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My Return to the Cinderella Castle Suite: Touring the Fantasyland Castles

Hi everyone!

I had the chance to revisit the Cinderella Castle Suite yesterday while on an Imagineer-led Limited Time Magic tour of the Walt Disney World castles. While I’ll also share more of our 2 hour tour yesterday, I know that the suite will be most of interest and nearly 100 of the photos are from inside.

The 2007 article from my Cinderella Castle Suite stay is the most viewed article I've posted in nearly 7 years of Mousesteps! I took 250 photos inside the suite yesterday, more than when I stayed there (and that is with my slow camera; my DSLR needs to be fixed). While Jeff went too, no video was allowed, so he took photos on the iPhone to share on social media. I added a handful of photos from 2007, most are much smaller than the other pictures. I don't know where the larger sized 2007 pics are right now.

We arrived at 7:30 a.m yesterday. The sweepstakes for this tour occurred last week on the Disney Parks Blog, and 25 guests were chosen for each of 5 days this week. We were broken into two groups, which I was hoping for - the Cinderella Castle Suite is too small for 25 guests. Originally we had been told the tour would be an hour, but each of our tour segments lasted one hour.

Fog was just lifting over the Seven Seas Lagoon when we arrived. Disney's Grand Floridian looked beautiful, the Villas of the Grand Floridian Resort opens next week.

 

It isn't often that we walk into a Disney park before it opens to day guests, so it was a rare treat for us to walk on a nearly-empty Main Street. Breakfast guests also were entering at that time.

Cinderella Castle is now decked out in ice lights, it is just a few weeks until Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party kicks off!

The first hour of our tour was led by Imagineer Pam Rawlins. She is a Creative Producer for Imagineering, and talked about the different elements on Fantasyland. From the moment guests walk through Cinderella Castle, there are bright colors and tournament tents, all the "pageantry of the castle". The newest tournament tent is at Princess Fairytale Hall, which is an extension of Cinderella Castle and a gift for Cinderella from the king. And "everything we do, we top with a crown", Rawlins elaborated. Even the Blaine Gibson fountain shows a crown on Cinderella if seen from the height of a child.

We walked toward Be Our Guest Restaurant in New Fantasyland. Rawlins pointed out how the castle walls here show battle marks, and aren't as pristine as they are closer to Cinderella Castle. The countryside is a bit overgrown in front of Enchanted Tales With Belle, but everything starts to grow cold as we head toward Beast's Castle. The door in front of Be Our Guest Restaurant is aged like it hasn't been open in years.


We didn't learn a lot new inside Be Our Guest Restaurant, though we stopped in the dark West Wing, and found out that Disney actually "lightened up" the scariness here, in contrast to the movie. We also were treated to a delicious dish of The Grey Stuff, topped with a red fondant rose. The Grey Stuff can be purchased now in a cookie for dinner.


These stairs lead to nowhere!

We stopped outside Gaston's Tavern, near the fountain that Gaston gave the village. For those who haven't been inside, there are antlers everywhere. Rawlins said that "There are places I didn't know that could be covered in antlers that are covered in antlers".

Rawlins is now working on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which she called "groundbreaking" and also noted there would be some tributes to the original Snow White ride. One of her favorite elements added to any attraction is the Mickey ears on a viking on the mural in the Norway queue at Epcot.

Now it was on to the Cinderella Castle Suite! Our tour was taken over by Imagineer Cathy Carver, who was part of the team that designed the suite. We stopped inside the room where a Cast Member is stationed for guests, and where the elevator to the suite is located. There is a gorgeous custom made tapestry. I've seen the clock before, but never realized that it always shows the same time - 11:59 p.m. "It never strikes midnight, because the magic never ends".

I remember when the Cinderella Castle Suite was being readied for guests during the Year of a Million Dreams, and it only took 6 months to get ready! A lot of thought and detail was put into the suite. The elevator that takes guests upstairs looks like the interior of a coach (and is ADA compliant). Upon entering the foyer, there is a gorgeous 30,000 piece Cinderella Coach mosaic on the floor. Higher up, a display of Cinderella's crown, slipper, and pumpkins is part of the design (this area reminds me of the queue inside Princess Fairytale Hall).

 

I've been asked if the suite itself looks the same as it did when I stayed. It does. Of course, it doesn't have the "lived-in" aspect that occurs within minutes of staying overnight in a guest room - like when a pair of Year of a Million Dreams ears was left by a family member on the grate of the fireplace in 2007. Or when a towel slipper with rose petals was left in the bathroom - I added that photo here too.

I mentioned that I took more photos during this one-hour visit than when we stayed in 2007. Honestly, there wasn't a lot more visiting time in the suite back then. When we were brought up to the Cinderella Castle Suite in 2007, we were quickly treated to dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table, followed by a VIP viewing of Spectromagic and an abbreviated Keys to the Kingdom tour. I had a very short period of time to take some tripod shots inside the suite. In the morning, we needed to be out early - maybe 8:00 a.m. It was quite something to see guests rushing into the park as we were leaving Cinderella Castle!

Our video slideshow shares more photos from both this visit and 2007!

