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  1. #1

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    Inspirations for Castles

    Last year in U.S. Government, the topic of Neuschwanstein Castle came up when my teacher was discussing Germany. He said that Neuschwanstein was the main inspiration for Cinderella Castle at WDW. I argued that Neuschwanstein was actually the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. Wikipedia confirms this, but also adds a snippet of information under the Cinderella Castle article that states that one of the inspirational castles for Cinderella Castle was Neuschwanstein. Can anyone elaborate on this, specifically mentioning what the inspirations are for the three types of castles found at Disneyland or Magic Kingdom parks (California and Hong Kong, Florida and Tokyo, and France)? Thanks.

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    Re: Inspirations for Castles

    I believe Cinderella Castle is based on at least three different styles, each a little more ornate as the castle gets higher. Don't quote me on that.
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    Re: Inspirations for Castles

    Quote Originally Posted by jag82177 View Post
    Last year in U.S. Government, the topic of Neuschwanstein Castle came up when my teacher was discussing Germany. He said that Neuschwanstein was the main inspiration for Cinderella Castle at WDW. I argued that Neuschwanstein was actually the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. Wikipedia confirms this, but also adds a snippet of information under the Cinderella Castle article that states that one of the inspirational castles for Cinderella Castle was Neuschwanstein. Can anyone elaborate on this, specifically mentioning what the inspirations are for the three types of castles found at Disneyland or Magic Kingdom parks (California and Hong Kong, Florida and Tokyo, and France)? Thanks.
    Anaheim Disneyland - Inspired by Neuschwanstein

    Hong Kong Disneyland - Inspired by Anaheim Disneyland's, and by extension of course...Neuschwanstein.

    Florida's Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle - Inspired by several French castles...not Neuschwanstein. Under Neuschwanstein...Wikipedia states: "The inspiration for the Cinderella Castles at other Disney parks is sometimes incorrectly attributed to Neuschwanstein." Isn't this fun!

    Tokyo Disneyland's Cinderella Castle - Inspired by Florida's (isn't this more fun!) and by extension, blah, blah, blah. Plus the guy who just "flipped" the Florida blueprints.

    Disneyland Paris Sleeping Beauty Castle - Inspired by the castles of earlier Disney Bleaping Sluetty concept art and several examples of "Fantasy" or "Storybook" types of castles. Inspired by these and some Disney art by Eyvind Earle...Disney artist Frank Armitage (who worked with Earle on the film) created what would become the final basic design for the Paris castle.

    All the Disney castles also owe many design elements to the Book of Hours by the Duc de Berry.

  4. #4

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    Re: Inspirations for Castles

    Cinderella's Castle in the MK at WDW was inspired by the chateaux of the Loire Valley of France.

    For example:
    Last edited by NickCharles; 03-05-2007 at 10:23 PM.

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    Re: Inspirations for Castles

    Neuschwanstein is one of the only proper castles in the world that actually looks like our conceptions of a fairy tale castle, so I daresay it's an inspiration for most of the Disney castles. I've most often heard it cited for Sleeping Beauty, though.

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    Re: Inspirations for Castles

    Quote Originally Posted by aerinpegadrak View Post
    Neuschwanstein is one of the only proper castles in the world that actually looks like our conceptions of a fairy tale castle, so I daresay it's an inspiration for most of the Disney castles. I've most often heard it cited for Sleeping Beauty, though.
    What's a "proper" castle?

    More chateaux of the Loire Valley:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/8929797...7594515487122/

  7. #7

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    Re: Inspirations for Castles

    I've often heard that Neuschwanstein was the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland... and that the castle is actually presented backwards (the backside facing Main St.) because it looks better that way.
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    Re: Inspirations for Castles

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Chaney View Post
    ... and that the castle is actually presented backwards (the backside facing Main St.) because it looks better that way.
    This "backwards castle" story has often been misreported. Here's the real skinny.

