Cinderella Castle Through the Years

Just like with Spaceship Earth, I have been photographing Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom since my first trip to Walt Disney World back in 1983. For my first few trips, my photographic equipment was not much to talk about. Everything was shot on film or slides until 2004 when I used a digital camera,  Nikon Coolpix 995, to take this photo.

Cinderella Castle 2004
Cinderella Castle photographed in 2004 with a Nikon Coolpix 995 Digital Camera.

For a primitive (by today’s standards) digital camera, the old 995 did a fairly good job.

Jump ahead 15 years to 2019 with much better equipment and much better photographic technique and knowledge to capture this photo.

Cinderella Castle 2019
The Partners statue surrounded by poinsettias in front of Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida in December of 2019. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/100s, f/16, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 24mm Focal Length.

Morning light late in the year is great for featuring the Partners statue in front of Cinderella Castle.

Anniversary Cinderella Castles

I have photographed three milestone years featuring Cinderella Castle. The first for me was the infamous 25th Anniversary “Cake” Castle.

25th Anniversary Cinderella Castle
25th Anniversary Cinderella Castle photographed in 1996. (Scanned Photograph)

Yeah, even if the scanned photograph was better, it would still look wild.

In contrast, the 35th Anniversary Cinderella Castle was a bit more humble except for the large Magic Mirror above the entrance.

35th Anniversary Cinderella Castle
35th Anniversary Cinderella Castle photographed in 2005. Nikon Coolpix 995, 1/80s, f/3.3, ISO 100, 14.3mm (70mm in 35mm).

You will also notice many golden Disney character figurines on the castle.

Last month I was able to photograph the latest anniversary overlay of Cinderella Castle for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary celebration.

50th Anniversary Cinderella Castle
50th Anniversary Cinderella Castle photographed on September 20, 2020. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/11, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length, HDR Image.

I will admit to you I feel this is the best of the three. What do you think?

For other Cinderella Castle photos and stories over the years, visit these links:

The Magic, The Memories and You Cinderella Castle Show

US Air Force Thunderbirds over the Magic Kingdom

Christmas Wish 2009 (featuring the Dream Lights)

Scott's "Photographic Innoventions" blog focuses on intermediate to advanced photography concepts and techniques relevant for Point and Shoot and Digital SLR cameras.

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One Reply to “Cinderella Castle Through the Years”

  1. The problem is that it isn’t an overly. Our new Pepto-Bismol castle is here to stay. I can’t stand it. The castle no longer matches with all of the white and cream trim on Main Street USA. The paint work also does not appear to have been accomplished with the same finesse as Sleeping Beauty Castle’s overhaul at Disneyland. There’s no apparent forced perspective shift from paint work that should be getting lighter as it goes towards the top of the castle. And it just captures shadow and recedes into darkness in a way that the former castle treatment never did. Now it looks squatter, darker, there is no longer an interplay of light or a sense of the castle color matching with the Florida clouds. Clearly, they were trying to turn everybody’s castle into a little girl’s castle. They accomplished that, but is that kind of a narrow gender-stereotyped message really what Disney should be sending with its castle treatments in 2020? It wasn’t broken before. Now it’s just a Playskool castle, completely out of place and an eyesore in the middle of Magic Kingdom.