Disney History: The Many Faces of Cinderella Castle

Fun and festive? You bet! Eye catching? Absolutely! Popular with guests? Not always... Walt Disney World has tried several times to "enhance" Cinderella Castle to commemorate a special event and the results have not always been met with thundering applause!

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Walt Disney World in 1996, Cinderella's blue-grey castle was transformed into a 185 ft. tall pink birthday cake adorned with icing, candy buttons, and sporting a giant "25" above the castle entrance. The "cake" was estimated to weigh 40 million pounds and was covered in 215 gallons of pink paint. While the majority of guests maligned the transformation, many visitors who were celebrating birthdays throughout the event were only too happy that Disney had chosen to commemorate their special day in such a way!

The 25th Anniversary Cake Was Fairly ControversialThe 25th Anniversary Cake Was Fairly Controversial

The cake was left in place until January 31, 1998 when Cinderella castle once again returned to it's former splendor. That is, until Stitch invaded the Magic Kingdom on November 16, 2004 and toilet papered Cinderella's Castle to promote his takeover of Extra TERRORestrial Alien Encounter. He even scrawled, "Stich is King" across the castle wall. Fortunately for fans who prefer a most pristine appearance to the castle, the toilet paper was cleaned up after the first day and the little vandal was confined to Tomorrowland for the duration of his stay at Magic Kingdom.

Stitch TP'd The CastleStitch TP'd The Castle

In May of 2005, yet another castle upgrade was launched - this time in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Disneyland. Until September 20, 2006, a gold embellished castle with a "magic window" greeted guests at the end of Main Street. The window alternated pictures of all of the Disney castles while gold sculptures of many of our favorite animated characters complemented the ornate webbing and bunting on the castle overlay.

Gold Embellishments for Disneyland's 50th AnniversaryGold Embellishments for Disneyland's 50th Anniversary

Despite the fact that it leaves may guests' castle photos marred by a giant crane for several months each year, one annual change to the castle that is always welcome is the addition of the castle dream lights for the Christmas season. Since November of 2007 when the 200,000 LED lights on 40,000 sq. ft. of fisherman's net first appeared, the nightly castle lighting show has become a staple of the Christmas season.

Enchanted Ice CastleEnchanted Ice Castle

Fortunately, Cinderella castle exists at the moment in its original splendor and the only expected change that's on the horizon is a new coat of paint - in the original color scheme.

What do you think about the changing face of Cinderella Castle? Leave a comment and let me know!

A big thanks goes out to Guest Author Holly L. for sharing a little bit of her knowledge of Disney History with us. If you'd like to read more about Holly's Disney Adventures, you can find her sharing on our member forum.

Stephen Hiler wrote on Wed, 04/06/2016 - 15:50:

Stephen Hiler's picture

The cake was terrible - so happy when they put it back to the real castle !!!

Joanne To wrote on Wed, 04/06/2016 - 18:08:

Joanne To's picture

For folks who can only make it to the park once - I can see why they are unhappy with the embellishments. They want that traditional picture. For people who are lucky to go several times it is nice to look back at the pictures over the years and say "I remember that year when the castle was t.p.'d"

Stephkrysta wrote on Tue, 04/12/2016 - 21:10:

Stephkrysta's picture

I was 9 years old when my family 1st went to WDW, and I was so excited to see the princess castle...and then when we got there the thing was a huge pink cake with what looked like piles of fruit polos for turrets...needless to say I was quite upset at the time, but as I have been able to go 4 times since then as an adult I am glad that I got to see it looking different, but that is in hindsight, definitely not as a 9 yr old girl!!

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