When we first offered a glimpse of the new Beauty and the Beast castle in the New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, it appeared to be built on a grand scale, rivaling that of the iconic Cinderella Castle. But a when Disney revealed a behind-the-scenes look at its construction, nearby hard-hat workers provided a perfect frame of reference showing the true size of the new structure.
Now an aerial photo snapped by photographer Scott Keating gives a good view of how Walt Disney Imagineers have employed the tried-and-true technique of “forced perspective” to give the illusion that Beast’s Castle is larger than than it truly is.
Yep, that relatively small two-part purple-ish structure is Beast’s Castle, sitting atop the much larger grey building which will house the “Be Our Guest” restaurant. A bit of eye trickery and careful planning transform that same castle into the ground-level view seen here:
Though Disney would likely prefer the following comparison not to be made, it’s not entirely dissimilar to how Hogwarts castle was created for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure. Compare the ground-level shot of the Harry Potter castle below to the aerial image from Google Maps:
And a closer look:
Yep, the giant castle that is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy is also a giant forced perspective effect, essentially taking up only a small corner of the much larger building that houses the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. It’s the brown/grey part in the upper-right of the building in the photo above.
Of course, Disney still has Orlando’s only full-size castle, the most famous of them all, Cinderella Castle:
And although it uses its own version of forced perspective (the “bricks” get smaller near the top of the castle), even when viewed from above, it’s still majestic and huge:
But whether it’s wizards or fairy godmothers, theme park magic hides the reality of these effects leaving only the fantasy world for guests walking through the parks. And Beast’s Castle, with its Be Our Guest restaurant and mysterious “West Wing” will have no shortage of Disney Magic. It will open in late 2012 as part of a phased roll-out of the New Fantasyland.