The Disneyland Paris Castle: Full Guide to Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant!

Last Updated on November 8, 2022 by admin

There are 6 different Disney parks around the world, and each park has a castle as its centerpiece. The castle at Disneyland Paris is truly one of the best Disney castles. You can walk inside this castle and even explore underneath it. (Head down to the dragon’s lair if you dare!) Located in a country that is already filled with castles (over 45,000 castles in France!), Disney knew they had to make this one extra special. The Disneyland Paris castle, known officially as Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, is filled with stunning architectural details. We recently visited the castle after it was updated for the Disneyland Paris 30th Anniversary Celebration. We think it’s worth traveling to Disneyland Paris just to see the castle! In this post, we’re sharing everything you need to know about the Disneyland Paris castle!

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About Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris consists of two theme parks: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios. In addition the parks, you can also explore Disney Village and the themed Disney hotels located on the property.

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is located inside Disneyland Park. It’s located in the center of the park right at the end of the Main Street USA. There’s no way you can miss the castle! As soon as you enter the park, as you walk down Main Street USA, you’ll see Sleeping Beauty’s Castle right in front of you. Because it’s located in the center of the park, it’s visible from most areas of the park. 

Macaroon at Disneyland Paris
We just had to order macaroons while at Disneyland Paris!
 

 


About Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland Paris

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle has three primary sections that you can walk through:

  1. Castle Gates: You can walk through the castle gates, which will take you into Fantasyland.
  2. La Galerie de la Belle au Bois Dormant: On the second floor, you will see a beautiful gallery filled with stained glass windows, elaborate books, and tapestries that tell the story of Sleeping Beauty.
  3. La Tanière du Dragon: If you dare to walk underneath the castle, you’ll see a large dragon chained to the rocks!

Accessibility: There is an elevator that will take you to all three areas. We used it ourselves to take our stroller up and down the different levels. It’s not a particularly large elevator, but we were able to fit 2 adults and a stroller inside it. 

This post will cover all three areas of the castle. We’ll also discuss the castle’s construction, history, recent update, and more!

Tips for Disneyland Paris in France and the Disneyland Paris Castle


Quick Facts About the Castle

 


Exterior Design

The castle in Disneyland Paris (Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant) is the most visited castle in all of Europe! As such, it’s exterior design definitely needed to impress. There’s a lot of castle competition in Europe! With collaboration from French craftspeople and suppliers, the Disney team definitely achieved its mission. The castle is a spectacular display of French heritage and Disney magic!

Exterior of the Disneyland Paris Castle

The castle’s architecture reflects a combination of elements of important French monuments. These include the stained glass windows from the cathedral Sainte-Chapelle, the castle shape from Mont Saint Michel, the twisted pillars in the church Saint-Séverin, the dome from Chambord Castle, and the tiled roofs from Hospices de Beaune.

The castle faces north, so that the sun never sets behind the castle. This ensures that guests will have perfect photos of the castle at all times of day. (It will never be backlit!)

The castle was painted a more prominent shade of pink (in contrast to the other Disney castles) to help provide a sharp contrast from France’s often grey skies.

Each tower has a turret that has a completely unique weather vane. Be sure to zoom in on your camera so that you can appreciate all the small details!

One of my favorite aspects of this castle is that on one of the towers, you can see golden snails decorating the edges of a turret. This is to pay homage to France’s culinary specialty: escargot! 


Inside the Castle Gates

Inside the castle, you’ll find the entrances to two shops. One of the shops is called La Boutique du Château. This shop has lots of Christmas ornaments and decorations. Another shop is called Merlin l’Enchanteur. When you enter this shop, you’ll see lots of crystal decorations, etched glass, and Disney figurines. 


30th Anniversary Refurbishment

The castle was recently renovated in preparation for Disneyland Paris’s 30th Anniversary in 2022. The refurbishment took a total of 12 months and over 50,000 hours

The castle was re-painted in 14 shades of pink, over 41,000 gold leaves were applied, and 19,900 slate tiles were installed on the roof.

Tracy Eck supervised the refurbishment project. She’s the Art Director for Walt Disney Imagineering Paris — Design & Show Quality. She worked alongside French experts to update the castle to really make it shine.

