Sunday, October 19, 2008
Sleeping Beauty: The Diorama
The upcoming restoration of the Sleeping Beauty Castle Diorama probably has me more excited than I've been for any new Disneyland attraction in over 10 years. April 29, 1957 marked the unveiling of the original, with Shirley Temple Black serving as the hostess. Both the entrance and exit areas of the Diorama at the back of the Castle had fanciful canopies that matched the Midieval Faire look of the original Fantasyland:
Eyvind Earle, the man responsible for the look of “Sleeping Beauty” also spearheaded the diorama project.
Here you can see the concept art Earle created for one of the scenes, followed by a rare photo of how it panned out in the original Diorama.
This image from the newly released Blu-ray version of “Sleeping Beauty” shows the virtual walk-through tour of the same Diorama scene. This virtual tour was crucial in selling the concept to the top brass for the actual Castle restoration.
Tony Baxter and Chris Merritt are two of the Imagineers who worked on this project and provided much of the blood, sweat, and tears that helped it to see the light of day.
Note the booklet that Baxter is holding; this commemorative souvenir was given to each person who toured through the scenes of the Diorama.
Additional copies were a mere 25¢!
Here in a behind-the-scenes section of the Blu-ray, Chris describes more information about one of the Diorama’s rooms:
Here are a few more scenes that you can view on the DVD and Blu-ray versions of “Sleeping Beauty”...and trust me, these shots do not do it justice. To see it in high-def is breathtaking.
For the handful of you that might be saying, “Big deal...a bunch of scenes from a 50 year old movie.” It may be hard to comprehend, but this Walkthrough paved the way for The Pirates of the Caribbean & Haunted Mansion attractions. Many of the special effects that debuted in the Diorama were later used in the other 2 beloved attractions. So what are you waiting for? Go pick up the newly restored “Sleeping Beauty” on Blu-ray or regular DVD!
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