Friday, January 17, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Play Family Castle

Today I'm going to try to tackle of the the biggest and arguably the most popular vintage Fisher Price Little People set!  It's the Play Family Castle #993.  Made from 1974-1977 it was so popular that FP reintroduced it briefly in 1988.  Almost all of its accessories were exclusive to this set, only the horses were not.

This set is the largest and heaviest set which is one reason that I put off adding it to our collection.  However, having two little girls that are currently interested in princesses, castles and queens I had to relent and gave it to my girls for Christmas this year.   

The castle is made out of paper, plastic and cardboard and is covered all over with lithographs.  It also has fun features like a trap door (my youngest's favorite), drawbridge, sliding stairs, flag on a (irresistible to my 2 year old) spring, dragon lair and a dungeon!  

The Play Family Castle came with 6 people.  The family includes a King, Queen, Prince and Princess.  However, our Castle has two princesses since we have two little girls here. :)  The original version had wood bodies and plastic heads/crowns.  The 1988 edition were all plastic.  Note that I have a plastic Queen from the 1988 edition but the rest are original (wood).

The knight and the woodsman.  The knight was always all plastic, but this version of the woodsman is original (wood body, plastic head/hat).  Note that in the 1988 edition the woodsman had a scarf like a farmer, not like the star shown on the original.  Also the woodsman has a fun feature on his hat, what at first glance appears to be teethmarks (not uncommon in these toys, ha!) is actually a tiny feather.  He's got a feather in his cap!  His cap can also be yellow, although I believe that is a rarer version.

The animals included two horses; a brown horse and a black horse.  Both have white manes and tails.  Earlier editions of the castle included horses with metal rivets in their tummies, but they could also be smooth (just plastic tummy).  Along with the horses came a horse saddle/blanket, decorative harness and carriage.  There are variations to the plastic colors, alternating yellow and white.  Some suggest that there were different "correct" combinations depending on the year of the Castle.  For example the blanket and the harness colors were opposite, so I should have a white harness to match my yellow blanket.

However, because the harness and blanket are already hard to find items I think that any combination is just fine. :)  The harness, blanket and carriage were exclusive to the Castle set.

The last (but not least) animal is a Dragon.  He is spectacular with a bright pink color and arms, legs, tail that make him able to hang out all sorts of places.  A common problem with the Dragons is loose limbs, which seem to happened over time.  If your Dragon is in good condition it can still stand on its hind legs as shown.  Note that the 1988 Dragon differed as it was a darker pink and instead of yellow spots it had dark pink spots.

The Castle furniture included two twin beds, a queen bed, table, two chairs and two thrones.  The furniture came in either yellow or dark red, but the sets always included all the same color.  In other words it wouldn't have included red beds and a yellow table.  The dining table includes a lithograph of steak, veggies and wine.  Only the best for this family!  The little beds are similar to other FPLP beds but have sweet little crowns imprinted in the headboards.  All of these pieces were exclusive to the Castle sets.

Now to show you the interior of the Castle.  First up the staircase.  It slides away to show a hidden room and more of the tower.  Behind the staircase is a coat of arms.  On the staircase is a lithograph of coat of arms, a low table with cheese, a goblet, a couple happy mice and a sleeping cat on the floor.  

The unfortunate part of the staircase moving is that it slides on top of another lithograph.  This of course is bound to cause problems.  On my castle you can see some wear but there are many castles with the entire lithograph torn up or missing as a result of those stairs!

The opposite side of the downstairs has a roaring fireplace with mantle, beer stein and a dog sleeping on the floor.  To the left of the fireplace is a trap door leading to the dragon lair.  The door slides back and forth with a yellow pull.  

Upstairs is what I think are the bedrooms?  There is an adorable little puppy eating a royal slipper and a table with different bottles on it.

The opposite side includes a little (decorative) door to the dungeon complete with eyes peeking out!

The flag on top is turquoise and was not included in the 1988 version.  On the left is the trap door which leads to the dungeon.  Note the hole in the front tower (left side), I've heard that many little children thought it was the perfect size for a marble.  However, once it went in it couldn't come back out.  So many Castle sets have marbles stuck in the top.  Mine doesn't (yet, ha!). 

One side of the Castle includes a vine with flowers and a window with a royal Lucky the dog looking out (he's wearing a crown and has a mouse on top of it).  The other side of the Castle includes the Dragon chamber and lithographs of a stain glass window with the Knight and Dragon (who appear to be friends).  Also a tree and in the tower window a candle and bags of money.  On the bottom is a wooden sign pointing to the "Village" with a owl on top and a turtle underneath.

Now to the moat in front.  There is a lithograph in the plastic moat of lily pads, fish, frogs, turtles and an alligator.  Unfortunately, the little moat is most likely irresistible to children, they can't help but want to put water in it!  As a result many Castles have ruined or partially ruined moat lithographs.  The drawbridge goes up and down either by using your hands or a little pull on the other side of the castle.  

The Dungeon has a door that moves up and down and is next to the moat, just like a real dungeon should. :)  Note that the trap door on the roof of the Castle shoots the people down into this dungeon.  I can tell you from personal experience that all of the people can fit in there at once with room to spare.  Ha!  This is my 2 year old's favorite activity by far!

It is a truly lovely set.  Stones all around with little details like birds, windows and other animals.  I am glad we have it in our collection!

If your Castle is incomplete check out my Etsy shop, I often have Castle accessories for sale. 


  1. I happened on your blog sometime in December. I, too, am a Fisher Price toy collector and it's fun to read your stories and enjoy your pictures. Where on earth do you find all your vintage toys? I picked up my castle off craigslist for $3, (in excellent condition). None of the pieces were included, so I am finding them here and there. I did finally buy the pink dragon but I still need the royal family, knight, and carriage.

    I especially LOVED the book you made for your daughter. Is that something you would ever consider making more of to sell?

    Thanks for sharing your toys with me! haha. Every time I look at your pictures I get excited to collect more sets that I don't already have, (I have about 18).

    1. I'm so glad you found my blog. :) I am still collecting sets and pieces that we don't have yet so I completely understand the obsession, ha!

      I had considered making more books like the one for my daughter, but I don't think it would be cost effective! I had it printed on Shutterfly and their books can be expensive unless you have a great code. I would be willing to do it though if someone wanted to pay. :) I'd just make a couple adjustments to make it less personalized (like remove my daughters photo).

      I have a carriage for sale on my Etsy shop right now and I think a King. I'm always adding stuff so check it out.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    2. If you made your adjustments and I could find a code, what would you charge for a book?

    3. If you want to email me my address is Thanks!

  2. my JK room had this when I was helping out in 2002-2003- 2003-2004 (I got "fired from that job") in the JK room and a little girl and I would always play w/ this.