The plan to give away stays in the Royal Suite of the Cinderella Castle provided a challenge: The suite never existed. There is a roughed-in living space halfway up the castle, which was once envisioned as the Disney family apartment. But it had never been finished.
So since the campaign was announced, planners have been trying to sort out the logistics of putting a family into a single, lonely hotel room in the middle of a closed theme park. And Disney's designers are trying to create a royal suite worthy of a 17th-century princess living in a 21st-century fake castle.
And they're having a ball doing so, insisted Disney Imagineer Stephen Silvestri, who's overseeing much of the design. The project was dropped on Silvestri and his team without much warning in June.
"Exactly. It was about that way. But could you think of a better way to spend your time?" he said. "It's such a pleasure."
He and his team have been researching 17th-century royal French life and trying to create mosaics and other artwork, accoutrements and furnishings, often by hand, to fit in.
The suite, he said, will come with a "traditional" big, flat-screen, high-definition TV. But people won't notice it unless they look for it, just like the complimentary shampoos and lotions in the bathroom, bottled in what will look like old, French glassware.
"You want the fantasy," Silvestri said. "All those things are there, but they're not immediately recognizable to your eye."