This week on WDW ESCAPE, we’re taking a trip through everyone’s favorite festive light show. Join us as we remember The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights!
For more info on WDW Escape, click here—or listen to all our episodes. Listen to today’s Remember Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights episode while following along with the transcript and photos below!
Its Christmas season at Walt Disney World and today we are going to remember a Christmas spectacle from years past: The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. In 1995, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights premiered in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and came to an end in 2016.
A Holiday Tradition
Jessica Weis remembers going to see the Osborne lights every year.
Our first time to go for Thanksgiving time was in 2005. It was one of those things where we said “What are we going to do for our Thanksgiving tradition?”
We love Disney, so we picked Disney, and that became our Thanksgiving tradition.
Very easily, with that was the “Oh my gosh! Look at what an amazing thing they’re doing in Hollywood Studios with these Osborne Christmas Lights.”
It just really kicks you into that Christmas mood because we weren’t home to decorate the tree and do all that kind of stuff, so here’s a fantastic way to just immerse yourselves in it.
That’s how it became our tradition.
Next Stop: Christmas World
You turn that corner into the Backlot, back then before it was Star Wars, and then you just entered into a Christmas World.
We would try to get there right when the lights turned on. Of course back then the coordination of lights to music was novel.
It’s not like what people can do now to their houses, so you’re walking in there and just see it. Watching the angels dance around. Watching the soldiers coordinated to music. Watching the sections of buildings of colors of lights pop on and off to the songs and kind of pause between songs.
You just sat there and went, “Woah!”
Whenever you walk in and turn that corner and you are in Christmasland. The Park did this fantastic job where they would shoot soap bubble to look like snow.
We’re from Georgia. We’re not anywhere near snow, so watching my toddler just run around the street playing with these snow bubbles and trying to catch it, it’s just so fun.
Always Checking for Something New
We would make sure to go the show. We wanted to be there when the lights turned on and walk around and see if we could figure out what if anything might be different.
It was cute to see, “Did they add something? Did they switch something?” It was just the whole subtle, “Wait. I don’t remember that last year. Yes, yes, that was there. No, that wasn’t.” The dispositions of the four of us in my family saying these things.
The kids had fun dancing to the songs or singing along to the songs. We would sit and wait for our hot cider to cool down and drink our cider.
The soap bubbles were a huge thing for my kids. Listening to the songs was great for us. All that is why we ended up staying as long as we did.
There wasn’t a lot more than the hot cider, the bubbles, or walking around, but there was so much see and do that that was easy for us to consume a couple of hours.
Remember the Details
When you get tired of that, the next thing was simply turning down and walking every street and seeing the amount of detail they put in window displays and wrapped around the railings and things like that.
Of course, you gotta look for hidden Mickey’s! Whether they’re there or not, you looking to see “Ha! There’s one in that window!” Just watching your children’s faces light up, “FOUND ONE!”
Disney did not make it overtly Disney. They played all sorts of Christmas music! You heard the older stuff like Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole on the loudspeakers.
For us the Disney magic was the Cast Members dressed up holiday like and were selling the hot chocolates and apple ciders and were talking with you and sharing in the joy of the lights and features.
Passing on the Tradition
The hidden Mickey’s are always just a cute thing because you’re not overtly expecting it because they gave full credit to the Osborne Family. Always made sure to share their history of the Osborne’s every year so that you understood the specialness of that family.
The agreement to take it on and set it up in Disney to protect it for at least a few more years, so people could still relish in that magical holiday mood.
It was so magical. You’re transported to another place and time.
The outside world was nowhere to be seen. The most magical moment for me, literally, was turning that corner.
Coming in from passed Star Tours, around to the Backlot setup, curving around, and just “Woah!” You’re in Christmas.
You’re still in Florida, but somehow it felt a little colder, even if it actually wasn’t. Just seeing the spectacle of it all.
That was probably the most magical moment for me.