Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle could be the single best-loved structure in the world. Ever wondered where Walt Disney got his enchanting fairytale aesthetic? The castle, which was featured in the classic animated film, was modeled on Bavaria’s Neuschwanstein a fantastical imitation of a medieval castle built in the 19th century by King Ludwig II in homage to composer Richard Wagner. After seeing it in the movie, children of all ages dreamed of seeing it in real life. And since Disney is in the dream realisation business, in 1955 they built “the castle from the movie” at Disneyland.
Today the castle is a major Disney icon, and you will find both Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty castles in different variations all around the globe.
A selection of Disneyland castles around the globe (don’t think we’ve got them all).
A blueprint of a Disney castle, so you can build one in your garden?
Walt Disney inspects the original Magic Kingdom prior to opening.
An 1890s photochrom print of the Neuschwanstein Castle.
The idea of the castle was outlined by Ludwig II in a letter to Richard Wagner, dated 13 May 1868; “It is my intention to rebuild the old castle ruin at Hohenschwangau near the Pollat Gorge in the authentic style of the old German knights’ castles”.
Neuschwanstein was designed by Christian Jank, a theatrical set designer, rather than an architect, which says much regarding Ludwig’s intentions and explains much of the fantastical nature of the resulting building.
Both the Neuschwanstein Castle (1886) and the Excalibur Hotel (1990) in Las Vegas are based on the architecture of Medieval Castles.
The Neuschwanstein Castle in Lego Land.