Around the world, there are six places that feature Disney theme parks: Orlando, Florida, Anaheim, California, Tokyo, Japan, Paris, France, Hong Kong, China, and Shanghai, China. Each of these resorts also have a castle - an iconic building that stands out from all of the exciting attractions around, with its fairytale elements.
These structures are quite recognizable, but over the years, they have each changed a bit; from construction updates to new designs meant to celebrate big and important milestones, keep reading to learn about 14 times that Disney castles got makeovers!
14 Cinderella’s Castle Turned Into A Birthday Cake For Its 25th Anniversary
One of the most notable castles is Cinderella’s, which can be found at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. This white castle has blue detailing on it, but for the 25th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort, this building turned into a giant, colorful birthday cake!
Yes, for 15 months, beginning on October 1, 1996, guests could see icing, candy canes, sprinkles, stars, bears, gumdrops, lollipops, gumballs and candles on this castle, along with over 400 gallons of pink paint. While the original look is a great one, this sight was certainly one to behold and/or to look back on fondly.
13 Stitch Made His Mark At Magic Kingdom
In 2004, something crazy happened to Cinderella’s Castle: Stitch played a prank by adding his own marks to the building! There was toilet paper all over it, to look as if this extraterrestrial lifeform TP’ed the place. There was also a sign boasting about which Disney character was really in charge; it said, “Stitch is King,” which this little character would have thought was quite funny.
All of this was shown off for one day, in order to promote the opening of Stitch's Great Escape, which is a theater-in-the-round attraction that can be found in the Tomorrowland section.
12 Disney World Celebrated 50 Years Of Disneyland
The next year, Magic Kingdom decided to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of Disneyland with another legendary makeover; Cinderella’s Castle got gold trim, banners and statues of characters such as Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Simba, Sebastian and the Cheshire Cat.
There was also a large stained-glass-like mirror that transformed every 40 seconds to show off all of the different Disney castles and their opening dates. All of this stayed up until September 2006, and this is just another really great example of how this classic castle at Disney World can look even more magical at times!
11 The Sleeping Beauty Castle Got A Reno
Speaking of Disneyland... The Sleeping Beauty Castle just got renovated, too! This began in January 2019, and its big reveal came on May 24, just in time for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. According to the OC Register, this reno was part of Project Stardust, to improve the park’s efficiency, traffic flow and access.
So the castle received new paint, more golden touches and pixie dust, and the colors of the castle and the sizes of the stones that are used change a bit while going up, to make it look taller. The building has also now been fire-proofed and clear-coated, to protect from the outdoor elements.
10 Decades Were Honored During Disneyland's 50th Anniversary
Of course, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle was also updated during Disneyland's 50th anniversary. It was repainted, but the main attraction was the turrets; they each got crowns that were decorated to represent different decades and achievements. These decorations included Mickey Mouse ears, rocket ships/planets honoring Tomorrowland.
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The Blue Fairy to help celebrate the Main Street Electrical Parade, the evil Eye of Mara from The Indiana Jones Adventure and fireworks and Tinker Bell herself, to show off 50 years of Disneyland. This was definitely a special and an unique way to commemorate this exciting time at this beloved theme park!
9 More Sparkle Was Added When Disneyland Turned 60
Then the 60th anniversary of Disneyland rolled around, when a 24-hour event happened, on May 22, 2015, to celebrate this time. There was a new firework show, which was called Disneyland Forever, and the Sleeping Beauty Castle got another makeover.
This time, diamonds and glitter were added, and the building looked even more magical; just by adding a couple of touches here and there, the regal and elegant aspects of this place were further highlighted. And, to top it all of like a cherry on a sundae, a big sign with “60” was hung in the middle of it all.
8 Disneyland Paris Turned Into A Cake, Too
Disneyland Paris got a birthday cake treatment, as well, in honor of the one-year anniversary of this amusement park. Yes, Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant - which translates to The Castle of the Beauty in the Sleeping Wood - is similar to the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland; it has a dungeon with a dragon and a balcony with stained glass windows and tapestries.
And in 1993, strawberries, icing and candles were added to this building (a treatment that was also done at Disney World), in order to make it look festive. What a nice way to celebrate one year!
7 And Celebrated The Hunchback of Notre Dame
When Disneyland Paris turned five in the year 1997, the castle was made over once again. This time, the celebration was, in part, to help promote a movie - The Hunchback of Notre Dame. That being said, decorative items such as jester hats, carnival masks and bells were put all over this building, which made it very bright and bold and colorful and celebratory!
There was also a parade that was centered around the Hunchback of Notre Dame that year, as well, and the castle was a nice backdrop for that festive event.
6 Disneyland Paris Turned 10
When Disneyland Paris turned ten years old in 2002, a big and gold sign with a “10” on it was affixed to the front of the castle, staying until the following year and allowing guests to honor a decade of this park, each time it was visited.
This is also when Walt Disney Studios was opened; this theme park is all about show business, movies and behind-the-scenes magic - like Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida. The icon of this park is the Earffel Tower, a water tower that is sort of like the one at Walt Disney Studios in California.
5 There Was A Candlebration In France
There are a few more makeovers of castles to discuss here … When Disneyland Paris had its 15th anniversary in 2007, golden statues representing different Disney characters were put on this Sleeping Beauty castle, like what was done at Magic Kingdom in honor of Disneyland’s 50th anniversary.
Each character - including Tinker Bell high at the top - was holding a candle, which all lit up at night during a Candlebration ceremony. There was also a lit-up, gold, numbered plaque, and these celebratory decorations stayed up in this amusement park until March 7, 2009.
4 As Well As Mickey's Magical Party
When Disneyland Paris celebrated Mickey's Magical Party, there was a themed plaque added above the main window of the Sleeping Beauty Castle in France. Furthermore, the spires - which normally depict characters - were turned into circles of ribbon that had to do with just the main mouse, Mickey Mouse.
A stage was also added to the outside part of the building, which is where a show all about dance and partying Mickey and friends was held. This update to the castle gave Mickey the honor he always deserves, as the most classic Disney character, and it went up on April 4, 2009.
3 Colorful Lights Were Added For The 20th Anniversary in Paris
And then, in 2011, the 20th anniversary came about, when Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant in Paris got one more new look. New colors, updates and vivid LED lights were all incorporated for the Disney Dreams night show. More bright colors were seen in the water fountains, the windows and via a light-up star.
All kinds of characters from beloved Disney flicks were shown during this event, thanks to projects and lighting, and it all ended with an amazing firework display. How amazing does the castle look here, with this rainbow effect?!
2 Hong Kong Disneyland Received Some Pixie Dust
The last completed makeover that happened on a castle and that will be talked about on this list was one that took place at Hong Kong Disneyland; it opened in 2005, and five years after that, a Celebration in the Air was added, to introduce the Tinker Bell’s Pixie Dusted Castle.
Normally, this building looks a lot like the one at Disneyland in California, except the coloring is a bit varied, and there are fewer trees surrounding it. On this anniversary, though, gold pixie dust was added that sparkled during the day and lit up at night.
1 And More Updates Are Happening Right Now
Shanghai Disneyland Park only opened up in 2016, so it will hopefully receive some cool renovations soon. Hong Kong Disneyland actually closed on January 1, 2018, and its current construction should be done in 2020, on its 15th anniversary, revealing a tribute to Disney princesses.
And Cinderella’s Castle at Tokyo Disneyland will be under construction from October 1st, 2019, through April 2020. We are already anxious to see how it will look when this update is done, and we can’t wait to see how all of these castles at these Disney theme parks continue to be filled with even more magic!