Every Disney park has what Walt called, a “weenie.” The eye-catching piece that drew people towards it. In Epcot, Spaceship Earth. In Hollywood Studios, the Sorcerer’s Hat. Animal Kingdom, the Tree of Life, and of course Magic Kingdom has Cinderella’s Castle. Shadowlands will be no different. The weenie of the entire park will also be a castle, Maleficent’s Castle.
Inspired by the background art of Eyvind Earle, who worked on Sleeping Beauty, the castle will be based on his work with a little tastle of Castle Grayskull thrown in.
The exterior will be covered in climbing plants, like ivy and moss. It will have a crumbling appearance with it’s 13 towers precariously leaning as if about to topple at any minute. (think Merlin’s tower in the Sword and the Stone, only more evil) The base would be surrounded by rock, as if the castle were growing out of the very stone itself.
While the towering vision of Earle’s castle may be a bit too ambitious and possible against FAA regulations, the castle would retain its narrow look, but be brought down to earth a bit.
the structure would consist of 2 separate rock formations. The first would be known as the Castle Approach. It would be accessed by a long ramp from the Hub area of the park and connected to the 2nd formation by a massive drawbridge.
As seen in the cross section of the Castle Approach, guests would enter the Approach through an opening in the rock that gives them access to the interior of the rock. Inside they would make their way around the towering stone via a curved walkway that hugs the walls (similar to the Land pavilion at Epcot.) Upon exiting, they would make their way across the aforementioned drawbridge and into/through the castle proper.
Like Cinderella’s Royal Table, Maleficent’s Castle would have its own fine dining location: Dungeon. Just as it sounds, Dungeon would be located at the depths of the 2nd rock formation beneath the castle, accessed by elevator only. Torchlit dining awaits along with all the (non)comforts one might expect in a dungeon. Walls that appear wet, rusty iron doors, and maybe even the possible tortured screams of some poor unfortunate soul.
When the meal is complete and guests have returned to the surface, they should be sure to visit the dragon’s lair, located on the backside of the castle in a cave just large enough to hold the audio-animatronic beast.
Next: The Magic Mirror