Lighting is an integral part of the Disney theme park experience. The parks come alive at night as a result of meticulously arranged lighting schemes, and without this attention to detail in terms of lighting, instead of the great kinetic energy and beauty the parks have at night, they would instead feel dark and empty. Most of this is accomplished via hidden show lights–the lights themselves are not noticed by guests, only the illumination is. A good example of this would be Cinderella Castle, where the light fixtures around the Castle provide very little illumination. Rather, the Castle is illuminated by dozens of LED lights located around the perimeter of Cinderella Castle and at the edges of the moat that shine onto the Castle. This type of indirect lighting is used widely in every Disney theme park to provide much more lighting–and more complex lighting–than “on-stage” light fixtures ever could.
As an avid photographer of Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and the other Disney theme parks, I am probably more cognizant of lighting than the average theme park guest. Lighting and the quality of light are often the difference between a mediocre photo and a great one. In terms of quality of light, the Disney parks are typically the equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel when it comes to photography. The typically excellent lighting schemes makes the Disney parks a photographer’s playground, with a few exceptions. (I’m looking at you, awfully-lit New Fantasyland!)