Of course, we all know the most famous castle – Cinderella Castle, which is smack dab in the middle of Magic Kingdom. But did you know that there are five other castles in Disney World, as well? Ready to learn more about all the castles at Disney World? Let’s go!
Castles Disney (Just How Many Are There?)
As briefly mentioned above, there are five castles in Disney World, with three at Magic Kingdom and two at Epcot.
We can’t start a list of Disney castles at Disney World without mentioning Cinderella Castle. As the main icon of Walt Disney World, Cinderella Castle has gone through many iterations over the years, most notably donning gold accents to celebrate the park’s 50th anniversary.
However, it’s also been covered with toilet paper to announce the arrival of Stitch, dressed up as a pink birthday cake for the 25th anniversary, and more recently, been painted light pink after spending decades as the traditional white and blue-trimmed castle we knew for years.
While the castle obviously references the beloved Disney film, Cinderella, did you know that it actually drew real-life inspiration from the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany? A quick Google search of the castle and you’ll definitely see the inspiration for it. But we’ve also provided a photo of it here for reference:
Photo from Neuschwanstein Castle website
Can You Go Inside Cinderella’s Castle?
Yes and no. Though there is a room that sleeps guests inside the castle, the Cinderella Castle Suite is famously reserved for Disney VIPs and the occasional sweepstake winner.
Read more: HOW TO STAY IN CINDERELLA’S CASTLE SUITE
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience some of Cinderella Castle! First and foremost, the gateway through the castle connects Main Street, U.S.A., and Fantasyland, letting you out right in front of Prince Charming Regal Carrousel. While making your way to Fantasyland, be sure to look to your left and check out the gorgeous mural that tells the story of Cinderella. Because so many people are in a rush to get to their next ride, they may not stop to check this out or in some cases, even notice it.
But, if you can spare a couple of minutes, I highly recommend stopping to check it out. It’s really beautiful.
Second, you can make a dining reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table. This takes you on the “second floor” of the castle and serves up a delectable menu (seriously, it’s one of my favorites on property). Depending on where you sit, you can get a great, unique view of Fantasyland. Typically, this dining experience offers character meet-and-greets with the likes of Cinderella, Jasmine, and Ariel (to name a few).
Many people may not feel like the dining experience is really worth it. And I think I’d have to agree, especially if you do not have kids. However, if you’re just in the mood for some really good food and had a once in a lifetime experience then add this to your list. Just remember that you’ll have to pay for everyone in your party upfront when you book your reservation.
As soon as you wrap around Cinderella Castle and head into New Fantasyland, you’ll see the Beast’s Castle.
Even though the castle was officially introduced to the Disney community in December 2012, it still feels like one of the newer castles on property, probably because the Be Our Guest restaurant is still one of the most highly sought-after restaurants at Disney!
One of the really cool things about the Beast’s Castle is that it was designed with forced perspective, much like Cinderella Castle and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Forced perspective is a trick of the eye that results in you believing a structure is much bigger than it actually is. Though the optional illusion is used on other park icons, the genuine size of the Beast’s Castle at a mere 15 FEET is so surreal. In comparison, Cinderella Castle is 189 feet tall.
Here’s a photo of how tiny it actually is!
Photo from Disney Parks Blog
Pretty wild, right?
Can You Go Into Beast’s Castle at Disney World?
Unfortunately, no, you won’t be able to go into the castle as depicted on the outside. However, you do get to experience the “castle” through the Be Our Guest restaurant. The restaurant has three themed rooms: the Grand Ballroom, the West Wing, and the Castle Gallery. Each room is beautifully designed and makes you feel like you stepped out of the muggy, Florida heat and straight into the 1991 film, Beauty and the Beast.
Read more: BE OUR GUEST DINING REVIEW
Prince Eric’s Castle
Prince Eric’s Castle opened around the same time as the Beast’s Castle as part of the 2012 New Fantasyland expansion. However, unlike the Beast’s Castle, which featured a brand new, unique dining experience, Prince Eric’s Castle is home to Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid.
