Disney Facts, Disney World

How Does the Sword in the Stone at Disney World Work?

April 21, 2023
sword in the stone at disney world

Have you been wondering “how does the sword in the stone at Disney World work?”. Learn all about the secrets behind Excalibur with this in-depth look at one of Disney’s most interesting (and simple!) attractions!

If you’ve ever been to Disney World, then you probably know all about the mysterious sword in the stone.

This attraction is based on the famous (and mythical!) sword Excalibur which could only be pulled out by the true king of England.

At the Disney parks, it’s a fun little attraction that lets visitors test their strength and worthiness with a few pulls.

While most people never pull the sword out, a few lucky guests have managed to pull the sword in the stone at Disney World.

But how does it work? Is it a matter of luck? Or maybe a timing thing? Is it remotely controlled by Cast Members?

Well, let’s find out in this ultimate guide to the sword in the stone at Disney World!

What is the Sword in the Stone?

The original Sword in the Stone is a weapon called Excalibur and it comes from a traditional Arthurian legend.

You may have also heard of the 1938 novel by T.H. White which inspired the popular 1963 movie (which I’ll get to!).

According to the original legend, a “true king” needs to pull the sword from the stone.

So, in the Arthurian legend – that would be King Arthur (AKA: the heir of Uther Pendragon!).

If you’re interested to know how this idea came around, the 15th-century novel Le Morte d’Arthur says :

“Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil, is rightwise king born of all England.”

This obviously isn’t the case with the sword in the stone at Disney World.

But it’s interesting to know what the original concept is based on, right?

What is the Sword in the Stone at Disney World?

At Disney World, the Sword in the Stone is an attraction and photo spot that encourages guests to try and pull the sword.

Over the years, lotharios, kids, and everyone in between have used it to showcase their strength.

It’s fun and harmless, and it makes for an amazing photo opportunity if you time things right (and are super lucky!).

Just be warned that you probably won’t get to pull the sword from the stone, no matter how often you try.

There’s actually a TikToker who’s tried to pull it on every single Disney trip for years.

He’s called Jo Chrichton, and he’s tried to pull it so many times that the Cast Members have now made it a running joke.

Not only has his friend pulled the sword in front of him multiple times, but even the Stepsisters couldn’t help him out!

So, sometimes – it’s not about how hard you try. The Cast Members may never let you pull the sword!


I tried to pull the sword out of the stone so much this year 😭😂 #disneyworld #swordinthestone #jojosworld

♬ original sound – JoJo

The Sword in the Stone movie (1963)

Image Credit: Disney

If we’re talking about the 1963 film (with music by the iconic Sherman Brothers!), then I’ve got you covered.

This movie follows the story of a young King Arthur (who is called Wart in the movie!).

He’s not exactly what you’d expect from a future king as he’s lanky, clumsy, and is still in training to be a knight.

One day, he wanders into the forest and meets a sorcerer called Merlin.

The sorcerer takes him on as a mentee and aims to make Arthur the truest and most noble king the land has ever seen.

Along the way, Merlin turns them into fish to learn about physics and squirrels to learn about gravity.

And at the end of the movie, Arthur unknowingly removes the famous Sword in the Stone effortlessly, which fulfills the age-old prophecy.

It’s one of Disney’s lesser-talked-about classics, but it still picked up an Academy Award nomination for its score (in 1964!).

So, it’s certainly nothing to scoff at.

Where is the Sword in the Stone at Disney World?

If you’re looking for the sword in the stone at Disneyland, you’ll find it in Fantasyland by King Arthur’s Carousel.

Heading to Disney World? You’ll catch the sword in the stone in Fantasyland by Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel.

The final place you’ll find the iconic sword in the stone is at Disneyland Paris. Here, you’ll find it behind Sleeping Beauty’s Castle by the Carousel (and just in front of Blanche Neige et Les Sept Nains!).

At all locations, you’ll see Excalibur inside a heavy bronze anvil that’s on top of a stone plinth (which is perfect for the Gram, BTW!).

