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This is What it's Like to Stay the Night in Disney's Cinderella Castle

An exclusive invitation

Castle sunset

So, are you ready to make your reservation? Not so fast. As previously mentioned, gaining access to Cinderella Castle Suite is even more difficult than securing admission to Disneyland’s Club 33 – which can require years on a waiting list and thousands of dollars.

If you want to stay in the castle, you’ll need lots of luck on your side. Disney occasionally randomly picks people to stay in the suite and also sponsors contests that include a one-night stay as part of the prize.

During the Year of a Million Dreams promotion, which started in October 2006, one family per day was surprised with a night in the castle. To select the winner during that promotion, Disney created a computer program based on a map of the entire property and chose several spots where just one guest could be at any given time, such as a seat on a park bench, in a theater or on an attraction. The computer program randomly chose a time and a seat out of thousands of possibilities, then a group of cast members called the Dream Squad came out to deliver the good news: that the guest and five of his or her family members were the lucky winners of a priceless night in the castle.  

Another contest was held in January 2015, as part of Disney's "Flipside" promotion, in which vacations that included a stay in the castle were given away each day. Those vacations were entered by visiting a website. If you hurry, you can enter Kellogg’s contest, which will award prizes that include a one-night stay at the suite. The entry period for Kellogg’s Family Rewards’ Storybox Vacation Sweepstakes ends Aug. 29.

In addition to staying inside the most famous theme-park landmark of all time, contest winners generally receive even more perks – both in the castle and beyond.  Guests receive free private transportation to Walt Disney World and the services of a Disney VIP Tour Guide who gives them instant access to rides, takes them on tours and tells them interesting little facts about the park. Inside the suite, guests may find a glass slipper to take home, along with a carriage made of white chocolate that’s filled with chocolate-covered strawberries. And even towel sculptures make it into this suite – typically of a glass slipper design. Guests also have access to a concierge at any time of the day or night.

Visitors also get a unique view of the Magic Kingdom through the parlor’s stained glass windows. The design of those windows tell Cinderella’s story as well, with images of Jaq and Gus holding a key, the famous glass slipper and the castle itself. There's even a row of books featuring fairy tales, if guests are inspired to learn more.

Castle back

There are also a few rules that guests of the Cinderella Castle Suite must follow. For example, if guests want a meal, they must be escorted into the park by their VIP Tour Guide to eat and then come back to the castle. They can’t bring meals back to the suite. Guests also must either stay inside during the night’s fireworks show or be out of the room around 9 p.m. to view the show in a special area on the lawn. After the fireworks, guests can come and go all night but they must do so together as a group, along with their VIP Tour Guide.

A room to remember

Castle evening

The Cinderella Castle Suite has only been occupied for a few hundred nights since it was finished. And if you’re not a contest winner, being famous could get you on the list. Celebrities who must have called in favors to their Fairy Godmothers to stay in the castle include Kevin and Danielle Jonas, who celebrated their first wedding anniversary there in 2010, and Tom Cruise, who stayed there with his daughter Suri in 2012. Other VIPs who make the Disney company lots of money (such as high-producing travel agents) have also been invited to stay in the castle suite. And Disney takes the "no reservations" pledge very seriously: the company reportedly even turned down one guest who offered to pay $40,000 for one night in the suite.

There are so many details in the suite that guests could spend searching for them and still not see everything. Suite tours haven't been offered since 2007, and sometimes weeks go by without a guest stepping inside.

And if you’ve ever wondered why the space is called the Cinderella Castle Suite and not Cinderella’s Suite, it’s because Cinderella doesn’t live there. Instead, the suite is where her guests stay. Cinderella actually lives upstairs, Disney tour guides say.

Guests are escorted out of the suite at 7:30 a.m. the day after their stay. After a breakfast featuring lobster and crab crepes, steak and eggs and baked quiche at Cinderella’s Royal Table, the suite’s visitors must confront the real world, but their memories will last forever – along with the special glass slipper souvenir they’re given, which is engraved with the words “Castle Suite” and the date of their stay.

Another way to stay

Royal Room

If you’d still like to experience what it’s like to stay at Walt Disney World as a “prince” or “princess” – without having to win a contest or become a VIP – Disney now offers a different opportunity to do just that. In 2012, the company introduced Royal Guest Rooms as part of the refurbishment of its Port Orleans Riverside Resort. The rooms are hosted by Princess Tiana of “The Princess and the Frog” and feature royal touches reminiscent of the Cinderella Castle Suite.

Tiana and pumpkin coach coat rack

Tiana explains to guests that she has decorated the suites with “treasured mementos” from her princess friends, as a note inlaid on a table in the room reads, and the room is decorated with rich furnishings. Gold and blue are the main colors, and the beds feature Tiana’s royal crest above them. However, these headboards have a secret of their own. Press a button and a fiber-optic “fireworks” show comes to life, right in your room.

Royal headboards

Other special touches in the Royal Rooms are a pumpkin coach-themed rack for hanging royal coats (a gift from Princess Cinderella), forks on shower curtains (from Princess Ariel of “The Little Mermaid”), and even a golden genie-shaped bathroom faucet (a gift from Princess Jasmine of “Aladdin”). The rooms are also filled with portraits of princesses, silhouettes of princes and ornate rugs.

Royal faucet

The rooms also feature lush blue drapes with gold trim, stately chandeliers, ornate mirrors and furniture with gold touches. A gold curtain also separates the bathing area from the rest of the room.

Royal Guest Room

There are 512 Royal Guest Rooms at the resort and Tiana’s a natural host for them, since they’re part of Port Orleans Riverside’s Old South interpretation. The Royal Guest Rooms offer standard views of landscaping, the courtyard or bayou; or views of the garden, riverfront or courtyard pool. The rooms cost slightly more than the other non-royal Port Orleans rooms, and each sleep four people. Port Orleans Riverside’s Royal Guest Rooms are not in the most convenient of locations (they’re not too close to bus stops or dining areas, especially), but they may be worth a stay for fans of princes and princesses – and those who want to experience a little touch of royalty.

Sweet castle dreams

Castle at night

Castles are the iconic landmarks at Disney parks all over the world. And while all of the parks offer plenty of accommodations close to the magic, there’s only one that offers an opportunity to actually stay in a castle. So if you’re hoping for a night in the Cinderella Castle Suite, maybe some faith – and a little bit of pixie dust – will make your wish on a star come true.  

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