Disney's Sleeping Beauty Castle Secret

Since Disneyland first opened, many visitors have yet to discover Sleeping Beauty Castle's secret.

Sleeping Beauty Castle, Disneyland, Anaheim, California
The Disneyland icon celebrates its 65th anniversary in 2020.
Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

Even the least observant visitor to Disneyland couldn't miss Sleeping Beauty Castle, the park's centerpiece. Its towers and turrets are visible straight down Main Street, soon after you enter the gates. Visitors who stroll past retro dioramas enhanced by special effects can see Aurora and her suitor, Prince Philip, beset by the spells of the evil fairy Maleficent—and of course, at the world's happiest theme park, they live happily ever after.

But nearly 65 years after Disneyland first opened in July 1955, many visitors have yet to discover the fairy-tale dwelling's secret: a door hidden in plain sight on the Fantasyland side of the building.

Disneyland Resort Sleeping Beauty Castle under construction in 1955, image

Two months before opening day, the Disneyland landmark was getting its final touches.

Courtesy Disneyland Resort

Step through this portal and you'll enter the story of Princess Aurora, including her fateful encounter with the spinning-wheel spindle and her long wait for an awakening kiss. Narrow hallways and stone stairs take visitors past holograms, cartoon dioramas, and over- size book pages that spell out the tale with Disney flair.

Once you emerge, glance up to see the castle in all its glittering glory, looking much the same as it did on opening day. From the spires to the drawbridge, this magical landmark is a gem worthy of a diamond anniversary celebration.


This article was first published in January 2015 and in February 2019.