Walking along the vintage American streetscape of Main Street, USA, with the towers of Sleeping Beauty Castle rising in the distance—well, you know you’re in for something amazing. Take a stroll along Main Street, USA, the welcome mat of Disneyland Park, to see Walt Disney’s whimsical brilliance and use of fantasy rooted in reality.
Shop names and building designs allude to his own past, or to those of other Disneyland 'imagineers'. For example, Hotel Marceline is named after the small town in Missouri where Disney spent part of his youth. Period photos of Fort Collins, provided by Disney imagineer Harper Goff who grew up in the Colorado town, helped inspire the design of some buildings.
Sleeping Beauty Castle has a more direct inspiration. It’s based on a 19th-century Bavarian castle in Neuschwanstein, Germany. (To see the original, take Soarin’ Around the World, the virtual plane ride in neighbouring California Adventure that lets you zoom over a variety of iconic landmarks around the globe.) Although the drawbridge to the Disneyland castle actually works, it has only been lowered twice: when the park opened in 1955 and for the 1983 re-dedication of Fantasyland, which is entered by passing through the castle's archway.