For the second time this year, Walt Disney World is going to fulfill the fantasy of one lucky family with a stay inside Cinderella Castle! The Dream Suite in the park icon at Magic Kingdom is the bucket list “hotel room” for a lot of fans, and in 2024, it’ll be possible again! This covers details of the giveaway, what’s included in this exclusive vacation package, the actual retail value of a night inside the suite, and much more.
We’ve been fortunate enough to step inside the Cinderella Castle Suite twice, and it’s absolutely incredible. The opulent accommodations are fit for royalty, with regal attention to detail and lavish flourishings everywhere you look. For those fans who bemoan who hotel rooms at Walt Disney World are becoming generic and unthemed…this is the exact opposite of that.
Every inch of the Cinderella Castle Suite is meticulously detailed and thoughtfully themed. Not only that, but the design is incredibly clever, showcasing Imagineering at the top of its design game. Space in the suite is utilized brilliantly, transforming what’s in reality a pretty small space into something that feels extravagant.
Behind the Cinderella Castle’s glowing stained glass windows, the Cinderella Castle Suite is a study in extravagance. Designed to resemble a 17th century French chateau, the ornately-decorated Cinderella Castle Suite features coffered ceilings, an antique limestone fireplace topped with a ‘magical’ portrait of Cinderella, elaborate mosaics and murals, and luxurious furnishings fit for a princess or prince. Naturally, the Cinderella Castle Suite also features a gilded clock stuck permanently at 11:59 p.m., since Cinderella’s magic spell ended at midnight.
That’s Walt Disney World’s description of the lavish accommodations, but we’d absolutely concur. For any fans who complain that Imagineering is incapable of doing hotel rooms and only makes bland and generic designs, this is the best counterpoint. All you have to do is upgrade your accommodations to inside Magic Kingdom’s icon. So simple!
For those unfamiliar with it, the Cinderella Castle Suite is actually a relatively recent addition that’s not nearly as old as the 50+ year old centerpiece of Magic Kingdom. The Cinderella Castle Suite opened in January 2007, and its purpose at that time was to serve as a daily prize for randomly chosen guests during the Year of a Million Dreams.
Prior to that, it was a utilitarian backstage storage space; before that, Walt Disney World phone operators used it as a workspace. (Talk about the ultimate office space!) The Cinderella Castle Suite is seldom used these days, save for giveaways or when celebrities like Mariah Carey or Tom Cruise make a special visit.
Honestly, we haven’t heard anything about celebrity stays or giveaways in the Cinderella Castle Suite for the most of the last three years. In today’s era of social media, we’d probably have a pretty good idea if The Rock, Ryan Gosling, Blake Lively, or other Disney-obsessed celebrities (or frequent film stars) recently had the chance to spend the night in Cinderella Castle.
Given that the last big push for the Cinderella Castle Suite was in 2019, our guess is that staffing shortages and things slowly going back to normal had put a pause on plans to use the space up until this year.
Accordingly, our hope is that this new DVC giveaway that offers the chance to win a stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite is yet another sign that nature is healing, and the coolest hotel room in all of Walt Disney World will once again be used more frequently. After all, this is now the second stay giveaway of the Cinderella Castle Suite this year.
Anyway, let’s dig into the details of the Disney Vacation Club Stay Magical Sweepstakes!
Disney Vacation Club is offering the chance for one lucky winner and four guests to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime Magical Celebration Vacation Package featuring a one-night stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite, located inside the iconic Cinderella Castle four stories above the Magic Kingdom and Walt Disney World.
This dream Walt Disney World vacation package includes the following:
Four-night accommodations in a One-Bedroom Preferred View Villa at Disney’s Riviera Resort, where you can enjoy the splendor of Europe
One-night accommodation at the Cinderella Castle Suite in the Magic Kingdom Park, with Breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table the following morning
Five 6-day theme park tickets with Park Hopper Option.
Roundtrip airfare and ground transportation
For those cynics among us who think the Disney Vacation Club Stay Magical Sweepstakes is simply a ploy to sell more DVC memberships, the company is careful to note that no purchase or payment is necessary to enter or win this sweepstakes, and a purchase or payment of any kind does not increase your chances of winning.
More to the point, that “being a Disney Vacation Club Member or becoming a Member of Disney Vacation Club is not required to enter this Sweepstakes, nor will it improve your chances of winning.” Entries must, however, provide an email address, and you better believe that’ll be used to “persuade” you to join DVC, though!
To that point, you may obtain up to fifteen additional entries by watching two additional videos on the Disney Vacation Club website after clicking the “enter” button displayed on-screen. You’ll get five entries for watching the “Stay Magical” video and ten entries for watching the bonus Disney Vacation Club video that follows.
When I first read this, I thought you could watch one of the videos 5 times and the video 10 times, and envisioned the brainwashing scene out of A Clockwork Orange. Watching each once is obviously not quite the same, or as funny, but you’ll definitely want to watch both videos (or at least let them play in the background on your computer) if you’re serious about winning.
Interesting, Disney has also added that all disputes will be resolved solely by binding arbitration and entrants waive the ability to bring claims in a class action format. This one gave me a chuckle, as if someone at Disney Vacation Club recently watched “Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?” on Netflix. (Or perhaps it’s the early influence of Disney’s new CFO, who would’ve worked at Pepsi during that whole debacle!)
The travel window for the Disney Vacation Club Stay Magical Sweepstakes prize begins on March 17, 2024, through and including December 17, 2024. The prize must be booked by May 17, 2024, and travel completed by December 17, 2024, with a 60-day travel advance.
