Hong Kong Disneyland Resort Parks & Resorts

RUMOR: Hong Kong Disneyland to Tear Down Sleeping Beauty Castle

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I have heard some crazy rumors in my lifetime, but never in a million years could I fathom that a Disney theme park would remove its castle. Surprisingly, it seems that Hong Kong Disneyland park will be…

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Hong Kong Disneyland
Sleeping Beauty Castle at Hong Kong Disneyland

Rumor has it that Hong Kong Disneyland is unhappy with the carbon copy of Sleeping Beauty Castle that they received from Disneyland back in 2005 when the park opened. While the small castle looks rather beautiful with the real mountains behind it, the castle itself is rather unimpressive.

2005 was a very different time at Walt Disney Imagineering and in the Walt Disney Company. Some might even call it the dark ages. The company was still under the direction of Michael Eisner, who was frightened by the failures of Disneyland Resort Paris, a project in which they spent time and money to build a gorgeous park that just never grew the audience they expected. He also was on his way out of the company as many shareholders were becoming restless with many of the company’s decisions.

In designing and executing Hong Kong Disneyland, the company wasn’t looking to break the bank. In fact, at one point in development, the Castle wasn’t even going to have a backside, it would be hollow like a movie set. Like I said folks, the dark ages.

Still, it was cheaper to just copy what had been built in California, a small Castle with little interior. It seems that Hong Kong is a little jealous of little brother Shanghai Disneyland’s giant Storybook Castle and wants a bigger and more impressive park icon of their own.

Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disneyland
Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disneyland

If the plan comes to pass, a larger castle (smaller than Shanghai, but completely unique in design) will be built on the site of the current Sleeping Beauty Castle in Hong Kong. This would mark the very first time that a castle was torn down in a Disney theme park.

This project is part of a rumored second expansion phase of the park that would include new attractions as well. The last expansion phase added Mystic Manor, Grizzly Gulch, and Toy Story Land to the park.

An announcement from Disney is expected soon.

What do you think? Does this seem like a good idea or should the current castle be left alone?

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.

25 Comments

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  • Aw, give them a unique castle. All the other parks have their own (I would love to see Paris’s and Shanghai’s “in person” some day), so why not Hong Kong. It’s okay to tear this current one down as long as they replace it with another one.

    • Well here’s their opening for Elsa’s castle. How about they build Star Wars land and they can have Queen Amidala’s castle. Or just tear down Sleeping Beauty’s castle and leave the rubble and you have Princess Lelia’s castle halfway through A New Hope.

  • Asian parks have the money and control to do what they want. They’re obviously not taking the cheap way out…something foreign to those of us being screwed harder and harder by the mouse for less and less every year here in the states.

    • Juan, WDW is its own municipality. There is no public oficial over WDW. Management has a huge amount of control.

  • I think Hong Kong getting a bigger, more unique castle would be excellent. Always thought it was lame that they had a carbon copy of Disneylands. I wonder if their Main Street usa will also get tweaked to more resemble Shanghai’s unique Mickey avenue.

  • Gotta say, the mountainous backdrop makes HK’s castle look minuscule. I know that it’s the exact same dimensions as Anaheim, but in person you’d swear it was half the size.
    The forced perspective tricks Disney employs to great effect elsewhere in the world work against them on Lantau Island. So,unless they can think of some way to create a visual berm around the park, a size increase is probably the only way to go.

  • Speaking of new expansion in HkDL, I would like to have Star Wars land there. also a guardians of the galaxy coaster in tomarrowland. what do think?

  • This was how I felt when visiting Hong Kong Disneyland a few years ago. The castle was puny and the whole park felt like Anaheim without the Matterhorn next to it. They need a castle twice as tall with gold spires (Chinese love gold) and lots of ornamentation. The Beauty and the Beasy castle comes to mind. The issue is Hong Kong has tall skyscrapers that are so tall that the castle seems even smaller.

    The other mismatch was the American Main Street. This is out of place in the former British colony. Change it to a Mary Poppins street with Victorian era street houses. Be less American.

  • After reading all the comments here and on other sites I have come to some conclusions. One vital fact is yet to be said here yet, Disney doesn’t do anything unless it profits them. Tearing a castle down and building a new one does not profit them. Unless you put an attraction with gift shop, a restraunt or a bibbidi bobbidi bueatic. Now I have never been to Hong Kong, so I don’t know how much room they have, but I can assume at least one of these options can be fees able. After seeing the toy block monstrosity built in shanghai, I can see where hong kong wants it’s own identity. The same thing happened here in america. Disney World was built and people didn’t have a reason to travel across the country to visit another disney park. Some new and unusual attractions gave people s reason. But after a while Disneyland became small and insignificant. Along comes California Adventure. Hong Kong only has one park, why not do something new and different. Why not do a Mulan style castle pagoda, or a Snow White themed castle. A beautiful park icon can give a park it’s own personal identity. You see a picture of Cinderella Castle you know it’s in Florida, Belle castle Paris, the new Story Book castle Shanghai, you can’t have a identity with a copy. I apologize for the rant, but these kind of subjects interest me. Thank you to all that listen.

  • Walt himself said that Disneyland would never be complete and will always grow and change. While this is one of more interesting rumors I’ve ever heard it could theoretically be possible if the right design, schedule, financing etc. was all put into place. This all plus the assurance that the magic would not be disturbed.

    As mentioned in one of the other comments the Asian parks are controlled by a company in their home country that has contracted the rights from Disney so they have some autonomy and control however they would still have to get approval for any serious change like this one.

    Could it be done, probably. Will it be done it’s really hard to say for sure but I’m skeptical because of the shear size of the project and as another person mentioned Disney rarely does something unless they think there is going to be a good ROI.

    I would like to see some concept are on it either way though.

  • No No No please dont tear down HK Castle. Each Disney Castle has its own Beauty! Its true that it is a carbon copy of Californian Castle ,its small, but very nice ! The grey stone basement, the pink walls ant the light blue towers are beautyful. Also HKDL has a world unique landscape: its the only Disney Castle with mountains at the back. Dont demolish the castle. Its a trully landmark of Hong Kong!

  • More fabricated BS like DL losing Toontown, the Subs, getting an Oz themed land, speeder bike ride on the PM track, Disney acquiring the theme park rights to LOTR, and Fantasmic being changed. Never gonna happen.

  • The News sounds very NORMAL to me. It doesn’t sound crazy at all (as some people say) … Only narrow minded people say say that these news as impossible.
    Yes I don’t like also the small size of the castle. Make a new one. Disney company can do greater things than this. They have the money.

  • Yes! I was just at Hong Kong Disneyland last week, the castle is small, Their Christmas Tree is up, so when you walk in the castle is completely covered! There is lots of space, I had even wondered why this castle is so out of scale with the Main Street, I hope they rebuild…the castle from Frozen would be so unique. I have been to every Disney Property (California, Florida, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong) I’ll be going to Shanghai Disney January 2017!

  • Tearing down a Disney Parks castle is sacrilege to me. It also seems economically proibitive. Imaginiers can make Hong Kong’s castle diferent and more beautiful than the original. The same way the Tokyo Disney Resort castle was made different from its Floridian inspiration with the golden details. Why not use the money to build a different new resort or expand the park?

    • Tearing down a Disney Parks castle is sacrilege to me. It also seems economically proibitive. Imaginiers can make Hong Kong’s castle diferent and more beautiful than the original. The same way the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort castle was made different from its Floridian and Japanese inspiration with the golden details. Why not use the money to build a different new resort or expand the park?