This Week in Disney History: Disneyland Paris Marks Castle Milestone

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

Western Europe is full of castles that astound and inspire, evoking thoughts of fairy tales and a time gone by – and Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty Castle) at Disneyland Park at Disneyland Paris is no exception.

Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty Castle) at Disneyland Paris

The castle, which was topped off in August 1991 (20 years ago this week), is a bit different than the first Sleeping Beauty Castle, built 5,659 miles away at Disneyland park in California. The French version features pink-tinted turrets, stained-glass windows and a basement cavern that is home to a dragon (La Tanière du Dragon), who awakens if you wait long enough.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes video of the topping off from Disneyland Paris.


  • The first picture looks beautiful. The photographer did a good job. What I like most is that the landscape reminds me of Mary Blair’s art style. Wonderful attention to detail!!!

  • In 1991, there was a special day when we were setting both the top of the castle as well as the tallest butte on Big Thunder. Big Thunder had 100 feet added to its butte over the 3 done at Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Because it sat out on it’s own island it was more majestic and needed the extra height. Everyone watched to see which would be tallest in the final settlement, as the cranes moved in the jewels. We had made sure the castle would be the tallest in the park, but it was close and had a few worried. Love them both.

  • I absolutely love Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Paris. I loved seeing the dragon and touring the inside. I really want to go back again.

  • I love that castle – I think it’s my favorite. The dragon is a really nice touch!

  • Oh wow I just googled pictures and that really doesn’t look a thing like Maleficent LOL! Well really would love to go there someday.

  • Thanks David for the correction! I’ve never been there but I thought I had seen a picture and it was Maleficent. It would make sense wouldn’t it? Oh well sounds really cool though and I love the fact they at least used Merlin for something special 😀

  • VINCENT, the dragon hidden in the caves of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant isn’t Maleficent. Maleficent is a purple female.
    The dragon in the basement is a green male, whith a very different face and has been raised by Merlin the magician (who owns a shop inside the castle). That’s why a secret passage goes from the “Merlin l’Enchanteur” shop to the dragon’s cave.

  • The castle in Disneyland Paris is magnificent… A beautiful gallery telling the story of Sleeping Beauty, the amazing dragon in the basement… quite the spectacle! Sleeping Beauty is my favorite fairy tale, whether Disney or Tchikovsky or Perrault, and this castle is an amazing tribute to it.

    • I LOVE the dragon. It’s one of the best parts!

  • Not just any old dragon, Maleficent of course! It’s the most gorgeous castle of all the parks.

  • Absolutely. I’m a Cast Member from Disneyland Paris et the Resort is called Disneyland Paris (and no more Disneyland Resort Paris) since May 2009. 🙂

  • Love the attention Disneyland Paris is getting on the Disney Parks blog!

    I do would like to point out it’s called “Disneyland Paris” now and no longer “Disneyland Resort Paris”! 😉

    • Looks like I need a new nomenclature guide … or at least another trip to Disneyland Paris!

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