2 Disney Park Icons Battle It Out: Disney World VS Disneyland Castle


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The famous castles of Disneyland and Magic Kingdom are the most noted icons of each park. Devotees certainly have their favorites, starting a Disneyland vs Disney World castle, better known as the Cinderella Castle, VS. Sleeping Beauty Castle battle, and leaving the uninitiated to ask, “what’s the difference?”

To answer the age-old question, we rounded up the facts, as well as a few Disney secrets, and put them together, so you can decide for yourself which famous castle comes out on top. 

Disney World vs Disneyland Castles: Who Owns the Castles?

There are a lot of Disney castles in the world, 6 to be exact, but the biggest difference between the Disney World and Disneyland Castle is who owns each.

Disney World’s castle in Florida’s Magic Kingdom is Cinderella’s Castle, while the Disneyland Castle in California belongs to Sleeping Beauty.

A difference between Disney World and Disneyland Castle is one belongs to Sleeping Beauty, and one belongs to Cinderella
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“Aurora and Prince Phillip” by Anna Fox is licensed under CC by 2.0.

Sleeping Beauty has castles all over the world, including one in Hong Kong and one in Paris. One of her foreign castles is identical to her California home while one is much larger.

Unfortunately, Cinderella comes out the loser in the location battle of the Cinderella Castle VS. Sleeping Beauty Castles. In addition to her Florida abode, she owns only one other castle in Tokyo, although it is smaller.

Cinderella Castle VS. Sleeping Beauty Castle: Which is Bigger?

One of the main differences between Disney World castle and Disneyland castle is a huge one: square footage. When it comes to measuring Disney World vs Disneyland on sizing, Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom takes the prize.

Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World wins in the battle of Disney World Vs Disneyland Castle size
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When building the Magic Kingdom in Florida, the imagineers not only had a larger area in which to build, they also had a larger budget. This enabled them to create Cinderella’s castle on a grander scale.

Cinderella’s Castle in Disney World comes in at a whopping 189 feet tall (the maximum building height that did not require a red light on top during the time of construction.) There are 27 towers in Cinderella’s Castle.

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The Disneyland Castle comes in much smaller at just 77 feet high. Both castles use forced perspective to appear larger. This means the castle bottoms are real sized, and the upper levels gradually get smaller and smaller to force the appearance of being farther away, and therefore taller.

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Cinderella Castle VS. Sleeping Beauty Castle: Let’s Take a Look Inside

Only One Castle Features an Attraction

The interior of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland was originally used for storage purposes. Walt Disney felt like this space was wasted, so once the budget was available, a Sleeping Beauty walkthrough attraction was created, using murals and displays to tell Sleeping Beauty’s sad, but finally triumphant story.

Entrance to the Sleeping Beauty Walkthrough
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The castle attraction itself has seen closures and updates over the years. The most recent version of the Sleeping Beauty walkthrough reopened in 2008 and features new dioramas with modern technology added to give a classic attraction an updated feel.

Only One Castle Has a Restaurant

Rather than offering a glimpse into the life and longings of Cinderella through an attraction, Cinderella’s Castles affords guests the opportunity to meet with the princess herself. Inside the Magic Kingdom castle, you’ll find a top-tier restaurant, where guests can stop and chat with the owner before sitting down to dine. While enjoying your meal, other Disney Princesses stop by to visit. This character meal, is one of two at Disney World that feature princesses.

Cinderella Castle also features a restaurant, a boutique, and a family suite. Last, the Disney World Castle also contains a magical boutique for kids to undergo a transformation into their favorite princess character.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is located inside Cinderella’s Castle, and gives kids aged 3-12 an opportunity for a princess or knight makeover. The makeover includes hair, makeup, nails, accessories, and of course, and outfit based on their favorite Disney Princess.

To reserve a spot for your child at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, click here. Or, ask your travel agent to book the reservation for you. If you are booking your Disney vacation without a no cost to you travel agent, you may want to reconsider.

The Murals of Cinderella’s Castle

In the Disney World vs Disneyland Castle debate, Cinderella’s Castle wins for murals. The Cinderella Castle in Disney World features hand made and intricate murals depicting scenes from the classic animated film, Cinderella.

The murals were painstakingly made with Italian glass, over 300,000 pieces of glass to be more precise. Over 500 colors were used, and each piece was hand placed, with many of them being fused together with sterling silver and 14k gold. This process took over 22 months to complete, but unfortunately many guests have never even seen these murals!

They can be found in the archway beneath the castle. This is accessed most easily behind the castle.

Cinderella Castle VS. Sleeping Beauty Castle: the Suite

As mentioned above, Cinderella’s Castle has a suite inside, used for special occasions and guests. However, guests are not able to book the suite in the traditional way.

You might be wondering why the castle has a suite inside if its not open for public booking. Originally, according to this Travel and Leisure article, the suite was planned to be used by Walt Disney and his family while visiting the park, similar to his Main Street apartment in Disneyland.

Unfortunately, Walt passed away before the castle was completed, and the space allotted for the suite was used for storage and phone operations until 2006, when it was turned into the Cinderella Suite for the Year of a Million Dreams campaign. At this time, Disney gave away stays inside the suite to winning guests.

The suite is rarely used today, and guests can only score a night’s stay through invitation, rare charity auctions, or even more rare giveaways. The interior of the suite covers 650 square feet, and has a foyer, a bedroom, bathroom, and a salon.

The décor is opulent with 4k carat gold molding, and stained glass depicting scenes from Cinderella. Two queen beds have canopies fit for a queen, and the bathroom has a large spa tub with adjustable mood lighting.

