The Disney theme parks are loved for their rides, characters and overall sense of magic, but one of the things that really sets them apart from other parks are the intricate Disney princess castles that stand at the heart of each Magic Kingdom.
The castles are a majestic center point from which fireworks explode into the sky and parades and dance routines come alive. From park to park each castle is slightly different, with Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Belle from Beauty and the Beast each having their own iterations.
Castles to Visit at Disney Parks
Sleeping Beauty Castle, Paris France
By Elisa of World in Paris
The Sleeping Beauty Castle is one of the main attractions of Disneyland Paris, and it is also the park’s iconic landmark. It is located in Fantasyland, but thanks to its imposing size and pointed turrets, you can see it as soon as you enter Disneyland Paris, at the end of Main Street USA.
From Paris, it is very easy to organize a day trip to Disneyland Paris, but if you want to see both parks, Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios, we recommend spending one night on-site in one of the Disney Hotels.
This fairytale chateau is designed after the castle pictured in the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty, hence the name. It is built on a hill surrounded by a moat, and you can access the chateau through a stone bridge.
The Sleeping Beauty Castle has a ground floor built in stonework, and the upper floors are painted in pink stucco. Many turrets, round and square, surround the castle’s main building, all topped with pointed slate roofs with golden details.
Here, it is possible to climb up to the top for some of the best views of Disneyland Paris while the entrails of the castle are home to a scary dragon and you can visit him too!
Access to the Sleeping Beauty Castle is included in the Disneyland Paris entrance ticket, and this is one of the few places that never see long lines.
Queen of Hearts Castle, Paris France
By Norbert of World in Paris
If you visit Disneyland Paris, you cannot miss the Queen of Hearts’ castle. It is located in Fantasyland, near top Disneyland Paris rides like Les Voyages de Pinocchio or Dumbo, the Flying Elephant.
The Queen of Hearts’ castle is less impressive than the Sleeping Beauty Castle, but it is more colorful. Built in the 20th century, in fantasy style, the castle has one floor, and it is topped with various turrets with roofs in different styles. From its large terrace, you have terrific views of the Disneyland Park and the Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Visiting the Queen of Hearts’ castle is not an easy task. It is located in the middle of Alice’s Curious Labyrinth, so you need to find the right way to the castle. Besides, it is always surveyed by the Queen of Heart’s soldiers, who need to be in a good mood to let you in!
I like Alice’s Curious Labyrinth because there are no lines, so it is the perfect Disney attraction to go to when you are tired of waiting in line. Plus, it is fun!
There are no age or height restrictions to enjoy Alice’s Curious Labyrinth and the Queen of Hearts’ castle, so it is a Disneyland attraction fun for all the family.
Shanghai Disneyland Castle
By Eunice of Eunicetan.co
One of the newer Disneyland Castles, the Enchanted Storybook Castle in Shanghai Disneyland is the first to represent all Disney princesses and is also their largest castle in the world. Unveiled in 2016, the 60-meter tall building has a muted pinkish hue with blue spires, making it one of the more realistic castles in all the Disney theme parks.
The castle borrowed elements from renaissance architecture and past castle designs. The castle also paid tribute to the Chinese culture with a golden peony topping one of the towers. Keeping in line with the Disney theme, you will find adorable carvings of stylized owls and squirrels that are cleverly incorporated into the facade.
Not just for show, the castle houses a walk-through experience, Once Upon a Time, which brings its audience through the tale of Snow White, on top of other shops and a restaurant. Inside, the castle has the most amazing ceiling that reminisces a starry night. At night, lights make the castle look slightly purple and it looks absolutely magical.
To get a clear, unobstructed view of the castle, head to the Alice in Wonderland maze. The theme park can be accessed via the metro from the city center or alternatively, you can stay in a hotel that’s near Shanghai Disneyland.
Cinderella’s Castle in Disney Tokyo
By Erica Riley of Travels with Erica
Tokyo Disneyland’s castle is a replica of Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom in Disney World. It used to be an exact replica, but in 2006 it underwent a paint job that differentiated it ever so slightly from Magic Kingdom’s castle.
It was painted a different shade of blue and gold trim was added to the upper levels. The bricks were also painted more of a tan coloured compared to the grey bricks at Disney World.
The attempt to make Tokyo Disneyland’s castle stand out from Magic Kingdom’s castle didn’t work very well. To most people, the two castles look identical, and the updated paint job is unnoticeable.
In 2011, Cinderella’s Fairytale Hall was opened inside the castle. It is a walk-through attraction on the upper level of the castle that retells the story of Cinderella.
The most interesting thing about Tokyo Disneyland’s castle is how guests interact with it.
Guests are very respectful of other people wanting to get a photograph with the castle, and most people kneel or squat in front of the castle and use their phone to take a photo of them with the castle at an upward angle.
It is quite unique and fun to partake in getting a photo with the castle from this angle. I’ve attached two photos for you to choose from. One is a photo of the castle from the side, and the other is from the front showing how many guests squat or kneel to take a photo with the castle.
Cinderella’s Castle in Walt Disney World Florida
By Alanna Koritzke of Periodic Adventures
Planning a trip to Walt Disney World isn’t complete without experiencing the incredible Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom! One of the most instagrammable spots in Disney World, Cinderella’s Castle has become a beacon and icon of the Disney parks across the globe.
Standing a whopping 189-feet high, Cinderella’s Castle has ornate décor with spires, turrets, a moat, bridges, and nearby gardens and Cinderella’s wishing well! Cinderella’s Castle was built by forced perspective to make it seem larger than it really is to match the extravagance of Disney’s imagination!
Cinderella’s Castle was designed based on primarily Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany, which was constructed in the late 1800’s in romantic eclecticism style. Similarities between Neuschwanstein Castle and Cinderella’s Castle are apparent with the towering turrets, bridges, and a dramatic entryway.
Today, if you’re the lucky winner of a giveaway or a celebrity, you can even stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite. If that seems like an unlikely opportunity (which it mostly is), you can still eat at Cinderella’s Royal Table, which boasts some of the best food in Walt Disney World paired with stunning interior decorations like stained glasses windows and painted walls.
So whatever your fancy, make your way to Fantasyland through Cinderella’s Castle, and be sure to stop for a picture if nothing else!
Sleeping Beauty Castle in California
Built in 1955, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in California’s Disneyland is the original Disney castle that serves as both a picturesque backdrop and a magical focal point in the heart of the park. Rising up out of the surrounding moat, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is pastel-hued perfection that really has stood the test of time.
Based on a 19th-century Bavarian castle in Neuschwanstein, Germany, this castle features a moat, working drawbridge, turrets, and spires and was even designed with an illusory technique that makes it look bigger from further away than it actually is!
Another great thing about the Sleeping Beauty Castle in California is that it has a welcoming, walkthrough experience that leads to Fantasyland on the other side.