It’s pretty easy to see, and you’ll usually spot someone trying to pull it out at any given moment – seriously, it’s popular!

I’d say that most people use it for taking photographs as I’ve never seen anyone lucky enough to pull it out in person.

But you’ll probably spot burly young men, confident kids, and virtually any woman trying to pull it out!

There’s no age or size limit here – you’re either worthy or you’re not (yup – like Captain America!).

I wouldn’t say there’s any trick to pulling it out of the stone, you just need to be in the right place at the right time.

How Does the Sword in the Stone at Disney World Work?

I know – it’s disappointing that there are no real tips or tricks for pulling the sword out of the stone.

So, you might be left wondering: “how does the sword in the stone at Disney World work?”.

Well, let me fill you in.

During an average day, a Cast Member dressed as Merlin will appear a few times to announce that they’re looking for volunteers to try and pull the sword out.

They’ll usually pick young kids, but there’s no guarantee!

In fact, buff guys usually get to give it a try first before a young child completely destroys them.

It’s hilarious.

The lucky chosen person will then be called forward to try and pull the sword from the stone.

Occasionally, the sword will immediately come out of the stone. But usually, it’ll come out a few inches and slam back down.

If you’re here at exactly the right time (and a Cast Member takes a liking to you!), you may be able to pull the sword in the stone at Disney World.

A lot of this is based on rumor, but a Cast Member probably controls a trigger switch that moves the sword.

It’s also possible that a Magic Band can unlock the sword, but there isn’t much evidence to show this! So, it’s most likely that a trigger switch that a Cast Member pulls (or pushes!) at exactly the right time.

This releases the sword from the stone and allows Merlin to declare the lucky person as the “Ruler of the Realm”!

What is the Sword in the Stone Ceremony?

Image Credit: www.instagram.com/catarina.photo

The Sword in the Stone Ceremony is literally what I just talked about – it’s when Merlin appears to find the Ruler of the Realm!

It’s rarely advertised, but it’s been running at Disneyland since 1983 and at Disney World for almost as long (it opened in 1993)!

I will say that the show is entirely seasonal, so you can expect to see fewer shows during off-peak periods.

But around the holidays, you can see this several times a day (especially during the summer!).

For the greatest chance of getting to pull the sword, stand close to the action and try to look excited.

The Cast Members will almost always choose small children as it basically creates a core memory for them!

And if you’re a built guy who gets to take the fall – really make the most of it!

P.S.: If you want to catch the ceremony on a given day, I recommend checking in with a Fantasyland Cast Member to avoid disappointment. You’ll always have more luck during peak periods like the summertime.

How to Pull the Sword in the Stone at Disney World

It’s possible to pull the sword from the stone, but as I said – it’s about being in the right place at the right time.

If you’re an adult, you probably won’t be able to pull it out unless you’re lucky.

But if you’re visiting with young children, you might be lucky enough to watch someone pulling the sword in the stone at Disney World.

Just be aware that the sword doesn’t fully come out of the stone, it’ll just come out around 8 inches or so!

If you’re here on the right day, you might even see someone successfully pull the sword out several times.

To make this even more amusing, Cast Members will often let this happen and then refuse to let another member of the party pull the sword!

It’s a great way to create a bit of a friendly rift between siblings.

Only guests that are seen as “worthy” or “heroic” enough will get to pull the sword from the stone.

And unfortunately, that choice is entirely down to Disney Cast Members.

You may have more luck pulling the sword if you’re around at a busy time, as it’s honestly an attraction when someone manages it.

In terms of technique, I suggest anchoring yourself to the ground, holding the sides of the sword, and giving it a good TUG. The sword should at least lift a tiny bit when you try this, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll be blessed with fully pulling it out.

Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s truly a trick to pulling the sword. Otherwise, you’d think that repeat visitors would finally crack the code.

But as it is controlled by Cast Members, I recommend heading to the Magic Kingdom at a peak period when tons of staff are on duty.

This means that there will be someone operating the stone, and you might just get lucky.

Is the Sword in the Stone Missing at Disney World?

