"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
---Walter Elias Disney

Thursday, April 12, 2012

C Is For.....Cinderella Castle

I was at a loss already, at the letter "C", as to what to blog about tonight. Luckily, the lovely Miss Lisa is always ready with a suggestion, and this was one of her best. The Cinderella Castle it is!

Christmas lights make the castle even more beautiful at night
The Cinderella Castle is the iconic landmark of Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Park. Driving under the welcome sign on the way in to Walt Disney World is great and all, but you are not truly "at Disney" until you've looked on the Cinderella Castle. It sits in the center of the parks hub and spoke design, it's the hub, the centerpiece, the landmark visible from any of the lands. It serves as the tunnel entrance to Fantasyland, as a stage for shows, as a backdrop for fireworks and as the home of a restaurant inside. Disney dresses the castle up for the holidays with multi-colored lights, transforming it at night into a huge, ever-changing Christmas decoration. On special occasions, the castle has been transformed by golden characters and even made to look like a giant ice cream cake (something we will never speak of again,. The horror). 

This was some very important anniversary for the Walt Disney Company. No clue any longer what it was. But the castle looked very cool with all the characters from the movies clinging to the outside.
It's a prime example of one of the Imagineers favorite tricks, forced perspective. The castle is built so its uppermost parts are smaller in scale then the parts on ground level. This makes your eye see it as even taller than it really is. It's a neat trick.

John and the Princess
We had a really special magic moment inside the Cinderella Castle on the day we first took our son to the Magic Kingdom, back in 2003. My parents were along on this trip and since it was near our wedding anniversary, they decided to treat us to dinner inside the castle, at what was then King Stefan's Dining Hall. What Sleeping Beauty's dad is doing with a dining hall inside a castle named for Cinderella wasn't clear, but since we'd always wanted to eat in the actual castle, we were all very excited. On our way to the restaurant, we had to pass through what appeared to be a throne room, the huge gilded throne inside being a big hint. As we went to check out the giant throne, who should arrive but Cinderella her royal self! We said hello and she was very polite, but had eyes only for almost 4-year-old John. John was then and still is very taken by blondes, and Cinderella was certainly a beautiful blonde. She walked up to me and took him from my arms and carried him to her throne, where they sat and chatted, in whispers, for a little while. They posed for pictures, she gave him a kiss that left a bright red lipstick lip mark, and we retrieved our son, beaming, to head up for dinner. To this day we have no idea what she said to him, he ain't telling. It was one of the most incredible experiences we have ever had in any Disney park, and we have had some memorable ones.

So, yes, the castle is special to us, as it is to everyone who truly understands the Disney magic. We have several photos of the Cinderella Castle in our living room, reminding us every day of the Most Magical Place On Earth. It's such a part of the magic that just seeing the castle can make my heart skip a beat. I thought it was just me until sitting next to my friend Jen in a movie theater and she poking me and saying, "IT'S THE CASTLE" every time it showed up on the screen before a preview of a Disney produced film. She knew we had just booked our trip and were very excited and what seeing that castle would mean. She gets it. The Cinderella Castle is more than an icon, it's a big part of the tie that bonds all of us Disney Geeks together into one big, happy family. And you don't get any more magical than that.

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