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Walt Disney World Holiday Events | The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

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Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Blue. Enjoy the ride as we discuss our favorite Holiday pluses at the Disney Parks.


One of our favorite Holiday Pluses is The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  We love decorating our own house for the holidays.  Each year, we add a little more.  While our house is on a much smaller scale than the Osbornes of Arkansas, this was exactly how their display came to be… and eventually, how it ended up in Walt Disney World.
As the story goes, in 1986 6-year-old Alison “Breezy” Osborne asked her father if they could decorate their house with Christmas lights.  Her father, Jennings Osborne, a wealthy philanthropist, obliged his daughter by stringing the house with one thousand lights.

The Osborne Family’s light display in Arkansas

Each year the display grew, until the Osborne family purchased more land and expanded beyond their home.  The display became such an attraction that people came from all over and neighbors filed lawsuits over the commotion it caused.

Ariel view of the Osborne Family light display

As a result, limitations were put in place as to how long the display could be up to try to limit the traffic in the area.  Several cities offered to be a new home for the Osborne Lights.  One of the many suitors was Walt Disney World.  Being a fan of Walt Disney World, Jennings Osborne jumped at the chance to have his lights put on display inside a Disney theme park.

 

photo credit: ckramer via photopin cc

Thus, in 1995, Disney’s MGM Studios (as it was then known) became the home of the “Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights.”  It was originally put on “Residential Street”, which you may recall from the Backlot Tour as the street with the house facades.

The display has continued to expand.  Now, it is found lighting up the Streets of America.  Special faders and dimmers were installed that now give the lights the ability to “dance” along with music.  We were fortunate to see the display some years ago when we visited Walt Disney World for New Year’s Eve.

Our daughter had a blast dancing along with the music and lights.  We spent a good while in the back of the park just watching her have fun.

More recently, we had the unique experience of running through the lights as part of the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  Despite being a cold, rainy night, it was still a thrill!

Thank you for joining us today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Rolling with the Magic.

 


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
1st Stop ~ Adventures in Familyhood – The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (you are here)
2nd Stop ~ Rolling with the Magic – Holiday Background Loops at the Disney Parks
3rd Stop ~  DISTherapy – Carsmas at Disneyland
Final Stop ~ Ashley Aspires – Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

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:DISTherapy

Thursday 11th of December 2014

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights really is a one-of-a-kind Disney experience. Your pictures are fabulous- I never do well with the lights against the darkness. I'm thrilled to see your race costumes! Tell me, what did you think of Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon??! (Aside from the weather, of course.)

baseballmickey

Friday 12th of December 2014

The Wine & Dine Half was pretty cool. I wish we could have enjoyed it more, but the rain made that difficult. Even without the rain, there were a few parts of the course that were very narrow for so many people. Despite all of that, it was a great experience. The highlight was definitely running through the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights. I wish we had been doing better on time so we could have stopped to enjoy that part more!

Camille Dashana

Wednesday 10th of December 2014

Oh wow, this is amazing. I seriously cannot wait to see this in person! We love to travel and find pretty lights, what better place to spend the holiday season?! So is this a replica of the Osborne family's house? or is it just named after them? I've never been to Walt Disney World, so I am unfamiliar with it. Thanks for sharing!!

baseballmickey

Friday 12th of December 2014

It's not a replica of the original house, although many of the elements from the original Osborne display were relocated to the park, like the giant globe, the large tree, and the carousels. Disney has added a lot to it and it's all overlaying the facades of the "Streets of America" section of the park. So instead of the Osborne house, the appear to be decorating a city street.

I hope you get to see it in person!!

Julie Bigboy

Tuesday 9th of December 2014

Looks so beautiful! Do you have a favorite scene or area?

baseballmickey

Friday 12th of December 2014

It is beautiful. I'd have to say the little side street is my favorite area. So many fun details to find and at least the one time we were there it felt a little less crowded, so it was almost as if the whole display was for us.

Heidi Strawser

Tuesday 9th of December 2014

This is one of those things that I really think you have to see to appreciate. Before we ever went to Disney for Christmas, I would see pictures and think it just looked like mass chaos. When I saw it, and how they set it to music, etc. I gained a new appreciation. It really is spectacular, though I still find it a bit chaotic.

baseballmickey

Thursday 11th of December 2014

It's definitely sensory overload, especially when you first see it. But yet the more you look at it, the more amazing it becomes. There are so many details to be found.

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