Meet the Real Life Castle that Inspired Disney's Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom

Have you ever walked into Magic Kingdom or Disney Land and wondered, who the heck built that castle, and where did they get their inspiration from?


Bavaria’s Neuschwanstein Castle, located in modern-day Germany, served as the primary inspiration for both Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom, Disney World (Florida), and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disney Land (California). This castle, along with a few other castles, gave Imagineers the inspiration needed to create the castles throughout the six worldwide Disney park hubs that we know (and love) today!


Located in Hohenschwangau, Germany, the construction for the Neuschwanstein Castle begin in 1869, and was completed in 1886. Commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria, this castle was meant to be a retreat for Richard Wagner, a famous German opera composer. However, Ludwig II was never able to see the castle in its completion, as he died just shortly before it opened to the public in 1886.


But Ludwig II wasn’t the only castle builder/overseer to not see his castle built to completion… Curiously enough, Walt Disney didn’t live to see the beginning or completion of Cinderella’s Castle, dying about 3.5 years before construction began, and about 5 years before the castle opened to the public.


According to Wikipedia, the Neuschwanstein Castle sees over 1.3 billion visitors per year (or about 6,000 per day), “making it one of the most popular destinations in all of Europe” (source). Just to give a comparison, Disney World parks around the world bring in a total of 138 million combined visitors per year. Though Disney may host more visitors than any other theme park in the world, it doesn’t have anything on the Neuschwanstein Castle when it comes to numbers! The Neuschwanstein Castle even takes the cake on being the tallest out of the two castles, with the Neuschwanstein Castle standing at 213 feet and Cinderella’s Castle standing at just 189 feet!

I think this castle is a new spot on our bucket list, for SURE! How about you? ☺️

Until next time, to boardwalk & beyond!

Jenna & Nick