Like all of the 15th Anniversary events, we’ve followed this overlay of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant right from the first hint to the final result. First discovered on a marketing visual in July 2006, the makeover quickly became a real, confirmed plan for the anniversary. In October 2006, we learnt that Pinocchio would take the former place of Winnie the Pooh, whilst January 2007 brought news that the character statues would infact be golden/bronze rather than full colour. In February, we discovered Buzz Lightyear would hold the fifteenth candle.

The makeover officially began on 12th March 2007, exactly one month before the official date of the resort’s birthday, with the entire project completed just nine days later on 21st March 2007. And now, we’re proud to present our very own look at the completed makeover. Already praised amongst fan groups for its “subtle and stylish” overlay, the decorations are far from the ‘Festival of Fools’ design of the 5th Anniversary or the birthday cake covering of the 1st Anniversary…

Character Castle Makeover: Up-Close

Entering the park on 1st April 2007 with blue skies overhead, we take a walk around Central Plaza to look closer at the Castle and its’ new golden jewellery, glistening in the sun. Looking closer at the statues reveals their whimsical and quaint designs – the “models” of the characters are not always perfect, but this almost seems to be intentional. Rather than plastic-perfect scale models, the statues – described as “delicate” by Disney themselves – have been designed to compliment the very stylised and ornate design of the Castle itself.

Another unique feature of the statues, beyond their fully wired-up electric candles, are the spots of paint dotted across their design – whites and pupils for eyes, recognisable colours for clothes tinted into the golden statues gives a soft and varied look to the many characters.

Of course, an up-close look at the Castle also reveals a few unpleasant surprises across its tired and dirty turrets. Some were quickly cleaned as the statues were added, but many won’t look as fresh as 1992 until a full refurbishment – currently scheduled for 2008, when the party comes to a close. A full zoom also reveals other secrets, such as a parade control camera next to Goofy, or wires and technical equipment across the highest turret.

The new characters seem to have encouraged the birds formerly residing in the highest spire to move on – leaving Tinkerbell to rule the roost and spray a burst of golden confetti at rare intervals. The “Peter Pan” fairy is also loaded with fibre optic and LED effects, producing a dazzling white “sparkle” from her wand and glowing blue wings, once illuminated by Candleabration.

Character Castle Makeover: From Across the Park

The new decorations don’t just give a new surprise on Main Street and Central Plaza – as the icon of the entire Disneyland Park, Sleeping Beauty Castle has many faces and countless photo opportunities, now with a unique 15th Anniversary touch.

Be it through the flowers of Central Plaza, the glass of the Bureau Passeport Annuel

The rooftops of Fantasyland, or the blossom of “it’s a small world”… Le Château is new again.

And as the sun sets, the unmissable form of Disney’s European fairytale creation takes on a brand new silhouette, dotted with delicate hints to Disney’s most famous faces from across the years…

As daylight faded on 1st April 2007 (and following days), however, the candles were all blown out shortly after the evening’s daylight performance of Candleabration. It remains to be seen whether this is a trend for the entire year, or if those fifteen characters will soon be practiced enough to keep their fifteen candles alight long into the night…

For photos of the Character Castle Makeover illuminated at night, see our previous article here.

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