January 3, 2016 marks the last day the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will run in Hollywood Studios. [Since I originally wrote this, Disney extended the run to January 6. Park hours at Hollywood Studios have also been regularly extended to help accommodate the large crowds that have come to bid the Lights adieu.] The Osborne Lights are hands down my favorite part of Christmas season at Walt Disney World, and they will be sorely missed. In honor of the Lights, I’m going to share my memories from the few short years we marveled at them. These photos aren’t award winning, but they all take me back to wonder filled moments.
This was the first time we experience the Osborne Lights. I knew what they were and that it was a great fortune the beginning of our trip overlapped with the last days they ran for the season. Little can prepare you for the actual experience of standing among millions of Dancing Lights.
We planned to be on Streets of America before the lighting to secure a great spot in the middle. This plan worked perfectly and we were in absolute amazement when the ceremonial light switch was flipped. This first visit and the awe it inspired may be my favorite memory.
This trip happened the same week as the previous year’s trip, so we got to see the Osborne Lights for one night.
This trip is notable because it was a very cold trip. We mistakenly thought highs in the 40s would feel warm to our Indiana winter tempered bodies. We severely under packed warm clothes so the Florida “snow” was exceedingly appropriate.
This was our first trip seeing the Osborne Lights during the full Christmas season, not after New Years. Coincidentally, this is the trip I have the fewest pictures from Streets of America. This is because these were the highest crowds we’d ever experience at the Lights, so we did not take pictures most of our visits.
We did spend a few nights at Hollywood Studios for park closing. One of those nights we did the last Drawing Class in the Animation Building, then ran over to the Osborne Lights in the last 5 minutes of regular park hours. We arrived just as the Lights danced to a song. It was a great experience, with few people on the street. We were hoping they would turn back on after the song was over, but they did not.
We planned a November trip to celebrate our son’s first birthday. Soon after it was announced that, after many years of rumors, this would be the last year for the Osborne Lights. We were thankful to have one last time to share the experience as a family.
When the Merry and Bright Dessert Party was announced, we jumped at the opportunity to enjoy the lights from a crowd controlled, seating available area. After our previous November experience with heavy crowds at the Lights, and going with an infant, we knew this was a good choice.
We enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and watched the Lights dance to a few songs from the end of the Streets of America. We then meandered down the street until we met the end and said our fond farewells.
Seeing our son look up with wonder and point out the Lights is one of those parenting moments that imprints on your heart.
Grand light displays like the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights have a place in Christmas celebrations. I can only hope that in the future a new way to display the Osborne Lights is found. Christmas in Walt Disney World will not be nearly as magical without them.