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General Discussions Discuss Castle Watch II - Cinderella Castle, WDW in the Community Center forums; Welcome to the second installment of Castle Watch. The introduction to the Castle Watch concept, as well a the first installment on Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland, California, can be ...
  1. #1
    MainStreet, USA's Avatar
    MainStreet, USA is offline I'm walking right down the middle of Main Street, USA!
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    Castle Watch II - Cinderella Castle, WDW

    Welcome to the second installment of Castle Watch. The introduction to the Castle Watch concept, as well a the first installment on Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland, California, can be found by clicking here.


    Disney Castle #2 - Cinderella Castle, Walt Disney World, Florida


    Cinderella Castle as seen from the Liberty Square Bridge
    Photo by Don McCann


    Completed in July of 1971, Cinderella Castle opened on October 1st of that same year, along with the rest of Walt Disney World. The castle, located right in the heart of the Magic Kingdom, was the second of the Disney castles to be constructed. It was named for the 1950 animated feature film, Cinderella, which is almost indisputably the most popular of the Disney adaptations of classic fairy tales ever made. The castle itself is visible from miles away, with its blue roofs and golden spires reaching as high as 189 feet into the central Florida sky. Cinderella Castle is more than twice as tall as its predecessor, Sleeping Beauty Castle in California, dwarfing it by a whopping 112 feet. The drastic difference in the heights of these first two castles is said to have been because Walt Disney himself felt that Sleeping Beauty Castle wasn’t prominent enough at its height of only 77 feet.

    Cinderella Castle, unlike its smaller cousin on the west coast, had things to see and do inside the castle right from its opening. The most notable of these was the themed character dining experience on the second floor, known originally as King Stefan’s Banquet Hall. King Stefan’s, despite being a hugely popular and busy place to try and grab a meal, was long criticized for its seemingly conflicting name. The character King Stefan was Sleeping Beauty’s father - not Cinderella’s. This name was selected, allegedly, because of the lack of regal sounding names in the Cinderella film. Regardless of why it was chosen, it was corrected, and after more than 25 years of operation under the confusing title, the restaurant officially became known as Cinderella’s Royal Table on April 28th, 1997.


    Cinderella's Royal Table
    Photo by Brian Bennett, from MousePlanet


    In addition to the restaurant above, Cinderella Castle also features a fantastic series of mosaic murals along the wall to the left of its guests passing through from Main Street, USA to Fantasyland. These mosaics, in a manner similar to the diorama exhibit inside Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland, tell the story of the castle’s namesake character. The five mosaics, each depicting a major scene from the Cinderella story, took a combined period of over two years to complete, and some of the pieces even contain real gold. The five scenes depicted in the murals show Cinderella as a working girl, her fairy godmother transforming her gown, Cinderella running off from the ball, the fitting of the glass slipper, and lastly, as she rides off on horseback with Prince Charming.

    In this very same wall that displays these mosaics is a pair of doorways, each leading into a small shop called The King’s Gallery. This shop features things such as Disney art, figurines, glass and crystal ornaments, books, and even collectable swords.


    An entrance to The King's Gallery surrounded by a mosaic mural
    Photo by Don McCann

    Cinderella Castle also is home to a small apartment of sort, originally intended for use by the Disney family, but never quite used for that purpose. The apartment has reportedly been used for everything from an operations area for switchboard operators, additional storage, and even as a dressing room for Cast Members performing on Main Street, USA and the Castle Forecourt Stage. On June 7th 2006 it was announced that the apartment would be completely finished, furnished, and decorated for the first time, as a few lucky guests are now able to win a once-in-a-lifetime night’s stay inside the castle as part of the Year of a Million Dreams celebration.

    Aside from that which can be seen and visited by guests, Cinderella Castle also houses a nest of “backstage” areas, as well as a network of three elevators, only one of which is intended for use by guests traveling from the lobby of Cinderella’s Royal Table to the dining area above. The other two provide restaurant staff and other Disney Cast Members a way of traveling from the Utilidor (utility corridors) which passes directly beneath the castle, to the restaurant kitchen, the apartment, and other levels and places within the castle.

    Cinderella Castle, famous for its white and grey “stone” walls, royal blue rooftops, and golden spires, has received only a few notable “makeovers” throughout its 35+ year lifespan. The first drastic change (too drastic if you ask most Disney fans), came in October of 1996, when the castle was transformed into a massive pink birthday cake in celebration of the park’s 25th year. Complete with faux frosting, larger-than-life candy pieces, and 26 monstrous candles, the Cake-stle, as it became known to some, remained this way until July 31st, 1998.


    WDW's 25th Anniversary Cake-Castle
    Photo by Steve Burns, from Started By a Mouse

    A second and much shorter lived change came on November 16th, 2004. Complete with what appeared to be toilet paper strewn about its turrets, and marked with graffiti saying “Stitch is King!” this one-day only redecoration, used in conjunction with numerous “Wanted” posters placed elsewhere throughout the park, served to announce the opening of the new “Stitch’s Great Escape” attraction in Tomorrowland. This new look, despite its tacky appearance, was actually very well accepted, most likely because it was so temporary and did not hang around long enough to overstay its welcome.


