“This enchanting landmark is an architectural blend of many European styles, from 13th Century French Fortress to late Renaissance Palace. Since it was inspired by no single structure, Cinderella Castle represents them all” – Disney Official Souvenir Book
In the 1960s, so the story goes, Disney ‘imagineers’ travelled throughout Europe looking for the perfect castles on which to model Cinderella’s Castle in Walt Disney World.
The lead architect for the project was Herbert Rymanand and what makes this story a bit of a mystery is that there is no documentary evidence to establish exactly which castle became the inspiration for the Disney Magic Kingdom centrepiece. Disney themselves do no more than confirm that Cinderella Castle was ‘inspired by the great castles of Europe’, but they never explicitly say which one.
So who is traditionally in the running? Determined Disney researchers claim to have narrowed it down to just one or two…
Some say that the inspiration comes from Spain and Segovia and the Spanish tourist board are convinced that it is them and but there is no real evidence for this. The blue tiled turrets look right to me but I am not sure about that big square Torre de Juan II.
Others say that it is most likely that the famous icon of the Disney empire was inspired principally by Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria and this really does seem to be a serious contender.
But, and here is the point of this post, I think everyone making these guesses is missing the most obvious candidate that as far as I can see doesn’t even get a mention. Surely it has to be Mont St Michel in France. This magnificent structure has the same shape, the same dainty turrets, the same architecture and having visited both I am certain that we can dismiss all of the other claims and go straight to Normandy.
Or is it Carcassonne in the south of France?
Which castle do you think was the inspiration for Disney’s Cinderella Castle?