And we talk about it in our Mousesteps Weekly YouTube Show #74:

Some photos I took in 2007 during Christmas week:

It would be nice to see Disney offer the Cinderella Castle Suite again on a regular basis as a prize for guests. It isn't somewhere I'd want to stay for more than one night at a time, but it was an exciting experience that I'd love to see others have. And I still know a couple of the Guest Relations Cast Members who worked with us that night. One of them gave us the Keys to the Kingdom tour, and the other welcomed us in the morning and knew who I was by a post I'd made online before heading over.

There were a few comical moments also during our stay. There is a guest book in the room, and because we'd had thermostat issues in the suite, I suggested my mom write "too cool".

There are quite a few details that I didn't know about, including the venetian platter that the ice bucket rests on. The Imagineers went shopping for decorative items that would look like they belong in the Cinderella Castle Suite. There is also a 17th century Dutch desk; venetian glass decorative pieces next to the fireplace; and cinder pots for fireplace ashes (there is not a real fire in the fireplace, but the cinder pots are there to show Cinderella's humble roots). The Imagineers also looked for child-size chairs, and found antique slipper chairs.

It is hard to capture just how much the floor sparkles, but it is one of the things I first notice when entering the suite!

The Cinderella Castle Suite logo can be found in a number of places - on the drinking cup covers; toilet paper stickers; and on notepaper that we received when staying.

This is the cinder pot and firewood, only there for theming purposes.

One thing I didn't notice when staying here was the beautiful tray I already mentioned. This was not designed for the Cinderella Castle Suite, but fits perfectly!

The mirror here is also a television.

There are many exquisite details to be found!

The 17th century Dutch desk is on the other side of this bed.

There is quite a bit of stained glass, this is in the main bedroom and features crowns:

These are the slipper chairs:

This is my favorite piece of stained glass in the suite - and I just noticed that the key reminds me of the one I found in the foyer (I show it later in the article).

Stained glass castle:

Stained glass slipper:

All 3 pieces, side by side:

Jeff took some photos out the window.

The clock hasn't struck midnight here yet either.

This is the view outside.

These are the Venetian glass pieces that hang on either side of the fireplace:

The fireplace is an elegant centerpiece of the suite.

Here is a photo of a pair of ears hung on the fireplace during our stay in 2007:

The bathroom features a jacuzzi tub with 3 murals - we were told that there are 30,000 tiles within the 3 murals. The lights in the tub change color!

 I don't think I noticed "WD" for Walt Disney in 2007.

Stars can be seen overhead. The jacuzzi tub is maybe my favorite aspect of the suite, though I cut my time short back in 2007 when a couple of jets ended up floating in the water. It made for a funny story later!

There is also a tapestry that hangs where the toilet is, and we all took turns with photos in here.

Jeff poses with our friend, Steve Fox:

Here are the toilet paper stickers:

This light looks like a crown:

Back in 2007, we arrived to the suite and found a towel slipper with roses petals.

There is also a shower:

While the Cinderella Castle Suite is rather small, I think the bathroom is very well designed for the space.

The Cinderella Castle Suite includes bedding for 6. This is the parlor, with a pull-out couch. I spent just a few minutes in it during our 2007 stay, since family members were occupying it. There are board games, a small refrigerator, and books in this room.

The books here include Jim Henson's "The Storytellers".

It was nice having some time for photos together in the suite!

As we waited for the elevator to head back down, I noticed this handle that looks like a key (and very similar to the stained glass above)!

The Imagineers first found this wallpaper, but it was a test - and they didn't think it'd be able to be part of the suite. Another wallpaper was chosen instead. But somehow, this wallpaper ended up here (and surprised the Imagineers!)

Here is the inside of the elevator, which looks like the interior of a coach:

The tile of the elevator is beautiful! There was so much thought put into every square inch of the suite.

The Cinderella Castle Suite was inspired by the murals designed by Dorothea Redmond - these can be seen by anyone walking through Cinderella Castle.

The stained glass of the Cinderella Castle Suite can be seen from outside.

The Cinderella Castle Suite was not the most popular subject on my Instagram yesterday. This Lumiere candelabra was! We found him in Bonjour Village Gifts, and he costs $50.00 without the glass or stand. We now own one.

It's really great that Disney is offering Imagineer-led tours as part of Limited Time Magic. I don't know what other tours may be available in the future, but I can't think of anything else I'd enjoy as much! Although...The Haunted Mansion would be high up on the list!

The Cinderella Castle Suite is used mostly by celebrities, and I was told sponsors as well. Occasionally Disney will offer a contest up for regular park guests or Annual Passholders. I mentioned earlier that I hope eventually the suite will be available as a prize regularly again - I'm sure it's a lot of work for Disney to host guests in the Castle Suite, but it is a special experience! I remember laying in bed after the Keys to the Kingdom tour, trying to fathom how our family was picked out of tens of thousands of guests that day. I wasn't even in the park, I received a call from my parents. They had just gotten off Buzz Lightyear when picked and asked if I wanted to stay in Cinderella Castle that night! I'd never really thought about the Year of the Million Dreams much, and had never tried to arrive early to win anything. It just seemed to be huge odds (I did win a lanyard during the Gran Fiesta Tour opening). My parents tried to turn the suite down, but my brother-in-law encouraged them to accept. I'm really glad he did! And it was really great to visit again. Thank you to the Disney Parks Blog!

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