One of the most stunning displays during the holiday season at Walt Disney World has to be the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. In 1986, Mr. Jennings Osborne’s daughter, Breezy had a “simple” request to put up Christmas lights on their house. As any good daddy would do, Mr. Osborne was happy to oblige and strung 1,000 lights across the front of their home. By 1993, the number of lights had grown to over 3 million and the Osborne lights became a local, national and international news story. Neighbors, tired of the traffic, filed a lawsuit to force Mr. Osborne to shut the display down, to which he responded by adding 3 million more lights! Eventually Mr. Osborne lost the court battle, which had made its way up to the US Supreme Court, and in 1995 the christmas display was shut down. In that same year, Disney approached the family with the idea to display the lights on a residential street in Orlando. A fan of Walt Disney World, Mr. Osborne was intrigued by the idea and accepted the offer once he realized where the display would go.
In 1995 the original light display was put into place in what was then Disney’s MGM Studios. As part of the Backlot tour guests were taken by tram through a mock up of a small town residential street. For the Osborne Spectacle of Lights, however, the tram would stop and allow guests to get off and walk among the displays. Much like Mr. Osborne himself, Disney began adding to the display year after year including many hidden Mickey’s. In 2004, to make room for an arena to house the Lights, Motor Action stunt show, the residential street was dismantled and the light display was moved to its current location on the Streets of America. The display is partially made up of over 10 miles of LED rope lighting connected by another 30 miles of extension cords all held together using two million ties. It takes 20,000 man-hours to install the display each holiday season, starting in September. The lights are turned on at dusk each night from mid-November until the first week of January and require 800,000 watts of electricity.
There are several items or “easter eggs” sprinkled throughout this amazing display as well as over 50 hidden Mickey’s. One of the most popular items to find is the black cat which is placed in a different location each year. Why a black cat at Christmas? Well when the Osborn’s shipped the displays to Disney they accidentally included some of their Halloween decorations as well. Other things to look for include an angel that isn’t like the others, Jack Skellington, a snowman on the phone, a lighted bbq, and what is my new favorite, Baby Sinclair from the 1990’s ABC television show, The Dinosaurs, known best for his phrase “not the mama”. So cute!!
I could go on and on about this one of a kind display. I haven’t even discussed the lightly drifting “snow” or the light show choreographed to music that takes place about every 10 minutes. This is easily a spot you can spend hours taking in. Have you experienced the Osborne Family Spectale of Dancing Lights? Tell us about some of the hidden items you have found.