When the Cinderella Castle Looked Different

Cinderella Castle

The most famous – and unpopular – change to the Cinderella Castle.

We were thinking about all the changes we’ve seen the Cinderella Castle go through since our first trip to WDW in 1993.

The most dramatic change was for the 15 month-long celebration of WDW’s 25th Anniversary (October 1996 – January 1998).

At the Castle, October 1996

At the pink Cinderella Castle with my mom, October 1996

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of WDW on October 1, 1996, Disney transformed the front of Cinderella Castle into an 18-story “birthday cake.” Complete with red and pink “icing,” giant candy canes and 26 glowing candles, the castle served as the centerpiece for the celebration. This was no small undertaking.

It took more than 400 US gallons of pink paint to cover the castle, which was then decorated with multicolored “sprinkles,” 26 candles, ranging in height from 20–40 feet tall, 16 two-foot long candy stars, 16 five-foot candy bears, 12 five-foot gumdrops, four six-foot stacks of Life Savers, 30 three-foot lollipops, and 50 two-foot gumballs. Additionally, more than 1000 feet of pink and blue inflatable “icing” was needed to finish it off.

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But, it’s been changed other times too:

Happiest Celebration look in 2005

Happiest Celebration look in 2005

We were there in 2005 for the castle’s redecoration commemorating the Happiest Celebration on Earth in honor of Disneyland’s 50th anniversary.

The castle’s exterior was adorned with polished gold trim and accents, swags, banners and tapestries. Golden statues of Disney characters were also added to the exterior, including Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, and Wendy circling the tallest spire.

Stitich is King!

Stitch is King!  Awful!

The least appreciated Castle transformation – which only lasted 1 day (Nov 16, 2004) – was when the castle was modified to appear as though it was strewn with toilet paper.

“Stitch is King” was posted on a turret as faux graffiti to mark the grand opening of ‘Stitch’s Great Escape!’ ride in Tomorrowland that day. The material was removed after the park closed that evening.

Disney got a lot of complaints over that decor!  Wildly unappreciated and unpopular!!!

Castel repairs, January 2014

Castle repairs going on in January.

Every January, after the millions of Cinderella Castle Dream Lights came down, Disney maintenance starts an in-depth sprucing up of the Castle’s exterior.

They repair any roof leaks, re-seal the exterior, clean all the Castle windows (a big job!), and touch up any Castle paint which got scratched from the Dream Lights.

On Main Street USA, February 2014.  Note the crane moving things in the background.

On Main Street USA in January.  Note the big Disney crane moving things in the background.

For most of January when you walk down Main Street USA, you will see the large crane moving maintenance people and supplies back and forth.

It photobombs everyone’s Main Street photos!  😦

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Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.

Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

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When the Cinderella Castle was Bright Pink!

We thought this change was wonderful!

We thought this bold castle color change was wonderful…but a lot of guests hated it!

We went to Disney World in November 1996 to see the “pink birthday castle” unveiled for the 25th anniversary celebration a few weeks earlier.

We were not disappointed!!  It was BRIGHT PINK!

At WDW for the 25 Anniversary celebration - in the of the Pink Castle.

Nov. 1996:  At Disney World for the 25th Anniversary celebration – sitting in front of the “Pink Castle”.  We loved it! ❤

Waiting for the 3 o'clock parade.

Waiting for the 3 o’clock parade to start.

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Magic Kingdom marching band.

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Caroline in the Lion King float.

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Genie on Main Street USA in the 3 o’clock parade

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All those candles were inflatables and would sway in the breeze.

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The whole Castle wasn’t painted…this is the view from the backside, Fantasyland.

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It really dazzled the eye!

We saved the MK park map from our trip!

We saved the MK park map from our trip! Nov. 1996

Sold at McDonald's for $1.

Disney drinking glasses celebrating the 25th anniversary of WDW. Sold at McDonald’s for just $1.  We wish we had bought more than just one!

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Dec 2017:  The Cinderella Castle Dream Lights are on.  Make it pink!!  🙂

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April 2018:  Pink Millennial Minnie Ears arrive at MK.  I wish I had these back then!  So pretty!!

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Throwback Thursday: Our mom at the Wedding Pavilion next to the Grand Floridian.

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Two Disney Sisters

Two Disney Sisters

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

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Turning on the 2017 Cinderella Castle Dream Lights!

frozenThe 2017 Cinderella Castle Dream Lights will be turned on tonight, November 9, 2017 and Disney Parks Blog will be live streaming it!

It’s also the first night of the 2017 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party celebration.

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The Cinderella Castle Dream Lights.  (Teal, my favorite color!)

It’s Christmastime at the Magic Kingdom!!!

Disney decorates Cinderella Castle for the holiday season with a “Dream Lights” effect that makes the Castle seem to be covered in ice.

Over 200,000 LED lights are draped over the turrets and roofs and down the sides of the Castle to create this beautiful effect.

We’ve gotten to see the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights being turned on many times for the past several years.  It’s beautiful each and every time!