This attraction is told from the perspective of everyone’s favorite seagull, Scuttle, which takes you “under the sea” as you relive the most memorable moments of Ariel’s journey from a lovesick mermaid, to an on-shore human, encountering Sebastian, King Triton, Flounder, and that menacing villain Ursula along the way.
Just like the Beast’s Castle, Prince Eric’s Castle also uses forced perspective, however, many fans may not know that the castle actually draws a lot of inspiration from the Mediterranean. While Cinderella Castle holds the top ranking in my heart, this castle is a very close second. Maybe it’s because my favorite Disney film is the Little Mermaid.
Now if only they would auction off nights to stay inside this castle! That’d be really cool!
Akershus Castle & Fortress in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot
Alright, enough of Magic Kingdom (for now). Let’s head over to Disney’s second theme park, Epcot.
Having opened in 1988, the Norway Pavilion has also experienced many changes throughout the years, most notably the replacement of the very popular Maelstrom with the all-new Frozen Ever After attraction. I know Disney’s motto is advancing progress, but this is one ride replacement I will never get over.
…but enough about my heartbreak over Maelstrom. What about the Akershus Castle & Fortress?
Like Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom, Akershus Castle & Fortress is actually based on the real-life Akershus Castle in Norway. This beautiful building houses the popular Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, which, also like Cinderella Castle, offers a dining experience with Disney Princesses such as Belle, Snow White, Princess Aurora, Ariel, and Cinderella.
This unique dining experience serves breakfast “family style,” and lunch and dinner “Norway style” thanks to the “Taste of Norway” feast, which features cured meats, imported cheeses, and Scandinavian-based entrees like seafood, chicken breast, or Kjøttkake.
Read more: 20 EPCOT MUST DO’S
White Egret Castle in the Japan Pavilion in Epcot
Photo taken from Himeji Castle’s website
The White Egret Castle (also known as the White Heron Castle) inside the Japan Pavilion is based on the Shirasagijo in Himeji, Japan which is considered to be one of the most elegant and famous castles in the entire country. This is because, unlike many other castles throughout the country, the Shirasagijo was never destroyed by outside forces such as fires, war, or earthquakes.
While guests visiting the original castle in Japan will experience its unique history as one of the country’s original 12 castles, guests visiting the “replica” at the World Showcase will be able to explore Kawaii culture at the Bijutsu-kan Gallery inside the castle.
This is an excellent exhibit to visit, not only to get a break from the very unshaded World Showcase but to immerse yourself in a unique and beautiful culture. I love the Japan pavilion!
Alright, we have to include some honorable mentions, right?
Heading back to the village of Corona in Magic Kingdom is Rapunzel’s Tower. Though this area of the park is very popular and known for having the best bathrooms on Disney property, it’s actually pretty easy to miss Rapunzel’s Tower if you’re not looking for it.
In the background as you leave Fantasyland for Liberty Square, you’ll find Rapunzel’s Tower standing tall with beautiful green ivy trailing down the brick. It stands slightly behind a rock wall and waterfall and is phenomenally faithful to the tower from Tangled.
A tower is usually a big component of a castle, so we thought it was appropriate to add it to our list of the castles in Disney World.
Princess Castles Disney World
What’s your favorite princess castle in Disney World? Is it mentioned on this list? Think we should have expanded the list of honorable mentions to include Haunted Mansion or the Hollywood Tower Hotel?
As a self-proclaimed Mouseketeer, Courtney Dercqu is a fan of all things Disney. Between decorating her desk with souvenirs from the park, to making unique mouse ears and having a dedicated Disney Instagram, Courtney is a true believer in the magic of a Walt Disney World vacation. Having had more than 200 articles published on various content, Courtney’s excited to share her knowledge and experience with everyone! Be sure to follow her on Instagram for all the Disney magic.