USA Tourism Guides: USA has more tourist location and castle country. From there Sleeping Beauty Castle is a fairy tale structure castle at the center of Disneyland Park and Hong Kong Disneyland. It is based on the late-19th century Neuschwanstein Castle, with some French inspirations. The Castle Opened in July 17, 1955, the castle is the oldest of all Disney castles. Though it reaches a height of only 77 feet (23 m), it was designed to appear taller through a process known as forced perspective; design elements are larger at the foundation and smaller at the turrets. Sometimes swans will swim in the moat, so the WDI workers lined the moat with junipers. Swans will not eat junipers. The castle initially featured an empty upper level that was never intended to house an attraction, but Walt Disney was not satisfied with what he viewed as wasted space, and challenged his Imaginers to find some use for the space.
Beginning April 29, 1957, visitors were able to walk through the castle and view several dioramas depicting the story of Sleeping Beauty. The original dioramas were designed in the style of Eyvind Earle, production designer for Disney's 1959 film Sleeping Beauty, and were then redone in 1977 to resemble the window displays on Main Street, USA. Unlike previous incarnations, visitors who are unable to climb stairs or navigate the passageways of the Castle can still experience the walk-through virtually in a special room on the Castle's ground floor. This room is lavishly themed, and presents the closed-captioned CGI walk-through recreation on a high-definition TV. This same virtual recreation is included on the Sleeping Beauty 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition DVD.
It is a common myth that the Disney family coat of arms hangs above the archway to the castle. The Disney family coat of arms is composed of three fleur de lis whereas the coat of arms on the castle is three lions passant in pale. The origins and meaning of the coat of arms on Sleeping Beauty Castle is unknown at this time. It is known that the coat of arms was not originally on the castle but was placed there sometime between June 1965 and July 1965.
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