From Bavaria to Disney: Modern Castles Built for Entertainment

1 From Bavaria to Disney: Modern Castles Built for Entertainment Max Herford Introduction The proposition of this article is that there is a link between King Ludwig the Fairytale King of Bavaria and Walt Disney, the proverbial King of the Magic Kingdom both built modern castles for the purpose of entertainment and that this describes a new type of building. The idea of the entertainment castle was first seen at Neuschwanstein in Bavaria in 1860 where King Ludwig planned extravagant operatic performances. Its latest expression can be seen in the 2016 structure of Disneyland Shanghai, which took the idea to a new level, matching the grandeur seen at Bavaria. Despite being commonly associated with the medieval period and the housing of the royal family and nobility, these castles are modern (modernity here being defined as the eighteenth century until today), and were constructed primarily for amusement. After describing the architectural features of each building the theoretical and cultural aspects will be considered in a discussion of what entertainment castles meant for the whimsical enterprises of Ludwig and Disney. Neuschwanstein, Germany In 1867, King Ludwig of Bavaria had come into his fortune and was ready to build and this extravagant program of construction ultimately led to his bankruptcy and downfall. Ludwig was inspired by his travels in Europe and his personal vision for Bavaria s own examples of architectural opulence. Munich-based art historian Michael Petzet recorded Ludwig s visit to the early medieval Wartburg Castle near Eisenach in Central Germany. 1 He wrote that the purpose of this visit was to see the setting that had been used Max Herford is a Master of Philosophy student at the University of Sydney. Please note that all images in this article are sourced from Wikimedia Commons. 1 Michael Petzet, Ludwig and the Arts, in Wilfrid Blunt, The Dream King: Ludwig II of Bavaria (London: Penguin, 1973), p

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