    The castle was never facing one way and then turned around. Only the center upper "gable" portion was changed. The turrets, towers, spires, main walls and placement were always the same and never in dispute. Here's a Herb Ryman drawing that shows how the upper gable that now faces the back, was originally conceived to face forward (the "gable" is the section with the windows and the vaulted roof):



    Sometime later Herbie was looking closely at Fred Joerger's famous model of the castle that was based on Herbie's drawings, and decided the gable would look better if it was swung around 180 degrees. He was told it was too late...plans and blueprints were already in the works.

    Shortly after that Walt walked in the room and started examining the model. Herbie reached over with both hands and ripped the gable off and spun it around the way he wanted it. He said he didn't say a word. Walt looked at him and shot him a cocked eyebrow, and then resumed examining the model. Then Walt nodded and said, "You know...I like it better that way too."

    And so the plans got re-drawn and that's how it got built.

    Here's back of the castle as it was built, that shows what might have been facing forward. But only that center pitched roof gable section. The main tower and all the rest would not have changed placement:




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    Re: Inspirations for Castles

    Thank you for the clarification!
    "Yesterday, a man walked up to me and said, 'Isn't it a shame that Walt Disney couldn't be here to see this?' and I said, "He did see this, that's why it's here."
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    Re: Inspirations for Castles

    A little additional background on the Disneyland Paris castle that just dropped out of the Opus Archives into my lap...from an article from February 1991:

    The biggest debate in Paris concerned what kind of castle to build. The centerpiece at Anaheim is a Bavarian fantasy, while Orlando's is more like a French château.

    The matter of the castle was settled in a conversation between Disneyman (Euro Disney President) Fitzpatrick and I. M. Pei at a garden party at the President of France's palace on Bastille Day. The architect suggested that they look at the work of the duc de Berry, a rather esthetic son of a 14th century king, who liked to draw imaginary castles. Now Disney is realizing one of the duke's flights of fancy, building a fantasy-fantasy castle...on a continent of real ones.

  11. #11

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    Re: Inspirations for Castles

    It amazes me how often Neuschwanstein is associated wrongly with Cinderella Castle. Earlier this year in studio I did a small presentation on the Dolphin Hotel. Even Architectural Record stated that Cinderella Castle was based on Neuschwanstein! You would think somebody along the way would just look at the picture and say "There's no way in hell those two are related."

    If one looks at Neuschwanstein and Sleeping Beauty Castle the similarity is obvious.

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    Re: Inspirations for Castles

    I've been to Neuschwanstein and it was a breathtaking experience. The views from up there are striking. I felt like I had been transported into another era or a fantasy world. I highly reccommend it if you are in Europe.

    Neuschwanstein really is the basis for all Disney park castles in its vertical shapes and general structure and ambiance, even if other castles influence decor and texture, as in the case of Cinderella. Neuschwanstein is sort of the Disney birth-mother castle.

    You also must visit Zermatt and the real Matterhorn - - I'm almost tearing up from the memory of the spectacular vistas!

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    Re: Inspirations for Castles

    Quote Originally Posted by merlinjones View Post
    I've been to Neuschwanstein and it was a breathtaking experience. The views from up there are striking. I felt like I had been transported into another era or a fantasy world. I highly reccommend it if you are in Europe.

    You also must visit Zermatt and the real Matterhorn - - I'm almost tearing up from the memory of the spectacular vistas!
    Cool! Did you ride Peter Pan after that? Or did you run to Its A Small World? LOL

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    Re: Inspirations for Castles

    Oh, it gets better - - I took a Skyway up to the Alpine base of the Matterhorn. Then afterward I ate fondue and drank beer in the village where they shot "Third Man on the Mountain."

    I also sat on the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral in London and fed the birds.

    And visited all the Salzburg shooting locations for The Sound of Music and frolicked about like a giddy young novice.

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    Re: Inspirations for Castles

    One interesting thing about Neuschwanstein Castle that doesn't seem to get noticed is how new it is.

    It's only 75 years older than Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland.

    In other words, it's just as much a "Disneyland" castle as the Disneyland castle, as far as being authentically medieval. In another 23 years, the time gap between Sleeping Beauty's castle and the present will be the same as the time gap between Sleeping Beauty's castle and Neuschwanstein Castle when the Disney version was built!

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