A Kind-of Review of Mini Disney Castle (40478)

Mini Disney Castle (40478)
567 pieces, 35.99 USD

For the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World, LEGO released a miniscale Disney Castle modeled after Cinderella Castle. Having 567 elements, the set is a pretty good rendition of the castle, with a lot of detail packed into the 21 cm tall model. 

Now if you are expecting a review saying how many bags of parts there are (there are a few) and talking about the quality of instructions (pretty clear to me), you can go to the many other reviews online. To me that isn’t pertinent to the experience of building the set – reviewing by the minutiae is a lot like reviewing a movie by the number of frames it has – it hasn’t much to do with the experience of watching the movie. 

No, like my other reviews of the Minions set and the Space Shuttle, I am going to go far off the rails to talk about the building experience and a more than a bit about the real castle. It turns that there are more than a few things in the set that were put in for the curious. As a former Disney Cast Member, I can tell you about these. So let’s get started…

Building the Castle

Cinderella Castle is a subject that many a LEGO builder has wanted to build. If you want to look online there are more than a few renditions of the castle, and even a couple of models that have instructions that can be bought online. Way back in 2017, Build Better Bricks made a model that could be a competitor to the LEGO set. I got it as a gift, and it’s nice build! The only issue with it is that it has no back. For a display, though, it’s a good model.

The BBB model is a neat study in design decisions. There is actually a bit more detail in this model by using headlight bricks for windows. The use of color is good here too, as the actual castle doesn’t have much color – grey on the castle walls and white on the interior towers (although it got pinked on the interior for the 59th anniversary). BBB added tan to the castle to help define form – the white then acts as a outline. It’s an effective use of color to show volume.

For the BBB model, I did modify it in one respect – the main spire looked short, so I extended it by using 1×3 tiles. Outside of that, the model looks and ‘feels’ right, even with the tan. 

…oh wait, I’m reviewing the wrong castle!! But the BBB version is a good example of a MOC version. You can buy instructions here and get a parts list to order from Bricklink.

So let me go back to the LEGO set, the one I am supposed to be talking about…

Building the Official Castle

This isn’t the first Cindy Castle that LEGO has released. The first was a mini figure scale set that is um…BIG. And $350! It’s expensive, but a pretty good set considering it was a combination of display piece and playset. It also had an exclusive Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Tinkerbell mini figure.

Yellow bow tie = Fantasmic version of the mouse, FYI.

The new mini set is a display model, with an exclusive mini figure of Mickey Mouse. Like the larger set, the Mickey figure is wearing a tux, but the mini set Mickey is wearing a tux without tails and a red bowtie. The larger set has fabric tails and a yellow tie. The tux design is actually different too – not just a recolor of the tie.

In terms of parts, the 2 x 2 (6337409) and 3 x 3 (6337410) dishes in the set are molded in a transparent pearlescent cold that gives the tower roofs a unique and pretty shine. Another part that I spotted was a 1×2 half round brick (6311384) in light bluish grey, and 1 x 3 arch cutout (6329117). Part numbers are noted if you want to order them on LEGO’s Bricks and Pieces. There are printed tiles that are unique to this set, but are not listed for ordering.

 

Bag sets 1 and 2 make up the lower level of the castle – this is the main level, and the area that is a walkthrough at Walt Disney World. Building the base level is very interesting as you discover the walls are not built up, but clipped on from the central hall. This allows for non standard angles to be made and is surprisingly solid. Two clips will do that.

After that, the interior hall gets decorated with two tiles – one of slippers (Cindy’s) and the other is a tile of the larger Cinderella castle set previously released. There are a couple of Guests that are placed in there too. All of this is covered for the keep and main tower. This is something of a shame, but we’ll get back to that.

Bags 3 and 4 are for building the main tower and keep. To add detail, there is a bit of SNOT building going, especially with the main tower. There is some clever building going on-the use of the ingots and clip plates to ‘wrap’ around the tower is particularly worth note. But there are a couple of things that seem off – they do not feel right.

The most glaring thing for me is the main spire shouldn’t be round. There’s an attempt to try and change the shape with the column (ridged round bricks), but that makes it more obvious to me. The main tower is faceted, and as fellow AFOL Sid Disney said on a post, faceted bricks should have been used – except they haven’t been around for a while and never came out in white. Another area that is lacking is the back of the keep – although it’s understandable if you look at the back of the real castle.

So what do I think of the Castle? Well, right off the bat, I want another set because of the parts. The build itself isn’t bad at all. It’s a nice sturdy set that is perfect for a shelf..unless you are a Disney nerd. And if you are, you will have seen the things that could be changed…which I am going to do right now, as well as explain what I did – there will be instructions too! 

