The Winding Path Around Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant

Sleeping Beauty Castle, or Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant as it’s called in French, is the highlight of the Disneyland Paris “skyline,” but also has a veritable labyrinth of paths winding past and through it, making it a prime location to explore. One of these paths–the one to the left in this photo–leads inside the Castle to an Audio-Animatronics dragon in his lair, and an incredibly neat little shop.

A dragon and a shop…probably doesn’t sound all that exciting to someone who has never experienced Disneyland Paris in person. However, it’s details like these that make Disneyland Paris so special, and really set it apart from the other Disneyland-style parks. The attention to detail in that park is mind-boggling, and anyone who appreciates the “Disney Details” will find a treasure trove to explore in Disneyland Paris.

Seasonal Visits?

One of the things that worried me about heading to Disneyland Paris at Christmas-time was that all of my photos would have Christmas decorations in them. I normally wouldn’t have this concern, as I know most places we visit I’ll be back to at some point or another. I assumed we’d be back to Paris at some point, too, but I couldn’t really be sure. Don’t get me wrong–I really wanted to see Disneyland Paris at Christmas, I was just concerned that “Christmas” might be in the vast majority of my photos.

My biggest concern in this regard was Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant at night. Although I like the Castle Dream Lights, I really love the way the Disney castles look at night without any further window-dressing. Luckily, the lights in Disneyland Paris are not turned on until well after the sun has gone done, so I had the opportunity to photograph the Castle both with and without the lights. It was the best of both worlds.

Still, it gave me more of an appreciation for why some people may not like Christmas decorations and holiday overlays. I know in the future when making our travel plans I will be sure to do more research into what the season during which we’re visiting entails. While Disneyland Paris first reminded me of this, more recent trips to Atlanta and Washington, D.C. have reaffirmed this need for “advance” seasonal scouting. Both from a general touring perspective and for photography. I’ll go into those experiences in ATL and D.C. later, though…

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Photographed with a Nikon D600 and the Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens. I’m fairly certain I’ve mentioned this in the past, but for right now, I’m using this DX fisheye lens with my FX Nikon D600. It works well enough, especially given that I have enough MP to crop out the black areas. I really like the lens for its price-point, sharpness, and starbursts, but I still want to find a comparable option for FX. I’m going to test out the Zenitar fisheye soon and see if that does the trick.

In post processing, I used Adobe Camera Raw to adjust the white balance, fill light, and exposure and opened the image as a Smart Object into Photoshop CS6. There, I duplicated the Smart Object as a new layer and opened it back into Adobe Camera Raw, adjusting the colors (white balance mostly) for the pink areas of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Since the icicle lights were soon to be turned on when I took this photo, the Castle was bathed in a layer of deep blue light, making this whole scene really, really blue. That’s great when the icicle lights are actually on, but it doesn’t look right when they’re not. After making that edit, I opened that Smart Object back into Photoshop, giving me two different Smart Objects as different layers in the image. I then used a layer mask to leave the blue where blue should be, and restore correct coloring to other areas. I finished by doing a curves adjustment layer and then doing some healing where there were water spots and stray lens flare.

Your Thoughts…

During which season, if any, do you prefer to travel? Are you a fan of the fall colors of September-November, of December’s Christmas decorations, or do you primarily travel in the summer months? Share your thoughts in the comments!

5 replies
  1. Spenser
    Spenser says:

    Thank you for all of your Disney tips! Originally I’m from not too far away from you guys in the Northern parts of Indiana. However studies abroad are allowing me to visit Disneyland Paris next week! This tip about the path have made me more aware of where to go to see the dragon while there! I have also read your other Disneytourist blogs about DLP, and am very excited! WDW is my family’s preferred destination, however I am excited to experience this new one! Thanks for all of your tips!

  2. Chris M.
    Chris M. says:

    Can’t wait to read what you think about the Zenitar fisheye. I saw it for sale on Craigslist a few months ago and have been interested in the lens ever since.

  3. Kevin
    Kevin says:

    I want to go back to Europe someday, but I had not thought of visiting EuroDisney. Your posts/pictures are helping convince me otherwise. 🙂

    As for your question about when to travel – probably 40-50% of our pre-child vacations were for skiing so we were trying to pick times that would have snow and crowds would be as low as possible. The rest of our travel (and our post-child Disney travel) is dictated by a combination of reasonable weather, decent airfare prices if flying, and anticipated crowds where we are headed. I’m sorry it’s not a terribly good answer. I suppose it depends on the type of trip which priority is dominant.


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