Although there are castles at Disney parks in America, Japan and Hong Kong, Sleeping Beauty Castle is unique. Other Disney castles are modelled on aspects of historic European castles located far from the parks in which they appear. For Disneyland Paris, such a castle would have been redundant. Therefore, a “fairy tale” Castle design was used, inspired by classic book illustrations, illuminated manuscripts and the animated movie Sleeping Beauty with its distinctive “square tree” landscape. The Castle also incorporates some aspects of French “châteaux” researched by Disney Imagineers.
There is one thing Sleeping Beauty Castle has in common with all other Disney castles: it faces north-to-south to prevent backlighting for guests who wish to photograph it from Main Street.
Sleeping Beauty Castle is the only Disney Castle in the world with its own dragon, sequestered in La Taniere du Dragon beneath the Castle. The largest Audio-Animatronics® figure (79 feet long, 5,500 pounds) at Disneyland Paris, this dragon was designed to resemble the “real” dragons of European folklore, rather than the animated dragons of Disney movies.
The largest number of Audio-Animatronics® figures in a Disneyland Park attraction is 281 in “it’s a small world”. There are also 247 animated props and 48 animated toys in the attraction.
Walt Disney’s love of miniatures – he collected them and also had miniatures created for practical use in planning films and theme parks – is reflected in the elaborate miniature settings of Le Pays des Contes de Fées. Aside from Disneyland Paris, only Disneyland in California features a version of this attraction, and the version in France is larger and features more scenes.
There are 580,000 bricks in Main Street, U.S.A., laid out in a pattern similar to New York City at the turn of the 20th Century.
225,000 light bulbs illuminate the Main Street, U.S.A., facades.
While a few of the “tenants” whose names appear on the upstairs windows of Main Street, U.S.A., are comical puns – dental professional “Dr. Bitz” for example – many of the windows pay tribute to real individuals who contributed to the concept and development of Disneyland Paris. Walt Disney and his brother Roy are credited as “Founders and Partners” on one window. Imagineering executive Martin Sklar, whose Disney career began when he published a Main Street newspaper for guests in the original Disneyland, is listed as a newspaper editor. And the names of the original Imagineering “show producers” for the lands of Disneyland Paris are listed under the title “Dentists in Training: Licensed to use Laughing Gas”.
The Disneyland Paris attraction Space Mountain: De la Terre à la Lune was the first roller coaster attraction in the world to integrate a synchronised onboard audio system. The idea, developed by Walt Disney Imagineering, has since been used on roller coasters (including Rock’n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith) in Disney theme parks around the world.
Of the five versions of Space Mountain at Disney theme parks, Space Mountain: Mission 2, launched on 9 April 2009 at Disneyland Paris, is the fastest, and the only one to include “inversions” – turning riders upside-down in loops and corkscrews. Michael Giacchino, composer of the music for The Incredibles and the American television series Alias, was chosen to create the music track which accompanies passengers on their journey.
The cars in Autopia in Discoveryland travel up to 2,000 km per day.
Four different versions of Big Thunder Mountain exist in four Disney parks worldwide (Paris, California, Florida and Tokyo). The version at Disneyland Paris is the fastest, tallest and longest of them all.
Indiana Jones™ and the Temple of Peril was the first roller coaster in a Disney theme park to feature an inversion. The attraction premiered July 30, 1992. From April 2000 to November 2004 the attraction was temporarily “reversed” to become Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril: Backwards!
At Walt Disney Studios Park, the trains on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith are called “Soundtrackers”and each Soundtracker plays a different Aerosmith soundtrack during the journey.
The limousine at the entrance to Studio Tram Tour®: Behind the Magic at Walt Disney Studios is the actual limousine used by Cruella de Vil (Glenn Close) in the movie 102 Dalmatians.
Signs and “false fronts” in the Front Lot and Backlot areas of Walt Disney Studios Park include references not only to Hollywood productions but also to classic French motion pictures (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg) and famous lines of dialogue (Arletty’s “Atmosphere, Atmosphere …” from Hotel du Nord.)
The unusual three-tiered hedge landscaping around Art of Disney Animation® is a tribute to Disney Animation’s use of the multiplane camera system to achieve an unprecedented illusion of depth in animated motion pictures.
The approximately 14,500 Cast Members working at Disneyland Paris include 100 different nationalities and 500 different job disciplines. The average age among Disneyland Cast Members is 36, and the average Cast Member has served for longer than 8 1/2 years.