The Kiss Goodnight: The Greatest Thing Most Guests Don’t See

Too few Walt Disney World fans know about The Kiss Goodnight. If you just thought, “what’s that?” you’re not alone. The Kiss Goodnight is a little over 2-minutes long, and it is the Magic Kingdom’s way of saying “goodbye” to guests at the end of a long day. It usually play every 30 minutes after the park closes (meaning you could see it more than once in a single night–we once saw it 3 times in the same night!), and starts with Cinderella Castle “twinkling” as the music from When You Wish Upon a Star slowly builds.

A narrator then greets the last of the guests in the Magic Kingdom, saying: “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, on behalf of everyone here at the Magic Kingdom, we thank you for joining us today for a magic gathering of family, friends, fun, and fantasy. We hope your magical journey with us has created wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. Walt Disney said that the Magic Kingdom is a world of imagination, hopes, and dreams. In this timeless land of enchantment, magic and make believe are reborn, and fairy tales come true. The Magic Kingdom is a place for the young and the young at heart. A special place where when you wish upon a star, your dreams can come true. Until we see you again, have a safe trip home. Thank you, and goodnight.” (more…)

Cinderella Castle Dream Lights: Reflections of Christmas

At Christmas-time, Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom is enhanced with the “Castle Dream Lights,” which give the Castle a resplendent glow. This look is amplified in the rain, when the lights from Cinderella Castle and all around Main Street glisten off the pavement.

Sarah and I took a quick trip to Walt Disney World this weekend to enjoy our favorite time of year at Walt Disney World: Christmas. Our plan with taking the trip was to book a cheap flight to Florida to earn the miles necessary to book a free flight (which otherwise would have cost $600+ each) to Disneyland for New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, by the time our credits from the flights registered, the awards flights were sold out. Oh well, it was a great weekend, nonetheless, and even though we were only there for less than two full days, it felt like a lot longer. We crammed as much as we could into the trip, even closing out three different parks on Saturday night! (more…)

Cinderella Castle Halloween HDR

One of my biggest personal reasons for attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party each year is the unique lighting utilized in the Magic Kingdom during these parties, and how that lighting makes for interesting and different photos. For this same reason, I’ve shared that I’m also personally looking forward to the “Limited Time Magic” 2013 promotion. Of course, I realize these probably aren’t compelling reasons for most guests considering whether they should attend the parties, but the lighting and atmosphere help make the parties worth the cost for me, nonetheless.

This particular photo showcases the unique lighting used on Cinderella Castle during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and much like the lighting on Main Street about which I’ve complained extensively, this lighting is harsh, uneven, and a bear to process. But, also much like the lighting on Main Street, this lighting is pretty awesome! Since I can’t get enough Cinderella Castle photos, I always make a point of stopping and getting a few each year during the Parties. Can you imagine if they had these parties at Epcot and had unique lighting on Spaceship Earth?! The “serious” Disney fan in me would cringe that the parties would be occurring in Future World, but the photographer in me would overlook that and go crazy at the chance to photograph Spaceship Earth with a new lighting package! (more…)

D23 Magic & Merriment Review

We attended D23’s Magic & Merriment in December 2010 at Walt Disney World. The three day event was held in early December, and overall, was a fun time. In 2012, Magic & Merriment will be two separate 2-day events. This review is of the 2010 Magic & Merriment.

UPDATE: We attended again in 2011 and the event was a marked improvement over 2010’s. The organization was better, the tour of the holiday facilities was great, and the presentations were more polished and relevant. The price was also higher, but we felt the event offered better value for money. After reviewing the 2012 lineup, we’ve decided not to do the event this year. The events don’t seem worth it to us for the amount charged.


Dreamy Sunrise Over Cinderella Castle

Before we traveled to Walt Disney World the week between Christmas and New Year’s, which is notoriously the busiest week of the year, a lot of people asked us whether we were crazy. Yes, of course we are, but that had nothing to do with our decision to visit during that week. The decision to bear those brutal crowds was made easy for us thanks to the extended operating hours and impressive New Year’s Eve fireworks shows. And although we’re not fans of large crowds (I’m betting not many of you have “large crowds” listed as a Facebook interest, though!), we can deal with them if necessary. We’ve done the attractions enough that not being able to experience all of our favorites wasn’t a big deal.

Our decision to visit during that infamous week was vindicated on the very first morning, when I arrived at the Magic Kingdom at 6:25 am for its 7 am opening. When I was allowed into the park, I was in awe at seeing the lights on Main Street against the pre-sunrise blue hour sky. A bit later, I was overjoyed as the sun peaked up over the horizon, and I dashed around like a madman trying to capture it. This sunrise, alone, justified bearing those crowds.

My frenetic shooting that morning is not at all evident in this photo. This sunrise photo was gorgeous straight out of the camera, but I decided the perfect processing fit for this tranquil and placid scene would be a soft glow to really give the photo an ethereal feel. A sunrise photo of Cinderella Castle would be pretty unique on its own, but I think this processing works here to give a dream-like quality to an already dreamy scene.

Technical details: shot with a Nikon D7000 with a Rokinon 8mm Fisheye Lens. See our guide for more photography equipment recommendations

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