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There are few symbols that are more recognizable, more evocative of fantasy, than the Disney castles. In honor of the newest castle at Shanghai Disneyland, I’d like to take a look at how the Disney castles have evolved over the years.

Disneyland, the first of the Disney parks, opened in 1955. Guests marveled at Sleeping Beauty Castle:

Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland

The next step for Disney was Walt Disney World, which was a much more ambitious project. That ambition shows in its signature Cinderella Castle:

Cinderella's Castle from the side

Cinderella's Castle in Magic Kingdom

Tokyo Disney was the company’s first international park, and showcases its own version of Cinderella Castle. This castle is structurally similar to its namesake in Florida:

Cinderella Castle at Tokyo Disney Resort

Cinderella Castle at Tokyo Disney Resort

Disneyland Paris is home to Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, or The Castle of the Sleeping Beauty. This castle is more ethereal than either of the two American versions, and represents a departure from earlier architecture based on actual European castles.

Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant

Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant at Disneyland Paris

Hong Kong Disneyland returns to the shorter, wider architecture of Disneyland’s castle. Fittingly, the castle at Hong Kong Disneyland is also named Sleeping Beauty Castle. This summer, Tinker Bell is visiting Hong Kong Disneyland and has sprinkled the castle with fairy dust. It has been temporarily renamed Tinker Bell Castle for the summer:

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

Tinker Bell Castle at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

And finally, Disney released concept drawings at D23 of the newest edition: Enchanted Storybook Castle, which will debut at Shanghai Disneyland in 2014:

Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disneyland

Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disneyland

This will be by far their most extravagant castle, and will include several immersive experiences as well as the first Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique actually inside one of the castles! (Yes, the entrance to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Magic Kingdom is inside the castle tunner, but the actual experience is outside the castle.) This castle is a completely new design that looks more like a European Chateau than a medieval castle. I for one can’t wait to see the real thing!