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An Adventure in Spain: Cinderella’s Real Castle

It was easy to understand why Walt felt so inspired by the charm of the castle. Not only was it monumentally stunning, but it perfectly captures every child’s dream of opportunity and endless joy.

By: Maggie Donohoo + Save to a List

Growing up as a Disney kid had as much of an impact on me as my parents, school and all the other most important things. Perhaps some of you can relate; perhaps some of you cannot. For those that can, you understand not only the excitement of the movies, but the toys, books, songs and theme parks; Disney consumed us. For those of you that cannot, you probably think we’re crazy; regardless, the ideas that Walt embodied affect all of us. He taught us the importance of eternal childhood. Perhaps, you’re asking what this means; what better person to explain it than Walt himself.

“The real problem with the world is that too many people grow up; they forget.”

This is hands-down one of my favorite quotes. This isn’t to say that we should be chasing some fantasy of maintaining our physical youth; rather, it urges us to keep a tight hold on our psychological youth, that is, our optimism and excitement for the world.

I find that these things are also a byproduct of travel. Friends and family that have joined me on one of my adventures can attest to the fact that travel quite literally makes me giddy. It’s a tough bet to find anyone smiling brighter and beaming with more excitement than Maggie in a foreign land. So, you can imagine me in another country, stumbling upon one of the inspirations for Walt Disney’s Cinderella’s castle – I basically went nuts.

Segovia is a historic city located about an hour northwest of Madrid. Some friends and I were taking a day trip to experience the cobblestone streets, local artisan culture and, of course, cuisine. All of this would take a backseat, however, once I stood at the front gates of Cinderella’s castle, gazing up at the iconic blue turrets. The fortress was constructed on a rocky cliff overlooking the Spanish countryside. There is really only one word capable of describing it, magical.

Our tour took us through the ancient library, the living quarters for the many Kings that have resided there, the vibrant courtyard and, finally, to the top of the tallest tower. The climb was 152 steps up a narrow, spiral staircase, but it was the view that took my breath away. The only thing that could have made it better would have been a blue, sparkly dress and Prince Charming.

My group and I took our time at the top, reminiscing in our childhood fantasies of becoming princesses, and taking plenty of photographs to share with my equally Disney-crazed family back home. Upon visiting, it was easy to understand why Walt felt so inspired by the charm of the castle. Not only was it monumentally stunning, but it perfectly captures every child’s dream of opportunity and endless joy.

On a side note, if you are planning to visit Alcazar de Segovia, here are a few helpful tips to make most of your experience.

1: Get there early: This is a popular tourist destination and it can get rather crowded during peak season, so plan ahead and visit earlier in the day.

2: Purchase your tickets ahead of time: This is highly recommended to save time at the ticket office and guarantee your admission.

3: Take your time: The interior of the castle has been carefully and beautifully restored. Each room holds something unique, so take your time and enjoy the magic!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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