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Ask The Disney Experts Discuss Magic Kingdom Lanterns in the Ask The Experts forums; I have a question about the Magic Kingdom. My favorite time at any of the parks is around dusk. I love being in frontierland at dusk and seeing all the ...
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    MKRob's Avatar
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    Question Magic Kingdom Lanterns

    I have a question about the Magic Kingdom. My favorite time at any of the parks is around dusk. I love being in frontierland at dusk and seeing all the lanterns flickering all around. Does anyone know how they do that? What kind of bulb do they use? I have searched for a high watt bulb that flickers and it cannot be found.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKRob View Post
    I have a question about the Magic Kingdom. My favorite time at any of the parks is around dusk. I love being in frontierland at dusk and seeing all the lanterns flickering all around. Does anyone know how they do that? What kind of bulb do they use? I have searched for a high watt bulb that flickers and it cannot be found.
    I really don't know how they do it at Disney, but I think it is most likely that the bulbs are some kind of standard bulb and the fixture itself varies the voltage to the bulb randomly to get the flickering effect.

    I remember many, many years ago seeing a project in an electronics hobbyist magazine to build an "artificial candle". It involved a controller to vary the current passing through the light bulb, but also employed a sensor to detect wind speed, so that the flickering would vary if you blew on it, in theory making it seem like a real candle. I never built it, but your question reminded me of it. I don't think anything quite so sophisticated would be necessary to get the effect we see at Disney, however.

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    You can buy "flicker" bulbs just about anywhere these days that work in a normal fixture. That said though Rob, as you said they are obviously higher wattage. While they probably aren't the same bulbs you can buy at Walmart, I'd imagine it's the same basic technology.
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    I would love to figure this out. I want to have this same effect on some outside lights at my house. I went to home dept and tried to explain this to an emp. and he had no idea what I was talking about poor guy. He pointed me to the 4 watt bulbs.
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    This is actually a great time of year to be looking for the flicker bulbs (Halloween) but I seriously doubt you'll find the sort Disney uses. I've only ever seen the kind you put into a small fixture, maybe 40-60 watt max. Good luck!!
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    tizzo is offline E-Ticket Holder
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKRob View Post
    I would love to figure this out. I want to have this same effect on some outside lights at my house. I went to home dept and tried to explain this to an emp. and he had no idea what I was talking about poor guy. He pointed me to the 4 watt bulbs.
    The bulbs Jenn is talking about make a pretty cool effect. They're not like what Disney uses, instead they are very low wattage, around 3-4 W maybe, and give off a flickering orange glow. If you look at the bulb itself, it is clear and tapered and inside has what looks like a cardboard cutout of a cartoonish looking candle flame. When you turn it on, what I can only describe as an orange colored film of light moves about the cutout. From a distance, it looks very much like a real flame.

    I've seen them in standard light bulb (IE "medium base"), as well as candelabra style bulbs.

    One thing I learned last year, however, is that they do NOT work in all fixtures. I tried to install them in my coach lights outside last Halloween. I had done that on my old house, and it really looked good. But I couldn't get them to work. The reason turned out to be that my coach lights have those motion sensor things that can be set to turn the lights on and off if something moves in their field of view. I don't know if you know anything about electronics, but the kind of detector used in such a device is usually a type of transistor, and in order for a switching transistor to remain turned on, there not only needs to be a signal on the control leg, but there also has to be enough current flowing through the main circuit, otherwise the transistor won't conduct (IE will be turned off). These bulbs only drew around 3-4W while the fixture was designed to drive a 60W bulb.

    If you don't have a light fixture with a sensor, it should work for you. Even if you do, it's worth a try. I don't think all sensor fixtures would necessarily have this problem, I think I just got lucky.

    Keep in mind that as I said, this is not the same kind of thing you see at Disney. The bulbs are very dim, and suitable only for effect, not illumination. But the effect looks really good from the street.

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    Thanks for all the responses!
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    There are many do-it-yourself versions out there, basically tizzo's right in that it is not the bulb, but the circuits that cause the flicker effect. I'm trying to hunt down some old instructions I had, but this might be useful for a start: Spooky Light Box
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    Thanks disneydame! Looking at the link and the video, that might be it! Now...how do you do that! LOL Thanks you guys rock!
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    We got the flicker bulbs from Wal-Mart for Halloween for our ouside lights and our candle lights in out windows. Some of them are kinda screwy though...
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    We noticed the flicker in the lanterns on our recent trip. I love how Disney is with all the little details!!!

    Dusk is our favorite time in the parks too...
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