The one constant at Walt Disney World is change. Whether it's brand new additions like Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge or the loss of classic attractions for something newer, there's always going to be something new going on at the park. And now, the most iconic landmark of the entire resort is about to go under the knife for a face lift of its own, as Disney Parks have announced a cosmetic redesign of Cinderella's Castle itself.
The iconic castle at the end of Main Street U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom has been there since day one in 1971, but Cinderella herself, the Disney version anyway, turns 70-years-old this week. To celebrate the milestone, it was revealed that the castle that bears the name of the popular Disney Princess will be going through some changes. However, we won't need to wait until the work is done to see the new castle, as concept art was released showing what the end result will be. Check it out.
The concept art is probably not too surprising as it brings Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World into the same design aesthetic as most of the other Disney castles around the world. The upper levels of the castle will be a fairly bright pink when the work is completed, which is the case for all the other castles in parks that are owned by Disney. Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle underwent a similar refurbishment last year that resulted in much bolder colors, and it looks like the plan at Walt Disney World is to bring its castle into the same design scheme. The castles at the foreign Disney parks, in Paris, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, all use a variation on this design.
There's also a lot of gold trim on display. This is almost certainly a specific reference to Magic Kingdom, and Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary, which is the golden anniversary.
The castle redesign is just one of a massive number of changes planned for Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary which will be taking place next year. Most of the changes are focused on Epcot, a park which hasn't seen a great deal of attention in recent years, but following the massive overhaul of Disney's Hollywood Studios that included both Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, it seems that it's Epcot's turn. The entire Future World section of the park is being redesigned and broken into several smaller pavilion areas. Major new attractions themed after Guardians of the Galaxy and Moana are being planned.
No specific schedule for when the update will be done was given, but the castle shouldn't take too long. The Sleeping Beauty update only took about four months, and while this one could take longer, because everything is bigger in Florida, it's unlikely it will take a great deal longer. Walt Disney World will probably be shooting to have the work done before the busy summer tourist season hits.
The biggest problem with the update is that it's going to make that classic photo op in front of the castle a little hard to come by. The castle will likely be entirely covered for the duration of the work. At Disneyland the massive tent covering the castle had an image of the castle on it, so you could still take a picture in front of something that looked like the castle, but it's just not the same thing. If you've been planning a massive Walt Disney World vacation for months and looking forward to getting a picture of the castle, you're sure to be disappointed.
Disney confirms that activities that surround Cinderella's Castle, such as the Happily Ever After fireworks show and the Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire stage show, will go on as scheduled. What's unclear is if locations inside the castle itself will remain open. Cinderella's Royal Table is one of the nicer table service restaurants in the park. Reservations are already tough to get, but there's no indication the location will be closed, so the redesign does appear to be entirely cosmetic and external. Although, it wouldn't be too surprising if the restaurant closed to get a color scheme to match the outside of the castle. Besides, it would be difficult to tell if Cinderella's Royal Table was closed, or if it was just booked and you couldn't get a reservation.
Other people are certainly disappointed that the castle is being changed. As with most changes to Disney theme parks, opinions are split. Some responding to the news on social media seem to love the new design, but there are just as many who wish the castle was being left alone.
While we all understand that "in theory" Disney parks are always changing, it certainly doesn't mean that we still don't get attached to different things, and if something you love is removed or drastically changed, that still kinda sucks, even if you're cool with changes in general. And the castle, being the focal point of Main Street U.S.A., is certainly going to be a spot where the changes will be hard to overlook. It's something you're going to see every time you enter the park.
Of course, as some have pointed out, it could have been worse. I think we can all agree that the look for Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary is a great deal better than the makeover it was given for its 25th anniversary. That year the castle was transformed into a massive pink birthday cake, and it's...not remembered well.
For what it's worth, there's a functionally identical Cinderella's Castle that isn't changing its design for those who don't like the new look. You just have to make your way to Japan. Tokyo Disneyland's castle was built to mirror the Magic Kingdom Castle, and since The Walt Disney Company doesn't actually own that park, it would seem unlikely that it will be going through the same change.
What do you think of the new Cinderella's Castle? Does it work for you, or should it have been left alone? Let us know in the poll below.