Any sand sculptures you may have built wouldn't hold a candle to those created by Sand Sculptors International (SSI). If you care to challenge that statement, stop by Valley Fair Mall and compare for yourself. Here, SSI staff members David Gross, Greg Glenn and Brad Gull have used 16 tons of fine-grain sand to recreate Sleeping Beauty's Castle.

Every window and tower in this 12-foot-high castle has been painstakingly carved from sand. Protecting the castle is a dragon - and Mickey Mouse. But that's the only thing Mickey Mouse about this sculpture.SSI artisans, supervised by Todd Vander Pluym, have been creating sand sculptures for more than 40 years. They are the current U.S. Open, World, and International Sand Sculpture Champions and hold all world records for sand sculpture.

The project began this past Monday and took five days. The castle is part of Valley Fair's Disneyland Days.

Greeting visitors at the castle from Thursday, April 25, through Sunday, April 28, will be Mickey Mouse, Goofy and other Disney characters. They'll shake hands and pose for pictures, and also give away sample-size packets of M & M's chocolate candies.

Free shows by Disneyland entertainers will be held during the day and evening at different locations inside the mall. Mickey Mouse and the Club Diz gang will present a 20-minute musical five times a day at the entrance of J.C. Penney. And, at the entrance near ZCMI, the Little Mermaid will captivate children with her undersea adventures; Norman Foote, new vocalist on Disney Records, will perform five times a day at the Club Diz stage; and Stacia Martin will demonstrate how cartoon characters are created.

And there's more:

- Disney videos will run throughout the day.

- Guess the number of M & M's in the crystal ball at Sleeping Beauty's Castle and win a family vacation for four to Disneyland.

- Buy Mickey Mouse balloons from Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Greater Salt Lake Area. Proceeds will go to their program that helps nearly 400 single-parent children.

Pick up the Disneyland Entertainment Schedule at the mall. Inside is the form you must use to guess the number of M & M's in the bowl. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, April 30.

For more information about Disneyland Days, call Valley Fair at 969-6211.