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The Osborne Lights

In less than a month, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will debut for 2009 and for many, it's a real highlight of any trip to Walt Disney World.  The Osborne Lights have become a fan favorite and many look forward to seeing them every year and to also check out what's different this year and some of the awe inspiring displays.  What is often lost of park guests is the story of the Osborne Lights and how they found their way to Walt Disney World and who the Osbornes are (No, not Ozzy). 

Our story begins in Little Rock, Arkansas back in 1986.  Jennings Osborne was asked by his daughter Breezy if he would put up some Christmas lights.  Jennings' family had a long tradition of putting up Christmas decorations and he happily obliged, wanting to cheer his beloved daughter up.  Each year Jennings went about putting up the lights and out doing his display from last year and by 1993, Jennings' light display grew to 3 million lights and could be seen by plane from as far as 80 miles away.

As you might imagine, his neighbors were not pleased and a long and difficult court battle ensued between Jennings and his right to put the lights up.  After years of trials, settlements and new trials, it looked like it was the end of the line for the Osborne family and their passion for decorationg lavishly for Christmas.  That was until some folks at Walt Disney World heard of the Osborne's ordeals and offered to bring the lights to Florida.  In 1995, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights debuted in the Residential Street area of the Backlot. 


Osborne Lights as seen on Residential Street


There have been some changes to the lights, including moving them to the Streets of America as well as making them "dance" to carefuly choreographed songs but Jennings Osborne's lights remain for the public to see every night in late November and December.  Many of the displays are Jennings' own creations in addition to the displays Imagineers added in subsequent years.  

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Ever seen something in Hollywood Studios and wondered why it was placed there by Disney's Imagineers? Matt Hochberg leads you on a regular look at the hidden details in Hollywood Studios and explains why it's there.


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Posted: Thursday, October 22, 2009 by
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