Fans of Imagineering will no doubt recognize this artwork by the great Herb Ryman; said to be the first painting of Walt Disney World’s Cinderella Castle, it became an iconic image during the creation and promotion of Disney’s Florida resort. Much as he had done with Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle years earlier, Ryman provided the first inspirational concept pieces that would define the look and feel of the new theme park.
Now, from Ryman friend and biographer John Donaldson, come these slides which were part of Ryman’s own personal trove. The images, dated November 1967, show what was possibly the first Imagineering model for Cinderella Castle. Taken from a number of different angles, it seems clear that these images provided the reference for Ryman’s iconic painting.
How about that great Mickey logo on the wall, there?
Now, let’s have an anonymous someone come hold a bright light up to simulate the effects of the harsh Florida sunlight…
The Magic Kingdom at sunset…
This is the key image, though:
Featuring the notation “1” on its white sleeve, this clearly seems to be the reference image that provided the basis for Ryman’s painting. This simple, early model would be transformed through Ryman’s skill into an image still famous today.