Did you ever notice the Coat of Arms on Sleeping Beauty Castle as you walked through the drawbridge entrance on the way to Fantasyland? If you’re not looking for it, it’s very easy to miss. And there’s an interesting story behind it…
Circled in red, this is a family’s actual Coat of Arms, but whose is it? Before we get into the nitty-gritty of that, let’s talk about the family name, Disney. What are the Disney family’s roots? AndWhere did those roots originate?
Disney family origins
To answer that, we have to go back to a little town in Normandy, France called Isigny sur Mer. Centuries ago, folks were often known for the town that they came from. So people from Isigny were called D’Isigny or “of Isigny.” Over time, the french D’Isigny became anglicized to Disney.
There were more than a few wars fought between England and France. At some point, combatants from Isigny invaded England, quite possibly in the Norman Conquest of 1066. And of course certain fighters ending up staying, most notably in a town called Norton in Lincolnshire, England. To this very day, there are several monuments to former residents of the town with the surname Disney.
“The Disney family were Norman and originated from Isigny near Bayeaux and lived in Lincolnshire from the 13th century onwards – well onwards until King James II lopped the head off William Disney for his part in the Monmouth Rebellion.” – Rod Collins
Centuries later, some of the Disney Family emigrated to Gowron, a city in County Kilkenny, Ireland, and then from there to the U.S.
Disney Coat of Arms
So back to Sleeping Beauty Castle and the Coat of Arms above the entrance. There has been some discussion about whether this is / or is not / the Disney Family Coat of Arms. A lively discussion ensued on MiceChat about this topic and, bottom line, it is in fact believed to be the Disney family Coat of Arms. I tend to agree with this and, in addition, it was installed in the summer of 1965, ten years after Disneyland opened. Walt Disney was still alive at that point and must have overseen the installation.
Diving into some official heraldry here -> The Disney Coat of Arms’ shield consists of 3 lions, passant (not guardant) in pale. Passant means an animal (lion) walking to the left, looking to the left, with right foot raised. In pale means they are vertically centered down the middle.
Bonus fact: the Disney family motto is “Vincit qui patitur” (He conquers who endures.)