Typically, every year for the holidays, the iconic Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World lights up the night sky with the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights. Guests flock to Main Street, U.S.A., to take photos in front of Cinderella Castle with the light display as well as to just sit and take in the holiday magic.
However, in 2020 Disney made the decision to not display the Castle Dream Lights due to the pandemic. Instead, special projection effects gave the festive look to Cinderella Castle, which provided Guests with a colorful backdrop for photos.
Many Disney Park fans hoped that the Dream Lights would return to Cinderella Castle in 2021. However, I personally suspect this to not be the case. In fact, I don’t think we will see the castle light up the night sky during the holiday season at Magic Kingdom again until 2023 — here’s why.
Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration
In October 2021, Disney Guests will begin to celebrate the 50th anniversary, which Disney has already confirmed would be a party in the parks! It’s safe to say that this will be Walt Disney World’s biggest celebration yet.
Known as “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” Walt Disney World Resort will begin its anniversary festivities on October 1, 2021, to commemorate exactly 50 years since Magic Kingdom first opened its gates in 1971. However, this celebration isn’t just going to last one day. In fact, it’s going to occur at all four theme parks for a total of 18 months!
Additionally, Disney Parks Blog confirmed that Cinderella Castle will be decked out specifically for the 50th anniversary, saying:
As part of the celebration, Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park will add to its royal makeover from last year. As you can see in this new artist rendering, the castle will feature golden bunting and a 50th anniversary crest as part of its festive new look.
The castle will add even more magic at night, joined by icons at each of the other three theme parks as they transform into Beacons of Magic.
The Holidays During Disney World’s 50th Anniversary
So with this being said, will Magic Kingdom display the Dream Lights on the castle during the holiday season in addition to these 50th anniversary decorations? My gut says most likely not. It seems nearly impossible to put up these Dream Lights on top of the 50th anniversary decor. We can look at Disneyland Park’s 60th anniversary as an example of this.
When Disneyland Resort celebrated its 60th anniversary a few years ago, they did not put up classic Christmas decor on Sleeping Beauty Castle as they did in past years. Dsineyland is known for decorating Sleeping Beauty Castle with a snow-covered roof and holiday lights every year for the holiday season, as you can see in the image above. But during the holiday season in 2015, the theme park only put up a handful of wreaths and some garland on the castle so that it still had the holiday-feel but still displayed the 60th anniversary decorations, as well. Sleeping Beauty Castle didn’t have a snow-covered roof during the 60th in favor of the new diamond roof that was on display to commemorate the anniversary celebration.
Similarly, I don’t see Disney World putting up the Dream Lights while Cinderella Castle is decked out in 50th anniversary decor.
This then leads me to the question — Will Disney take down the 50th anniversary decorations just to put up the Dream Lights for 3 months? Again, my gut says most likely not. That is a lot of work, a lot of hiring extra workers, and a lot of cranes (which we all know Guests are not a fan of since it affects photos taken in front of the theme park icon).
Therefore, I personally don’t see Disney World putting the Dream Lights up on Cinderella Castle until the 50th anniversary is over. The theme park castle will likely plan to display the 50th anniversary decorations (including those new gold accents and the 50th icon) for the duration of the festivities — including all throughout the holiday season.
Now, because we did not get to see the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights in 2020 due to the pandemic, and with the Disney World 50th anniversary celebrations lasting for 18 months, that means for both the 2021 and 2022 holiday season, we will have the special anniversary decor on Cinderella Castle. Personally, I suspect that it is more than likely we will not see the lights on the castle until the 2023 holiday season when the 50th anniversary is over.
Please keep in mind Disney has not confirmed they would not put the Dream Lights up on the castle during the 50th anniversary. This is pure speculation and Inside the Magic will keep you updated as we get information.
If you want to visit Disney World during the 50th anniversary celebrations but need help getting started. don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friends over at Academy Travel who will be with you every step of the way when booking and planning your magical family vacation. Get started today!
So what do you think? Will Disney World display the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights during the 50th anniversary celebrations? Let us know in the comments below.
Editor’s Note: The opinions reflected in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Inside the Magic overall.