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200,000 Lights Transform Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World

posted on November 17th, 2009 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Cinderella's Castle 'Dipped in Sugar'
“Dipped in sugar” is how Cinderella Castle appears to Walt Disney World Entertainment’s senior show director Alan Bruun. And if you’ve seen the castle’s 200,000 holiday lights, it’s hard to disagree with the description — it’s a must see.

But how the Castle transforms for the season is just as remarkable. It takes about six weeks and involves hundreds of hours of manpower. Cranes are brought in overnight to place the LED lights around the castle and reach the highest spires. Here’s video showing some of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into lighting the Castle each year:

The Castle lights are also attached to more than 40,000 square feet of fisherman’s net dyed to specifically match the colors of the castle. There is blue net for the roof tops and gray for the walls. After the lights are hooked up on the nets, they’re programmed and tested and then written into lighting cues for the shows, according to Bruun.

To bring the lights together, 18 miles of electrical cable is used. And it’s all run on the amount of power that it takes to run three clothes dryers — it’s extremely energy efficient.

Is this something you look forward to? Let us know in the comments.

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort



Paul on November 17th, 2009 at 4:18 pm

I couldnt help but wonder how that effect was acheived. Thanks for providing us with an informative video that just makes the magic even stronger.
I cant wait to see it in person.



Brianna from TX on November 17th, 2009 at 4:35 pm

I love seeing the castle lit up for Christmas! The holidays are my favorite time of year to visit DisneyWorld, and the lighting of the castle at night is one of my favorite things to see. It’s magical! :)


Melissa from TX on November 17th, 2009 at 4:36 pm

This is absolutely the most beautiful, throat clogging, tear jerking, awe inspiring sight at Walt Disney World for the holidays. And that’s really saying something! Thank you to all the cast members whose hard work contribute to this amazing effect and thanks for the behind the scenes glimpse of how it’s achieved.


Jason from CA on November 17th, 2009 at 4:51 pm

FYI– it’s lighting cues, not lighting “queues”


Holly on November 17th, 2009 at 5:29 pm

This was definitely a video I was looking for — incredibly interesting logistics!


C. from MA on November 17th, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Bring me more!!! That was so interesting and informative. I am in charge of my Town’s Christmas Walk Parade and each year as a result of our family trip to Walt Disney World my creative energy gets flowing and I attempt to create a Disney type parade for my home town. It really doesn’t compare but I have fun attempting the impossible and the thousands who attend love it.

Disney does it like nobody in any business. Please keep these informative videos coming. I LOVE them!!!!! :~)


Wayne on November 17th, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Absolutely amazing! I want to go now!


Mike on November 17th, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Beautiful lighting. Well-done lighting does such a fantastic job of creating the proper festive mood for the holidays.

Yeah, I’m looking at you, EPCOT.


Jayson from OR on November 17th, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Absolutely amazing. Seeing it in person gave me chills.


Bob on November 18th, 2009 at 11:47 am

Amazingly beautiful!!!! And I had no idea about the fisherman’s nets – what an idea! The Parks are always lit up so wonderfully for the holidays. I wish we could be in WDW for Christmas this year… We were lucky enough to go to DL after Christmas last year and Sleeping Beauty Castle was just as beautiful! Same with DL Park and DCA. ºOº



Joseph on November 18th, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Knowing what goes on “behind the scenes” helps me appreciate the end result even more. Thank you for providing another inside look!


Katrina from FL on November 18th, 2009 at 9:20 pm

Thank you so much for posting these videos. As a supreme Disney geek I can’t get enough of this stuff. The castle lit up like this is one of the most breathtaking things one can see in their lifetimes; in fact I’d say it’s something everyone must see at least once in their lives. As a passholder I’m lucky because I get to see it many times! A good friend of mine has her birthday right around Christmastime and will be going to the Magic Kingdom. She’s never been to the World and I’m so excited that the first time she gets to go is during Christmastime!


Margaret on November 19th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Amazing Work!!! Just wondering if someone can tell me about what time the lights are turned on the castle and do this happen every day? We will be there in 10 days for a week.


Robert from TX on November 20th, 2009 at 9:38 am

Calorie heaven!


Ceci on November 26th, 2009 at 12:08 am

Thank you for my Birthday pass. I had not gone to Disneyland for 4 years. Growing up in the area I made it a point to go ofter so when I went this time with my daughter who has a pass I didn’t expect anything new. I saw the Castle during the day and thought it looked nice a different look than I remember at Christmas not too exciting. Later, as it got dark we left Adventure Land to go home, I noticed the castle, I stopped in my tracks. What a SPECTACULAR SITE!! I could not stop looking at the the beauty that glowed in the sky, it was as ice castle. This is the best thing since the light parade.
Instead of going home I got into the spirit and we stayed for the Christmas parade often peeking up at the castle. GOOD JOB!


Brenda from MD on December 12th, 2009 at 7:55 pm

I would like to thank you for allowing me to view the beautiful castle at Christmas time from home since I will not be able to get there over the holidays. Disney knows how to make magic happen!!! I can never get enough of the Disney magic.