and last week, ahead of the hotly-anticipated opening of Galaxy’s Edge on 31 May, the results of the Anaheim icon’s montage-worthy makeover were finally unveiled. Rendered in faded blues and pinks before the latest update, the once-muted exterior has since gone technicolor, with vibrant hues, a new roof, and a dash of pixie dust for good measure.

More Magical Than Ever

Now boasting cotton-candy pink turrets, cobalt-blue shingles, and gold accents at the entrance, along the battlements, and on the roof, Disney’s first-ever castle retains its earlier color scheme—albeit in heavily-saturated form. “It’s as though the entire castle has been enchanted,” Walt Disney Imagineering art director Kim Irvine told the Los Angeles Times.

Not only does the new palette give the nearly 64-year-old structure a fresh look, it gives it a vertical boost as well. Per the official Disney Parks blog, the crews “used an ages-old painting technique called atmospheric perspective to visually heighten the castle,” Irvine said. “We warmed the pink hues on the lower towers and gradually added blue to lighten the colors toward the top.”

A New Palette

Opened in 1955, the castle originally featured tan and grey stones, slate-blue turrets, and a pale-pink facade, and though it’s been revamped multiple times throughout the years, the building’s color scheme remained subdued—the stuff of reality, not fairy tales—until the park’s 50th anniversary, when the pinks began to pop and a smattering of lively blue shingles were installed to break up the sober grey roofline. The castle got another facelift ten years later, but its vivid hues soon faded in the California sun—an issue the design team was eager to avoid this time around, applying a clear coat to protect from UV rays, according to the OC Register.

“When they come to Disneyland, [people] expect something that’s different than what they would see on their city streets or in their downtowns,” Irvine told the Register. “We have to push the color, we have to push the fantasy.”

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