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A Backwards Sleeping Beauty Castle?!

From the new book, "The Hidden Secrets & Stories of Disneyland" - Over 250 magical secrets, complete with more than 220 photos - Learn more at

Here’s a secret with a bit of a twist...or shall we say "turn"?

Disney Legend and Imagineer Herb Ryman designed Disneyland’s icon, Sleeping Beauty Castle, using the classic elements of beautiful Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany as his inspiration, and as with all story elements within Disneyland, Herb’s concept for the castle was soon turned into a 3-D model so the Imagineers could get a better sense of how it would look once completed. After getting a look at it in 3-D, however, Herb felt something wasn’t quite right. According to Herb Ryman…

One thing that he (Walt) insisted upon was that there be a very, very conspicuous castle, because the castle is going to be the symbol of this whole place. Fred Joerger had done a beautiful model of this castle. When I saw it I said, ‘I don’t like it.’ So I took a look at the castle model, grabbed a hold of the upper portion of the model, and turned it around so that the back of the upper portion now faced the front. ‘Dick said, ‘Now, Herbie, quit playing with it. Put it back. He said ‘Walt’s going to be here any minute, and Walt won’t like it. Turn it around. Put it back.’”

The next thing you know, Walt walked in. Herb hadn’t had a chance to turn the castle back around, so everyone was concerned Walt would be upset with the new look. To the contrary, however. He thought it looked great.

“Walt said, ‘Oh, I like that a lot better.’ So then Marvin and Dick began to like it a lot better. It was always a confused point with us, but today (the front) is facing inside.”

So the front of Sleeping Beauty Castle you see today in Disneyland was originally supposed to be the back!

Take a look at the image of the castle model created in 1953 by Marvin Davis and Fred Joerger, before Sleeping Beauty Castle was constructed, and see how the appearance of the front of the model more closely resembles the back of Sleeping Beauty Castle you see in the park today.

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