Points, miles, and snide remarks.


Fact Check: No, Cinderella’s Castle Didn’t Burn Down

If you’ve been on TikTok lately, you might have seen a video claiming that Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom burned down yesterday. The video shows images of the castle engulfed in flames, and suggests the Reedy Creek Fire Department took an hour to arrive on scene, at which point the castle was unsalvageable.

Before you panic and cancel your Disney vacation, let me assure you that this is fake news. Cinderella Castle is just fine, and there was no fire at the Magic Kingdom yesterday. The video is based on a satire article from Mouse Trap News, a website that posts fake news stories about Disney for entertainment purposes.

Seriously guys, do you really think that the Reedy Creek Fire Department (created by Disney to protect Disney property and its occupants, though Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law in 2022 seizing control of the district by the state) would allow an hour-long delay to an active structure fire at the iconic landmark? That castle is a huge part of WDW’s core identity… that wouldn’t be allowed to happen, ever. Let’s think critically here.

Mouse Trap News is known for its outrageous satire articles, such as “Disney Officially Launches Only Fans with Adult Content,” “Disney Building Roller Coaster That Jumps Track,” and “It’s a Small World Closing Permanently For Being Offensive.” The website clearly states:

Mouse Trap News is the world’s best satire and parody site. We write fake stories about Disney Parks stuff. From Disney Park announcements to Disney Hotel and resort news to made-up Disney partnerships, you can be assured that anything you read here is not true, real, or accurate, but it is fun. So technically our slogan The Moused Trusted Name in Disney News isn’t true, but we thought it was creative and funny, so we are running with it.

Mouse Trap News was created on a whim to have some fun and write stories about Disney we wish were true. Some Disney sites write deceptive stories for clicks. We write 100% made-up parody and satire stories for your enjoyment. We also hope that Disney sees how much people like some of our stories and decide to actually make one of our stories a reality!

While you read our articles, be sure to keep your hands, arms, feet, and legs inside the vehicle at all times, and remember these are strictly fictional for your enjoyment. Please share any articles you enjoy reading with your Disney friends and on social media to help us grow and continue to put out fun articles

Mouse Trap News About Page

However, someone decided to take the satire article about Cinderella Castle burning down and turn it into a viral TikTok video, without any indication that it was a joke. The video has been shared over 150k times, and has caused a lot of confusion and outrage among Disney fans.

The images of the castle on fire are clearly generated by some kind of generative AI, likely OpenAI’s highly-regarded DALL-E 3. DALL-E 3 is a neural network that can create realistic images from text descriptions, such as “a dragon made of flowers” or “a snail wearing a sombrero”. It’s scary how good AI has gotten at creating fake images that look real. And yes, I and other bloggers have been guilty of using DALL-E to create artwork for posts when we just don’t have a great photo to use to keep things visually pleasing – though I would never go so far as to imply the product of an AI model is real imagery. It’s purely there as “filler” when I otherwise don’t have a great image to use.

As someone who works in IT, I am blown away at the quality and accuracy of some of the images coming out of these AI models. They can create anything you can imagine, and sometimes things you can’t. However, while this satire article is all good harmless fun that’s been blown way out of proportion, it underscores the importance of thinking critically for yourself, especially during an election year.

Regardless of who you plan on voting for, expect that the advent of generative AI will cause “deepfakes” to be a bigger problem than ever this election cycle, and remember to not necessarily take everything you read (or watch on TikTok) at face value. Always check the source, the date, and the facts before you share or believe something online. And don’t worry, Cinderella Castle is still standing, and will be there for you when you visit the most magical place on earth.

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