Cinderella Castle, the iconic centerpiece of the Magic Kingdom park in Walt Disney World Florida, is being torn down.
Ah, my friends, welcome to the internet where rumors grow wild like untamed kudzu patches or non-native species in the Everglades.
No. Of course, Disney Parks are not about to reduce the classic Cinderella Castle to a pile of concrete, fiberglass and plaster.
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The Cinderella Castle, fact vs fiction
But some people who are not patient readers stumbled across a satire website – and I use that term loosely – that had a funny – and I use that term loosely – post about Disney’s plan to tear down the castle.
Look, I get it. Cranking out grist for the internet mill can be tiresome. For example, even in the satire game where you get to make everything up, sometimes you find yourself at the bottom of a well with a deadline rapidly approaching.
Still, I don’t know that Disney’s tearing the shimmering beacon of magic at the very heart of its existence is top-tier satire.
Was it funny? No. Did it get to some deeper truth? No.
Was it a trenchant metaphor for the rot at the core of the Walt Disney World Resort that is strategically pricing out the families Walt designed the Disney theme parks for? No.
But THAT would have been the brick in the foundation of some good satire.
Did it fool some people despite being patently, glaringly untrue? Reader, you know it did. Despite the end of the article clearly labeling it as satire, all-caps reactions from outraged fans bounced across the internet at blinding speed.
Since we’re in the business of truth-telling, let’s spend the next few minutes swimming upstream against the raging waters of internet rumors, falsehoods and “satire” with a little fact vs fiction about the Disney World Cinderella Castle.
20. Disney is going to tear down the Cinderella Castle
Complete fiction. Fiction with a capital F.
Although, I do see the beauty of the idea of the castle coming down to the end of the final 50th fireworks celebration.
Picture it. Tinkerbell flits safely away on her wire. The projections simmer down and the park goes dark. And then … the strains of the end of the 1812 Overture strike up.
Bells are ringing and the castle goes out “V for Vendetta” style in a blaze of glory. Maybe that was better satire than I gave credit for.
Da da da da da DA da DAAAAA.
19. The castle is roughly 13 stories high
The castle is 189 feet tall but famously tapered to look taller, using forced perspective to make each guest feel like the edifice was more imposing. Built without any brick, the castle took 18 months to build.
18. The castle is the tallest structure in the Magic Kingdom
One of the buttes on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad comes in at 197 feet tall, compared to the castle’s 189 feet.
For the record, the Tower of Terror in Disney’s Hollywood Studios comes in at 199 feet tall.
Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom is 199.5 feet tall. The honor of being the tallest structure on the property goes to the Disney Dolphin Hotel at 257 feet tall.
17. The Cinderella Castle is twice as big as the Sleeping Beauty Castle
The California castle, the Disneyland counterpart, is only 77 feet tall.
16. The suite at the top of the castle was once used as a call center
Can you imagine for a moment, getting your dream job of working in the Disney theme parks? You clock in and travel through the underground tunnel system until you’re under the castle itself. They load you into the elevator that runs to the top of the spire.
What awaits? Maybe it’s Snow White speaking to the Magic Mirror. Maybe it’s Wendy and Peter Pan, waiting to give Tink a pep talk before her nightly flight.
Nope. It’s a phone bank.
You’re taking guests through ticket booking options and dinner reservations and whether it’s better to book a week at the Contemporary or the Grand Floridian.
What a strange office you have, my dear.
15. There is now a suite at the top of the castle
There is. But you can’t stay there unless you know Tom Hanks or you are very lucky. The suite is available only to prize winners, Disney VIPs and celebrities.
But if you do know Tom Hanks or, I don’t know, George Clooney or perhaps Harrison Ford, you can take your celebrity and four other friends for a night’s stay. The suite sleeps up to six, but I doubt Harrison is gonna share a bunk.
14. Walt Disney’s cryogenically frozen remains are hidden in a secret chamber in the castle
If they are anywhere, his cryogenically frozen remains would be at Disneyland, which Walt saw while alive.
Walt never set foot in the completed Magic Kingdom – at least not while living.
Anyway, if he was in Orlando, EPCOT would be the better spot.
Still, Walt’s family has – over the years – strongly denied any mention that he was frozen at all. All indications are he was cremated.
13. The castle’s turrets are misnumbered
In the design phase, it was realized two of the 29 designed castle turrets would not be visible to the fans at any time.
