A Guide to the History and Influence of Cinderella

in Disney, Movies, Movies & TV

Brandy Norwood, Lily James posing for a photo

Cinderella may be the most well-known and popular Disney princess of all time! To date, she has been the subject of a 1950 Disney animated classic, its 2015 live action remake, and a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical adaptation in 1997 notable for its color blind casting. Disney also released a modernized adaptation called A Cinderella Story in 2004 starring Hilary Duff.

How Cinderella Has Stood the Test of Time

The 1950 original animated film was then followed up by some surprisingly decent straight-to-DVD sequels; Cinderella II: Dreams Come True in 2002 and Cinderella III: A Twist in Time in 2007. 

Cinderella Films Throughout Time

They’re all based on a folk tale that is thought to go back hundreds of years. Cinderella was told by ancient Egyptians and Italians, though the most famous version is Aschenputtel by the Brothers Grimm. This version is what was originally adapted by Disney, and is far from child-friendly, featuring birds blinding the stepsisters who also chop off their own toes in an attempt to fit into the glass slipper.

The iconic story of the lost princess and her glass slipper has transcended generations, so it’s no wonder that Disney chose Cinderella‘s castle to be the centerpiece of its Magic Kingdom park. Characters like Cinderella‘s stepsisters, Prince Charming, and the Fairy Godmother have all become Disney staples and maintain a significant presence at the Disney parks in their own right.

Countless generations of Disney fans have fallen in love with this princess, and for good reason. Let’s explore the history and significance of the Cinderella movies and how they’ve influenced the Disney theme parks with some amazing facts that you might not know. 

(Please note that the following information is based on pre-pandemic business as usual. Some attractions and events such as character dining may not currently be available at the moment). 

Related: Behind the Glass Slipper: The Story of Walt Disney and “Cinderella”

Cinderella’s Presence at Disney Parks Around the World

Cinderella Throughout the Disney Parks
Credit: Disney

The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World

It’s no secret that Cinderella has a huge presence at Disney resorts around the world. The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World features the iconic Cinderella castle at its center, which was even recently given a royal makeover.

Within the castle you’ll find Cinderella‘s Royal Table, a unique dining experience that is on the pricey side, but we’d argue is worth every penny. This restaurant features character dining, so you’ll be able to meet Cinderella herself as you chow down inside her castle with the best view of Fantasyland money can buy.

Cinderella formerly had her own ride at Walt Disney World, named Cinderella‘s Golden Carousel. However the ride was reworked into Prince Charming Regal Carousel in 2010 (hey, at least it’s still Cinderella themed!). The ride has quite a history; it was built in 1917 and came to Walt Disney World in 1971 when the resort first opened after it was re-themed to tell the story of 1950’s Cinderella.

Related: Which Disney Characters Will Be in the WDW Parks?

Cinderella Influence at Tokyo Disneyland

Most Disney enthusiasts are probably aware that Tokyo Disney Resort’s main park Tokyo Disneyland also features Cinderella Castle as its centerpiece.

This castle contains an attraction called Cinderella‘s Fairy Tale Hall, which allows guests to wonder about the castle and admire paintings and other artworks based on Cinderella lore. It opened in 2011 and replaced Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour. 

Tokyo Disneyland also has its own version of Prince Charming Regal Carrousel simply called Castle Carrousel. While this one might seem a little more distant from Cinderella, the Tokyo Disney Resort website specifically refers to guests ‘feel[ing] like Prince Charming or Cinderella while riding.

Related: Star Confused By Missing Diverse ‘Cinderella’ Film on Disney+

Disneyland Park

The original Disney theme park doesn’t feature a Cinderella castle, as it has the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle instead.

Unsurprisingly, Cinderella is represented as part of Fantasyland alongside her the other princesses at The Royal Hall: Greet the Princesses. This attraction is part of the Fantasy Faire, which allows guests to pick up themed mementos and merchandise.

Disneyland’s carrousel is not based on Cinderella but is instead based on The Sword in the Stone.

Related: Everything We Know About Disney’s Live-Action Fairy Godmother Movie

Hong Kong Disneyland

At Hong Kong Disneyland, Cinderella is represented by the Cinderella Carousel, a magical attraction that is very similar to Prince Charming Regal Carrousel.

Related: How Much Does a Disney Wedding REALLY Cost? Disney Wedding Price Breakdown

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris has the Auberge de Cendrillon restaurant, which allows guests to enjoy French cuisine in the heart of the famous princesses’ dining hall.

The Princess Pavilion also contains popular Cinderella memorabilia and stained glass windows re-telling the fairytale.

There is also a master suite in the Disneyland Hotel called the Cinderella Suite that overlooks Disneyland park and contains both a king-sized bed and a whirlpool bath.