The sword in the stone at Disney World isn’t missing, but the Disneyland version was out of commission for a few days in 2020.

This is because a buff guy tried his hand at removing the sword with pure brute force while trying to impress his friends.

He technically lifted it, but it damaged the sword and the mechanism.

He left the sword jagged and severely damaged. So, the entire sword had to be replaced!

This is what started the initial rumors that the Sword in the Stone was missing. But luckily, it was fixed quickly and put back into the park within days.

For obvious reasons, I don’t recommend repeating his actions or you’d risk Excalibur being permanently removed from the parks.

Fun Facts About the Sword in the Stone

  • The movie was the first time the famous Sherman Brothers were involved in a Disney Animated Movie (the next was Mary Poppins!).
  • King Arthur’s voice belongs to 3 different actors because one of them hit puberty during production! So, you’ll hear a mix of Rickie Sorenson, Richard Reitherman, and Robert Reitherman in the film.
  • Disney purchased the book rights for the movie way back in 1939. Unfortunately, they had to halt production because of World War II.
  • The movie reuses some animation elements from Sleeping Beauty!
  • Walt Disney inspired Merlin’s character design!
  • Disney released the movie on Christmas Day!
  • Junius Matthews is the famous actor that voiced the crotchety owl, Archimedes. If you didn’t know, he also voices Rabbit in Winnie the Pooh!


Was Arthur Pendragon a real person?

There’s no way for historians to confirm whether Arthur was a real person, but he’s probably based on a British leader who fought against the Saxons.

Did Camelot really exist?

Scholars think that Camelot is fictional, but you will see elements from this mythical place in areas of the UK.

Is the Sword in the Stone true?

Believe it or not, the sword that Arthur is said to pull from the stone is real! It’s held in Tuscany’s Montesiepi Chapel.

If you happen to be in London, you can pull Excalibur from St. Paul’s Cathedral in the churchyard!

Are they remaking the Sword in the Stone movie?

Yes, they are remaking the Sword in the Stone movie for Disney+!

There isn’t a confirmed release date, but Disney announced the adaptation in October 2021.

It’ll be based on T.A. Barron’s The Merlin Saga, so it’ll be slightly different from the 1963 movie. It’s also being written by the Game of Thrones screenwriter Bryan Cogman. So, you can probably expect it to be slightly darker and edgier than the original Disney flick.

If you want to whet your appetite for the new movie, you can watch the UK series Merlin, or check out the Kingdom Hearts video games!

Just FYI, you’ll find Merlin in Kingdom Hearts II, III, and Birth by Sleep.

If you’re not interested in the remake, it’s worth checking out the incredible BBC series Merlin. As a Brit, I remember watching this growing up, and I loved the humorous takes on Arthur, Merlin, and Morgana.

The series actually follows Merlin as a much younger boy, and he acts as Arthur’s confidante (despite being slightly skittish). You can catch it on Disney+, but it’s also on Prime, Roku, and PlutoTV!

Does someone control the sword in the stone at Disney?

I have a strong feeling that a Cast Member controls the sword remotely. When they want someone to pull it out – they’ll be able to!

What happens if you pull the sword in the stone at Disney World?

You’ll probably get a lot of cheers and be declared the Hero of Fantasyland or the Ruler of the Land! Otherwise, you’ll simply see it rise between 6 and 10 inches into the air before it’s firmly planted down again. You’ll get about 30 seconds of glory, but you’ll still need to be quick with your camera to capture the magic.

There you have it: the ultimate guide to the sword in the stone at Disney World!

Have you ever tried to pull the sword in the stone at Disney World? Have you ever had any success? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below. Sadly, I’ve never been lucky enough to do it!

Whatever you think of the Sword in the Stone, it’s clear that it’s an incredible attraction that’s a tried and tested classic. Not only does it draw guests together (it’s amazing when someone pulls it), but the special ceremony is part of the magic!

And remember, it proves that you don’t need to be strong or built like a brick house to be a hero. You just need to have fortitude, determination, and a handful of pixie dust from the Cast Members!

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