Modding the Mini Disney Castle

Since I wanted to mod the castle, I wanted to figure scale out. Doing a quick calculation, I found the scale was 1cm = 9 feet. That’s a weird scale, but easy to convert other attraction heights (Why not find out what other Walt Disney World  attractions compared in size?), so if anyone wants to build the other iconic structures to WDW, take a look at the graphic below. Also, download the instructions here for the mods. You will need some pretty common parts, but the gold parts are already with the set. In fact, the extra parts come in pretty handy…it’s like LEGO wanted me to mod it!

All of these structures are ‘weenies’ – distinct structures that are at the center of their respective park (well, except for Tower of Terror, which is a side ‘weenie’ at Hollywood Studios. They are the largest and easiest to see, for good reason – they are meant to be destinations when entering the parks – and from there, go out to wherever. The 200 foot height restriction is an FAA rule – anything that height or higher needs a red beacon to indicate position. 

Modding the Base Level

The Mini Disney castle has two levels – the base level and the upper level. The base level has the walkthrough level. In the real castle, the walkthrough level has the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and a waiting and reception area on opposite sides. If you enter from the front, the boutique is on the right. And if you go to the left, you’ll need a reservation for Cinderella’s Royal Table!

The walls are covered by mosaics that tell the story of Cinderella. The set has a tile for the slippers and the LEGO box art, but these can be replaced by tiles with the mosaic art.

The murals in Cinderella Castle.
A closeup on one of the mosaics.

 

Printed tile parts – for the walkway walls and the clock.

What has to happen first though, is that the keep and tower has to be removed with its 4 x 6 base plate. This may take a little effort – you can pull out the hinge bricks on the back arches and then pull up the base plate.

From there, pull up one of the side plates (I pulled up the right one)…

and remove the 2 x 3 brick…

and replace with this built brick (instructions here) with the tile on the inside…

and do the same thing on the other side.

Replace the plates. Now the base plate has two studs of attachment behind the front gate, so it’s easy to remove and see the murals…well, you can add those now using 2 2×3 tiles to replace the slipper tile and set art tile. I made stickers using the mosaic art, with the art in the instructions. You can download a mosaic sheet to print also.

Modding Cinderella’s Royal Table

Things are slightly more complicated on this assembly. The back of the tower has a set of windows. This is actually the restaurant that is at Cinderella Castle – Cinderella’s Royal Table. This is one of THE places to go for a character meal. 

The real dining area.

It turns out that while the set isn’t accurate here (and to be honest, the scale prohibits the design to go much further than this, you can add a tiny detail. To do this you have to remove the base plate from the tower. The side windows will want to fall off, so be ready to catch them. 

When you have the plate , remove the 1 x 2 by the windows. This will take a little effort, so be ready to remove the 2×2 plate to pry up the 1 x 2 tile.

With the leftover parts and extra micro figure, build as shown on the second panel and place the figure then the table on the base plate. You now have a table at Cindy’s Royal Table (the really small version) on panel three. Then place the main tower on the base as seen on panel four.

Note: Since the windows are frosted, it’s really hard to see the figure. This is definitely a hidden mini.

Modding the Main Tower

To mod the main tower, you will have to remove the tower from the keep.

Remove the top and the balcony. These will be reused almost completely. The top will have one part replaced – the 1 x 1 white quad slope on the bottom of the small spire is replaced with a white round cone. The lower part of the tower is also reused, but take that apart as well as the round 2 x 2 parts. Follow the instructions as needed – if you have the top and balcony, you can skip their assembly steps and add them on the build.

When you complete the new tower, you can attach it to the keep as seen on panel two.. It’s easiest to to attach by with the bottom first, by pushing the tower to the front of the keep and then attaching the top Then place the top turret, making sure it is rotated 45 degrees with the small turret on the right front as seen on panel 3.

After that, you can join the keep to the lower level. The back angled windows may come off, but they can be placed easily. If you have a problem placing it back, the front gate and clock can be removed so you can place the base plate.

 

And that completes all the mods, but not the trivia:

There are a total of 27 towers in Cinderella Castle – (two were not built because they couldn’t be seen with  all the other towers) if you look at the photo of the set with the real, the real castle is a bit ‘spikier.’

The castle is named after Cinderella, hence Cinderella Castle, not Cinderella’s Castle. This also applies to Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.

There is a suite in the Castle, but it is for special guests – it is not available except during contests. It’s located at the rear of the Castle – on the mini set, it’s above and to the right of the white balcony.

Cinderella Castle has a drawbridge, but it cannot raise.

TInkerbell is launched from Cinderella Castle’s tallest tower on a cable that goes to Tomorrowland Terrace. What stops her? Mattresses.

You can order the Mini Disney Castle at LEGO.com or buy it at a LEGO Brand Retail Store.

 Comments? Questions? Drop a comment!

And Happy 50th Anniversary, Walt Disney World!

 

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