Joey the dog in perspective at a distance and close up

Disney Castle is Pretend – No Surprise

If you have ever been to Disneyland in Anaheim California, you must have seen and entered the Sleeping Beauty Castle – you know the HUGE stone castle with the brightly colored flags waving from the parapet, (the extended short wall around the top of the castle that goes up and down and up and down like a zigzag with flat tops and bottoms – see a parapet in this photo below:

Photo of a PARAPET by Pelayo Arbués on Unsplash

Back to Disneyland. When Walt Disney was designing the theme park based on the animations he created, he wanted the place to be bigger and better than real life. It would be a land of fantasy. To that end, he had the designers design the castle at the entry to the park to LOOK BIGGER than it really was. This was accomplished by the use of FORCED PERSPECTIVE.

It is the idea that our eyes see farther things to be smaller and closer things to be larger. For example, my dog, Joey, is the size of my finger tip that i hold up when she is at a distance, and she is pretty hefty when my finger is close to her.

joey far and near

What does this have to do with the castle at Disneyland? Well those designers at Disneyland built the castle to LOOK bigger by making the bricks shrink in size as they went up the building, to APPEAR farther than they really were. So it feels like the buildings are really big and you are really small. As a kid, you are awed by the HUGENESS of the castle. Even as an adult, it feels like it is very big and grand. This makes everyone feel more like a kid. And Disneyland wants us all to have that fantasy.

Drawing with perspective is always interesting and fun. You can try it here and we are planning a video workshop on perspective drawing soon!!

Read more about the Disney perspective situation here in Smithsonian Magazine.


alberti de pictura
Alberti de Pictura, about perspective.