The renovation even received a special article highlighting its advancement in Architectural Digest. (The article is linked here.)

The Disneyland Paris Castle at Dusk
The castle was particularly beautiful right before dusk!

 

See our best tips for visiting Disneyland Paris here!

La Galerie de la Belle au Bois Dormant

On the second floor of the castle is La Galerie de la Belle au Bois Dormant. This is a special gallery that depicts the story of Sleeping Beauty via stained glass windows, books, and tapestries. 

The first thing you’ll probably notice is the giant stained glass windows that show the celebration of Princess Aurora’s birth. There are 3 primary windows that show Princess Aurora’s parents (King Stefan and Queen Leah), Princess Aurora’s cradle with the 3 fairies flying above her, and King Hubert and Prince Philip. 

Stained glass windows inside the Disneyland Paris Castle, La Galerie de la Belle au Bois Dormant

The stained glass windows were created by Paul Chapman, who is an expert in medieval stained glass techniques. He has an impressive resume, which includes his help in restoring the stained glass windows in Notre Dame. 

As you walk past the stained glass windows, you’ll see several ornate books laid out on pedestals. The books also tell the story of Sleeping Beauty in French with beautiful calligraphy. 

A book of Sleeping Beauty inside the Disneyland Paris Castle

There’s also a beautiful tapestry of Sleeping Beauty asleep. I learned that this tapestry was inspired by the French classic “The Lady and the Unicorn” tapestry. The tapestry was made by expert weavers using traditional methods. Of course there is Disney magic involved, and if you wait, you’ll see twinkles of light dance upon the tapestry. Directly in front of the tapestry is a spinning wheel that actively spins. 

The gallery is filled with lots of fun elements, including Maleficent’s raven, two sleeping knights, and another stained glass window that appears to have a double image. You’ll also notice that the columns that lead down to the first floor look like trees growing up from the earth. This is meant to resemble the period of time that Princess Aurora spent hiding from Maleficent in a cottage in the woods.

At the end of the gallery is a bronze statute of Princess Aurora dancing with Prince Philip. (I took a photo of my daughter and husband dancing right behind it. It made for a really cute photo if you want to try it out!) Visitors to the castle use this statue as sort of a wishing well, so you’ll see coins dropped beside it. 

Inside the Sleeping Beauty Castle (Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant), Disneyland Paris Castle, Princess Aurora Galerie


La Tanière du Dragon

Perhaps my favorite part about the Disneyland Paris castle is La Tanière du Dragon…. the dragon’s lair! This is an element that is completely unique to Disneyland Paris. No other Disney castle has a lair beneath it. It’s easy to miss this part of the castle, so make sure you add it to your priority list! If you’re facing the castle from Main Street USA, you can find the entrance to the dragon’s lair if you walk along the path to the left of the castle. You’ll notice a small door cut into the castle with a sign outside that says “La Tanière du Dragon.” That’s the entrance to the lair.

When you enter, you’ll follow a dark path that leads to a giant animatronic dragon. The dragon is 79-feet-long and is one of Disney’s largest animatronics! The dragon appears to be sleeping, but tread lightly or you just might wake it up. 

Dragon below the Sleeping Beauty Castle (Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant), Disneyland Paris Castle

The design of the dragon was inspired by French depictions of dragons.

The dragon’s lair might be a little scary for younger children. Our 3-year-old was pretty happy to leave the lair! My husband and I thought the lair was an excellent addition to the castle. It was really cool to see smoke coming from the dragon as it lifted its head over a green lagoon. 

For our guide to the rides and attractions at Disneyland Paris, click here.

 


What You’l Find Outside the Disneyland Paris Castle

The gardens outside the castle were planed in geometric patterns to reflect classic French gardens.

One of my favorite aspects of this castle is the fact that there are multiple square trees that lead up to the castle. The square trees were inspired from the animated film Sleeping Beauty

To the right of the castle, you’ll find a wishing well that pays tribute to Snow White. 

