We can’t say that either of us at HI Travel Tales will travel far and wide for Christmas Light shows and displays. But we’d heard the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney World was a do-not-miss. So on quickie trip to Orlando, we scampered back one evening from Epcot at Disney World to the Streets of America at Hollywood Studios to take them in.
This is no ordinary Christmas light show mind you. It is extraordinary and then some, with millions of tiny and colorful LED lights beautifully timed and “dancing” to the holiday music, from rock and classic, to happy or soulful. The awe-inspiring lights cover every inch of several recreated city blocks at Hollywood Studios. Our chins dropped. We teared up a bit even at traditional songs telling of happy times, being together with family and friends, and wishes for peace and good will. And we weren’t the only ones. Even a few teens and 20-something we saw were doing the quick wipe of a teardrop or two.
The original spectacle of dancing lights began like any ordinary Christmas light show at the Arkansas home of philanthropist Jennings Osborne in 1986 when his daughter asked him to put up some lights. Each year he added more. Soon the extravagant light display had grown to such an extent that airline pilots reported seeing them from the sky and neighbors were filing lawsuits. The courts eventually sided with the neighbors forcing the light show to shut down … until Walt Disney World stepped in and offered to give the Christmas light show a permanent home.
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Christmas Lights includes dancing angels, glittering stars, twirling carousels and buildings covered with lights. There are even hidden Mickey’s in the light show if you stare hard enough. Stand in a “tunnel” of light to truly feel the spirit – and don’t be surprised if the entire crowd sings along with familiar carols – Jingle Bells, Here Comes Santa Clause, Feliz Navidad, and more. Kids play and dance (oh, and adults do too!). After each song, the lights remain steady for approximately seven minutes, before they “dance” again to another song in the Christmas light show playlist. Fake snow falls from the sky adding to the magic. The crowd just simply shares the happiness in a peaceful throng that moves slowly through the streets staring upward and all around.
The Spectacle of Lights Christmas light show is included in your entry to Hollywood Studios. For the 2014 season, the show ran from Nov. 7, 2014, to Jan. 4, 2015, from 6-8 p.m. Watch a brief video, shot by HI Travel Tales on our 2014 visit, to get a taste of the spectacle.