The Dream Lights will stay lit until after the 25th Anniversary Disney Marathon Weekend happening January 5 – 7, 2018.

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6pm:  The Frozen preshow where Queen Elsa lights the Castle.

Just after dark at around 6pm, the characters from ‘Frozen’ come out on the Castle Stage and do a short show.  The castle lighting show stars Anna, Queen Elsa (who “turns on” the lights with her magical, icy powers), Kristoff, and Olaf.

The Frozen show starts the evening’s celebrations, followed by the Castle’s lighting ceremony at 6:15 pm.  The Castle’s Dream Lights remain on, with the Castle slowly changing colors from pink to green to blue to purple, for the rest of the evening until one hour after park closing.

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I could watch them change colors all night.  This is one of my favorite shades, blue into purple.  Just dazzling!

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Purple.

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Make it pink!!

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Stunning!  Icy blue.

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Teal into ‘Frozen’ blues.  **Sigh**

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The four side turrets house the new state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems for all the different shows put on every day.

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Reflections of the Dream Lights on the castle’s moat water.  I took this photo last year.

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7pm:  The Dream Lights are turned on and they are beautiful!  We could watch them change colors all night!  ❤

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It’s starting to rain, but we don’t care!  Ho ho ho!!

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Coffee colored!

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I could watch the Cinderella Lights all night!

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They are also turned back on in the early morning!

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Meeting Queen Elsa and Princess Anna before the lighting ceremony.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

***

Goodbye to ‘Wishes’ Fireworks at the Magic Kingdom!

Disney has the best fireworks shows in the world!

Wishes fireworks over the Cinderella Catsle

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
I wish I might have my wish tonight.

After 14 years, the ‘Wishes’ Nighttime Fireworks Spectacular at the Magic Kingdom will say goodbye tonight (May 11, 2017) with the very last performance.

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The new fireworks show!

A new show called ‘Happily Ever After’ begins Friday night, May 12th, 2017.

‘Happily Ever After’ captures the heart, humor, and emotions of Disney films through awe-inspiring fireworks, state of the art projections, and brilliant lasers.

Disney Parks Blog will be live steaming the event:  Live Stream from the Magic Kingdom.

Make a wish....

Always make a wish when Tinkerbell leaps off the Cinderella Castle and glides over Fantasyland!

We saw – or heard – the Wishes fireworks show every single day while working for Disney during our year-long DCP program at Disney World.

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We cried along with our friends watching Wishes fireworks on the very last night of our program!

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Ever wonder just what do all those firework shows at Disney World cost????

Wishes at the Magic Kingdom!

‘Wishes’ over the Magic Kingdom!

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is the highest consumer of fireworks in the world.

Disney does not disclose the cost of fireworks, but just the nightly – and sometimes twice a night – ‘Wishes’ fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom costs anywhere from $41,000-$55,000 a night. (The special New Year’s Eve fireworks at MK are estimated to cost over $100,000!)  That means it costs at least $15 million a year for Magic Kingdom fireworks alone.

Disney World puts on about 2,500 firework shows a year at three of their parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios). No fireworks displays are ever used at Animal Kingdom – it would scare the animals!  And, there are no fireworks shows at Disney Springs.

If you want to assume that Illuminations at Epcot and Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios are slightly less, maybe half the cost, that comes out to at least $30 million a year for them. This would not include any special fireworks displays that happen for 4th of July, or Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Villains in the Sky at Hollywood Studios, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, nor the daytime fireworks that are a part of most of the stage shows performed in front of the Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom.

Rough, conservative estimate for WDW fireworks – $45 – $50 million dollars annually.

It seems like everytime Disney changes or expands the fireowrks show, the parking fees go up!

It seems like every time Disney changes or expands the fireworks show, the parking fees go up!

Rumor has it that Disney uses the revenue from all their parking lots (currently $20/day) to help cover the cost of the fireworks. So, when you pay for parking, you’re really paying for the evening’s fireworks show. Nice!  (Be sure to stay for the fireworks and not leave early!!)

Expect parking fees to go up soon with the new fireworks show launching this week!  🙂

5pm: Moving the Illumnations fireworks platforms into position.

5pm: Moving the Illuminations fireworks platforms into position at Epcot.

Moving out into the center of the Friendship Lagoon.

Moving the launching platforms out into the center of Friendship Lagoon.

VIP Seating for Illuminations

Caroline watching the beginning of the Illuminations show.

CP Moment Illuminations

A CP Moment:  Watching IllumiNations for the first time with your coworkers.

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dole whip

Two Disney Sisters

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

book

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

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U.S. Navy Blue Angels Fly Over Magic Kingdom on April 6, 2017!

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April 7, 2017, 9:50am.  WOW!!!!!!

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They did this 2x!  Delta Break pattern.

All eyes were focused on the skies on Thursday morning, April 6th,  as the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flew over Main Street U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom!

The Blue Angels made two passes above the Magic Kingdom at Disney World between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m.

