Cinderella Castle

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Cinderella Castle
Cinderella Castle 2013 Wade.jpg
Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom
Area Fantasyland
Coordinates 28°25′10″N 81°34′52″W / 28.4195°N 81.5812°W / 28.4195; -81.5812
Status Operating
Opening date October 1, 1971
Tokyo Disneyland
Area Fantasyland
Coordinates 48°52′24″N 2°46′34″E / 48.8732°N 2.776°E / 48.8732; 2.776
Status Operating
Opening date April 15, 1983
General statistics
Manufacturer Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Designer Walt Disney Imagineering
Theme Cinderella and Gothic Revival
Height 189 ft (58 m)

Cinderella Castle is the fairy tale castle at the center of two Disney theme parks: the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort, and Tokyo Disneyland at the Tokyo Disney Resort. Both serve as worldwide recognized icons and the flagship attraction for their respective theme parks. Along with Mickey Mouse, Tinker Bell, and Jimminy Cricket, the Castle is an iconic symbol of The Walt Disney Company.


Inspiration and design[edit]

Castle Neuschwanstein of Bavaria, 19th century
Alcázar of Segovia, 12th century

Cinderella Castle was inspired by a variety of real and fictional palaces, these included Fontainebleau, Versailles and the châteaux of Chenonceau, Pierrefonds, Chambord and Chaumont, as well as Castle Neuschwanstein, Bavaria, the Alcázar of Segovia in Spain. Other sources of inspiration include the Moszna Castle in Poland, built in the 18th century, and the Tyn Church in Prague, Czech Republic, built in the 14th century, the chief designer of the castle, Herbert Ryman, also referenced the original design for the castle in the film Cinderella and his own well-known creation — the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in California.[1]


Magic Kingdom[edit]

Cinderella Castle was completed in July 1971, after about 18 months of construction, the castle is 183 feet (56 m) tall, as measured from water-level. Most sources quote the height as six feet taller when measuring from the concrete bottom of the moat, which itself is 6 feet (1.8 m) deep at the bridge. Cinderella Castle is more than 100 feet (30 m) taller than Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. A set-building trick known as forced perspective makes the castle appear larger than it is, at higher elevations, its proportions to full scale are reduced for elements such as stones, windows, and doors. This castle was the largest Disney theme park castle until the completion of the Enchanted Storybook Castle in Shanghai Disneyland Park.

Cinderella Castle is designed to reflect the late-Gothic, flamboyant style of the 1400s. Unlike Disneyland's castle, no gold is used on the exterior; all gold colors are anodized aluminum. Despite its appearance, no bricks were used in its construction; the inner structure consists of six hundred tons of steel-braced frame construction, with a 10-inch-thick (250 mm) reinforced concrete wall encircling the structure to the full height of the outermost stone-like walls. All of the steel and concrete works are supported on a concrete drilled caisson foundation. Much less fiberglass is used than is popularly believed. Rather, most of the exterior is a thick, very hard fiber-reinforced gypsum plaster that is supported by light-gauge metal studs. Most fiberglass work is reserved for the exterior walls of more ornate upper towers, the roofs are not fiberglass, either. They are shingled in the same type of plastic that computer monitor shells are made from, attached to a cone of light gauge steel sheeting over the steel sub-frame, these towers were lifted by crane, then welded and bolted permanently to the main structure. Contrary to a popular legend, the castle cannot be taken apart or moved in any way in the event of a hurricane, it would take months to disassemble, it would be too dangerous to operate the 300-foot (91 m) crane required in windy conditions, and there would have to be a more structurally sound building to keep it in. As with every other building at Walt Disney World, it was simply efficient enough in design to handle a hurricane, it can easily withstand the 125 mph (175 km/h) wind speeds in Central Florida.

Cinderella Castle is also surrounded by a moat, which contains approximately 3.37 million US gallons (12,800 m3) of water; however, unlike the drawbridge at Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland, Cinderella Castle cannot raise its bridge. There are a total of 27 towers on the castle, each numbered 1-29—tower numbers 13 and 17 were cancelled before construction when it was discovered that they could not really be seen from anywhere in the park, due mainly to the other Fantasyland buildings, the tower with the clock in front is number 10, the tallest is number 20. Number 23 is the other golden-roofed tower.

