Theme Park Thursdays feature photos from one of our theme park adventures in the past.

Pepto Castle (1996)

Pepto Castle (1996)

Did you know that Walt Disney World is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year? Probably not, because Disney has pretty much given up on park-specific commemorations in favor of soulless global marketing initiatives like "Let the Memories Begin." The Magic Kingdom and a few surrounding hotels opened in 1971.

Jump back to 1996, when the resort was celebrating its 25th anniversary. Back then the campaign was officially known as "Remember the Magic," but fans know it as "The Year of the Pink Castle" — one of the biggest marketing blunders this side of Reedy Creek. During the event, Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom was literally painted pink. Brightly-colored inflatable decorations were then added to make the whole structure look like a large birthday cake.

Final Result: Castle Cake

Castle Cake (Source:

Imagine anticipating your dream vacation to Walt Disney World and discovering that ugly thing in the background of your family photos!

My family took a trip to Walt Disney World in the summer of 1996, as preparations for the big 25th Anniversary were still underway. The castle was still in process of being painted pink, as denoted by today's photo.

I shot this image with my Fujifilm Discovery 1000 35mm camera, which featured a unique optional insert that allowed you to shoot panorama photos. For today's photo, I just turned it sideways and shot vertically! Technically, my Fuji wasn't shooting true panorama, more like a "cropped pano" size, as all the insert really did was cut off the top and bottom of the regular 35mm film frame and blow up the remainder. Special developing was required to get the desired effect.

In any case, this photo documents one of the really stupid ideas that have taken place over the years at Walt Disney World. Throw it on the pile with the Epcot Wand, Year of a Million Dreams, and that stupid Sorcerer's Hat over in the Studios.