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WOW!

This is a special treat as the airspace over the Magic Kingdom is restricted and requires special permission from the FAA!

Video link: Blue Angels Fly Over Magic Kingdom 4/07/2017

Mickey saluting the Blue Angels

Parade Mickey saluting the Blue Angels flying high above the Magic Kingdom!

In 2015, the Blue Angels performed similar flyovers to the cheers of thousands of guests at the theme park. The six F/A-18 Hornet jets roared down Main Street U.S.A. at more than 250 miles an hour on a first pass before executing what is called a Delta Break over Cinderella Castle. WOW!  Blue Angels over Magic Kingdom 2015

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You could see them from all 4 parks

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Walt would have loved this!

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dole whip

Two Disney Sisters

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

***  

‘Once Upon a Time’ Show at the Magic Kingdom

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Stained glass scene from Beauty and the Beast

A new nighttime projection show, “Once Upon a Time,” recently debuted on the Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom. The show replaced the wonderful “Celebrate the Magic” projection show.

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Mrs. Potts and Chip

In this new show, Mrs. Potts from “Beauty and the Beast” shares bedtime stories with Chip, taking them on a magical trip through the most adventurous scenes from favorite Disney films like “Cinderella,” “Peter Pan,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.”

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Waltz scene from Cinderella

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Peter Pan and Wendy over London

The new show includes a flight with Peter Pan from London to Never Land and a daring duel between Gaston and Beast. Mrs. Potts and Chip end their bedtime story with a grand finale that includes appearances by characters from even more Disney films.

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Belle and the Beast dancing

The show, which was inspired by one of a similar name at Tokyo Disneyland Park, uses state-of-the-art projection mapping technology to cover every nook and cranny of Cinderella Castle in vibrant images that appear almost three-dimensional.

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Yes, of course, there’s fireworks over the castle for the show’s finale!

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two-disney-sisters

Two Disney sisters

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

***

Discounted Tickets to 2016 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for Cast Members

Main Street USA all decorated for tonight's party!

Main Street USA is all decorated for the holidays (it’s always ready by the first party night, Nov. 7th)!

New:  The discounted dates and prices for cast members for the 2016 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom in Florida have been updated! See below.

2016 MVMCP Party Night Dates for All Guests:

  • November 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27, 29*
  • December 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 22

November 10, 13 – $86.00 plus tax age 10+, $81.00 plus tax age 3-9 in advance, $91.00/$86 same-day

November 18, 27, 29, December 2, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13 – $92.00 plus tax age 10+, $87.00 plus tax age 3-9 in advance, $96/$91.00 same-day

November 7, 8, 11, 15, December 1 – $91.00 plus tax age 10+, $86.00 plus tax age 3-9

December 9, 15 – $96.00 plus tax age 10+, $91.00 plus tax age 3-9

December 16, 18, 22 – $99.00 plus tax age 10+, $94.00 plus tax age 3-9

Passholder Rates available 11/7, 8, 11, 15; 12/1, 11, & 13 – Rates are $74-$84 plus tax depending on night. DVC members also have discounts on additional nights (including all dates APs are entitled to) 11/10, 13, 18, 27, 29, & 12/6 ranging between $74-89 plus tax.

BREAKING NEWS:  *Cast Members can purchase discounted tickets for 30% off to MVMCP for most nights in November and now some nights in December at the Company D Store and at the MK Vacation Planning kiosks.

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NEW!  For the first time, cast members can buy discounted party tickets for 6 select nights in December!!!

I love how Disney decorates the lightposts on Main Street!

11/01/16:  We love how Disney decorates the lightposts on Main Street!  So pretty!

CM Tip:  The MVMCP party starts at 7pm, but Disney let’s ticketed guests in for the party starting at 4pm.  Plan on going to the Magic Kingdom early (park by 3:30pm) and don’t forget to wear your Christmas sweater!

Even if it’s warm during the day, it can get very chilly in the park after the sun goes down!!!  Stash a jacket in a locker as you enter the park.

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The 2016 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party exclusive pins!!!  <3!!!!!!

Wondering about the crowds, especially in December???  Well, here’s a crowd forecast:

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The two week after Thanksgiving and into early December are some of the best times to visit WDW with fairly light crowds.  (Note:  Thanksgiving Week and the last two weeks of the year are the WORST time to visit WDW with long lines, heavy crowds, crowded restaurants, rude guests, and Park Phase Closures in effect!)

Special parade, snow falling on Main Street USA, Castle Dream Lights, free cookies and cocoa...all of it wonderful!!!

MVMCP 2016: Special Christmas nightime parade  with snow falling on Main Street USA, the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights turned on, holiday music playing, free cookies and cocoa for all guests…all of it is wonderful to see!!! 

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At last year’s 2015 MVMCP on a cool evening…so much fun!! The Cinderella Castle is just beautiful with the 200,000 LED Dream Lights turned on!!

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Christmas photo (2)

Two Disney sisters.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

***