Pink nightmare, Pepto-castle, ugly, disrespectful…these are all phrases that have been uttered about the 25th Anniversary Cinderella Castle Cake, but I have to confess, to me, it was incredible.
I remember when my family visited Magic Kingdom in the summer of 1996, we were shocked to find a castle that was half traditional grey and half bright pink. We stood in the park gazing up at the large swaths of pink paint wondering if it was some sort of primer, but we questioned what color could they have possibly been preparing for with pink primer. At just over a year after the opening of the Walt Disney World Wedding Pavilion, we felt bad for any couples who had anxiously awaited their wedding day thinking they would say their vows with a Cinderella Castle backdrop only to find it looking like Dumbo’s pink elephants had crashed the party.
Despite our – and I am sure many other guests’ questions – no Cast Members had an answer for what was going on at Cinderella’s home. Looking back, I am sure that they got tired of playing dumb and keeping the secret. Luckily for them, they did not have too long to wait before the world would be let in on the grand surprise.
On October 1, 1996, Walt Disney World celebrated its 25th anniversary with the world’s largest birthday “cake.” With pink icing, gumdrops, hard candy rings, puffy white frosted edges, a large candy “25” and candles in place of turrets, Cinderella Castle was near unidentifiable except for being the same overall shape. While many look back and consider the fluffy, sugar coated decorations to be gaudy, at the time, I was a young girl in awe.
That cake represented everything that made Walt Disney World magical, it was fantastical, it was joyful, it was unbelievable. It possessed all of the qualities that made me fall in love from the first day I walked through the gates. To me, it was a perfect way to celebrate. And celebrate I did, in my castle cake t-shirt and all!
I recognize that there are perhaps a number of people whose only WDW visit occurred during the 16-month reign of the pink cake, and while they may have been disappointed at not seeing the traditional castle, I also know that everyone who experienced Cinderella Castle during that time has the memory of a truly once in a lifetime sight.
So, I confess, I love the “ugly, disrespectful, pink nightmare, Pepto-castle,” and I am not ashamed to admit it!
(Photos from the author’s personal collection.)
To learn more about Kendall and read her recent posts for WDW Radio, visit her author page by clicking the link on her name at the top of this post.