New Magic Kingdom Christmas Photos
It’s time for another batch of photos, this time of Christmas in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. This is a mix of both Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party photos and what you can expect on a normal day in the park.
Since Magic Kingdom is the park that’s most decked out for Christmas, we thought we’d start there. We could probably do an entire post devoted just to the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights (hmmm…that’s not a bad idea). I dare anyone who visits Walt Disney World this time of year to resist photographing those mesmerizing icicle lights…IT CANNOT BE DONE!
Sorry for the lack of substantive posts lately. We still have a slew of Christmas-related posts to share, but we’ve been busy the last few days…and are also trying to enjoy our favorite time of year!
You can click on each photo to view it larger (and with high resolution) in my SmugMug gallery and to see the camera settings I used. All photos in this post were captured with my Nikon D750 DSLR or Nikon D810 DSLR. You can read about which cameras and lenses I use in my new What’s In My Camera Bag? (2016 Edition) post.
We’ll start out with one that’s actually from last year…but it took me until this year to get this photo edited! This was one of the most challenging edits I’ve ever done, because of the color and light balance between the Cinderella Castle Dreamlights and sunset colors.
(Warning: photo geek talk follows…) Camera technology has made a ton of progress in the last ~5 years, but there is still no sensor that can “see” as much dynamic range as the human eye. Unfortunately, in scenes like this, that presents a challenge when editing, as it can take a lot of work to replicate what your eyes saw. Such was the case here, but I’m satisfied with the finished product.
The Partners statue of Walt & Mickey is probably the most photographed statue anywhere in the world, and for good reason: it pays tribute to the man who made it all possible, along with his most iconic creation.
While the scene with Partners and Cinderella Castle in the background best encapsulates what fans most love about the parks in a single photo, I like this perspective of Walt looking back at Main Street. Shot with the Rokinon 12mm f/2.8 fisheye, this sort of gives the feel of Walt surveying the kingdom he helped create.
This one was actually taken without a tripod, as I couldn’t get the perspective I wanted without leaning a bit over the handrail on the walkway that leads up to Cinderella Castle.
I wanted this shot because I figured it’d make the perfect iPhone wallpaper, and it does. (For what it’s worth, if you want this for your own wallpaper, subscribe to our newsletter. I’ll be sending this wallpaper out to subscribers in tonight’s newsletter!)
This is my favorite Christmas tree in the Magic Kingdom. I realize it’s not a “Christmas tree” per se, but it sure looks Christmas-y in this photo.
Also, it’s much prettier than that thing on Main Street draped with oversized popcorn, looking like it’s straight out of 1987. 😉
Speaking of which…here’s the actual Christmas tree in an admittedly cheesy shot of Walt putting the star on top of the tree. Sometimes cheesy can be fun or cool…and I think it “works” here.
If you like cheesy, hopefully you’ll also enjoy this shot! At first glance, it looks like an ordinary Cinderella Castle Dream Lights photo, taken straight on. If you view it closer (click the photo for the full size version), you’ll notice that the Partners statue is lined up with the pavement so it appears that Walt & Mickey are standing on the ground in front of Cinderella Castle.
Even if you think this is a dumb gimmick or didn’t notice, please humor me on this one. I spent way too much time lining up this shot, looking like a total fool in the process as I inched my camera down Main Street along the ground trying to find the perfect spot…
The next two photos were both shot with the Sigma 20mm f/1.4, a lens I’ve been trying to use on familiar subjects to achieve unique perspectives. I like the almost dreamy look it gave to this scene, turning a landscape scene into something with shallow depth of field.
Same idea here. I love photographing Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, but I usually do so from Main Street because that’s where it snows. Plus, in the past I’ve found it too difficult to photograph the parade close to Cinderella Castle due to low light. This fast and wide lens enabled me to finally get some photos from this perspective that I like.
Nothing all that special about this one, but I liked the red/magenta looking of the pre-dusk sky set against the Christmas tree and Main Street. It just “feels” right, I think.
Finally, one of the finale of Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration. As I shared in our 2016 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Recap post, I really enjoyed this show, particularly after the first song. I think it photographs really well with a wide angle lens, thanks in large part to the awesome new projections on Cinderella Castle.
If you can’t get enough of Christmas, please check out guides to Christmas at each of the parks/resorts:
- Walt Disney World Christmas Guide
- Disneyland Resort Christmas Guide
- Disneyland Paris at Christmas
- Tokyo Disneyland at Christmas
- Tokyo DisneySea at Christmas
Want to learn more about photography to take great photos in the Disney theme parks and beyond? The best place to start is Tom’s Photography Guide, which covers a variety of topics from links to tutorials, tips, and tricks to recommendations for point & shoots, DSLRs, lenses, and more.
I have a bunch more photos from Walt Disney World at Christmas, and we’re (hopefully) heading to Disneyland once more before Christmas, so I’ll be back with at least one more of these photo posts next week. In the meantime, if you have any questions about these photos or thoughts, please share in the comments below…
absolutely lovely images, thank you 🙂
I don’t have a good enough eye to tell the photos taken with the 20mm lens from the other wide-angle shots at first glance. But I do really like the photo of the toy soldier with the flowers in the foreground.
Which park to you like to photograph more during the holiday season?
Also, does either coast have any Hanukkah specific decorations?
At Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom is my favorite, followed by Epcot.
There are some Hanukkah decorations in American Adventure, but I can’t recall anything else. Sorry.
Tom, I read Tokyo Disney Resort’s hotels have a 95% occupacy rate. Please, do you know those rates for the other Disney destinations?
Tokyo Disney Resort is the only location that releases occupancy numbers (as it is not owned by Disney), but they are lower for all other locations. Disneyland is the next highest (90%+), followed by Walt Disney World (80%+), and Disneyland Paris. I have no clue about HKDL or SDL.
I really enjoy your blog and your photography is amazing. I need to know though, are you always the last one to leave the parks? Do you get kicked out at some point? lol I would love people free pictures.
Main Street is open an hour after park close. Restaurants seat people right up until park close. It’s really not that difficult to do if you just linger about.
Who cares about substance when you’ve got Dream Lights? 🙂
“Tom, we basically just tolerate your opinions and the walls of text on this blog because they come with pretty photos.” 😉