If you are curious about DLP’s carrousel, it is called Le Carrousel de Lancelot. No prizes for guessing what its based on.

Related: NEW 70th Anniversary Cinderella Slipper Cupcake Has Special Surprise Inside

Cinderella‘s Castle Across the Disney Parks

Disney Castles Around the World

The Magic Kingdom

Cinderella Castle at The Magic Kingdom is quite possibly the most famous Cinderella themed attraction and perhaps the most iconic landmark at Walt Disney World resort. 

The castle is regularly the subject of rumors and urban legends, with some even speculating that the entire structure sits on an elevator that lowers it into the ground during the event of a hurricane!

These rumors rarely have any truth to them, but one that is 100% true is the secret Cinderella suite hidden away in one of the top spires. The suite can reportedly sleep six people and contains luxuries like a solid gold mosaic flooring, a jacuzzi, and of course, murals of the famous princess herself.

This beautiful room was the subject of speculation for years, and many people believe that other parks like Disneyland Paris and Shanghai Disneyland might also contain a secret room. Fortunately for us, a number of publications have been given official tours and released photos. According to Insider, the park was built for Walt and his family to use, though he obviously passed before The Magic Kingdom opened. Allegedly, it was reworked into the secret suite in 2006 after laying dormant for nearly 40 years.

Nobody is able to book this suite (officially). It’s nowhere to be seen on the Walt Disney World website and it’s only reserved in special circumstances. Competition winners and invitees are the only people who will even get a look in, though certain celebrities are rumored to be given access, potentially for huge sums of money. 

Back on the ground and looking at experiences that you and I are actually able to enjoy, Cinderella Castle has a lot to offer. we’ve already mentioned Cinderella‘s Royal Table, but young Disney fans can also enjoy the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where children are able to become their favorite princesses and princes with a little help from their Fairy Godmother. Makeup, hair styling, nail polish, and even a Disney princess costume are all on the cards.

Related: Women Share How Disney’s ‘Cinderella’ Inspired Them

Hong Kong Disneyland

Hang on, isn’t Hong Kong Disneyland’s castle just a replica of Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle?

Yep, it’s true that Princess Aurora once ruled the roost at Hong Kong Disneyland, but as of 2020, it has been replaced with the Castle of Magical Dreams. This castle is reportedly still undergoing its transformation, with just the finishing touches yet to be added. 

It fits with our list as it no longer focuses on just one princess. The Castle of Magical Dreams is a tribute to the 13 Disney princesses and heroines; Snow White, Rapunzel, Tiana, Aurora, Merida, Anna and Elsa, Jasmine, Mulan, Pocahontas, Belle, Ariel, Moana, and yes, Cinderella.

Related: “Cinderella” joins iconic Disney films in National Film Registry

Shanghai Disneyland

Disney‘s largest castle, Enchanted Storybook Castle, was also the first to distance itself from a single princess and like Hong Kong Disneyland, pays tribute to all princesses including Cindy.

It otherwise doesn’t have much to do with the princess and has murals depicting Merida, Elsa, Tiana, and Rapunzel instead.

One cool note about this castle is that it was actually used as a variation of the iconic Disney logo during the intro to the 2020 remake of Mulan.

Related: Could Fairy Godmother Become a Body Positive Disney Princess?

Meet and Greet Experiences

Cinderella Meet and Greets
Credit: Disney

Ok, so now we know all about the movies and which rides and attractions are based on Cinderella.

But where do I go if I actually want to meet Cinderella in person? Thankfully she’s a popular character in the parks and you will likely always have a good chance of being able to see her (pandemic precautions permitting, of course).

It’s much easier to find Cinderella day to day than, say, Esmerelda or John Smith.

Walt Disney World

Unsurprisingly, Cinderella is most commonly found at The Magic Kingdom. Perhaps the easiest way to meet and greet this iconic princess is at Princess Fairytale Hall in Fantasyland. Princesses Elena, Rapunzel, Tiana, and Cinderella are the main event at this character focused attraction, which is perfect for young kids hoping to meet their idol.

FastPass+ tickets are available for this attraction.

We’ve already mentioned Cinderella‘s Royal Table, which is another easy way to have your picture taken with this iconic princess. On a normal day, Cinderella will welcome guests into the restaurant and take a snap with them against a backdrop. 

You can also meet Cinderella by booking dinner (not lunch or breakfast) at Disney‘s Grand Floridian Resort. At the 1900 Park Fare restaurant, the princess will join guests by weaving in and out of tables and posing for photos as part of Cinderella‘s Happily Ever After Dinner. She is joined by Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, and the Ugly Stepsisters too. This one in particular is in high-demand, so be sure to make a reservation to avoid disappointment.

