Cinderella Castle: 10 Facts You May Not Know

Cinderella Dreamlights Castle at Magic Kingdom
Credit: Matthew Cooper Photography

Located at the end of Main Street, Cinderella Castle stands as a majestic gateway, welcoming all who enter Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. From this enchanting focal point, the realm of dreams unfolds, granting access to all the magical areas of the park. But there are many facts, stories, and details that the casual Disney visitor may not know…

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1. After an 18-month construction period, the castle was completed in July 1971. At 189 feet, measured from the concrete bottom of the water-filled moat containing approximately 3.37 million US gallons of water, it stands 100 feet taller than Sleeping Beauty Castle located at Disneyland Park.

Missing Towers?

Cinderella Castle

Credit: Disney

2. Cinderella Castle has a total of 27 towers (numbered 1 to 29). Tower numbers 13 and 17 were omitted during construction as they were not easily visible from anywhere in the park, partly obstructed by other Fantasyland buildings. The tower housing the clock is number 10, the tallest is number 20, and number 23 stands as the other golden-roofed tower. In 2015, an additional four turrets were added to Cinderella Castle, enhancing its picturesque panorama.

3. Unlike the drawbridge at Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Park, Cinderella Castle’s drawbridge is purely ornamental and cannot be raised.

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4. Herbert Ryman, the chief designer, drew inspiration from Versailles, Fontainbleau, the chateaux of Chambord and Chaumont, and even the Tyn Church in Prague.

5. Graceful spires, ornate turrets, and royal blue rooftops draw your gaze towards the castle’s pinnacle, employing the clever technique of forced perspective (a signature Disney technique). Through this visual illusion, onlookers are deceived into perceiving a castle much grander in scale than it truly is. As the structure ascends, its design proportions diminish.

Cinderella Castle

Credit: Disney

Made with Steel and Concrete

6. Disney’s ingenuity deceives the eye, presenting the castle as if it were crafted from marble, when in fact, it is constructed with steel and concrete. The inner structure comprises a sturdy braced frame of 600 tons of steel, encircled by a ten-inch reinforced concrete wall. All of this rests upon a foundation of concrete drilled caissons. Despite its brick-like appearance, no bricks were employed in its construction.

7. The castle was designed to withstand winds of up to 110 miles per hour, boasting even more structural resilience.

8. After the September 11 attacks in 2001 and concerns over public safety, the Federal Aviation Administration established a permanent Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over the entire Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, restricting general aviation aircraft. However, law enforcement and Walt Disney World Cessna 172 aircraft are exempt from this restriction.

What’s Inside

9. Originally planned as a suite for Walt Disney and his family, the famous penthouse area inside the castle eventually became the Dream Suite. It is reserved for special guests and even offered as a prize in certain promotional giveaways.

Interior Shot of Cinderella Castle Suite

Credit: Disney

10. The castle provides many functions in the theme park. In addition to functioning as a canvas during nighttime shows, a stage in front during character shows, it also contains a restaurant, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, a walkthrough passageway to Fantasyland, and contains mosaic murals narrating the enchanting tale of Cinderella.

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Cinderella Castle will forever remain a cherished symbol of the joy and wonder that Disney represents. The castle has undergone many changes over the years, including being transformed into a cake for Walt Disney World’s 25th Anniversary and currently featuring special decorations for Disney’s 100th anniversary. But its integrity and symbolism remain intact, forever standing as the regal icon of Walt Disney World (and of course, the Magic Kingdom).

Cinderella Castle Fireworks

Credit: Disney

About Steven Wilk

Steven has a complicated relationship with Disney. As a child, he visited Walt Disney World every few years with his family. But he never understood why kids his age (and older) were so scared of Snow White or Alien Encounter. He is a former participant of the Disney College Program (left early…long story), and he also previously worked in Children’s publishing, where he adapted multiple Disney movies and TV shows. He has many controversial opinions about Disney…like having a positive view of Michael Eisner, believing Return of the Jedi is superior to The Empire Strikes Back, and that Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge should have never been built (at least not at Hollywood Studios). Every year for the past two decades, Steven has visited either Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani or went on a Disney Cruise. He’s happy to share any and all knowledge of the Disney destinations (and he likes using parenthesis a lot…as well as ellipses…)