Originally, a suite was planned for the Disney family and executives,[2] but since Walt Disney died nearly five years before the park opened, it remained unfinished, and eventually was turned successively into a telephone call center, a dressing room, and is currently a lavish Dream Suite hotel room for specially selected guests. There are three elevators inside the castle. One is for guest use and goes between the lobby of Cinderella's Royal Table and the second floor restaurant, the second is for restaurant staff use, and is located in tower 2 to the left of the drawbridge. It has landings in the Utilidors, the mezzanine level in a break room, and on the second floor in the kitchen, the third elevator is in tower 20, and services the Utilidors, the breezeway, the kitchen of Cinderella's Royal Table, and the Cinderella Castle Suite. The suite is about 30 feet (9.1 m) below the level where the cable that Tinker Bell "flies" on for the fireworks show is attached to tower 20. Access to the cable is by ladder, from January 2007 to December 2009 the suite was used as a prize for the Disney Dreams Giveaway at the Walt Disney World Resort during the Year of a Million Dreams celebration.

Cinderella Castle was designed so that it was tall enough to be seen from the Seven Seas Lagoon in front of the Magic Kingdom, where many guests took ferries from the parking lot to the gates of the park; in theme park jargon, Cinderella Castle was conceived as the primary "weenie" (a term commonly used by Walt and his Imagineers) that draws new entering guests through Main Street, U.S.A. towards the central hub, from where all other areas can be reached.

The Castle was repainted in the Fall of 2006, and now is a slightly off white, brown, and pinkish color, and the turrets are a much darker blue.

Tokyo Disneyland[edit]

The old color scheme at Tokyo Disneyland

Generally considered to be a copy of Magic Kingdom's castle, the Tokyo version is 168 feet (51 m) tall.[3] From 1986–2006, a popular walk-through attraction called the "Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour" was featured within the castle; in June 2006, the castle was repainted to differentiate it from Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom. The castle now has gold trimmings, the rooftops have been painted a different shade of blue, and the white stone of the turrets now has a tan/dirty-pink color.

Special decorations[edit]

Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom has been temporarily re-decorated on a few occasions.

  • To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort on October 1, 1996, Imagineers transformed the front of Cinderella Castle into an 18-story "birthday cake." Complete with red and pink "icing," giant candy canes and 26 glowing candles, the castle served as the centerpiece for the 15-month-long celebration. Designed by Walt Disney Entertainment Florida and later constructed by the Imagineers, this was no small undertaking, it took more than 400 US gallons (1,500 L) of pink paint to cover the castle, which was decorated with multicolored "sprinkles," 26 candles, ranging in height from 20–40 feet (6.1-12.2 m) tall, 16 two-foot (61 cm) long candy stars, 16 five-foot (1.5 m) candy bears, 12 five-foot (1.5 m) gumdrops, four six-foot (1.8 m) stacks of Life Savers, 30 three-foot (91 cm) lollipops, and 50 two-foot (61 cm) gumballs. Additionally, more than 1000 feet (305 m) of pink and blue inflatable "icing" was needed to finish it off, on January 31, 1998, the castle was transformed back to its original state.
  • On November 16, 2004, the castle was modified to appear as though it was strewn with toilet paper, and Stitch is King was posted on a turret as faux graffiti to mark the grand opening of Stitch's Great Escape! that day. The material was removed after the park closed that evening.
  • The castle's most recent redecoration commemorated the Happiest Celebration on Earth in honor of Disneyland's 50th anniversary and was formally unveiled on May 5, 2005. The castle's exterior was adorned with polished gold trim and accents, swags, banners and tapestries. Golden statues of Disney animated characters were also added to the exterior, including Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, and Wendy circling the tallest spire. Other statues included Kaa and King Louie from The Jungle Book, Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa from The Lion King, Sebastian and Flounder from The Little Mermaid, the Cheshire Cat and White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, and Victor, Hugo and Laverne from the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Just above the front archway sat an enormous "stained-glass" mirror modeled after the magic mirror in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The mirror changed images every 40 seconds to feature each Disney castle and the date its park opened: Disneyland, 1955; the Magic Kingdom, 1971; Tokyo Disneyland, 1983; Disneyland Resort Paris, 1992; and Hong Kong Disneyland, 2005. The decorations were removed in late September 2006.

At night[edit]

Fireworks surround Cinderella Castle, dressed for Winter (December 2013)

When the sun sets, the castle is illuminated by SGM Palco LED lighting fixtures placed on different castle levels and surrounding areas, providing an effective range of 16.7 million colors. The castle itself plays a role in the Magic Kingdom's former fireworks show, Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams, in which it changes color in synchronization with the dramatic music of the display. The same color changing and effects occurs for the other fireworks shows: HalloWishes (in Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party); Magic, Music and Mayhem (during Disney's Pirate and Princess Party); and the Christmas fireworks show Holiday Wishes during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.[citation needed] The castle's projection mapping technology has been used in several night events, such as their current fireworks spectacular Happily Ever After and the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular.

