As you walk up Main Street USA in Walt Disney World, Cinderella Castle is the majestic structure in front of you.
Measuring 183 feet tall, with 27 spires, it was the largest Disney theme park castle in the world until the completion of the Enchanted Storybook Castle in Shanghai Disneyland Park in 2016.
The castle houses a restaurant and a children’s beauty salon called Bippity Boppity Boutique, the latter of which was previously a retail store before BBB opened in 2007. Both the restaurant and salon are open to the public, albeit by reservations only (and good luck trying to get a Cinderella’s Royal Table reservation less than 180 days out). There is one more space in the castle that’s even more difficult for the public to get a peek of – the Cinderella Castle Suite. Most people never get a chance to see it, but we know of a travel blogger who did…
“Inside the upper levels of Cinderella Castle, there is a suite that was intended to be an apartment for Walt Disney and his family when they were in Florida. After Walt died in 1966, the apartment was left unfinished. This space is not large, and can be compared to the size of a master bedroom and bathroom in an average house. The location of the suite can be identified from the outside by locating the stained glass windows with pictures in the center on the north and west sides of the castle, about 2/3 of the way up. The glass used contains many small, multi-faceted pieces, which slightly obscures the view of the park from inside the suite. The suite adjoins a sizable exterior balcony on the east side. The walls around this balcony are about 5 feet (1.5 m) high. This balcony affords views to the north, east, and south. The balcony is only accessible through an emergency exit and is not a guest area.
“On June 7, 2005, Disney announced that the suite would be completely decorated and upholstered as a ‘royal bedchamber’, which can sleep up to six people. It was available as a prize during the Year of a Million Dreams (2007) celebration, taking place at all eleven Disney theme parks, and an overnight stay in the apartment was a prize randomly awarded to a guest at the four Walt Disney World theme parks and Downtown Disney.”
In true Disney spirit, the “Year” of a Million Dreams ran from Oct. 1, 2006 to December 31, 2008 (Yep, a 27-month year. But honestly, it’s rare that a “year” of anything at Disney is less than 15 months, at the bare minimum). After that, the Suite was generally only available to the occasional celebrity, such as Tom and Suri Cruise, Kevin and Danielle Jones, Neil Patrick Harris, his husband David Burtka, and their twins, Nick Cannon, his wife Mariah Carey, and their twins, Katy Petty, etc.
However during that post-2008 time frame, there were a few exceptions – a couple more contest winners were able to access the Suite for overnight stays, and tours of the Suite were occasionally available to those lucky enough to be chosen for exclusive tours via events such as the Disney-sponsored D23 event.
And that’s how the travel bloggers got in.
Sarah and Tom Bricker, originally from the Midwest but now living in Southern California, have been blogging about Disney parks and non-Disney places, via their DisneyTouristBlog and Travel Caffeine blogs, respectively, since 2011. Instead of writing about the more day-to-day news that many other Disney blogs focus on (“New Location For Wreck It Ralph Meet & Greet!” “Foundation Installed For New TRON Roller Coaster at Magic Kingdom!” “New Sound System Speakers Being Tested At Disney Hotel!”), they focus more on their experiences at Disney parks. They’ve been cited by the New York Times, MarketWatch, Huffington Post, Yahoo, BuzzFeed and Examiner, among others, and to be quite honest, they’re just a fun read.
Anyway, Sarah and Tom were lucky enough to tour the Cinderella Castle Suite, not once, but TWICE. And as Disney fans who are also bona fide travel bloggers, I really enjoyed their take on the experiences. I hope you will, too.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary