Belgian Sand Sculpture Festival Celebration On Now

Disney and Pixar Sand Sculptures to Stick Around Until October 1–Weather Permitting

Cinderellas castle by the sea sand sculpture

Ostend, Belgium is the home, albeit a temporary one, to many of our favorite Disney characters. To celebrate Disneyland Paris’ 25th Anniversary, the familiar faces and castles have been transformed by talented sand sculptors into a visual display unlike any other. Joining the Disney icons are comic book heroes as well as Pixar and Star Wars characters.

Sand carver Konstantin Kuzyarin works on Mickey Mouse sand sculpture

The Ostend sand festival is the world’s largest sand-sculpture festival (according to Guinness Book of Records 2010). It is held annually with a different theme each year. This year is the festival’s 20th! The festival opened June 24 and runs until October 1, 2017–if mother nature allows. Rain can, and has in the past, wash away sculptures. Although officially the date is October 1, other sources say Sept 10…so don’t wait!

Sand carver Franco Daga

The sculptors, who are from all around the world, had a combined 7000 tons of sand to work with. 32 artists worked in teams over a 5 week period to create 150 different sand sculptures for the event.

Sand Sculpture of Disney Castle by carver Susanne Paucker

The blocks of sand are carved into the Disney/Pixar themes. Some are right at home, like Jaws, Finding Dory, and Ariel.

Ariel sand sculpture

Others are a bit out of their element, like Mogli of Jungle Book, and Pocahontas…and some are even from a galaxy far, far away.



Pocahontas sand sculpture

Although held at the beach, the sand used by the sculptors is not typical beach sand. That sand is too smooth, from the ocean waves. Instead, the sand is imported from a quarry. The “new” sand still has rough edges which is what allows it to compact so tightly. And it is this feature that allows the artists to create their works.

When not carving sand, most of the sculptors carve other materials. Some are ice or snow carvers. Others carve wood or stone.

“What I like in the sand is that you must be very tactile while carving, I am also an ice carver and to compare with ice, the sand is very fragile,” Russian artist Sergey Zaplatn told Reuters.

Ostend Sand Sculpture Festival 2017

If you go, the festival opens at 10am and closes at 7pm. Allow for about an hour to walk the entire pathway through the gallery. The path wends through the sand sculptures and is 6/10 of a mile long (1 kilometer.) There is a fee to enter the area. “Disney Sand Magic” as this year’s sand sculpture festival has been dubbed, takes place on the beach of Ostend, between the central railway station and the Casino.

More information about Disney Sand Magic is available here.

Photo credits:

Sand carver Konstantin Kuzyarin from Russia works on a sculpture during the Sand Sculpture Festival “Disney Sand Magic” in Ostend, Belgium June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Sand sculptor Susanne Paucker from Germany works on a sculpture during the Sand Sculpture Festival “Disney Sand Magic” in Ostend, Belgium on June 22, 2017. image from the Global Times

Overall view of the Ostend Sand Sculpture Festival from

Sand carver Franco Daga of Italy works on a sculpture during the Sand courtesy of eBaum’s World

Other images from Disney Paris