Castle with Christmas lights on it for the Christmas season (November 2014)

At the park's closing, the nightly 'Kiss Goodnight' is performed, in which Roy O. Disney's dedication speech for the Magic Kingdom is played all over the park alongside classic Disney music which changes with the vivid colors of the castle. Even when the park closes before 11pm (23:00), the show is performed a second time at 11pm (23:00), providing entertainment for guests of Disney resort hotels bordering the Seven Seas Lagoon.[citation needed] Beginning November 2007, for the first time, the "Castle Dream Lights", with over 200,000 LED Christmas lights[4] (as Disneyland Paris has since 2004), covered Cinderella Castle and was lit nightly during a new stage show in front of the castle. The castle looks similar to ice and is very popular among guests during the holiday season, the only time it is now used.[citation needed]

The Magic, the Memories and You[edit]

The Magic, the Memories and You
Magic Kingdom
Area Cinderella Castle
Status Closed
Opening date January 18, 2011
Closing date September 3, 2012
Replaced by Celebrate The Magic
Area It's A Small World
Status Closed
Opening date January 18, 2011
Closing date September 3, 2012
General statistics
Attraction type Multimedia and pyrotechnic show
Designer Walt Disney Creative Entertainment

Iconic moments from Disney films

Disney Parks Memories
Music Let the memories begin
Duration 9-10 minutes
Handicapped/disabled access Wheelchair accessible

On January 18, 2011, a nighttime projection mapping show premiered at Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World, the show featured photographs and videos of park guests, taken by Disney's PhotoPass employees, combined with projections of Disney characters and attractions and pre-selected music.[5] The Magic, the Memories and You show was presented before and after the nightly Wishes fireworks show, and was part of Disney's "Let the Memories Begin" campaign for 2011.[6] A parallel show existed at Disneyland, at the Disneyland Resort, taking place instead on the broad facade of It's a Small World, on September 3, this show ended its run and was replaced by a similar nighttime multimedia show, Celebrate the Magic, in 2012 and again by Once Upon a Time in Fall 2016.



Inside the castle's archway, a series of five mosaic murals tells the story of Cinderella. Designed by Imagineer Dorothea Redmond and crafted and set in place by a team of six artists led by mosaicist Hanns-Joachim Scharff, the 15-by-10-foot (4.6 by 3.0 m) ornate panels are shaped in a Gothic arch. The murals took 22 months to complete and contain just over 300,000 pieces of Italian glass and rough smalti (glass made specifically for mosaics traditionally used by Italian craftsmen) in more than 500 colors. Many of the hand-cut tiles are fused with sterling silver and 14-karat (58 percent) gold, and some are as small as the head of a tack. Looking closely at these ornate murals, one will notice that each of Cinderella's wicked stepsisters appears with a little added color - one sister's face is clearly "red with anger", while the other is a little "green with envy" as they watch Cinderella try on the glass slipper.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique[edit]

As of September 10, 2007, the castle is home to the "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique", first introduced at Downtown Disney. Inside, guests can receive a one-of-a-kind "princess transformation", which features a Disney Princess make-up, one of three hairstyles, a manicure, a sash, and/or a gown, crown, wand and shoes.

The King's Gallery, the former gift shop in this space, has moved to the Main Street Cinema on Main Street, U.S.A.

Cinderella Castle Suite[edit]

Inside the upper levels of Cinderella Castle, there is a suite that was intended to be an apartment for Walt Disney and his family when they were in Florida, after Walt died in 1966, the apartment was left unfinished. This space is not large, and can be compared to the size of a master bedroom and bathroom in an average house, the location of the suite can be identified from the outside by locating the stained glass windows with pictures in the center on the north and west sides of the castle, about 2/3 of the way up. The glass used contains many small, multi-faceted pieces, which slightly obscures the view of the park from inside the suite, the suite adjoins a sizable exterior balcony on the east side. The walls around this balcony are about 5 feet (1.5 m) high. This balcony affords views to the north, east, and south, the balcony is only accessible through an emergency exit and is not a guest area.

On June 7, 2005, Disney announced that the suite would be completely decorated and upholstered as a 'royal bedchamber', which can sleep up to six people, it was available as a prize during the Year of a Million Dreams (2007) celebration taking place at all eleven Disney theme parks, and an overnight stay in the apartment was a prize randomly awarded to a guest at the four Walt Disney World theme parks and Downtown Disney.

