Have you ever wondered if there are secrets about Disney World that you don’t know? Let me tell you….no matter how many books or website I read on the topic (and it is an obsession for me), there are some bits of information that can still surprise me. One place that seems to hold endless surprises is Cinderella Castle.
For starters, let’s make sure we get the name right. It is not Cinderella’s Castle….it is Cinderella Castle. In fact, Cinderella Castle does not belong to Cinderella, at least, not at the beginning of the story; hence the lack of the apostrophe “s” at the end. (if that last sentence confused you, ask a fifth grader).
The Castle belongs to the Prince so I suppose we could call it Castle De Charming or Prince Charming’s Castle but, well, we all know that the prince plays second string in Disney movies, especially those from the 1950’s, so that is just not going to happen. Sorry prince, the castle has been commandeered.
Now that we have that straight….Cinderella Castle was opened on October 1, 1971 with the opening of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. The castle is 189 feet high and constructed from concrete, steel, cement, plaster and fiberglass. Of course, you have all heard the joke, “how many bricks are in Cinderella Castle”….of course, the answer is NONE.
The castle represents a romantic conception of a French palace fortress with a mix of architecture. The base of the castle resembles a medieval fortress from Romanesque architecture in the 11th through 13 centuries while the top portion of the castle reflects the stately Gothic forms that were prominent in later centuries. Leave it to Disney to tell a story and take some creative license along the way.
For those of you who do not know, the castle houses Cinderella’s Royal Table. Yes, before you say it, the restaurant does belong to Cinderella so it does come with the requisite apostrophe “s”. After all, she was a scullery maid at some point, right? Cinderella’s Royal Table is a table service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is a character meal where you meet Cinderella downstairs before the meal to take a photo and autograph. Then you ascend up the spiral staircase to the restaurant where you will experience royal prices for your meal. No, really, everyone has to eat here at least once (then put your credit card to bed because it will be tired). You are paying for the experience and the princesses. I also think the food is quite good although maybe not make-my-credit-card-tired-good.
A few fun facts:
Charles Perrault was the French writer best known for his book of fairy tales collected more than 300 years ago including the original story of Cinderella, originally called “The Glass Slipper”.
Walt Disney Imagineering looked to the designs of the famous palaces of France from Charles Perrault’s time such as Fontainebleau, Versailles and other famed châteaux of the Loire Valley for inspiration.
Cinderella’s Royal Table has more than 40 coats of arms displayed. Each one represents someone who has played a significant role in Disney history. Roy Disney, Diane Disney Miller and Marty Sklar all have their coat of arms represented there.
The artist who created the Cinderella Wishing Well Statue on the side of the castle also sculpted the mice and birds that are on the columns in the walkway that curve around the castle forecourt.
As you walk though the castle, you may notice 5 mosaic murals that are each about 15 feet high and 10 feet wide. I think I am going to save the secrets of these murals for another post but I will share this tidbit with you now. Look closely at the step sisters who are watching Cinderella try on the slipper. One sister’s face is tinted red with rage and the other is tinted green with envy.
Share with us your secrets of the Castle! I bet you guys know a few that I don’t!