"Once upon a time, in a faraway land, a young prince lived in a shining castle."A classic trope within Fairy Tales, the Bright Castle is a beautiful structure usually owned by a monarch, magician or powerful creature. It is picturesque, but sometimes cursed or with a dark secret. It can also be the home of the protagonist, who often must either leave the sanctuary, or save it from imminent doom. Expect to see lots of towers and turrets reaching for the sky, and not as much thought given to making it defensible. The Bright Castle may also contain the MacGuffin, or Deus ex Machina that the heroes need. It can also represent an ordeal or trap that they must overcome to better both themselves and their cause. May also be a Big Fancy Castle. Often a feature of the Shining City.
— Narrator, Disney's Beauty and the Beast
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Anime and Manga
- Berserk: For Griffith, an ambitious commoner who dreams of winning his own kingdom, a beautiful castle on a hill is the emblem of the great heights he is trying to reach. Compared to other castles shown which are very military in design, the castle Griffith envisions looks more like something out of a fairytale with its vertically-oriented design and picturesque towers. In the Eclipse, the God Hand show him the castle shining in the distance beyond his reach, and call attention to the contrast between the purity of his dream and the mountain of dead bodies he's walked over in order to get closer to his goal.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, the Bright Castle was a (field) spellcard that affected light-based monsters.
- The anime also provides a more typical example in the form of the castle of Simlow, home of Princess Adina
- The castle from Revolutionary Girl Utena. As revealed late in the series, it's nothing more than an illusion projected from Akio's planetarium.
- The Kanejou family from B Gata H Kei lives in one. Played for Laughs, naturally.
- Nurse Angel Ririka SOS depicts the home of its alien sovereign princess Spirit Advisor as an idyllic land of green fields and fairytale castles. Until the villains show up and corrupt it, that is.
- The castle on the Disney logo, which is, based on Cinderella's castle, which in turn is based on the late 19th century Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. Almost ALL of the Disney Princess films feature this to some extent.
- Snow White's Prince whisked her off to one at the end of the film.
- As mentioned above, Cinderella's prince lives in one, which Cinderella fantasizes about and eventually goes to the famous ball there.
- Sleeping Beauty lives within one; it is surrounded by a Hedge of Thorns.
- The Prince in Beauty and the Beast lives in this trope until the Enchantress appears and puts a curse on it. While it is still quite beautiful in many respects, there are signs of what happened there in the decor — beast face-shaped doorknockers, gargoyles, etc.
- The Little Mermaid has two: Triton's palace in Atlantica, and Eric's castle by the sea.
- Aladdin has the Sultan's palace
- Pride Rock from The Lion King. Though not necessarily a castle in our sense- it is one for Simba and family, still it's a beautiful and imposing natural structure.
- Mount Olympus from Hercules. Unique in that it's completely inaccessible to mortals unless special requirements are met.
- The Imperial Palace from Mulan. Distinct in that this is the only palace that the movie's matching princess does not live in/has lived in/moved into.
- Kuzco's palace from The Emperor's New Groove.
- Nedakh Palace from Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
- Tangled has the royal castle of the Kingdom of the Sun.
- Enchanted, being an Affectionate Parody of Disney Princess films, of course has the castle of Prince Edward. Parodied in New York with the billboard castle.
- Aside from the existing castle she and Anna grew up in, Elsa actually builds one from scratch using her ice powers in Frozen.
- Far Far Away Castle from the Shrek sequels. The first film, being something of a Take That! at Disney's Real Life corporate practices as opposed to their fairytale image, features Lord Farquaad's brightly lit and impressively large castle, which comes across as monolithic (rather than ornate) and kind of creepy (rather than cheerful).
- The castle in A Brother's Price is this. Lots of windows, which would be expensive in the somewhat medieval setting. It is also very nice and bright inside.
- The Ivory Tower from The Neverending Story.
- Cair Paravel from The Chronicles of Narnia.
- Minas Ithil and Minas Arnor from The Lord of the Rings.
- The castle in Genua from Witches Abroad, which falls very definitely under Light Is Not Good.
- Caemlyn Palace in The Wheel of Time.
Live Action TV
- Ipsen's Castle from Final Fantasy IX (as the McGuffin Storage Facility), and Alexandria Castle (as "home with a dark secret").
- The shining, Gothic Anor Londo in Dark Souls.
- Princess Peach's castle from the Super Mario Bros. series games.
- Beanbean Castle in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.
- Pi'illo Castle manages to come off as this in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team despite being a ruin. It helps that, despite its original Pi'illo inhabitants being Taken for Granite for centuries, it's being preserved by Brocks and other races as a tourist destination.
- Hyrule Castle from The Legend of Zelda series games. Though it occasionally loses its luster when taken over by the Big Bad, especially in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
- Dark Beauty Castle in Epic Mickey, at least before the Blot Wars.
- The giant castle/church of Bevelle from Final Fantasy X probably qualifies.
- Castle Waxwane in Puppeteer, though some of its luster has faded with the shattering of the Moonstone.
- In Disney Princess Enchanted Journey, Gentlehaven Castle is abandoned due to a curse. After you beat the final boss, it's restored to its former glory.
- Kingdom Hearts features many castles from the source materials, and it also has its own original ones:
- Radiant Garden's towering bastion in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.
- Disney Castle is a cartoony take, with bouncy, exaggerated spires. It's also inspired by either the castle in the Walt Disney Pictures logo, o Cinderella castle in the parks.