The History Behind the Cinderella Castle Mosaic Murals

by | Oct 17, 2023 | Magic Kingdom, WDW Blog

We’re sharing the history and details behind the iconic Cinderella Castle mosaic murals you’ll find at Cinderella Castle located in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

Nothing rivals the feeling of when you walk down Main Street, U.S.A., and see Cinderella Castle at the end of it. With its many spires, turrets, and gargoyles on display, it looks as if it came straight out of an enchanted fairytale. Cinderella Castle is truly beautiful from the outside, but there are some things that can be found within the castle that just add to the beauty of it all. 

As you make your way through the entry passage, you will find five murals lining the breezeway. Each one highlights a different part of the classic fairytale, Cinderella. You may be familiar with these murals, having either seen them when rushing through the archway, or maybe you’ve intentionally gone inside to see these beautiful installations, but do you know the history behind their creation? The murals may tell the story of a most beloved princess, but there is another story that lies in the history of their development. 

It’s All in the Details of the Cinderella Castle Murals

Each panel that makes up the Cinderella Castle murals is 15 feet by 10 feet. The murals are actually mosaics, and they are composed of thousands and thousands of tiles made of multicolored Italian glass, silver, and 14-karat gold. The number of pieces used to create each mosaic is over a million, and more than 500 colors were used! What you see inside Cinderella Castle today are still the original pieces, however, duplicates of these murals were eventually created for Tokyo Disneyland. 


Photo by Brett Svenson

The amount of detail put into these murals is nothing short of what you would expect from the magic of Disney Imagineering. To highlight an example of such attention to detail, if you look closely at Anastasia and Drizella’s faces, you will notice that they have slight tints of green and red pigments in their faces. This was done to represent the stepsisters being “green with envy” and “red with rage.”

cinderella castle mosaic murals

Photo by Judd Helms

Another example is how famous Imagineers, Herb Ryman and John Hench, are featured within one of the panels. If you look closely, the royal courtier and the footman were designed to look exactly like them! 

The Creators Behind the Cinderella Castle Mosaic Murals  

Dorothea Redmond, former Imagineer and Disney Legend, designed the murals. She was a painter and illustrator for Walt Disney Imagineering, but prior to her career at Disney, she worked on many notable films and impressive architectural projects.

cinderella castle mosaic murals

Photo by Judd Helms

Hired to bring Redmond’s designs to life was mosaicist Hanns-Joachim Scharff. Scarff had studied art history in Germany and became interested in mosaics during his youth. The Cinderella Castle mural was only his second project for the company. The names of these creators can be found on one of the murals, worked into the mosaic itself. 

Mural Design & Development

The murals are based on Redmond’s original design, and they were used by Scharff to work on the mosaics. To bring Cinderella’s story to life in mosaic form, Scarff had Redmond’s drawings enlarged. These full-scale drawings were then divided into sections, and then covered with fabric netting. From here, glass pieces were cut, shaped, and then glued into place on top of the netting, using the pattern as a guide underneath. The idea was, that once the murals were put into place, the netting could easily be removed after they were completed. 

Once the mosaic work was finished, these panels were transported to Florida and installed by craftsmen inside Cinderella Castle. The mosaics were pressed into the walls using wet cement, and later, the mortar was applied over top to ensure the mosaic pieces were secured into place. The panels took 18 months to complete, from its initial design concept, to the final installation inside the castle. 


Photo by Cliff Wang

The Cinderella Castle murals are a visual storytelling masterpiece, but for me, it’s the story behind the story that continues to draw me in. Learning how Imagineering does the work they do, and about the little details they embed within the Disney Parks, it’s stories like these that keep me curious and eager to learn more about the magic they continue to make.


Posts by Amanda Pemberton

Amanda is a librarian and contributing writer for WDW Magazine. She loves research, writing and all things Disney, and she especially loves when she can combine all three of these passions together. You can follow Amanda on Instagram @amandakpemberton.

Authored by
Amanda Pemberton

Amanda is a librarian and contributing writer for WDW Magazine. She loves research, writing and all things Disney, and she especially loves when she can combine all three of these passions together. You can follow Amanda on Instagram @amandakpemberton.
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