When you exit the castle, you’ll find La Confiserie des Trois Fées. This store sells all different types of sweets, and it’s themed after the 3 fairies from Sleeping Beauty. When we visited this shop, we ordered cotton candy.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland Paris, La Confiserie des Trois Fées

Finally, another unique aspect of the Disneyland Paris castle is the fact that there are fountains that provide a water show in front of the castle. The fountains shoot water high into the sky during parades and shows. 

Disneyland Paris Castle, Sleeping Beauty Castle le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant


Disney Illuminations Show

Be sure to end your night in front of the castle for the Disney Illuminations show. You’ll find the best views of the show in Central Plaza. 

The show consists of a water show, projected images, and lots of fireworks. 

During the winter, the show is replaced by a holiday show.

You can read all about the Disney Illuminations show here.


Gardens of Wonder

Right in front of the castle, surrounding Central Plaza, is the new Gardens of Wonder installment.

To celebrate Disneyland Paris’s 30th anniversary, 30 sculptures were added to mark the occasion.

The whimsical sculptures depict beloved characters in abstract forms. Each sculpture is located within a miniature garden that complements the theme. Many of the sculptures move and contain luminescent colors.

It’s fun to see these sculptures during the day and during the night! This attraction is unique to Disneyland Paris, so it was a special treat to see them in-person. 

Gardens of Wonder 30th Anniversary at Disneyland Paris in France, outside the Disneyland Paris Castle


Where to Stay When Visiting Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris has 7 primary hotels on property:

We wrote an in-depth post about the best hotels near Disneyland Paris here. If you’re looking for accommodations, we recommend that you check out that post!

We stayed at the Disney Sequoia Lodge and thought it was a nice place to stay, and it was easy to walk to the parks each morning. You can read more about our stay at the Sequoia Lodge here.

Sequoia Lodge at Disneyland Paris

Other Hotel Options

Booking.com  

There are also options to stay off-property which are a bit more affordable. If you stay off property, make sure to book your park tickets and make reservations. Here’s a few hotels off-property to consider:

 

 


What to Pack for a Trip to Disneyland Paris

We recommend that you bring the following things while you’re at Disneyland Paris:

  • Backpack: Use a backpack to store your water, snacks, and extra clothing layers.
  • Cell phone charger: Pack a fully-charged cell-phone battery pack.
  • Water bottle: Bring your own water bottle and fill it up throughout the day.
  • Ponchos: Make sure you’re prepared if rain comes your way.
  • Sunscreen: We couldn’t find sunscreen within the parks, so make sure to bring your own.
  • Hand sanitizer: Thousands of people touch the rides every day, so it’s a good idea to sanitize your hands often.
  • Disney clothes: Many people dress up in Disney-themed clothes while at the parks. Be sure to pack a few things to wear, and save room to for souvenirs as well! 

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What castle is the most visited castle in Europe?

The most visited castle in Europe is Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disneyland Paris. The castle is called Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant. In addition to being the centerpiece of Disneyland Paris, it contains a gallery and a dragon’s lair!

What castle is in Disneyland Paris?

The castle at Disneyland Paris is called Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant. The name is French for Sleeping Beauty’s castle. The castle is inspired by French architecture and pays homage to Princess Aurora. 

Can you go inside the Disneyland Paris castle?

You can definitely go inside the Disneyland Paris castle. Inside the castle gates, you’ll find two shops. On the second floor, there is an art gallery depicting the story of Sleeping Beauty. Below the castle, you can walk to find a dragon’s lair.

Does Disneyland Paris have Belle’s castle?

The Disneyland Paris castle is based on Sleeping Beauty, not Belle. Although Belle (from Beauty and the Beast) lives in France, the Disneyland Paris does not represent her. The Disneyland Paris castle is called Le “Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant.” Although the word “Belle” is in the name, its translation in French is “beauty” (thus referring to Sleeping Beauty). 


Summary

The Disneyland Paris castle, Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, is one of Disney’s most spectacular castles. I’ve personally visited 3 of Disney’s castles, and the one in Paris is by far my favorite. I love that guests can walk to the second floor gallery and the dragon’s lair beneath the castle. I hope this post inspires you to visit the Disneyland Paris castle!

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