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.

See more vintage & current Sleeping Beauty Castle Diorama photos at my regular website.


Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Great post Dave, I too am very excited about the return of the "Walk-thru". I was discussing it with some folks from work and they didn't even know it had been closed for 7 years!!!!

Major Pepperidge said...

Arg, I need to get a high-def TV of some kind (plasma? LCD?) AND a blu-ray player. $$$! But I sure would like to see the restored Sleeping Beauty. Seems like I just bought a DVD that was restored, but from what I've read, it was redone just for blu-ray.

Anonymous said...

Major, you can get a version of the newly restored version of Sleeping Beauty that comes with the Blu-Ray AND the regular DVD format. This is for those folks who don’t yet have a Blu-ray.

I walked through Sleeping Beauty castle many times over the years and I can tell you I’m really looking forward to seeing the new installation. It's fun just walking through the castle, and each little viewing area draws you in. It’s kind of like walking through a story book.

gabrielle. said...

wow, this post is amazing!! it makes me so excited for the return!! this was my favorite attraction as a child, although when i walked through it, it was after the "remodel" that was done in the 1970's so i've only ever seen the version with the barbie doll looking characters. but as a kid, i LOVED it!! i miss it so much, the last time i was able to walk through was in 1997 because it was always being "refurbished", and then finally it closed. i'm going to disneyland in december and i can't wait.
your posts are amazing!! i check your blog daily, keep up the good work!