Over the past few weeks there has been news of many new and exciting changes coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It has now been confirmed by Disney Parks that one of the changes will be that 2015 will be the final year for the holiday favourite “Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights”, which is celebrating its 20th Anniversary at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Jennings Osborne’s display in Arkansas became so large that their neighbours began legal proceedings to prevent the family from erecting their annual display due to traffic congestion. People would come from far and wide for a glimpse of the display, and locals were afraid that due traffic congestion that Emergency vehicles wouldn’t be able to get down the town’s streets.
When Mr. Jennings was made to discontinue the display, he was approached by Walt Disney World‘s project director Tom Phelan with an offer to move the display to Residential Street at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Then known as Disney’s MGM Studios) The lights were moved in 1995, and first displayed on Residential Street which was part of the Studio’s Back Lot tour, and was immediately a success.
Since coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the display has been moved and seen some changes. In 2006 it was re-worked after Sylvania became a sponsor of the show. At this time, Disney added over 1500 Dimmer relay circuits and control switches to it to enable the lights to dim and for the display to shut of electronically. This is when they also choreographed the relays to music and it was given the name of the “Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.” The Display was again re-worked in 2011 when the lights were changed to LED lights. The lighting controls were updated which meant the dancing sequences again had to be re-done. In 2013, the sponsor became Siemens who is the parent company of Sylvania.
The display has seen numerous changes through the years. Guests have seen the display grow from it’s original state to include over 5 million lights. Disney Imagineers have also included a number of Hidden Mickeys to the display. It is made up of over 10 miles of rope lights and 30 miles of extension cords and pulls 800,000 watts of electricity. It takes 20,000 hours to install the display, which starts in September. The lights are turned on at dusk each night beginning in mid-November and runs through the first week of January. Whenever a choreographed song plays, the lights will dance to the music. The lights then remain steady for approximately seven minutes until the next song plays. The sequence repeats approximately 40-60 minutes.
If you have never been able to experience this amazing display of music and lights, and you have to opportunity to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios to see it first hand this year, I highly recommend it. While there has been no word on the possibility that the show will be moved to another location, fans of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights like myself, will keep our fingers crossed that we have not seen the last of this amazing display and will be able to see those dancing lights again “real soon.”