Countless little girls and adult women alike (myself included) dream of the fairytale life: becoming a princess, finding (and being rescued by) prince charming, and living happily ever after in a gorgeous castle-like home. (Don’t even try to pop my bubble by telling me it isn’t realistic.)
That fairytale story, perfected by Walt Disney and helped along by iconic women like Princess Diana and Kate Middleton, has become a reality–albeit a brief one–for lucky overnight guests at the Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.
The Most Magical Place on Earth
To get the inside scoop on the secretive sleeping quarters, Movoto Real Estate talked with Toni Anderson, author of The Happy Housewife blog and one of the privileged few who has stayed in the castle along with five of her friends (one of whom won the night while at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration).
Anderson, who grew up in Orlando and visited the castle often, excitedly recalled their late-night venture into Magic Kingdom in pajamas and special bathrobes provided for suite guests.
“Just to see the park in the middle of the night–it’s all lit up and the music’s playing but there’s no people–was just a really neat perspective,” she said.
As far as benefits of staying in the extraordinary suite go, Anderson mentioned that her favorite part was having access to the guides. Suite users are assigned three or more Disney cast members who take you on tours, zip you to the front of ride lines, and tell you interesting tidbits about the park.
“The best part about staying in the suite is getting the guides–because the guides are so passionate about Disney and they point out little details about the park that you wouldn’t normally notice,” Anderson said. “Just to see their passion and their love of Walt’s vision–you can’t get [that] anywhere else.”
For those skeptical of how magical the experience actually is, Anderson told me that (on a scale of 1 to 10) “it would be an 11–it was amazing!” (You can read even more about her stay on her blog.)
How Much Does It Cost To Live Like a Princess?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately the Cinderella Suite is one thing that money can’t buy—Disney does not allow reservations for the coveted lodging, although on rare occasions lucky individuals can win a stay in the suite.
While I can’t help make your dreams (or mine) become a reality, I can make you even more pumped to try and win a stay there by telling you about the suite–which remains shrouded in mystery even seven years after it was first unveiled.
A Once-In-A-Lifetime Chance to (Briefly) Live Happily Ever After
Located on the fourth floor and accessible only by a special elevator (which Anderson said was designed to mimic the inside of a carriage since elevators weren’t around in Cinderella’s time), the suite inside the legendary castle is surprisingly small, measuring in at just 650 square feet. Yet within this cozy apartment-like dwelling–which includes a foyer, bedroom, sitting room, and bathroom–is enough space to sleep six people.
The design of the space is based on 17th-century French châteaus fit for a princess and includes stained-glass windows, hand-cut and hand-placed tile mosaics, and ornate details typical of the Disney Imagineers. Take a look at Disney’s vision of Cinderella’s magical castle:
Cinderella’s Royal Bedchamber exudes fairy-tale elegance with an array of authentic antique furniture (plus modern conveniences that are hidden to keep with the furnishings typical of Cinderella’s time, Anderson said).
- 17th-century Dutch secretary desk with velvet-lined shelves
- two “slipper chairs,” which were used in the 17th and 18th centuries as chairs to sit in while putting on one’s footwear
- portrait of Cinderella that transforms via special effects into a television
- 600-pound limestone fiber-optics fireplace molded from an original wood French version
The Royal Bath is like the castle’s own miniature spa to pamper Cinderella, containing customized modern features embellished with castle-style decor:
- custom-made Jacuzzi bathtub with cool Chromatherapy lighting
- ceiling over Jacuzzi features a dome of twinkling lights to mimic stars in the sky
- mosaic made up of 30,000 hand-cut glass tiles, positioned by Disney craftspersons
Royal Sitting Room
Continuing the lavish decor of the majestic suite, the sitting room area is decorated with intricate patterns and resplendent stained glass windows that tell the story of Cinderella–look for these windows on the castle’s exterior to mark where the suite is. Other extravagances include:
- magic mirror that turns into a television as part of a hidden entertainment center
- custom-designed sofa bed with French carvings
Secrets of a Cinderella Lifestyle
And some interesting trivia about the suite…
Although it was originally constructed as an office–not a living space–for Walt Disney, the creator died before Walt Disney World opened and never saw the space. Then:
- Disney phone operators were located within the suite until they outgrew it;
- after that, the suite remained mostly unused until the company transformed it into Cinderella’s Suite
In October 2006 Disney’s “Year of a Million Dreams” began (and started one very long year that continued until 2009), when Anderson said that nearly every day Disney awarded one lucky family visiting the park with a stay in the castle.
- Now the suite is usually given away every few weeks, and occasionally to cast members as a prize at company parties
- to this day, the suite has only been used a little more than 600 times
The paramount feature of the suite may in fact be Disney’s willingness to fulfill virtually any indulgences.
“When you stay in the suite you can get anything you want except for liquor [Magic Kingdom is a dry park],” said Anderson, who ordered chocolate milk with her friends at three in the morning. “You really feel like you’re a princess–everything you want they just bring it to you.”
I bet now you’re interested in getting to stay in Cinderella’s pad and taking advantage of the sweet perks. I’d suggest becoming a Disney cast member or making Disney millions of dollars, for starters.
Or just make a wish.