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Beast’s Castle: Behind the Scenes With Walt Disney Imagineers

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

Today, we’re happy to present a backstage look at the creation of Beast castle at Magic Kingdom Park, a huge milestone in the Fantasyland expansion.

Beast Castle: Behind the Scenes With Walt Disney Imagineers

In response to Monday’s post, many of you asked how tall the new castle is, or if it would even distract from the view of Cinderella Castle (this shot was taken from the queue at Dumbo the Flying Elephant). Well, the next few photos should put your mind at ease. As you can see, Beast’s castle actually uses forced perspective architecture to make the structure look more grandiose in size than it appears in reality.

Beast Castle: Behind the Scenes With Walt Disney Imagineers

Forced perspective works as sort of an optical illusion, tricking the eye into believing a structure is much larger or taller than it really is. This is done by manipulating the size and scale of a building, based on the perspective it will be viewed from.

Beast Castle: Behind the Scenes With Walt Disney Imagineers

The company’s use of forced perspective started with Walt Disney during the construction of Disneyland park in California. At that time, Walt paid special attention to the scale of each building, as well as the specific shrubs and trees that flanked them in order to create the best sense of height and drama.

Beast Castle: Behind the Scenes With Walt Disney Imagineers

Beast Castle: Behind the Scenes With Walt Disney Imagineers

As you can see in this comparison between the artist rendering and the current construction, the castle sits high atop what will be the Be Our Guest Restaurant, which is really the gateway to the castle’s interior. Here, the restaurant will offer quick-service lunches and table-service dinners inside the Beast’s elegant ballroom, gallery and eerie “west-wing.” The construction to the far left will become Maurice’s Cottage.

Word on the street is that WDI is preparing a video tour of the area for our Disney Parks Blog readers. More to come on this next week.


  • That is so, so interesting and unbelievably cool. I think the Fantasyland expansion will be incredible and cannot wait to see it when it’s completely finished and it’s progress on our annual trip in December.

  • It’s looking good!!! When I was there back on 11/2/10 there was nothing to see while in the air on Dumbo. I’m so glad there are structures going up! I so can’t wait to experience this attraction!!!!!

  • Thank you for sharing more pictures! It’s so exciting to see the progress!

  • I can’t wait to see this part of the expansion finished – the Magic Kingdom is in dire need of a great restaurant, and I’m really hoping this one is it!

  • This looks amazing – Imagineering at its finest!

  • I was amazed at how much changed between Halloween 2010 and 2/26/2011 and then today!

  • Jennifer, I have a question. Is work also being done on the outside facade of the castle for the new Little Mermaid ride??? I’ll be in WDW in May and wanted to know if I would be able to see just as much progress being done on the Little Mermaid attraction as what’s being done on the Beast’s Castle. Thanks

    • Lauren – I know the interior of the structure is currently being worked on. I’m not sure of the timetable for the exterior. We’ll hopefully have an update on Mermaid later this month. Please keep checking back!

  • These are our family’s favorite posts—things that are being built in the park and their progress. Thank you so much for posting as our family isn’t able to go to the parks regularly so it helps us feel as if we are there and makes people want to visit the park even more. Wish there would be more posts on the the developments at Disneyland resort. We really would love to see some interior shots/videos of the Star Tours remodel and Little Mermaid atraction! We look forward to more posts on the Fantasyland remodel at Disneyworld–especially the mine train ride. Thanks again!

  • Can’t wait until our December trip! Christmas day at the new Beast Castle Restaurant for us!

  • Now that we see the true scale, is anyone else thinking the same thing as me:

    That castle would look lovely in my living room or patio! I’m all for that kind of Extreme Home Makeover. =)

    Very cool, Imagineers! Thanks for sharing!

  • I am sooo excited for this!!!! Looks AMAZING!!!

  • The third picture reminded me of the movie King Kong! 😛

  • Just when I thought I was SEEING things clearly! lol, I think this restaurant is going to be spectacular and I cannot wait to visit Disney World when the new Fantasyland is completed!!!

  • That is SO interesting. I can’t wait to see the new expansion. We’ll have to come a couple days early to see this when we’re there for the next race in 2012.

  • I’ve already told my husband that we’re going. I plan to buy a yellow dress for the occasion. 😀

  • It looks amazing, I can’t wait to have dinner in the ballroom next year when I go to Disney World again. The construction had just begun when I was there last August. I can’t wait to see the finished product. I LOVE DISNEY WORLD.

    How is the construction going for the attraction next to it? For Ariel’s castle I think? Can’t remember.

  • Color me impressed. Will the same Forced Perspective effect be used for Ariel’s Castle when The Little Mermaid attraction opens next year in WDW?

    • I don’t have much info yet on the Mermaid attraction, but hope to have something to share soon. Forced perspective is already used on many Disney buildings and attractions. It’s usually done so well that you hardly notice it – which is why the effect works so well.

  • I can’t wait until its finished, its going to be awesome!

  • I am so amazed looking at this. Ever since my daughter at the age of 3 declared to me Belle was her favorite because “her hair is the color of mine”. Beauty and the Beast has been a huge part of her life. As she transitioned from little girl to a woman the dolls were replaced by snow globes and figurines. She is now 22 and planning a wedding at Disney World complete with Belles dress. We cannot wait to see this completed and to dine in the castle. Thank you Disney for making her dreams come true.

    • Chandra- It sounds like you’ll have to take a great mother-daughter photo in front of this castle when it’s finished! Congrats to your family!

  • Thanks for the added update with additional photos.

    Some of us are such fanatical Disney fans that any extra information is really appreciated.