The two meal-based meet and greets may be the best option for adults looking to meet Cinderella, while we’d recommend Princess Fairytale Hall mostly for kids.

Cindy has also been known to make the odd appearance at EPCOT at the Norwegian and French Pavilions and both her and Prince Charming are a regular sight at The Festival of Fantasy parade. 

Related: “Cinderella” creators and cast talk modernizing a princess, romance, and that dress – plus “Frozen Fever”

Disneyland Park

Fantasyland’s Fantasy Faire has a lot to offer and is the best place to meet any of the Disney princesses. Cinderella is no exception and is available to speak to and get an autograph from quite easily.

Remember that characters are free to roam around a lot more than they are in Walt Disney World, so if you’re lucky, you might catch Cinderella while she’s out and about too. 

Cinderella can also be met at one of the Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures character dining experiences.

Related: Josh D’Amaro Talks Disney Reopening Amid Controversy

Tokyo Disneyland

Cinderella, Prince Charming, and the Fairy Godmother will all roam around the World Bazaar area and will happily interact with guests.

Related: It’s official: Kristoff is the best Disney prince thanks to “Frozen 2”

Hong Kong Disneyland

Cinderella can be found walking around Main Street, U.S.A. in Hong Kong Disneyland.

HKDL used to have a Princess Pavilion style area named Royal Princess Garden, but this was closed in 2019. It has been rumored that it’ll return to Fantasyland at some point but this has yet to be verified by Disney.

During the early stages of the park re-opening, Cinderella was also seen riding her own carrousel with social distancing measures in place. 

Related: Happy 15th Birthday, Hong Kong Disneyland!

Disneyland Paris

DLP has a number of ways to meet Cinderella, most chiefly the Princess Pavilion. It is essentially the same as Princess Fairytale Hall at The Magic Kingdom, though it rotates which Princess is featured daily, so seeing Cinderella may be a question of luck. The attraction has a notoriously long waiting time but is a fan favorite, especially among younger guests at DLP.

Paris also has the Auberge de Cendrillon which is both Cinderella themed and offers character dining with princesses.

A good secret for meeting princesses at Paris is to go to the back end of Sleeping Beauty Castle where characters leave and enter the park. There is no Disney cast member supervision here so this might be the best way to sneak a quick selfie or grab an autograph from Cindy without waiting in long queues.

Shanghai Disneyland

Shanghai has its own version of the Princess Pavilion called Storybook Court. This area is a ‘selfie spot for princesses’ and also features popular characters like Snow White and Rapunzel.

Related: ALDO x Disney Collection Finally Gives The Stepsisters Their Own Heels

Where to Find Cinderella at a Disney Park?

Cinderella at the Disney Parks
Credit: Disney

Meeting Cinderella certainly isn’t as hard as finding other characters or even some other Disney princesses. However, if you’re keen to know the answer to some of these specific Disney park questions, we’ve got you covered.

Q: What is inside the Cinderella Castle at Disney World?

A: The secret suite, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Cinderella‘s Royal Table, and mosaics that retell the plot of Cinderella.

Q: How much is the Cinderella Suite at Disney World?

A: Stays at the suite cannot be purchased and are only given out in special circumstances, such as a competition prize.

Q: How do you meet Cinderella at Disney World?

A: Cinderella can be met at a variety of locations, most notably the Princess Fairytale Hall, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and Disney‘s Grand Floridian Resort.

Q: Where can you meet Cinderella at Hong Kong Disneyland?

A: Cinderella can be found in Main Street USA.

Q: What is the difference between the Cinderella Castle at Disneyland and the one at Euro Disney or Tokyo Disneyland?

A: Disneyland Paris has a re-worked Sleeping Beauty Castle, not a Cinderella Castle. WDW’s castle has far more in it than Tokyo’s and the two have each had a makeover to differentiate themselves.

Q: How do you meet Cinderella in Tokyo Disneyland?

A: Cinderella can be found in the World Bazaar area at Tokyo Disneyland park.

Q: What is the biggest Disney park that features Cinderella?

A: Cinderella can be found at Walt Disney World, which is the largest resort. She can also be found at Hong Kong Disneyland which is the smallest Disney park.

Q: Which Disney park features Cinderella and is best for adults?

A: We think all of the parks are suitable for both kids and adults but The Magic Kingdom offers the most different ways to meet the princess.

Related: Fans React to Decision of ‘Genderless’ Fairy Godmother in 2021 ‘Cinderella’ Film

So there you have it, everything you need to know about Cinderella. Let us know in the comments below if you have any more tips and tricks we can add in!

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