Cinderella's Royal Table[edit]

Cinderella's Royal Table, formerly known as King Stefan's Banquet Hall, is a restaurant inside the castle. Located on the second floor, guests can take the circular stairway or the elevator to the restaurant, where children are referred to as princes and princesses, while the adults in the party are referred to as lords and ladies. Walt Disney Imagineers had originally wanted to give the restaurant a regal name, and since there are no well-known characters from "Cinderella" that met their criteria, they instead took a little dramatic license and chose the name of Sleeping Beauty's father, King Stefan, the name was changed on April 28, 1997, in order not to confuse tourists. The restaurant is decorated not only with a number of stained glass windows and medieval objects, but with more than forty coats of arms, each of these is an actual family seal, and represent some of the many people that played a major role in the design and construction of Walt Disney World, including Roger Broggie, Sr. (Imagineer and railroad aficionado who aided in the design of many attractions), Marc Davis (animator and theme park designer), Roy O. Disney (Walt's brother), John Hench (who designed the castle), Diane Disney Miller (Walt's daughter), Dick Nunis (former Chairman of Walt Disney Attractions), and Marty Sklar (Imagineering vice chairman and principal creative executive who worked alongside Walt Disney).

Cinderella's Royal Table is also the location of "Fairytale Dining at Cinderella's Royal Table." At breakfast, lunch and dinner Cinderella greets all guests in the castle foyer, and during the meal classic Disney princesses circulate among the tables.[7]

Cinderella's Fairy Tale Hall (Tokyo Disneyland)[edit]

Cinderella’s Fairy Tale Hall is located in the castle where various artworks are exhibited that show scenes from her story; in the lobby and corridor, guests will find eight murals showing how Cinderella changed from beloved daughter, to servant girl, and then to Princess. They will also see a diorama of Cinderella magically transformed wearing a beautiful ball gown, and other artworks made from various materials such as paper, wood and glass; in the Grand Hall guests will find a magnificent chandelier, the renowned glass slipper, a throne, and special paintings that reveal a magical message when photographed using a flash.

Flight regulations (Walt Disney World)[edit]

Cinderella Castle uses forced perspective to appear taller than its actual height of 189 ft (58 m).

By keeping the height of the castle's spire under 200 feet (61 m) tall, the castle at Walt Disney World was able to avoid Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations that would require flashing aircraft warning lights at the top.[8] The two taller attractions at Walt Disney World, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Expedition Everest, top out at 199 and 199.5 feet, respectively, to avoid this requirement as well.

As a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks, amid concerns that general aviation could pose a threat to public safety, the FAA placed a permanent Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over the entire Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, the flight restriction extends outward from an island near the Contemporary Resort (28°24′45″N 81°34′20″W / 28.41250°N 81.57222°W / 28.41250; -81.57222) at a radius of 3 nautical miles (5.6 km; 3.5 mi) up to 3,000 feet (910 m) above the ground level surface. Cinderella Castle is used as a visual reference, it has been a common growing legend that Disney chose to prohibit aviation above the park in order to make visitors feel even further separate from the outside world, but the true reason was, in fact, in response to the September 11th attacks. Law enforcement and Walt Disney World Cessna 172 aircraft, however, are exempt from this TFR.[9]

Logo Usage[edit]

As Cinderella Castle is a Disney icon, it and Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle have become the basis for the logo of Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Television, Disney Music Group and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It was also heavily featured in advertisements for the Wonderful World of Disney, formerly shown on the Disney Channel.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cinderella Castle | Walt Disney World Resort". Retrieved August 20, 2012. 
  2. ^ O'Keefe, Matt. "The Unique Histories of 6 Disney Icons". Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  3. ^ Belloni, Matthew (June 22, 2016). "Bob Iger Interview – 'Star Wars' Reshoots, Political Plans & More". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Holiday 2014". Mickey Monitor: 6. 2014. 
  5. ^ "Disney World Announces New "Magic, Memories & You" Show". Retrieved April 26, 2011. 
  6. ^ "'The Magic, The Memories and You!' castle projection show starts Wednesday at Magic Kingdom". Archived from the original on June 26, 2011. Retrieved April 26, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Cinderella's Royal Table". 
  8. ^ "Aeronautical Information Manual, Section 2: Air Navigation and Obstruction Lighting". Federal Aviation Administration. January 8, 2015. Archived from the original on February 16, 2015. Retrieved February 16, 2015. 
  9. ^ "4/3634 NOTAM Details". Federal Aviation Administration. 

External links[edit]

Official website