Cinderella (1950) debuted 72 years ago today, cementing the legacy of the Disney Princess that began in 1937 with the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Since the film’s release, Cinderella has been a large part of what makes the Magic Kingdom, and particularly Fantasyland so memorable, with Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, the chance to meet Cinderella herself at Princess Fairytale Hall, and of course, Cinderella Castle. In honor of the film’s 72nd anniversary, here are some facts you might not know about Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World.
Bringing the Magic Kingdom to New Heights
The Magic Kingdom was the second Disneyland-style park to be built, and with the only previously constructed castle being Disneyland’s own Sleeping Beauty Castle, Cinderella Castle truly took the concept to new heights. Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park stands at only 77 ft. tall, while its Magic Kingdom counterpart rises to 189 ft. in height. Why not 190 ft.? Regulations in the state of Florida require that structures 190 ft. and taller must include a flashing red light at the tallest point, and Disney believed this would deter from the immersion of Cinderella Castle.
Moving the Carrousel
Plans for the Magic Kingdom called for Prince Charming Regal Carrousel (then Cinderella’s Golden Carousel) to be placed in the center of Fantasyland so that it would line up perfectly with the interior breezeway of Cinderella Castle. With a close eye and lots of attention to detail, Roy Disney noticed the carousel seemed slightly off just prior to the opening of the park in 1971 and had crews move the carousel just eight inches to the left to keep everything centered just right for Guests entering Fantasyland through the castle.
We Are Still Waiting to Stay at the Cinderella Castle Suite
A luxury suite can be found inside Cinderella Castle in a space that was originally intended to be Walt Disney‘s apartment (like its counterpart above the fire station on Main Street U.S.A. in Disneyland) however Walt sadly passed away five years before the opening of the park. The space was built according to the original blueprints, but went unused until 2006 during the Year of a Million Dreams event when it was turned into a lavish suite that could accommodate up to six Guests. You can’t book a night in the castle suite, but it is still used for special VIP events and giveaways (and if Disney wanted to give it away to us, we certainly wouldn’t complain!)
Cinderella Castle Can Withstand Hurricane Force Winds
One of the longest-running Disney Parks rumors is that parts of Cinderella Castle can be removed during hurricanes to prevent damage. We’re not sure where this rumor started, but Disney has officially debunked it a number of times by pointing out that contractors knew what they were doing while building this very permanent icon of the Magic Kingdom in Central Florida, so the castle can indeed withstand winds upwards of 100 miles per hour.
Tinker Bell Has Flown From Cinderella Castle Almost Nightly for Over 30 Years
The first flight Tinker Bell ever took from Cinderella Castle was in 1985, and she has been making an evening flight most nights ever since. (While she does fly most nights, high winds could deter her.) Her iconic flight that takes place during the fireworks takes her a distance of about 750 feet in a very quick 34 seconds!
Bavaria’s Neuschwanstein Castle Wasn’t the Only Inspiration
One trivia question you often hear is ‘Which real-life castle inspired Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World?’ The answer is many! The overall exterior’s design was inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle (or Ludwig’s Castle) in Bavaria, but Cinderella Castle also takes some inspiration from Château d’Ussé, Fontainebleau, Versailles and the châteaux of Chenonceau, Pierrefonds, Chambord, Chaumont, Alcázar of Segovia, Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria and Craigievar Castle in Scotland.
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The Cinderella Castle Mosaics Are a Must-See
Don’t leave the Magic Kingdom without heading inside Cinderella Castle to see the mosaics that line the interior breezeway. Designed by Disney Legend Dorthea Redmond, these gorgeous mosaics tell the classic story of “Cinderella” through expertly cut and placed pieces of hand-cut Italian glass along with silver and 14-carat gold. The mural stands 15 ft. tall x 10 ft. wide and uses over 500 colors to bring this fairytale to life. There are even some characters who may be inspired by Disney Imagineers John Hench and Herb Ryman included in the mosaic!