Disney World Christmas light show was extraordinary and fun
We can’t say that either of us will travel far and wide for a Christmas Light show or 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 was no ordinary Christmas light show mind you. It was 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 included dancing angels, glittering stars, twirling carousels and buildings covered with lights. There were even hidden Mickey’s in the light show if you stared hard enough. We stood in a “tunnel” of light to truly feel the spirit – and weren’t surprised when the entire crowd sung 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 remained steady for approximately seven minutes, before they “danced” again to another song in the Christmas light show playlist. Fake snow fell from the sky adding to the magic. The crowd just simply shared the happiness in a peaceful throng that moved slowly through the streets staring upward and all around.
Sadly, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights Christmas light show ended at Disney World, but Disney donated the lights to the Give Kids the World Village charity where they are now used for the group’s “Night of a Million Lights” event, and used to raise money for the village to continue its mission of hosting wishes and their guests. .
Watch a brief video, shot by us during a 2014 visit, to get a taste of what the spectacle looked like.
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