September 21, 2009

Wonderful Weenies: Castle Built For A Disney Princess

Today we start an ongoing series of looking at the weenies of the different parks around the world, this week we start with Cinderella Castle.
Cinderella Castle was inspired by several French palaces, most notably Château de Pierrefonds, Château d'Ussé in France, Fontainebleau, Versailles, and the chateaux of Chenonceau, Chambord and Chaumont. Neuschwanstein Castle was the original inspiration for Walt Disney in his concept for the castle in the classic animated film Cinderella.Being built first in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, it was finished in July 1971, rising 189ft above the ground, and taking about 18 months to complete, at the time, this was the tallest structure built in any Disney Theme Park, with Sleeping Beauty Castle measuring about half the size. The castle, like most structures of Disney Theme Parks, was built using forced perspective. For example, using this method, the top spire of the Castle is actually close to half of the size it "appears." Major elements of the Castle were scaled and angled to give the illusion of distance and height.A common question among vistors and Disney jokesters is "How many blocks did it take to build Cinderella Castle?", the answer, NONE. Despite appearances, no bricks were used in its construction; the inner structure is constructed of six-hundred tons of steel braced frame construction, and a ten inch thick reinforced concrete wall encircles the structure to the full height of the outermost "stone" walls. All of the steel and concrete works are supported on a concrete drilled caisson foundation. In spite of the fact that this is not a genuine fortress, it is the next best thing structurally speaking. Much less fiberglass is used than is popularly supposed. Rather, most of the exterior is a thick, very hard fiber-reinforced gypsum plaster that is supported by light gauge metal studs. Most fiberglass work is reserved for the exterior walls of more ornate upper towers. The roofs are not fiberglass, either. They are shingled in the same type of plastic that computer monitor shells are made from, attached to a cone of light gauge steel sheeting over the steel sub-frame. These towers were lifted by crane, then welded and bolted permanently to the main structure.As many castles have legends behind them, this one is no different, many disney fans and Cast Members say that the Castle can be taken down in the case of a hurricane, within a couple hours, however that rumor is totally false. Another legend of Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom is that Walt Disney's "frozen" body is burried underneath the castle, however that is also false.

There are a total of 27 towers on the castle, each numbered 1-29-- tower numbers 13 and 17 were deleted before construction when it was realized that they could not really be seen from anywhere in the park, due mainly to the other Fantasyland buildings. The tower with the clock in front is 10, the tallest is 20. 23 is the other golden-roofed tower.When originally built, there was an "apartment" inside the castle, but was used by telephone operators of the resort. Then left empty for quite sometime. And then "reopened" the apartment as the Cinderella Castle Suite in 2006 as apart of the Year of a Million Dreams, one of the prizes of the year.

In Fall 2006, the castle was repainted to a off-whiteish, with a slight touch of soft pink and darker blue turret roofs.Tokyo Disneyland's caslte is generally considered to be a carbon copy of the Magic Kingdom's castle. However, from 1986-2006, a popular walk-through attraction called the "Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour" was featured within the castle. In June 2006, the castle was repainted, to differentiate it from Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom. The castle now has gold trimmings, the rooftops have been painted a different shade of blue, and the white stone of the turrets now has a tan/dirty-pink color.There is one difference between Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland's castles, and its the name. In Magic Kingdom, the castle is Cinderella's Castle, with an S. Whereas Tokyo Disneyland's castle is Cinderella Castle, without an S, no one really knows why.


Stay Tuned tomorrow for our first of our Pics and Pins set for this series...

1 comment:

  1. Neuschwanstein Castle is so beautiful. This is a great break-down of the castle and it's origins. Would love to see a closer view of the blueprints!