  • I can’t wait….about time updates are happening. We are excited to see new things in Magic Kingdom. We have been so often, and something new will be great. New Beast Castle food will be a welcomed change, Maybe some boy stuff added would be great…Tired of the same old food. Glad it will be fast and a sit down. Disney still is one of our favorite vacations…can’t wait to see what the train brings, hope it has some action with it. Thunder railroad we love… and looking forward to Mermaid….love her. Thanks Disney!


  • Can hardly wait to see everything! It’s certainly going to change Fantasyland – and I think it’s going to even make it better! Love it now, but this is going to add so much! So when is the Beast Castle Restaurant due to open?

  • Wow! Now I understand how it went up SOOOO quickly! I about jumped out of my seat when I saw the pic of the guy standing in front of it. I had no idea from Monday’s post it was that small. Amazing optical magic! Fascinating to see how all this works!!! Now, I’m still trying to figure out what the cut-out area at the top of the tower is. Is that just part of the interior structure that is exposed because of construction?

  • Hi Jennifer, can you tell me where this is within the park? I don’t see a location anywhere, but perhaps i missed it.

    • Fantasyland, directly behind Dumbo the Flying Elephant.

  • Ok, I think this is my favorite post ever on this blog! Thanks for sharing the pictures and explaining everything to us.

    I can’t wait for this restaurant to open – I hope the wait staff burst out in song in the middle of dinner! 🙂

    • Thanks for the compliment, Ana! That means a lot!

  • Wow it’s amazing what they can do in a few days! We just got back from out trip from Disney World-we were there April 1-9, 2011 and it didn’t look anything like this! Good job on getting it done fast and inconspicuous-in the typical style of Disney!

  • So excited! What else are they adding?

  • Jennifer – can you tell us again the expected time line for opening any of these exciting new things we are watching Disney build? Will it be opened in phases or all at once?

  • Beauty and the Beast is my favourite disney film and I cannot wait for my family’s holiday next year to see this, it’s going to be amazing!

  • I am interested to see the time table on this project too – we were at WDW in 10/10 and are planning to go back in September of 2011. Will Fantasyland be completed by then? Also, we were saddened to see that the teacups were under renovation on our last visit since my daughter’s FAVORITE movie is the original “Alice.” Will these be open again by September?

    Thank you for sharing the pictures…can’t wait!!!

  • I was just there two weeks ago and this wasn’t up yet. It’s amazing how fast they work. Looking forward to the next visit.

  • Hi it will be beautiful, i’m so exciting to see this new attraction on Fantasyland. When it will be finish, because our next trip on WDW will are on june 2011.

  • So excited for the expansion to be finished, I look forward to seeing the Beast Castle for the first time and eating in the restaurant. Beauty and the Beast is my all time favorite Disney Movie.
    Jennifer- Is there any word on if the whole expansion will be opened at once or will they open attractions as they are finished. Thanks

    • The new area will open in phases, beginning in late 2012.

  • Hi Jennifer! This is so exciting! My family and I will be going to Disney World at the end of next month and I was wondering if it will be open by then? The restaurant sounds incredible and we’re in the process of booking our reservations now and we would LOVE to eat here. Please let me know, thanks so much!

  • when is this addition due to be completed? We will be going in August and the twin grand daughters just love Beauty and the beast!

  • I for one can’t wait for this! I have all the “Imagineering” books about behind the scenes and how a lot of the buildings on Main Street were constructed with a “trick of the eye”. On our last trip I was pointing out sights to my family that were mentioned from the books. It’s just another fun way to really enjoy the magic that is Disney. 🙂

  • Would I be stupid to ask is this in CA or FL? I was in the Magic Kingdom (WDW-FL)just this past December and saw nothing that would lead me to believe this extensive a re do was in the works….

  • Thanks for the update, Jennifer. Can’t wait to see the video tour.

  • We travel to WDW every few months. My children are so excited to “track” the progress and these pictures create such excitement…every time you post an update! We can’t wait to see the Beast’s castle in a few weeks!

  • I live in California and I’m going to the Disneyland Resort on Sunday. now there is yet another reason for me to return to Orlando when this is complete! how cool is this?!

  • We’re thinking about doing a Florida trip in the summer of 2013. Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World, and Disney Cruise to either Bahamas or Eastern Caribbean (land & sea vacation). It will be our first time at WDW and it will be nice to see what Fantasyland looks like when the construction is finished. 🙂

  • I think that the expansion looks wonderful! I was thinking about a trip Dec. 2011 ,but maybe I can wait until next year. Or maybe I cannot wait. It would be nice to see the expansion. I just get impatient. When Disney opens a new park or section ,I get excited and am more inclined to book a longer MYW package. I am getting older and try to go as often as possible.

  • Since this is forced perspective, I’m wondering where will the library be? Didn’t they plan on having storytime with Belle in the Library?

  • Jennifer,

    Will we still be able to access Fantasyland when we go this weekend? I know that Toontown is closed, but will all of the other areas be open?

  • Amazing!!! Hoping to see pictures when it’s eventually done… maybe by then I can afford a trip out there.
    Saw the drawing outlines/construction the last time I was there.. Can’t wait!

  • WOW is all i can say the disney imagineers are amazing to say the least..we either go to disney world in orlando or disneyland in anaheim rotating each year….. and as always disney is never the same visit twice…..EARS off to you……..keep up the excelent work

  • Very neat pictures! I always thought that Beauty and the Beast would make a great dining experience! I can’t wait!

  • I can’t wait to see the finished product. Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorite disney movies and building a place that will immerse you in the movie’s fantasy world sounds terrific. My family and I look forward to visiting again to see the finished the product!

  • This new addition to the Magic Kingdom is great. Can’t wait to see it on my next trip to WDW…..

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