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Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights are an annual display that appear at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  Immense light displays coupled with music that makes the lights "dance" along to the music have made the Osborne Lights one of the premier Christmas displays at Walt Disney World.  It is not to be missed and one of the highlights of Christmas time at Walt Disney World.

2012 Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights Details

What's Being Planned: Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, sponsored by Sylvania (sponsorship began in 2005)

When: November 9, 2012 - January 4, 2013

What time do the lights turn on: The Osborne Family lights will be turned on at 6pm each night

What music do the lights dance to?

  • "A Mad Russian's Christmas," by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  • "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12-24)," by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  • "Feliz Navidad," by José Feliciano
  • "Jingle Bells," by Barbra Streisand
  • “Christmas is Starting Now” from the Phineas and Ferb Christmas Special
  • "Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)" by Elvis Presley
  • Winter Wonderland by Creative Entertainment Music Director Dan Stamper

What's new in 2012?: New for this year will be "Goofy's Winter Wonderland", where Goofy will make nightly appearances in a special area right in Tri-City Square.

How much does it cost: Free! It's included with admission to Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Where is it: It will be shown on Streets of America.

Osborne Lights Photos

2012 Osborne Lights Photos
2011 Osborne Lights Photos
2010 Osborne Lights Photos
2009 Osborne Lights Photos
2008 Osborne Lights Photos
2007 Osborne Lights Photos
2006 Osborne Lights Photos
2005  Osborne Lights Photos
2004 Osborne Lights Photos


Osborne Lights Videos

2010 Opening Ceremony
2009 Opening Ceremony

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What the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights Consist Of:

  • 5 million individual lights or 350 miles of lights.
  • More then 40 Mickey images are hidden throughout.
  • A 70-foot-tall Christmas tree glittering with 58,000 lights and a 30-foot-tall tree with 27,300 lights.
  • A whopping 800,000 watts of electricity are used along the park's 760-foot-long New York, Chicago & San Francisco Streets.
  • More than 350 miles of Christmas lights wrap around the display with 32.2 miles of extension cables.
  • Busy elves took 21,000 hours to install the lights.
  • Sixty-six snow machines and 100 gallons of snow fluid are used to create a flurry of snowflakes


Osborne Lights Viewing Tips

When should I go: Avoid weekends as they tend to have higher attendence times. From after Thanksgiving weekend to the week before Christmas are the least crowded times and best to enjoy the lights.

What are some tips for viewing the Lights: If you go early enough in December, wait about 30 minutes after it first opens. The huge crowd at the start makes it hard to move at your own pace—let alone stay with a group. And if you have children in strollers or folk in wheelchairs, they will get an excellent view of other people’s backsides. If you hold of for about 15-30 minutes, the masses enter and you can really wander along, enjoy both sides of the street, and not feel rushed.

Sadly, as you get to that week prior to Christmas until New Year’s, all bets are off as we’ve found the crowd typically stays heavy the entire time but still somewhat less crazy after the initial rush.

If I'm seeing Fantasmic! before the Lights, what are some tips: To beat the crowds, wait for everyone to leave your showing of Fantasmic! and then follow them to the lights. That way, they'll all be in front of you, giving you more time and space to enjoy the view.

Special Viewing Tip: Try using your 3D glasses that they have available to see the lights in a different way!

Picture Taking Tips

Still film cameras: Use manual exposure settings if possible. It is best to experiment ahead of time, but if you cannot do that, check the film instructions or a photography handbook to get an idea of how outdoor lighting should be photographed. The setting will vary with the speed of the film.

For experimenting, take a string of Christmas lights, stretch it out and hang it against the wall of your house outside, and take pictures using different settings. Remember the best camera settings for use at WDW.

In addition, 200 and 400 speed disposable cameras will give a decent picture of outdoor Christmas lights without having to do anything special.

Video camcorders or digital still cameras: You also need to use manual exposure. Even if manual exposure override is limited to plus two, plus one, zero, minus one, etc. that is better than no control. If you have a color panel viewfinder adjust it so the lights look their best, while people will look very dark. If your viewfinder is only a tiny black and white peephole, at least adjust it so the scene should look like night, not letting the camcorder automatically try to make the scene look like daytime.

When videotaping the Osborne Lights or Spectromagic Parade or similar subjects, you need to set your camcorder manually so the scene looks like night. Otherwise all the colored lights may come out white. Unfortunately some camcorders won't let you override their auto exposure, and they try to make night scenes look like day.

History of the Osborne Lights

The story of the Osborne Lights goes back to Jennings Osborne and his family, who lived in Little Rock, Arkansas. The patriarch of the family, Jennings Osborne, was asked by his six year old daughter Breezy in 1986, if he would put up Christmas lights and so he did. Each year, he would put up more and more light displays because he was the sort of man that always tried to out do himself. Jennings' passion continued and in 1993, the display grew to 3 million lights and could be seen by plane from as far as 80 miles away.

As amazing a display as it was, you might expect his neighbors to be a bit annoyed by the lights and traffic it generated from those who wanted to view them. A nuisance was filed against the Osborne Family's lights and the case made it to the Arkansas Supreme Court where a settlement was reached.  Jennings agreed to shorten the time his lights were turned on and hired four off-duty policemen to assist neighbors leaving and returning to their home.  Unfortunately an incident involving another family that arrived late but wanted to see the lights resulted in Jennings turning the lights on after hours and was subsequently fined $10,000 by the Arkansas Courts.

Following the incident, his neighbors once again rallied to have the lights turned off but just as all hope seemed lost for Jennings and his beloved light display, Walt Disney World stepped in and offered to showcase the lights at their park. Starting in 1995, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights opened with 4 million lights at the Disney-MGM Studios. Initially the lights were displayed on Residential Street in the Backlot Tour area, but following it's demolition in favor of Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show back in 2004, the lights moved to the Streets of America area.  In 2006, Disney added a new touch, by making the lights "dance".  The dancing effect was a result of carefully planned choreography of the lights to some classic Christmas music.