Historic Cinderella Castle Photos Take You on a Magical Trip Back in Time

by | May 17, 2023 | Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World News, WDW Blog

Scroll to see some stunning historic Cinderella Castle photos, including construction photos and special castle treatments.

With over fifty years of history, there’s no arguing that Cinderella Castle is the icon of Walt Disney World. And now, it’s time to look back at its stories history! Disney’s manager of External Affairs Steven Millerunearthed a treasure trove of historic Cinderella Castle photos. The shots from Disney’s archives and Miller’s personal collection show just how this incredible structure has developed over the last five decades.


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Historic Cinderella Castle Photos Travel Back to the Beginning

Cinderella Castle Under Consttuction at Magic Kingdom Park

Cinderella Castle just before completion. Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

As we all know, Walt Disney World opened its gates to the world on October 1st, 1971. Just before that grand opening, construction wrapped on Cinderella Castle.

In the photo above, you’ll see the near-finished castle surrounded by scaffolding. All said and done Cinderella Castle took just 18 months to construct—a short time given its enduring legacy. Though inspired by the majestic castles of Europe, Cinderella Castle is built quite differently. There isn’t a single brick to be found in the walls of this castle—it’s all concrete, cement, fiberglass, plastic, and steel.

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Concept art (left) and model of Cinderella Castle. Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

But even before the final not-brick was laid, guests got their first glimpse of the Cinderella Castle at The Walt Disney World Preview Center. The Preview Center featured the rendering of what the finished castle would look like from the perspective of artist Herb Ryman.

Disney also built a model of the castle ahead of its construction. The model—decked out in the signature blue, gold, and grey hues—still appears today in the lobby of the WDW Casting Center.

Want to learn more about the construction of Cinderella Castle? Check out Behind the Attraction‘s “The Castles” episode on Disney+.

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A Look at Cinderella Castle Through the Ages

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Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

Taking photos of Cinderella Castle is something of a family affair for Miller. His parents snapped this photo from the comfort of the Swiss Family Treehouse in Adventureland.

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Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

When Miller first visited Walt Disney World in 1983, he snapped this photo of Cinderella Castle. This couldn’t be more 1980s if it had a hi-top fade.

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Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

In 1996—a year before Miller kicked off his Disney career—he got a chance to see Cinderella Castle done up like a birthday cake for its 25th anniversary. And doesn’t it look delicious?

Cinderella Castle’s 50th Anniversary

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Historic photos of three Cinderella Castle makeovers. Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

In subsequent years, Cinderella Castle would get makeovers to celebrate milestones and holidays. And it got yet another glow-up in 2021 with an EARidsecent scheme as part of The World’s Most Magical Celebration for Disney World’s 50th anniversary.

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Photo by Julie de la Fe

While the 50th anniversary has since ended, and the decorations have been removed, we’re excited to see what future iterations will come for this majestic part of Magic Kingdom.


What do you think is the most recognizable symbol of Walt Disney World? Visit our Facebook page and tell us if you think it’s Cinderella Castle, mouse ears, or something else.


Download these FREE Cinderella’s Castle Zoom Backgrounds

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Posts by Kyle Johnson

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Kyle Johnson is a writer, enthusiast of all things weird, and has an unnatural obsession with Halloween. We’re talking animatronics staying up all year round and watching The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad on a whim in April. He has a cool wiener dog, Rumours, and an even cooler wife, Trinity.
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Authored by
Kyle Johnson

Kyle Johnson is a writer, enthusiast of all things weird, and has an unnatural obsession with Halloween. We’re talking animatronics staying up all year round and watching The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad on a whim in April. He has a cool wiener dog, Rumours, and an even cooler wife, Trinity.
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