Disneyland vs Disney World Castles, Which Is Older?

Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland was completed in July 17, 1955, making it almost 65 years old. The castle in Disney World was finished in July of 1971, making it almost 49 years old.

Disney World vs Disneyland Castle: Disney World castle from a distance
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Drawbridges and Gold in the Battle of the Disney Castles

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When it comes to Disney World castle vs the Disneyland castle, only one has both a working drawbridge and gold on its exterior.

That lucky winner is Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in California. This magnificent abode features a working drawbridge across its moat.

Unfortunately, the drawbridge of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle has only been used twice. The first time the drawbridge was lowered on this princess castle was during the park’s grand opening. The second time came during the grand opening of the New Fantasyland. Other than these two times, the castle drawbridge has remained open.

Cinderella’s Castle, on the other hand, has a much smaller moat. While swan rides were offered in the early years, several technical issues resulted in the eventual closing of the ride. In subsequent years, portions of the moat were even filled in. Cinderella’s Castle has no working drawbridge

Another difference between the Disney World and Disneyland Castles is the use of real gold. Believe it or not, Disneyland’s castle contains real gold on parts of its exterior, while Disney World’s castle uses anodized aluminum elements to mimic gold leaf.

Stage or No Stage?

One additional difference between Disney World and Disneyland castles is how the exterior is used. Magic Kingdom’s castle has a stage in front for shows. The central hub at the end of Main Street acts as a viewing area for guests to congregate to watch the stage performances.

Cinderella Castle has many differences between Disney World castle and Disneyland Castle
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The Disney World stage is a relatively recent addition, considering the lifespan of the castle, and it makes it impossible to walk through the interior during showtimes. As a result, many people feel it detracts from the look of the castle and makes it feel less real.

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, on the other hand, does not have a stage in front blocking the view or the pathway.

Disney World VS Disneyland Castles: A Color Comparison

First, the castles do share some similarities. Both Castles feature brick work on the bottom, gold detail elements and blue roofs. The main color differences between Disney World and Disneyland castle is the body color.

Cinderella’s Castle in Walt Disney World recently received a large makeover in 2020 for the 50th anniversary of the resort, which changed its grey body to pink, making it reminiscent of Disneyland’s castle.

Disney World castle vs Disneyland castle, Disneyland's castle is pink
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“Christmas for Sleeping Beauty Castle” by Anna Fox is licensed under CC by 2.0.

Disneyland’s Castle is adorned with shades of pink ranging from darker to lighter hues. The roof tiles on the spires and towers are also blue on this castle.

Some people felt the pink of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle was warmer and more inviting compared to the grays of Cinderella’s Castle. This could be the reasoning behind the recent color changes for Disney World’s Castle.

In the end, we feel Sleepy Beauty’s Castle is adorable, and magical, while Cinderella’s is refined and grandiose.

Disneyworld Vs Disneyland Castle and the Role of Walt Disney

One of the biggest and most unique facts about the castle at Disneyland is how closely involved Walt Disney was to the building and design. Walt had his hand in all aspects of this castle. He even sent his brother Roy away on a business trip so he could sneakily use real gold on the castle, since he knew Roy would not approve of the lavish expense.

Sleeping Beauty Castle from afar
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When Magic Kingdom in Florida was being built, Walt Disney had unfortunately already passed away. Since Disney World and Cinderella’s Castle were part of his grand dream for the park, his brother and the imagineers did an amazing job of bringing it to life.

Disney World Vs Disneyland Castle: The Similarities

The differences between Disney World and Disneyland Castles are plentiful, but they also have a few surprising things in common.

For example, both castles are inspired by the Neuschwanstein Castle in Southern Germany. This German castle has a romantic fairytale feel, so it’s easy to see why it was picked as inspiration for the Disney castles. The spires on both (and all) Disney castles look like they have been plucked from the Neuschwanstein Castle and repainted.

Tinkerbell is another thing the castles at Disneyland and Disney World have in common. Both castles are involved in nighttime spectaculars featuring projections on the castle walls, fireworks, and Tinkerbell herself flying out of one of the top windows.

Disney World vs Disneyland castle: Cinderella castle at the Halloween Party
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When it comes to the construction and décor of the castles, we find other similarities. Both were designed and built with forced perspective to appear taller than they actually are, and both incorporate at least one coat of arms in the décor. The Disneyland castle features the Disney family coat of arms above the archway.

Disney World castle uses multiple coats of arms inside Cinderella’s Royal Table, the restaurant occupying one of the top floors. Here, you can find 40 coats of arms decorating the restaurant. All of them represent very important people in the beginning of the Disney company.

Disney World Vs. Disneyland Castle: Which Is Better?

While many people like to join the Disney World vs Disneyland castle debate, similar to how Disney fans battle over which resort is better, it comes down to a matter of opinion. But we’ve found, no matter how beautiful each castle is, most people prefer the nostalgia of the castle they grew up with.

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Ali Patton

Ali is a travel blogger for Seconds to Go, where she shares her experiences traveling the U.S. with her co-blogger Mom, Kathleen. She is also an avid Disney travel enthusiast, and with multiple Disney World trips under her belt, is a knoweldgeable resource for all things related to Disney vacations. Ali can be found managing the Seconds to Go social media accounts as well as the famed Double Z Farm pages on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.
Mother daughter travel bloggers exploring the U.S.

We're Kat and Ali, a pair of mother-daughter travel bloggers exploring the U.S. We're sharing our experiences, tips and insights to help you more easily get out and explore the beautiful landscapes and places of this nation.


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