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The Osborne Lights Touring Plan

Like anything, a good touring plan is very helpful when tackling Walt Disney World and the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights are no exception.  This touring plan is more of a guide to the best places to experience the lights with an order in mind.  It's hard to not enjoy the lights, but there's definitely some ways to ensure you see everything you need to be able to say you've seen it all.

Arrive early

If there's a mantra to understand about anything in Walt Disney World, it's arrive early.  Just like it's important to arrive to the park before the park opens, it's important to arrive on the Streets of America before the lights turn on. You should arrive in front of the stage that is near the library by about 5:30pm.  Here you will have a great spot to see the turning the lights on ceremony.  About 20-30 minutes should ensure a great viewing location.

Lights on!

Once the lights are turned on, they will almost immediately start to dance.  Don't bother trying to move, stay where you are (in front of the stage) and experience the dancing lights from that vantage point.  Being smack dab in the middle of the Streets of America gives you a truly unique vantage point because you can see the lights dance all around you.  It's a great way to experience the lights both for new comers as well as veterans.

Move on down

Once the first song is over, you'll have 15 minutes to get to the next vantage point.  The first portion of this touring plan deals with see the lights dance and more importantly, see them dance from great spots. After that first song, move towards Lights, Motors, Action, Extreme Stunt Show and stop when you get to the metal fence that has the candle lights attached to them. Turn around and face the Streets of America to experience the lights dance from here.

Go west, young man

After song #2, head for my favorite spot to see the lights dance and that's San Francisco street.  Walk to your right, almost like you're leaving the Osborne Lights.  You'll find this path far less crowded than trying to backtrack up the Streets of America.  Stop when you get to the San Francisco backdrop and turn to your left to face San Francisco street and see the lights dance from here.

What I like about this vantage spot is you really get to see the lights dance a lot and there's so much to see.  It's my favorite spot to see them and like all the spots, have your cameras ready!

Last but not least

After seeing the lights dance, head up San Francisco street and take a right when you get back to the stage area.  Head towards the New York skyline facade and when you get to them, turn around and see the lights dance from this angle.  Once you see the lights from here, you'll have experienced the lights dance from the perfect angles.  There's enough dancing light sequences to take about an hour before you hear repeats.  

But wait, there's more!

Just because you've seen the lights dance doesn't mean you're done.  Now you can see the best part of the Osborne Lights, and that's the detail.  Take your time walking down every inch of the Streets of America to catch all the wonderful detail that Disney has hidden in the light displays.  And believe me, there's a lot.  Here are some things to look for that are stand out as really cool

  • Snowman in the phone booth
  • The digital windows that make it look like snow is falling
  • The leg lamp from A Christmas Story
  • The surfer's apartment
  • The hidden Jack Skellington
  • The Black Cat Halloween light display
  • The manger scene
  • Santa pulling the reindeer
  • The BBQ grill

Oh and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the hidden mickeys.  Each year, Disney hides a lot of hidden mickeys throughout the Osborne Lights.  No one knows how many there are hidden this year, but's fun to try and find them all.  I've lost count after about a dozen but there's plenty more.

I've used this strategy many times while seeing the Osborne Lights and it's been a strategy that's served me well.  It allows you to see the lights dance from the best places and then allow plenty of time to enjoy the fine details to be seen.  Regardless of how you see the Osborne Lights this year, make sure you take the time to enjoy how wonderful they look!

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 by