For the past twenty years, The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights has been lighting up the Streets of America in Hollywood Studios. Twenty years: That’s a good run, right? Still, none of us wanted to see it what is one of the most beautiful holiday experiences anywhere and certainly, the highlight of many Christmastime trips to Disney World, leave this year. Unfortunately, with the expansion of Star Wars and Toy Story in Hollywood Studios, this otherwise infrequently used area was an obvious place for the expansion and so the lights had to go. While I’m excited about what’s coming in the next few years, I will absolutely miss the lights.
I went to law school in Little Rock, where businessman and philanthropist Jennings Osborne was from. He was famous around town as a character who was both eccentric and generous with his money. One year when his only child was very young, she asked her father to decorate the house. Osborne, being the type who never did anything halfway, decorated the entire house, with the display growing each year until his neighbors in his tony west Little Rock neighborhood finally took him to court. Eventually, Osborne was forced to limit his display, although when I lived in town there were still long lines to see the family’s house (and as it happens, the houses on either side since he owned those too!) and he also contributed a large display to the downtown riverfront area.
At a certain point, Disney stepped in and offered to take the rest of the lights and a new tradition was born.
Tonight is the last night for the lights so it’s sure to be crowded, but since the announcement that this would be the lights last year, crowds have been heavy, even during slower weeks. Parking, in fact, has been a nightmare, with guests being sent to Epcot just to park. Despite the crowds, we were fortunate to get to see the lights one last time in early December. It was wonderful, as always, even with the crowds.
We live in Georgia and we don’t really get a lot of snow, so it was a treat when it “snowed” during the musical performances.
Each year, you might find a hidden cat or a Mickey among the lights. You’ll see a Star of David as well.
Mainheim Steamroller blares from loudspeaker or maybe Feliz Navidad as the lights dance in time.
What was your favorite part of the display?
Share your experiences in the comments or on Facebook. I’d love to hear about them.
UPDATE: Disney just announced that they’re extending the lights another 3 days. They’ll now close on January 6, 2016.