Building such a large piece from Lego and trying to capture the detail of such an iconic building as Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World can be tricky. I can say it definitely took some planning. My daughter has expressed interests in being an architect or interior designer so I looked at the project as an introduction to architecture, design, and construction. As with all of our projects it is about spending quality time together, bonding, being creative, learning, and usually with a Disney element acting as the subject.
When designing the building we used Google Earth, both satellite and street view, as well as photos we took and blueprints we found to get the layout as accurate as possible. There are some great resources like Disney Park Blueprints and Walt Disney World Theme Parks that have archives of the blueprints of major buildings.
As you can see above the building is quite tricky as it is not symmetrical. The build was further complicated by the limitations of Lego. That is part of the challenge and the fun of designing a build, figuring out just how to make it become a reality with physical constraints and angles of the existing Lego pieces. But as Walt said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
At times, you will be tempted to modify the Lego pieces or paint them if a piece does not come in the color you need. We made it somewhat of a house rule that we would not modify the pieces if at all possible. The only exception in the entire build was the micro scale Mickey. We know the partners statue does not go there technically. We just have it there for display purposes.
We tried to capture every detail we could. From passing through drawbridge all the way back, to the table where you check in for your dinning at the Royal Table, and even the staircase with the small door off to the side.
When comes to actually building the piece, we often would make a test piece out of similar random Lego of any color in order to get the basic shape and construction of the piece. We would then figure out how many we would need and what color and try to track down the pieces. We would have a good number of pieces on hand. As a quick tip I will tell you that organization of your bricks is key if you don’t want to spend hours looking for a specific piece. For the pieces we still needed we would try the local Lego store in the mall which has a back wall of loose bricks you can buy when you fill up a different sized cups. You can also buy individual bricks from the Lego website in the online store call Pick a Brick. But a majority of our bricks were purchased loose from various 3rd party vendors on eBay. There are some dealers with major selections. You just pick the brick, the quantity, the size, and color. I will say there was a bit of a learning curve at the beginning learning all the Lego jargon involving the actual color names, how to describe bricks, and their sizes.
For colors simple searching Lego Color Palettes will produce some handy charts.
As for the brick sizes they are commonly described in their dimensions in studs on the top in width and lengths. For example a brick that has 2 studs on top would be a 1×2. You then need to know the thickness. A brick is the typical thickness, plates are the thinner variety (3 plates stacked are the thickness of a brick), a tile is a plate with no studs, slopes are what the angled pieces are called. Each brick also has a unique ID number used for ordering that can quickly eliminate confusion. Here are some examples from some printable bin labels available on Tom Alphin’s site.
I would not start with Cinderella’s Castle. We did not start with the castle we began with smaller builds like the entrance to the park.
In the weeks and months to come I will be sharing dozens of our builds of a model of the Magic Kingdom. Each piece is unique and presented its own challenges. They will range from small builds to very complex. We will be rotating our topics but will be posting one of our creative builds every other week.
Until next time…
The Imagine Ears features the DIY projects, adventures, and thoughts of a father and daughter who use a shared love of all things Disney to create memories together through encouraging her interests in architecture, design, Imagineering, while exploring history and science.