Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Orange Loop. Today we are sharing some of the fun you can find at Disney during the holidays.
In 1986, Jennings Osborne’s daughter, Breezy, asked her father if they could decorate the family’s Little Rock, Arkansas home with lights for Christmas. Jennings’ first Christmas light display featured about 1,000 sparkling lights. Every year after that the display grew. It even grew so large that the Osborne’s purchase the properties on either side of their home to allow for additional space for the beautiful display.
By 1993, the Osborne family Christmas light display featured over three million lights. There was a 70 foot tall Christmas tree covered in colorful lights. The driveway was covered with a large canopy made of red lights. Other features include a globe made of Christmas lights and two rotating carousels.
As you can imagine, this display was quite the sight to see. It attracted many people, including several news crews. Unfortunately, not everyone loved the Christmas display. Several neighbors filed a lawsuit because of the traffic caused by the display. Jennings had a brilliant response to this; he added another three million lights to the display!
By 1995, the lawsuit had escalated and the Arkansas Supreme Court ordered the display be shut down. The Osborne’s kept some Christmas lights for display at their home, but many of them were sent to Walt Disney World. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights was originally set up on Residential Street at Disney-MGM Studios. As the years went on, additional lights were added to make the display even more amazing.
When Residential Street was closed in 2004 to make room for Lights! Motors! Action!, the decision was made to move the Osborne lights to the Streets of America. With this new location came the addition of snow machines! Two years later, thousands of dimmer relay circuits and control switches were installed to allow the lights to “dance” in time with music. The addition of “dancing” lights brought about a name change for the attraction – The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. In 2011, the lights were changed to be LED lights. The giant red canopy also received new LEDs, allowing for multiple colors on the canopy.
I was able to visit The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in 2007. It was spectacular! There were Christmas lights everywhere you looked. Being a huge fan of Christmas lights, I loved seeing the display. In fact, I’d say it was probably my favorite thing about visiting Disney at Christmastime. I loved seeing the Christmas details, the snowfall, and of course, the dancing lights!
There are so many details to take in with this Christmas light display. There are plenty of hidden Mickeys to find and a few not so hidden Mickeys, as well. One of my favorite things to look for in the display is the Halloween cat which you can see in the photo above. It was accidentally sent to Disney along with the Christmas lights years ago. So, the imagineers have found a way to hide it in the display each year. You’ll also find Santa Claus, toy soldiers, angels, and so much more in this enormous Christmas light display.
Of course, the highlight of The Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights is in fact the dancing lights. Every so often, the music will start and the lights will begin to dance. It was always fun to watch the crowd when the lights began dancing to classic Christmas songs such as “Jingle Bells” or “Here Comes Santa Claus.” Everyone was in awe of the dancing lights. It was as if everyone, myself included, turned into a child filled with Christmas cheer the moment the lights began to dance.
If you’ve never seen The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, do whatever you can to get to Walt Disney World this Christmas season! With the new addition of the Star Wars themed land, the 2015 Christmas season will be the last for The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios. It is a truly magical holiday display which I hope all of you are able to experience. Though I only had the opportunity to see these lights once, it was an experience I will always treasure.
To the Osborne family, thank you so much for sharing the magic and wonder of Christmas with us through this dazzling Christmas display at Walt Disney World!
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Orange | Holidays at Disney Loop: