The Mouse, The Magic & Me

cinderella castle, disney world, magic kingdom wow

Disney did it again.

Yep. They managed to make me go “wow!” Several times, in fact.

I am child of Disney. I grew up in Southern California and for some years, my grandparents lived in Anaheim.  My parents used to let my sisters and me spend the day at Disney from time to time and regular visits with friends and family were part and parcel of our growing up years.

It really is the Magic Kingdom and the happiest place on earth.

I went to DisneyWorld last week. My daughter insisted that we needed to be in the Magic Kingdom for the Cinderella’s Castle fireworks show.  She thought I might enjoy the Castle show even more than the fireworks.  It was a close race since I LOVE fireworks, but I think she was right.  It is still the Magic Kingdom and even though it’s been many years since my last visit and I am much older and more jaded than I was back in the day, Disney still found a way to wow me.

cinderella castle, disney world, magic kingdom wow

What an amazing combination of technology and creativity. If you’ve never seen it, I believe the Castle show alone is worth the price of admission.  Disney actually projects a movie on the castle; not just on a little screen on the castle, but the entire castle is a screen and creatively used. Beside incorporating photos and videos taken of park guests each day (all by itself that is a bit of marketing genius that will ensure everyone hangs around for the fireworks), the castle is canvas and backdrop for all kinds of creative imagery.  The castle is transformed with light, color and pattern throughout the show, creating film artistry that keeps everyone glued to the “screen.”

The photos accompanying today’s post are pictures from the show.  They’re also bigger than the photos that I usually post, but I wanted you to see this coolness.  All the color here?  It’s projected on to the castle as part of the film.  Pretty sweet, no?

As I watched this incredible production unfold, I was repeatedly amazed by the creative–and marketing–genius of Disney’s new project.  First, someone had to have come up with the idea of just having a film or a “slide show” on the castle featuring park visitors before the nightly fireworks show.  And then someone undoubtedly felt the need to not be limited by a screen and suggested using the entire castle. And finally, someone had to figure out how to make it work like this.

I didn’t hear a single person in the substantial crowd who wasn’t impressed with the show.

cinderella castle, disney world, magic kingdom wow

And then, of course, I had to analyze it.  After thinking through just the inspiration and mechanics that would have come up with an idea like this and make it possible, I began thinking about what it means for marketing and the Disney “mystique.” Yes, it’s definitely another wow experience. Maybe someone else is already doing it somewhere else, but I certainly haven’t seen or heard anything about it.  And if you didn’t already know about it, when that film suddenly transformed the already huge and impressive Cinderella castle, you were definitely surprised.  My daughter (who lives and works in the land of the mouse) told me they would have a “castle movie”.

It didn’t prepare me at all for what I would see.  I would have gone again the next night just to watch it again if I could have fit it into my schedule.  And if I was a parent of young children, I certainly would have availed myself of the opportunity to have more photographs taken by the dozens of Disney photographers stationed throughout the parks because just maybe one of my adorable babies would have appeared on the castle.

But mostly, it reminded most about what I love about Disney–both about the park experience and the business.  They never stop striving to amaze and to delight.  Every detail is attended to, there is no such thing as too creative; there is no such thing as making your customers too happy.  A Disney experience exceeds your expectations, satisfies your senses and yet still manages to leave you hungry for more–another visit and another adventure.

Yes, I am already planning my next trip.


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  1. My mum used to always promise to take me there as a kid but we never had enought money. Now I have some stashed away I am tempted to pay for us to both go dispite me been in my 20s and her in her 60s, we might stand out and look weird but it would be a nice nostalgic trip, like we made it here at last!

    1. Lassa, You should definitely take your mum and go. You definitely won’t stand out and look weird, and I’m sure you’ll both have a wonderful time.

  2. Disney made all our dreams come true and then some, Marie. It was our first ever family vacation with three special needs children and guest services took care of us when I called multiple times to just ask more questions and when we showed up there scared to death of Logan having a seizure in the middle of the park (he stops breathing and I had to make sure we’d have emergency access in an instant if need be). They made our stay there an absolute delight and we were able to experience all three of our children coming alive under the magic of it all.

    Our nonverbal child dragged us back to the Dumbo ride so he could go again!

    Bobby couldn’t stand any of the actual rides but was in love with all the characters – so they moved us to the front of the line when he started to fall apart at having to wait. Amazing experience. *hugs* Glad to see the magic was alive for you as well!

    1. That just reinforces my opinion of Disney. I have a friend who would like her special needs daughters to have a Disney experience, but hasn’t been able to navigate the questions to ask and who she might talk to to have it happen. Do you mind if I connect her with you? Perhaps you can give her some tips for giving her girls a dream experience, too.

  3. Marie,
    I am sooo up there with you on Disney! I am in awww with just about everything that company does! They are marketing genius’s… so where does your daughter work??? such a wonderful company!! Can’t say enough about the mouse!

    1. She’s currently working at two of their top-tier Orlando resorts, Shelley, and absolutely loving it. This has been her career goal since her first Disney visit as a preschooler so we’re absolutely not surprised that she’s there.

  4. Wow! My photos of the castle NEVER turn out that like 🙂

    Walt Disney was innovative and genius. Makes me a little sad that Mickey’s home is so commercial now, but I’ll always love WDW. Thanks for sharing these great photos and making me miss the Boo to You parade even more!!

    1. Thanks, Amity. Took me lots of practice. I’m really not bothered by Disney’s commercial enterprises. After all, the point of being in business is to make money and Disney certainly does it well. And I’ve never felt exploited or like I got less than my money’s worth at any Disney visit. And I really think they get the “experience” better than anyone.

  5. Marie,
    It looks magical and spectacular! I’m so glad you had a wonderful time. I wonder if it brought back a lot of those good feelings from going there as a child?

    1. I’m definitely sure that was a part of it, Erin. Disneyland was a magical place when I was a child. It was, and still is, different from any other amusement/theme park. I remember taking my German cousin there in high school. She kept telling is it was nothing to be excited about, just a park like any other. By the end of her visit, she conceded that it truly was something special. It’s no wonder I have a child who has taken up permanent residence in the land of the mouse.