Disney’s New Castle of Magical Dreams Honors Female Heroes

The first ever reimagined castle in Disney history wants to spread Disney magic for everyone!

Apr 10, 2021
Disney’s New Castle of Magical Dreams Honors Female Heroes | The first ever reimagined castle in Disney history wants to spread Disney magic for everyone!

A new Disneyland castle is honoring 14 of the more varied and ethnically diverse female heroes starring in recent Disney movies. This reflects just how much this beloved family entertainment giant has repositioned itself to celebrate women’s achievements.

Hong Kong Disneyland Park’s castle offers a standout mix of colorful turrets, decorated with symbols and patterns. It pays tribute to the cultural heritage and powerful action-led stories of princesses, queens and other leaders admired for their spunk as much as their striking looks.

These icons include Mulan, the warrior in Imperial China, Pocahontas, the Native American adventurer, Moana, the headstrong daughter of a Polynesian village chief, the fearless Anna and Else from Frozen, and Merida in Brave, who defies age-old customs.

All are female role models who aren’t afraid to take on non-traditional leadership challenges. Significantly, many of these movies are Oscar winners.

While diversity and female empowerment are unlikely to have been priorities when the first Disney resort opened its doors in Anaheim, California back in 1955, times have changed.

The new fairytale palace in Hong Kong’s recently reopened Disneyland Park is called the Castle of Magical Dreams but here the link with classic fairy tales changes. Unlike the Cinderella castles in Tokyo and Florida, or the Sleeping Beauty citadels in California and Paris, this redesign puts heroines brimming over with courage and determination front and center.

Amanda Chiu, a producer with Walt Disney Imagineering Asia, explains to CNN how this female strength of character was built into the new castle. Speaking of these Disney icons, she says: "Instead of portraying them in a very submissive way, we portrayed them (all) as powerful women in a very engaging pose," referring to the depiction of Ariel standing proudly as she exercises her newfound freedom and Jasmine riding solo on the magic carpet.

The architecture and colors also represent different parts of the world based on the characters’ places of origin. This is something Hilcia Pena, a senior architect at Walt Disney Imagineering emphasizes: “Our stories continue to grow, and we get to learn about different cultures around the world. So how do we put that into the buildings and stories we try to tell?... A European castle has one style and the same detailing everywhere, this one has different architectural styles - even the domes are very different in style."

The new construction is made up of 15 modules that were pre-fabricated, painted and assembled off-site. These were then craned onto the existing castle structure to create a seamless transformation.

And the castle’s attention to detail is clear, from the delicate engravings of the different Disney icons carved into the stone pillars, to the huge stained glass window depicting each female leader.  

Ms. Chiu also reveals that Disneyland Hong Kong is designed according to the principles of feng shui, the ancient Chinese practice of positioning objects and buildings to maximize the flow of positive energy. "We want to draw on that harmony and apply that to the castle" she adds.

10 Great Movies That Celebrate Strong Women
Celebrating a New Dolphin Prototype That May Just Change History
11 Educational Activities for Kids at Disney World

Daphne has a background in editing, writing and global trends. She is inspired by trends seeing more people care about sharing and protecting resources, enjoying experiences over products and celebrating their unique selves. Making the world a better place has been a constant motivation in her work.