Inside the suite
When Cinderella Castle was being built, there was a space included in the upper levels that was intended to be a private apartment for the Disney family. This wasn’t an unusual building request, as Walt Disney had an apartment constructed on the second floor of Disneyland’s Main Street Firehouse. From that apartment, Disney watched the crowds stream in on Disneyland’s opening day in 1955. A light in that space is continuously kept on in tribute to the parks’ creator.
Sadly, the apartment in Cinderella Castle was left unfinished. The space, which takes up an entire floor of the castle, was used as a dressing room for cast members as well as a storage space and even as a room for telephone operators when the park opened. But in 2005, the Disney company announced that the apartment would finally be finished into a space called the Cinderella Castle Suite that could sleep as many as six people. It took Imagineers six months to transform the space into something that Cinderella – and Walt – would be proud of.
The suite is four stories above the Magic Kingdom and can be found from the outside by identifying the stained-glass windows that have pictures in the middle on the castle’s north and west sides, nearly two-thirds of the way up. (You can see the suite's windows from the bridges to Adventureland and Liberty Square.) There’s also a large balcony on the east side, though its only entrance is an emergency exit.
To enter the suite’s “lobby,” guests go through one of the wooden doors in the castle’s archway. Behind the door is a desk, tapestry and a golden elevator door – along with a clock permanently set at about a minute until midnight. The golden elevator even has a beautiful, intricate design, and the elevator whisks the special guests to a foyer featuring a mosaic floor with a pumpkin coach design. Then guests enter the suite.
While the space isn’t large (it’s 650 square feet – about the size of a typical master bedroom and bathroom or a studio room at a Disney Vacation Club resort), it includes a salon, bedchamber and bathroom. And the Disney company didn’t skimp on the lavish furnishings: the two queen-size beds have fabric draped above them, beneath Cinderella’s royal crest, and the bedchamber’s floor has cut stone reminiscent of the castle’s archway. The salon has a custom sofa bed with French carved details, along with a mirror that magically turns into a television. A portrait of Cinderella in an ornate frame above a fireplace in the bedchamber also transforms into a TV.
In the bathroom is a lavish garden tub, along with a shower, and the vanity features hand-decorated copper basins. And even the toilet is fit for royalty, as it is shaped like an actual throne. The ceiling above the tub is a dark blue dome, with twinkling “star” lights.
The suite is filled with nooks that showcase accessories that look like they’re from the time of the Cinderella story, and there’s even a glass slipper – along with a crown, scepter and pumpkins – in a cove in the suite’s foyer. But while the décor makes guests feel like they’ve gone back in time, there are also up-to-date conveniences. Besides the modern TVs, there’s access for wheelchairs in the bedroom and bathroom, and elevator access to the suite is available.
And there are a bunch of other special features. In the Royal Bedchamber, there’s a 17th-century Dutch secretary desk, three hand-woven rugs from Thailand and two slipper chairs. The small chairs look like children’s furniture but were used by adults in the 17th- and 18th-centuries as a place to sit and put on shoes. Images of mice were carved on the room’s support columns, and the glowing “fire” in the fireplace is actually made with fiber optics. There are also two hand-hammered copper cinder pots that call back to Cinderella’s humble beginnings.
In the Royal Sitting Room, there are mirrored spaces to the left and right that open to reveal hidden spaces to store clothes, and the center space hides a DVD player and a small refrigerator filled with drinks.
The Royal Bath’s Jacuzzi tub has a waterfall faucet along with chromatherapy mood lighting, and mosaics include the initials “W.D.,” a mouse looking up at a castle and more surprises.
The furnishings and added touches all serve to make the privileged few guests who get the chance to stay here not only feel like they’re staying in a castle but also that they’re immersed in a fairy tale – one of the most famous and most beloved of all time.