Every Single Time Cinderella Castle Had a Makeover
Last year, Cinderella Castle got a shiny new coat of paint in anticipation of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. And earlier this month, the makeover was finally complete when Imagineers added the finishing touch: an iridescent emblem emblazoned with a giant golden ’50’, front and center.
This latest transformation of Cinderella Castle had me thinking back to all the times Magic Kingdom’s iconic centerpiece underwent a change. Some were memorable, others a little forgettable. How many of these do you remember?
The Original Cinderella Castle
There she is, in all her glory. The original Cinderella Castle as she was presented to the world on October 1, 1971. Before this she was just a vision in Walt Disney’s mind, and later came to life with the help of fiberglass, steel, plaster, and cement.
She remained virtually untouched for 24 years, until 1995 rolled around and ushered in a transformation no one could see coming. Yes, folks. I’m talking about that Castle.
Walt Disney World’s 25th Anniversary
Love it or hate it, you have to admit that the Pink Birthday Cake Castle is without a doubt one of the most, if not THE most memorable Cinderella Castle transformation ever. In 1996, Disney reimagined the iconic gray and blue castle as a giant pink birthday cake, complete with frosting, sprinkles, candles, and a giant ’25’ in the center.
The makeover was so iconic that Disney even released a MagicBand in 2020 celebrating the classic transformation (which, ahem, I may or may not have purchased…). Regardless of how you feel about the confectionary castle catastrophe of 1996, it goes down in history as one of the most memorable Disney moments ever.
Back to Basics
In January 1998, after 15 months of pink birthday cake bliss, Cinderella Castle returned to her normal self again. The classic gray faux bricks and regal blue spires stuck around for quite sometime. All was right in the (Disney) World again.
Stitch Is King?
Perhaps one of the most bizarre yet brilliant transformations was back in 2004 when Stitch “escaped” overnight and TP’d Cinderella Castle. The prank was done in honor of the opening of Stitch’s Great Escape. Some thought it was odd, some thought it was silly. Imagineers did a great job pulling it off nonetheless!
The Happiest Celebration on Earth
2005 marked 50 years of Disney Parks, and we all know how Disney loves a celebration! To commemorate the occasion, Disney kicked off a worldwide campaign dubbed “The Happiest Celebration on Earth”. Cinderella Castle ultimately underwent another makeover, only this time it was a little less startling. The spires were encompassed in golden “pixie dust” and a giant “magic mirror” graced the center of the castle. A look fit for royalty.
Sparkling Holiday Lights
In 2007, Disney debuted a dazzling Cinderella Castle dripping in icy white holiday lights. What started out as the “Cinderella Castle Dream Lights” eventually evolved into “A Frozen Holiday Wish”. The lights did not make an appearance in 2020 due to the pandemic, but instead were replaced with projections. It was just announced in the past few weeks that they will not be returning for the 2021 season either.
A Timeless Classic
Cinderella Castle remaining virtually untouched from 2006-2019. Her classic appearance was a welcoming sight to Disney guests who traveled far and wide to see her. In 2019, Disney unveiled plans for their upcoming 50th Anniversary Celebration, which they are calling “The World’s Most Magical Celebration”.
An “Earidescent” Makeover
Work on the 50th Anniversary Castle was finally completed just a few weeks ago on July 23. Scrims came down and the emblem went up. For the next 18+ months, Cinderella Castle will stand watch over Magic Kingdom, adorned in her iridescent pink and blue party outfit. Nice work, Disney.
BONUS: The Magic, The Memories, and You
The first time we ever saw projections on Cinderella Castle was in 2007 with the debut of “The Magic, The Memories, and You”. This stunning display was run typically every night before the fireworks and showcased actual Disney guests throughout the day, projected onto the castle along with iconic Disney characters and moments. This started a whole new world of possibilities for Cinderella Castle; nightly projection shows are still used today.
So, which Cinderella Castle transformation is your favorite? We’d love to know!
Can’t wait to see that beautiful castle again? I can help with that!
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