The Streets of America backlot again will sparkle brightly as millions of twinkling lights dancing to music illuminate the area starting in November and continuing into December and the first week of January, during the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Amid “Florida snow” flurries, the building facades, trees and streets of Disney’s Hollywood Studios backlot dazzle with three-dimensional and motion-based displays – some originally created at the Osborne home in Arkansas by businessman Jennings Osborne as a holiday display for the delight of his daughter.
After the Arkansas home exhibit grew larger and brighter over the years, the million-light display was transported in 1995, where the spectacle continues to grow larger and brighter each year. Some of Osborne’s original creations still sparkling brightly at the park today include dozens of flying angels and Santa Claus light designs.
Amidst gently falling snow, guests will bask in the glow as twirling carousels, melodic angels, colorful wreaths, marching toy soldiers and Santa and his reindeer move to high-energy music and 3-D effects, creating a dazzling symphony for the senses. This enchanting spectacle results from a crew of 18 electricians working some 14 weeks using six miles of rope lights, 84 angels and 66 snow machines.
It all began in the mid-1980s in Arkansas when a little girl asked her daddy if he would decorate their house with Christmas lights. Jennings Osborne, a Little Rock businessman obliged his daughter’s wishes and started the first Osborne holiday tradition with a modest 1000 lights. Each year the number of lights grew, along with lighted floating angles, ornaments, wreaths holiday greetings and much more. Within seven years the once simple tradition was transformed into a massive display of over 4 million lights.
Though a joy for many who traveled to Little Rock just to view the Osborne lights, the neighbors and community found the lights to be excessive and disturbing. They cited the display as a nuisance and filed a law suit that was eventually heard by the Arkansas Supreme Court. Soon the display of lights was forever shut down at their Little Rock home. The media attention of the Osborne lights was spread nationwide, and in 1995 Walt Disney World
representatives contacted Jennings Osborne about bringing his lights to Orlando Florida
Now guests to Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park can stroll the backlot where they are surrounded by the multi-colored display. With special holographic glasses that are provided at the park, the millions of tiny twinkling lights appear as dancing angles. Keeping the creator’s name, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights has become the park’s third largest attraction.
The Osborne’s dream has not stopped growing. Thanks to a little Disney magic, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights now boasts five million lights and even enjoys its very own Florida “snowfall.”