    Stitch Is King!
    Photo from Wikipedia

    Another celebration came on May 5th, 2005, as the Walt Disney Company chose this day (05/05/05 – view it backwards to read 50/50/50) to kick off the Happiest Celebration on Earth, a celebration of 50 years of Disney theme park magic worldwide. Along with this celebration came another new look for Cinderella Castle – one which would hang around for more than a year. Fortunately, this makeover didn’t involve any frosting. Instead, Cinderella Castle received a much more welcome look of golden trim, banners, and accents, trails of sparkling “pixie dust,” and golden figurines depicting some of Disney’s most beloved characters adorned the upper structures of the castle. Additionally, a large “magic mirror” took its place on the front face of the castle’s clock tower, depicting a stained glass image that rotated periodically to show each of the Disney castles and the year their respective parks opened: Disneyland in 1955, Walt Disney World in 1971, Tokyo Disneyland in 1983, Disneyland Paris in 1992, and Hong Kong Disneyland in 2005.


    Hundreds of guests, along with the Royal Court, look on as Cinderella and Prince Charming share an embrace amidst dazzling fireworks in the finale of Cinderellabration, staged in front of Cinderella Castle, all decked out in her Happiest Celebration on Earth decor.
    Photo by Don McCann

    The removal of the Happiest Celebration on Earth decorations began in August 2006 and lasted all throughout September. Cinderella Castle was not back to its original splendor for very long, however. As of October of this year, the castle has begun to take on various different shades of color in what appears to be the beginnings of yet another new look. What it will look like when the new look is complete is anybody’s guess right now, but we do know that many of us sit here with fingers crossed in anticipation. In fact, it was just this recent transformation that promoted me to create this Castle Watch concept. So…

    Now that you've read about it... Castle Watch it!

    It's up to you now, the reader, to keep our primitive Castle Watch Database on Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World up to date with your pictures, discriptions, and first-hand accounts. See a change on your next visit? - Tell us about it, and post your pictures if you got 'em! And don't forget to keep an eye out for the next installment of Castle Watch! The next castle on the list is a very similar castle of very same name, Cinderella Castle in Tokyo Disneyland.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Primary sources of my findings include:

    Brian Bennett's article Fantasyland - Photo Tour over at "Mouse Planet." <http://www.mouseplanet.com/dtp/wdwgu...characters.htm> The photo of Cinderella's Royal Table was taken from this article.

    Disney World Trivia.com <http://www.disneyworldtrivia.com/trivia/mk/castle.php> offers a fantastically helpful little trivia spot, featuring.... awww, who am I kidding. You guys know the place just fine!

    Steve Burns' Walt Disney World Anniversaries over at "Started By a Mouse." <http://www.startedbyamouse.com/archi...versary2.shtml> The photo of the 25th anniversary castle was taken from this article.

    Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinderella_Castle> offered an extremely in-depth article with a lot of really good stuff on Cinderella Castle, as well provided the Stitch is King! castle photo.
    (Okay, this link wants to be stubborn and not work right when you click on it. It's only bringing me to the Wikipedia home page. Copy and paste it into your browser bar to go right to the article on Cinderella Castle.)
    Last edited by MainStreet, USA; 11-18-2006 at 11:31 PM.
    -Don-
    Your heart can just take wing,
    You can live out all your dreams...
    ...it's time to Remember the Magic!
    Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pilot's Life for Me...

  2. #2
    Justin M's Avatar
    Justin M is offline Fastpass Holder
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    Great post! Keep them coming - I love both your "Castle Watch" articles so far!

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    elphaba's Avatar
    elphaba is offline E-Ticket Holder
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    *GASP* i've had an amazing revelation! maybe it's always been this way, so the Imagineers have been trying to conceal it with all those gold decorations, cake ornaments, and stitch's toilet paper!
    RYAN


  4. #4
    MainStreet, USA's Avatar
    MainStreet, USA is offline I'm walking right down the middle of Main Street, USA!
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    Quote Originally Posted by elphaba View Post
    *GASP* i've had an amazing revelation! maybe it's always been this way...
    What way are you referring to? I saw on the Castle Repainting thread that you posted this same thing... are you talking about the new selection of colors?

    I am fortunate to be able to visit frequently enough to be able to tell you for sure that the new colors were not in place in the beginning of October when the 50th decorations first came off, but were in fact in place within a few short weeks after that. These new colors went OVER the classic grey and white, and were certainly not under them.




    Oh, and Justin...THANKS!!!
    -Don-
    Your heart can just take wing,
    You can live out all your dreams...
    ...it's time to Remember the Magic!
    Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pilot's Life for Me...

  5. #5
    Tinker Bell is offline DisneyWorldTrivia.com Lifetime Pass
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    I had never seen the toilet paper castle! Not sure how I would have reacted if it had been my only day at the MK but I think it was a neat idea. Stitch is such a troublemaker....


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