BACKSTORY (Oct. 1, 1971–Present): From the Walt Disney World website:
Cinderella Castle is the iconic fairy-tale fortress that serves as the gateway to Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom theme park. It is not only one of the central icons of Walt Disney World Resort, but its romantic beauty has also come to represent all of the Walt Disney Company.
The castle is located in the heart of Magic Kingdom theme park—just above the central hub of the Park. Many Guests catch their first glimpse of the castle from Main Street, U.S.A. When you first see the soaring spires, ornate turrets and shimmering moat, you know you've left the world of today and entered a magical new land full of fun and fantasy.
While it may be initially startling to see a medieval castle rising 190 feet into the sky at the end of a street right out of classic small-town America, the dream-like magic of the contrasting images captures the promise of the enchanted adventures awaiting you.
Step inside Cinderella Castle, and it's like you're walking into a fairy tale come true. The castle is as beautiful inside as it is on the outside. Inspect an amazingly detailed mosaic mural—including tiles made of real 14-karat gold—and enjoy vignettes from the 1950 Disney animated classic, Cinderella. The mural contains one million pieces of glass in approximately 500 different colors.
Also inside the castle, families are invited to dine like royalty at Cinderella's Royal Table.
Inspirations for Cinderella Castle
A variety of real and fictional castles served as inspiration for Cinderella Castle—including Fontainebleau, Versailles and the chateaus of Chenonceau, Chambord and Chaumont. The chief designer of Cinderella Castle, Disney Legend Herb Ryman, also referenced the original design for the castle in the film Cinderella and his own well-known creation—Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park in California.