More Behind the Scenes Stories

Dynamic Dioramas: A Look Back at the Making of Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough

Shannon Swanson

by , Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort

Hello, I’m Shannon Swanson, a senior publicist here at the Disneyland Resort. Part of my job is to produce videos for the Disney Parks Blog and various Disney websites. I’ve had a lot of fun producing all kinds of videos, but my favorites are the “making of” pieces. Meeting with the Walt Disney Imagineers and documenting their vision from concept drawings to opening day of an attraction is truly inspiring.

Today, I’m sharing a video I produced back in 2008 of the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough, which re-opened on November 27 that year. For the figures, artists used a mix of ambient and UV paint, and they painted in a black light room that was created just for this project. They often used brushes with as little as one hair to paint the tiniest detail. Scenes from the movie, original Eyvind Earle and Ken Anderson drawings from 1957, color boards and renderings were used for inspiration. Forced perspective was used to make the one-dimensional paintings look 3D.

Next time you’re at Disneyland park, take some time to walk through Sleeping Beauty Castle and check out these amazing dioramas. Maybe you’ll get some ideas for your next school project!


  • Y’know, I haven’t been through the walk-through since they re-opened it. I need to get on it! These effects look really cool.

  • i love the walk-through. i feel kind of stupid, i’ve been going to disneyland since i was a kid, but i had no idea it even existed. i “discovered” it late last year, and i am so happy i came across it. it’s really cool. and to say you went into the castle is pretty awesome.

  • My parents were kinda claustrophobic, so their least favorite part of all our trips to Disneyland when I was a child was my dragging them through my favorite exhibit, the Sleeping Beauty dioramas. I’ve since moved from LA, so I haven’t seen the new version but I have nothing but fond and happy memories of the old version from my 80s childhood. I’m glad that it hasn’t disappeared like so many other rides from my youth (don’t get me wrong, the Nemo ride is awesome, but I still miss the mermaids from the old submarine ride).

  • Hello Mrs. Swanson the video was very unique and very dynamic (as siad in your title) on how they created the pieces for the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through. I just have one question on how to work on filming for the Disneyland Resort because it has been a life long dream of mine to do that for a good starting film career, thank you for the great video and thankyou if you respond to the question on this great job oppurtunity!
    -Ryan G.

  • Love the castle! I, too, would love to see the return of the Tahitian Terrace. It was good food, great entertainment, and a wonderful place to rest and enjoy.

  • Great video! I am so glad the inside of the castle reopened!

  • What a beautiful video Shannon…so many memories from everything here on Disney. Just a question, what was the music you used in the making of this’s so mysterious sounding and I would love to purchase it if possible. Is it on one of the Disney-produced CD’s by chance? Thanks!

    • Dorian, we use a music library for our videos, sorry they are not for purchase but I’m glad you liked it!

  • I love the walk through I still remember it from when I was a little girl going through! Sleeping beauty is my favorite Feature, so I was estatic it re-opened and it is more magical than ever. My son and I went through and stopped at window, And all I can say is fabulous! Though I can still see the old walk through in my mind and that makes it even better, bringing back childhood Disney memories.

  • As a note the Walk through is closed during fireworks and for other reasons. Just saying for that one guest who says that it was not open when they went.

  • I love everything related with CASTLE.

  • I have always LOVED the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-thru, even before it was re-done. Now I love it even more! The older, original parts of Disneyland are the best!!!
    I LOVE everything at Disneyland!

  • So cool! And by the way, Shannon, I want your job! It’s my dream to be a publicist for Disney!

  • I’m so glad the Sleeping Beauty story is back…yay for the old attractions. Now…will Disneyland ever bring back the Tahitian Terrace? Please?

  • I about fell over the day my friend and I realized that the walk-through had reopened. There was NO ONE else in there, and we’d always checked that little door. Finally, there was a girl standing next to it, and it was open, and we asked if we could actually go inside. It was so awesome to be able to check it out, finally, especially when no one else was in there! I’m so glad they reopened it!

  • This walk-through is truly amazing! Be sure to take your time going through it. It is visually beautiful to see but you really need to stop at each of the dioramas and watch them for a few minutes because there is more going on that what you first see. We went through this twice last trip and I’m still not sure we saw all of the effects. Great work!

  • I liked it! By any chance, would you be needing an intern (still a student) to help out with these videos. I’ve been editing short pieces for nearly 4 years now and would love to have the opportunity to do videos like this for the resort. 🙂

  • Cool little video.

    I’m really glad that the castle walk-through came back.

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