So while the turrets are numbered as if there are 29 turrets, numbers 13 and 17 were never constructed.
12. The Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom is one of a kind
To borrow a quote from Yoda, “there is another.”
In 1983, when Tokyo Disney opened, it had a Cinderella Castle as well. It’s a foot shorter, so it’s not completely identical but enough alike to be considered a sibling to the one in Orlando.
Why did they rebuild the Cinderella Castle when every other park go its own unique centerpiece?
The early 80s were a fairly rough time for Disney as a whole and frankly, decisions made at that time were questionable.
If they were redoing that decision today, I feel confident Tokyo would have its own unique centerpiece.
11. Cinderella is the only princess in the castle
Guests at Cinderella’s Royal Table get to meet the famous princess as well as four of her friends.
Guests are welcomed with a special meet and greet with Cinderella. And then, during dinner, Ariel, Jasmine, Snow White and Aurora visit each guest’s table.
If you’ll permit a bit of opinion in the midst of fact or fiction, the Cinderella Royal Table experience is quite a bit better than its sister experience at Akershus in EPCOT.
Some of that may be that I wasn’t overly fond of the Scandinavian menu choices.
Still, we found the waitstaff at the Royal Table felt more like the service you’d get at a 5-star restaurant. Also, the experience of dining inside the castle is just better.
10. The murals in the halls of the castle contain real gems, silver and gold
The stunning murals – mosaics built with thousands of pieces of Italian glass – are stunning and oft missed.
On a hot day, walking through that tunnel is so refreshing you might not pause to really take in your surroundings.
The murals are actually pretty exquisite pieces of art and the glass is fused with gems, sterling silver and yes, some gold.
9. For its 25th anniversary, Disney Imagineers turned the castle into a giant birthday cake
In what was perhaps the worst decision ever made, Disney officials decided a Princess Royal Makeover was in order for the castle. In October of 1996, the results of these makeovers were revealed and they were awful.
The enhancements – turning the castle into a giant red and pink birthday cake – looked like something out of Candyland. It was bad.
A lot of people weren’t thrilled with the makeovers for the Disneyland 50th Anniversary celebration in 2005, “Happiest Celebration on Earth”, or the renovation for Disney World’s 50th, “The World’s Most Magical Celebration”.
But compared to the 25th, those two were modest and tasteful.
8. The castle itself isn’t the only thing that gets makeovers
The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in the castle offers a Princess Royal Makeover that offers the young Cinderella in waiting the look of her princess dreams.
In fact, some people do this in conjunction with a reservation at The Royal Table. Of course, you’ll need a reservation for the boutique as well.
There is also another boutique in Disney Springs if you don’t have your heart set on doing it in the park.
7. The castle says good night
Some nights, 30 minutes after closing, there is an event called “Kiss Goodnight.”
Specifically, it’s a two-minute show featuring Disney music and the voice of Roy O. Disney from his dedication speech at the park 50 years ago. It features Disney music and the castle lights up with changing colors.
It usually does not happen on special event nights or when the park is open later for extra magic hour.
It’s not something every Disney fan gets to see.
6. The castle’s moat has more than 3 million gallons of water
The moat is six feet deep and contains 3.37 million gallons of water.
5. It costs $30,000 to get married in front of Cinderella’s Castle
And make sure to get some rest, first. Your nuptials will begin two to three hours after the park closes which means you will be getting married quite late.
However, you do get to ride Cinderella’s Coach down Main Street with up to 298 of your closest friends. The limit is 300 but you gotta subtract 2 for the happy couple.
4. The drawbridge is functional
In fact, that ain’t no drawbridge. It’s a regular bridge in a drawbridge disguise.
3. The castle can be dismantled in the event of severe weather
It’s a full-standing building, not a Lego set. For instance, it required massive cranes and scaffolding and 18 months to be put up.
It’s not coming down over the course of a weekend unless it’s coming down permanently.
2. The clock strikes IIII
The giant clock on the front uses the Roman numeral IIII, which is correct for the era on which the castle is based.
Roman numerals did not adopt IV for four until sometime around the 17th century.
1. The Happily Ever After fireworks show is gone for good
When the 50th Anniversary celebration is over in March of 2023, the Disney Enchantment nighttime fireworks show will end and the Happily Ever After show will return to its rightful spot.
Do you know any interesting facts about Cinderella’s Castle that we missed? Let us know in the comments!