Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Great Castle Debate

Over the years, Disney castles have become some of the most photographed structures in the world. From the real-life castle at Disneyland Paris, to the blue-spires of Cinderella's castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, to the original Sleeping Beauty's castle at Disneyland, the castles have become symbols of dreams and wonder. But not all castles are created equal.

Cinderella's castle in Orlando is easily twice as large as the original Sleeping Beauty's castle in Anaheim, with the structure of the castle in Tokyo being identical. Then there's Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant in Paris which is made of real brick and stone in an attempt to keep its own with the real castles of France. Who knows what we will see in Shanghai.
Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World

Everyone has a favorite castle, and I would bet that it's the one they witnessed first. For me, It's Sleeping Beauty's pearl-pink fiberglass masterpiece that Walt planned himself. For most east coasters, it's probably Cinderella's towering fortress.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland 

I have not been to any foreign park, but I can say without doubt that the Parisian castle would leave a deep and lasting impression on me.
Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland
I'm what I refer to as a "Disney originalist" which means I  favor things that were created by Walt himself. Basically, I hold everything to the standard of Disneyland, since that was the only park Walt got to see the completion of.

Recently, I have been distraught every time I see a new Disney movie. It hasn't been because everything that isn't Pixar or "The Princess and the Frog" has been terrible but because of the new opening sequence that features Cinderella's castle is some type of marsh/lagoon landscape.

The modern opening I am not a big fan of.

I find it showy and unnecessary.  The opening I grew up with, with the silhouette of Sleeping Beauty's castle and a shooting star arcing over it was magical in its simplicity. (The original 3D one with the original "Toy Story" is by far my favorite.) The new one is only interesting before 3D movies, and besides the castle, I wonder what any part of the sequence has to do with the Disney company.

The opening I grew up with.

The fact that they ditched Walt's castle and replaced it with the one he never saw seems emblematic of how far the company has strayed from Walt's vision, and it sadden's me.

What's your favorite castle?

How do you feel about the new Walt Disney Studio's opening sequence?

1 comment:

  1. Walt was an innovator and always changing things. One of the main reasons for the Florida Project was because Walt knew that Disneyland was far too small, including the castle, which, as an east coaster, look puny. The way to honor an innovator is not by doing things exactly they way that he did it but to keep on innovating. I LOVE the new opening sequences for the movies. It keeps with the tradition of the old but brings it forward to a new century. Great post with great pictures/videos! Enjoyed it.