Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's GEM TIME!!!

On a bi or tri-weekly basis, I like to do a little writing about Disney Gems from inside and around the Disneyland and Disney World theme parks. What classifies a Disney Gem? In my professional opinion, it’s something that people usually don't see, know about, or it’s something that has historical Disney deliciousness slathered all over it. It can be anything as small as a hidden Mickey or something as big as a ride! In my past posts I've written about original art work by the famous Marc Davis, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and the human skull inside of Pirates. Well this one is a little different in that a lot of people may know about it, and it’s just full of gooey awesomeness!

Sleeping Beauty Castle. Gateway to Fantasyland
 I’m dedicating this segment of Disneyland Gems to non-other than the Sleeping Beauty Castle itself. It’s the center landmark of the park, and the gateway to every child’s favorite land in the park.

Neuschwanstein Castle
The Castle at Disneyland is as beautiful as it is majestic. It’s a fantastic center piece for the park of dreams and every time I walk through the gates into Fantasyland, I get goose bumps. After all, Walt Disney himself took that same walk almost daily when he was alive. Walt designed the look of the castle after Mad King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. Looking at Neuschwanstein, you can definitely see what elements Sleeping Beauty kept for herself.

 A little something people might not notice is a golden spike, driven into the ground within the walkway in the tunnel of the castle. Why is there a spike there? I’ll tell you why, and it’s not the exact center of the Disneyland park, like many people would have you believe. In fact, it's a survey marker. It marks the center line of Main Street so that the castle drawbridge and entrance would be perfectly centered with Main Street. And that in itself is a fantastic Gem! However,that’s not what I’m trying to bring to your attention. As soon as you walk underneath the castle and into Fantasyland, take a sharp left and find the doorway to venture inside of the castle itself.

Inside the castle
“Wait…you can really go inside of the castle?” Yes, yes you can. Not only can you go inside this historical landmark, but it’s pretty much a ride in itself, but you walk through it. So, a walk-ride. A walk. Let's move on. There’s a ton of Sleeping Beauty stuff in there. It is her castle, anyway. You can see the dungeons of Maleficent, the sewing wheels with needles, the dragon, the prince…oh man, it’s awesome. It had been closed after 9/11 but reopened in 2008 with some pretty amazing add-ons and special effects. I feel this is a Gem because you get to see what the Imagineers can do in small spaces, and also for its historical value. When Disneyland first opened, the walk-through was just some hand paintings and a few dolls from Sleeping Beauty. Now its full on amazing with special effects to boot! And watch out for that damn Maleficent, she’s always keeping an eye on you, and her shadow lurks behind a few corners! No really, her shadow lurks…you have to watch out for her, she’s crazy!

So next time you visit the Disneyland Resort, treat you and your family to an amazing walk-through of the castle to revisit the magical story of Sleeping Beauty. You won’t be sorry that you did, and your kids will love it, especially if you read all of the story notes in an English accent. Disneyland, thank you for making everything so awesome!

Sleeping Beauty Castle at night

(Editor's note: It's only a model...)