Osborne Family Festival of Lights

Osborne Family Festival of Lights, Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Christmas at Disney is an amazing time with all of the decorations and lights on display. Perhaps the most amazing display that we saw was the Osborne Family Spectacle in Lights in Hollywood Studios. Today's post (as well as yesterday's) features a small part of this wonderful display. I had never heard of the Osborne display prior to our visit and the story behind it is quite interesting. In 1986, a daughter in Arkansas asked her father (Mr. Osborne) to decorate their home in lights. Osborne complied, stringing 1,000 lights around their home. Each year after that, Osborne tried to outdo the previous year and even purchased the two properties next door to expand the display. By 1993, the display had over three million lights and had gotten so big that cars were backed up for miles to see it. Six neighbors filed a lawsuit, saying traffic congestion made trips to the corner store take two hours, and they feared emergency vehicles could not get down the street. Osborne responded by adding three million more lights. The Arkansas Supreme Court ultimately ruled to close the display.

Disney World contacted Osborne about moving the display to its Hollywood Studios Theme Park. Osborne accepted Disney's offer. In 1995, the display was set up in Disney and was known as "The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights". Today, the display is made up of over 10 miles of lights connected by another 30 miles of extension cords. It takes 20,000 man-hours to install the display each holiday season, starting in September. The lights are turned on at dusk each night, starting in mid-November and runs into the first week of January. In 2004, Disney added 33 snow machines to create an artificial snow effect to the display. In 2006, the park added over 1,500 control switches to the display to enable the lights to switch on and off electronically. The switches were choreographed to a musical scores.

Suffice it to say, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights is an overwhelming display that must not be missed. I can't imagine that a more impressive display exists. This image is a small microcosm of the full display.