No image is more identifiable to Magic Kingdom Theme Park Guests than the iconic Cinderella Castle. I confess, I love walking down Main Street toward the home of the favorite princess of my childhood. Its beauty and splendor evoke smiles and happy tears each day as Guests like me head down Main Street, USA toward the icon of the Magic Kingdom theme park. Can you even imagine how many people have, in their possession as you read this, a picture of themselves beaming proudly with Cinderella Castle in the background? Disney PhotoPass photographers are always on hand to snap pictures of your whole group in front of Cinderella Castle and everyone can be part of the memory (for more information about Memory Maker, a way for your to pre-purchase all of your PhotoPass pictures ahead of time, check out this link). Not only is Cinderella Castle the ultimate symbol of Walt Disney World, it serves as a gateway to the magical fun, a backdrop for stage shows and fireworks, a regal dining hall and even a launch pad for Tinker Bell as she embarks on her nightly flight.
Here are just a few fun facts about Cinderella Castle:
- It took 18 months to build Cinderella Castle as the showpiece for the Magic Kingdom when it opened on October 1, 1971.
- Despite looking like bricks, the façade is actually fiberglass over concrete with a steel base.
- At 189 feet, Cinderella Castle is the tallest structure in the Magic Kingdom Theme Park (both Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are taller). Like the buildings on Main Street, USA, it was built using forced perspective, making it appear taller than it really is.
- The height of Cinderella Castle was purposely kept under 190 feet. Anything taller would have required a blinking red light on top to signal low flying aircraft.
- Inside the castle is home to 5 handcrafted mosaics which detail the tale of Cinderella. The tiles are cut by hand … over 300,000 of them!
- From October 1, 1996 – January 31, 1998, Cinderella Castle was transformed to resemble a huge pink cake, in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Magic Kingdom. Many Guests were not pleased that they could not snap a precious picture of their beloved Disney icon in all its original glory … without “icing and candy.”
- More than 200,000 twinkling lights decorate Cinderella Castle for the Christmas holiday season.
- In September of 2007, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique opened a new location inside Cinderella Castle, making it extra convenient for princesses-in-training to get decked out in royal finery before meeting Cinderella herself.
- Cinderella Castle is home to the most coveted guest room on all of Walt Disney World Resort property: Cinderella Castle Suite. Nights here are reserved for winners of special contests and VIP guests only. These are actual people who spend an entire night in the actual Cinderella Castle. During the Year of a Million Dreams (best promotion EVER), one family would win a night’s stay in this suite EACH DAY! Talk about magical!
- Guests used to dine in Cinderella Castle at King Stefan’s Banquet Hall, oddly named for the father of Sleeping Beauty, not Cinderella (her father was not named in the original fable).
- In April of 1997, the restaurant opened with a more appropriate name: Cinderella’s Royal Table.
Cinderella’s Royal Table is currently one of the most popular dining experiences in the Magic Kingdom. I have taken my kids twice, and while my son enjoyed himself, the interaction with Cinderella and several other princesses was the highlight of each trip for my daughter. With its stained glass windows, royal coats of arms and other regal touches, a meal inside the actual Cinderella Castle is pretty extraordinary.
DIStracted Tip: If you are lucky enough to book an Advanced Dining Reservation for breakfast before the Magic Kingdom opens, you can get the best unobstructed pictures of Cinderella Castle. Advanced Dining Reservations are necessary to dine at Cinderella’s Royal Table for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The Disney Dining Plan is accepted and each meal will require 2 table service credits, as this is considered a Signature Dining experience. Tables in Wonderland holders earn a 20% discount.
Cinderella Castle is literally the backdrop for Celebrate the Magic, a show that projects images from beloved Disney films right onto the castle façade. Wishes Nighttime Spectacular fireworks show explodes all around the castle, as its changing colors become part of the magic. Tinker Bell herself flies from the top of Cinderella Castle, sometimes traveling as fast as 20-35 mph to the top of the Tomorrowland Terrace. No doubt it is the central meeting place, the coveted picture spot, a popular spot for marriage proposals; Cinderella Castle is more than just an icon for Guests. It is adventure and fun and magic and home all wrapped up in spires and gold … and always waiting for us to return.
What is your favorite Cinderella Castle picture? Share them with us!
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