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Christmas lights on Cinderella Castle on MVMCP night

by Natasha

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“Hi Dad. We have our trip coming at the end of November and our day at the Magic Kingdom is November 26. I know that night is a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Night and the park closes early, but my question is will they have the castle lit up with the lights before we have to leave so that we can see it, or do we have to go back another night when there is not a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party to see the castle? Thanks.”

The Christmas lights on Cinderella Castle

The Christmas lights on Cinderella Castle look amazing – Photo by Mike Billick

Natasha, that’s a good question. In the past it hasn’t been a factor, but this year it’s a little trickier, because Disney changed the closing time on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and on party nights. They changed the closing time to 6:00 pm instead of 7:00 pm, so it’s an hour earlier, which is a lot closer to sundown than it was before. Official sundown in November, I looked it up, is at 5:28 pm. On November 26 the official sundown time in Orlando is 5:28 pm, so the sun will be down before you have to leave the park at 6:00.

Dad’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party page

Disney for the last few years, has had a castle lighting show. Typically it’s right after sundown, so my guess is in November it’ll be at 5:45 ish. That castle lighting show is when they turn on the lights for the evening for the castle, but it’s right after sundown, literally right after sundown, before it really gets dark.

So yes, you should be able to see the castle lit up before you have to leave the park. Now leaving the park at 6:00 is kind of a misnomer. Let’s say you just happen to be back at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad right at 6:00. The cast members … If you’re in line, they’re going to let you ride it. If you’re not in line, they’re going to say, “I’m sorry, you can’t ride the ride.” Unless you have a party band you’re going to have to leave.

Are they going to chase you out and watch you walk all the way through the park? No. And if you’re like me, you’re going to stop at the Christmas Store, because I always stop at the Christmas Store on my way out. It might take me 30 minutes or 45 minutes to get out of the park by the time I hit all the shops on Main Street and maybe stop at Casey’s and grab me a hot dog on the way out.

You can be in the park for a little while after 6:00, after the party actually starts. Yes, they want you to leave as soon as you can, but they’re not going to grab you by the arm and take you out. They’re going to nicely ask you to move on towards the exits, but 6:30 the lights will be on, 6:15 the lights will be on. You shouldn’t have any problems seeing the lights that night. You shouldn’t need to go back on another night to see the lights.

Destinations to Travel

Dad’s Bottom Line

Natasha, you won’t get to see the fireworks or the parade. Those come much later in the evening, but you should be able to see Cinderella Castle lit up.


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Comments for

Dec 03, 2017 Very helpful article!
by: Laura

Hi Dad and Natasha,

Thanks for the question and answer–it is just what I was looking for. I am also going to Magic Kingdom on a day that has a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party, but am travelling with annual passholders, so we are not spending the extra money on the Christmas party. I was thinking that I might wait in line for a ride and do a bot of shopping and dawdling in order to see the castle lit up as I make my way out of the park. I am glad to see that you agree with my plan. Also, I sure have enjoyed the subscription to WDW Magazine this year. It was my Christmas gift from my husband last year. Have a magical holiday season!

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