Disney World, located in Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, Florida, is renowned for its magical atmosphere, thrilling rides, and iconic structures. The most famous of these structures is the fairy tale castle that stands majestically at the heart of the Magic Kingdom theme park. But whose castle is it? The answer is Cinderella’s.
The castle at Disney World is Cinderella’s Castle. It’s the iconic centerpiece of the Magic Kingdom theme park, inspired by the castle from Disney’s 1950 animated feature film, Cinderella. The castle opened on October 1, 1971, and has since served as a symbol of imagination, fantasy, and creativity for Disney World visitors.
The History and Inspiration of Cinderella Castle
Cinderella Castle, which opened on October 1, 1971, is based on the castle from Disney’s 1950 animated feature film, Cinderella. The castle was designed by WED Enterprises and serves as the symbol and flagship attraction for the park. The architectural design was inspired by a variety of real and fictional palaces, including the Alcázar of Segovia in Spain and the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland, California.
The construction of Cinderella Castle took approximately 18 months to complete and was finished around July 1971. It is modeled after 11th and 13th-century Romanian structures, French fortresses, and Gothic spires to bring to life the richness and romance of princess stories. Unlike traditional European castles, Cinderella Castle was built using modern materials like concrete, steel, plaster, cement, and fiberglass, but not bricks.
Unique Architectural Features of Cinderella Castle
The castle’s architectural design includes several distinctive features:
- Two tall, slender, blue-spired towers sitting on top of squared bases.
- The castle stands 189 feet tall and uses 600 tons of steel for its superstructure.
- Its cladding material is a fiber-reinforced gypsum plaster, while the more articulated upper stories (the keep of the castle) are made of fiberglass.
- The roof tiles on the towers are made of a plastic similar to computer housings.
- There are 27 towers on the castle, numbered 1-29.
Attractions, Shows, and Events at Cinderella Castle
At the castle, various attractions, shows, and events take place. Some of the highlights include:
- Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire: A musical extravaganza featuring Mickey and friends performing on the stage in front of Cinderella Castle.
- Cinderella’s Royal Table: A character dining experience where guests can meet Cinderella and other Disney princesses while enjoying breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique: A makeover salon for children aged 3-12, where they can transform into a princess or knight with the help of Fairy Godmothers in Training.
- Welcome Show: A show featuring various Disney characters, who come out to help open the park.
- Nightly Fireworks: Spectacular fireworks shows that take place in the evenings, illuminating the sky around Cinderella Castle.
Cinderella Castle’s Impact on the Disney Brand
Cinderella Castle has had a significant impact on the overall Disney brand and its portrayal in media. Along with Sleeping Beauty Castle, it is a main symbol of The Walt Disney Company. The castle’s design was inspired by various real-life castles and chateaux, such as those of Versailles, Fontainebleau, Chambord, and Chaumont, as well as the Tyn Church in Prague. Herbert Ryman, the chief designer, also drew inspiration from Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle, which he had designed earlier.
The Significance of Cinderella Castle to Disney World Visitors
The castle serves as a symbol of imagination, fantasy, and creativity and has been featured in various forms of media, including the company’s logo. The castle’s design and transformations over the years have also contributed to its iconic status and impact on the Disney brand.
In summary, Cinderella Castle at Disney World is more than just a structure; it is a magical symbol that encapsulates the essence of Disney. It is a testament to the creative genius of Walt Disney and his team, and a beacon of joy, wonder, and inspiration for visitors of all ages.
Frequently Asked Questions
How tall is Cinderella Castle in meters?
Cinderella Castle stands at approximately 58 meters tall.
When is the best time to visit Cinderella Castle?
The best time to visit Cinderella Castle is during the early morning or late evening when the park is less crowded. However, keep in mind that the castle is beautifully illuminated at night, especially during the nightly fireworks show.
Can you stay overnight in Cinderella Castle?
No, guests cannot book a stay in Cinderella Castle. The castle does have a suite, but it is not available for public booking. The suite is often used for promotional giveaways and special guests.
How many rooms are there in Cinderella Castle?
Cinderella Castle is primarily a visual icon and does not have many rooms. It boasts a grand hall for events, Cinderella’s Royal Table restaurant, and the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. It also has a luxurious Cinderella Castle Suite, which is not available for public booking.
Why are there only 27 towers on the Cinderella Castle when they are numbered 1-29?
Towers 13 and 17 were removed from the final plans of the castle due to space constraints. However, the numbering system was not changed, resulting in a total of 27 towers numbered 1-29.