Disney’s Magic Kingdom welcomed some 19.3 million visitors in 2014—that’s nearly 53,000 people looking up at the iconic Cinderella castle every day. Built in 1971, the castle and its unmistakable silhouette has become one of the most recognizable icons of the brand—the opening scene to every Disney film, the signature stamp on countless memorabilia, the snapshot every visitor hopes to capture. Few, however, know that one of the most well kept Disney secrets hides in plain sight. A trio of stained glass windows in the castle’s rear belong to a hotel room more beautiful than all the rest in Disney: the Cinderella Castle Suite.
The room itself cannot be paid for; guests must be welcomed by special invitation, often chosen at random. 600 nights have ever been used in the suite since it opened, and tours have not been available to the public since 2007. But here’s what we know:
The bedroom, living room, foyer, and bathroom were originally intended to be the apartment where Walt Disney and his family would stay when in town, but after Disney’s untimely death in 1966, the plans were put on hold. In 2006, the space was redone as a beautiful apartment—said to be located directly beneath the princess’s own quarters.
The lucky few that get the chance to sleep in these exclusive quarters are led through an arched doorway, past a grandfather clock that perpetually reads “11:59 a.m.” and into an elevator before being whisked up to the 4th-floor suite. There, the elevator opens into a foyer, where one passes an elaborate mosaic tile floor depicting the princess’s pumpkin coach and a curiosity cabinet displaying her glass slipper before entering the parlor. A Victorian-style rotary phone sits on a 17th-century Dutch desk beside books “borrowed from Belle” and a telescope for gazing through the six stained glass windows, all of which look westward toward Fantasyland.
The bedchamber itself has been designed in the style of a 17th-century château, with two queen canopy beds opposite an antique limestone fireplace. The bathroom might be grandest of all, complete with a spa tub surrounded on three sides by vibrant mosaic scenes from Cinderella’s story and a ceiling that becomes a twinkling night sky.