Certain restrictions and block-out dates may apply. Block-out dates include but may not be limited to March 21 – April 6, 2024, and June 30 – July 6, 2024. All airline flights and accommodations are subject to availability.
The total ARV of the prize awarded in the “Stay Magical” Sweepstakes is $15,488.65.
The actual value of the Vacation Package may vary depending on dates of stay, point of departure and fluctuations of rates and airfares. Any difference between the ARV and the actual value of the prize will not be awarded. There are a bunch of other disclaimers, rules, and requirements that can be found in the contest rules of the Disney Vacation Club Stay Magical Sweepstakes.
My other “favorite” term & condition from the official rules is this: “Should the one (1) night stay at the Cinderella Castle Suite in the Magic Kingdom® Park at the Walt Disney World® Resort be unavailable on the selected date of travel, the Winner will stay that night at Disney’s Riviera Resort.”
Here’s hoping that they first give you the option of choosing another night for the Cinderella Castle Suite stay because, nice as it is, a night at Disney’s Riviera Resort is not a comparable consolation prize!
The most important thing is that the approximate retail value of the vacation package is $15,488.65. This is the estimated value of the entire Walt Disney World vacation package you can win in the Disney Vacation Club Stay Magical Sweepstakes, and not just the night in Cinderella Castle.
This means that we can take the known approximate costs of everything else in the package, remove those from the equation, and come up with an ballpark “price” for a night in the Cinderella Castle Suite. At least, according to DVC. So here goes:
Breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table for 5: $345
4-night room stay in a 1-BR at Disney’s Riviera Resort: $4,250 to $5,500
6-day Park Hopper ticket for 5: $3,300 to $4,500
Airfare for 5: $1,000 to $2,500
Total: $8,895 to $12,845
Obviously, that’s a huge range–and is still imperfect because airfare is such a wildcard, and the potential party size could also vary. Nevertheless, from that we can conclude that Walt Disney World considers the approximate retail value of one night in the Cinderella Castle Suite to be around $2,643 to $6,593.
Interesting, this varies a bit from the last time a contest like this was offered, when we reverse engineered the ‘rack rate’ of the Cinderella Castle Suite to be around $3,410 to $6,391. The discrepancy either could be bad math on our part, or simply that the components in this package are valued differently by Disney. All things considered, the overlap of the ranges is pretty close–suggesting that our back of envelope math here is actually pretty good.
That might seem like a lot of money, but it’s almost certainly way too low if we’re trying to determine the fair market value–or what people would pay for a night in the Cinderella Castle Suite in an open and free market. The scarcity of the suite coupled with the number of diehard Walt Disney World fans and affluent individuals craving an exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime experience would almost certainly drive the price much, much higher.
What the fair market value of a stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite would be if it were open 365 nights per year is anyone’s guess. There’s likely a lot of fan demand, plus an endless stream of disposable wealth that could sustain insanely high prices. My guess is around $15,000 per night for the suite alone. Perhaps even higher for the first few years.
Suffice to say, there’s no way a stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite is “only” worth $6,500. It’d be impossible to book if it were that “cheap.” (Again, air quotes because this is still a lot of money–something can be expensive but still well below the market rate!)
It might seem like we’ve just been down this path with Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, which failed and closed because it couldn’t find an audience at its price point, but this is definitely different. For one thing, there’s one room instead of 100.
For another thing, it’s a stay in Cinderella Castle. Starcruiser had a ton of issues beyond pricing, including but not limited to conveying to casual guests what it was, the limited audience for LARPing, experience time commitments, and much more. By contrast, the appeal of spending a night inside Magic Kingdom and staying in the Cinderella Castle Suite is self-evident.
There’s immediate appeal and understanding in those 3 words, and a ton of interest among Disney diehards, regular ole rich people, and…pretty much everyone! Who wouldn’t want to spend the night in a castle?!
In that, we also cover why it’s not realistic for Walt Disney World to use this on a nightly basis for Make a Wish families or even cash bookings. Nevertheless, it feels almost criminal that it just sits empty most nights.
Ultimately, it’s great to see that Walt Disney World is once again putting the Cinderella Castle Suite to use after a few years of it pretty much sitting empty every single night. The Disney Vacation Club Stay Magical Sweepstakes is now the second giveaway in the last 6 months, which hopefully is the start of a new trend.
It’s unfortunate that this incredible space hasn’t been used on a nightly basis. Going forward, it’d be cool if there were a more egalitarian approach to Walt Disney World offering nights in the Cinderella Castle Suite on a regular basis, such as the random giveaways like during the Year of a Million Dreams.
It was always incredibly exciting to see someone who was randomly selected return from their trip and post about it. You couldn’t help but feel happy for the winners, albeit with just a bit of good-natured jealousy. Few prizes at Walt Disney World are quite as exciting as a night in the Cinderella Castle Suite!
Additionally or alternatively, we’d love if D23 started doing tours of the Cinderella Castle Suite again. Giving diehard Walt Disney World fans a chance to see inside the suite without spending the night would offer the opportunity for even more people to step inside this opulent and beautifully-designed space. More people should get a chance to appreciate this exemplar of Imagineering!
Happy to see that Walt Disney World is bringing back contests for overnight stays in the Cinderella Castle Suite? Will you be watching some Disney Vacation Club propaganda in order for a chance to stay inside Cinderella Castle? What would YOU pay to spend a night here (assuming no budgetary limitations)? Do you wish that Walt Disney World bring back random, daily giveaways of the Cinderella Castle Suite? What about D23 tours of the suite? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!