Disney World's Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights Will Close After This Year

September 11, 2015, 7:50 AM · Walt Disney World will close its annual Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights after this holiday season, its 20th at the resort. The holiday light display covers the Streets of America in Disney's Hollywood Studios and runs November 6 through January 3 this season.

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Disney obtained the display in 1995 from the Jennings Osborne family of Little Rock, Arkansas. The wealthy family began hanging Christmas lights on their home in 1986, eventually buying the two properties next door to expand the display, which by 1993 included more than three million lights. With thousands of visitors swarming local streets to see the display, neighbors sued, obtaining an injunction that limited the display. Eventually, state courts moved to shut down the lights, and Disney offered to move the display to Florida.

In 2004, Disney moved the display from the old Residential Street — which was torn down to make way for the Lights, Motors, Action stadium — to its current home on the Streets of America. In 2006, Disney added dimmer switches and a musical score, allowing the lights to "dance" to the music. (That's when Disney added the word "Dancing" to the display's name.) In 2011, Disney converted the display to LED lighting.

Disney is closing the display to accommodate the upcoming construction of Stars Wars Land in the park. Yesterday, Disney COO Tom Staggs announced that Disney would begin construction on that project next year.

In addition to the in-park construction, we have heard from sources inside Disney that the resort will prepare for Star Wars Land by building a new approach to the park — a flyover bridge off Osceola Parkway at Victory Way, that will lead traffic to the park's planned new entrance off Victory Way, south of Buena Vista Drive. Expect construction to begin on that project after the holidays, as well.

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Replies (42)

September 11, 2015 at 7:56 AM · Please, please, please make the carnage stop! I'm all for new things, but this display MAKES the Disney holiday season!
September 11, 2015 at 8:09 AM · Terrible decision. OFL brings in huge crowds.

I guess that this is part of the movement to turn DHS into Empty Kingdom in preparation for some distant time when some of the promised attractions finally arrive.

Universal has gotten the last laugh over Disney's attempt to take over the "Studio Tour" niche in FL.

September 11, 2015 at 8:19 AM · I felt like the event was much better suited on the houses on Residential Street before Lights, Motors, Action was built. It has always felt a bit claustrophobic in the city sets. Too close, too high and too many people. I would hate to imagine this moving to Main Street for the same reason. Where I would like to see this going is Disney Springs. This would almost serve as Disney's gift to people who want to enjoy Disney style holiday excitement, but can't afford to buy theme park tickets. It would be a huge draw to this renovated shopping district, and isn't shopping what Christmas is all about anyway? Linus and Charlie Brown may not agree, but they are not Disney characters (yet...oh, not yet!)
September 11, 2015 at 9:33 AM · The display could easily be moved to Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard. This will distract the crowds from the Star Wars and Toy Story construction. I hope they demolish the whole area and do the construction quickly. How the heck can I plan a trip?
September 11, 2015 at 9:44 AM · Rob McCullough, that's such an amazing idea!
September 11, 2015 at 9:57 AM · So, Star Wars Land construction begins in 2016... As a Former Universal guy is heading this project forDisney, can we expect something faster? Opening in 2018? ;)
September 11, 2015 at 10:18 AM · Progress as promised! The Force will be with us...soon!
September 11, 2015 at 11:07 AM · This should be moved to another area or to Epcot. Not a smart move for them in the long run for the holiday season...
September 11, 2015 at 11:20 AM · I love me some Star Wars, but the lights have become a tradition to visit for the family. Sad to see them go, but hope they bring them back one day.
September 11, 2015 at 11:45 AM · It will be sad to see it go, but I'm focusing on bigger and better things. But I'll always remember standing in the streets with Trans Siberian Orchestra's wild tunes playing with all the lights going crazy.
September 11, 2015 at 11:49 AM · Great news, it took a lot of time and man hours to put the lights up and remove them. More money for the stockholders. Now please scrap the castle lights to, the cost of the crain alone should be removed from the costs. If you want blinking lights buy the bloody Mickey ears that light up but don't the shareholders and poor Disney to pay for it!
September 11, 2015 at 12:17 PM · Totally in shock about this news. I knew it was leaving DHS but thought it was going to Epcot. This has been a must see holiday event for years. Maybe Universal or Sea World can take it over. CityWalk? hmmmmm
September 11, 2015 at 12:20 PM · Saw a post on another site that said they're being returned to the family and they're running an inventory on the display items. This was not officially confirmed though.
September 11, 2015 at 1:08 PM · - Uncle Scrooge...is that you?
September 11, 2015 at 1:13 PM · A necessary evil. I'd much rather see Star Wars than an elaborate light pageant.
September 11, 2015 at 1:21 PM · "they're being returned to the family and they're running an inventory on the display items"

I thought they're only borrowing the name. The decorations were replaced numerous times. I thought Disney owned the actual decorations.

September 11, 2015 at 1:42 PM · The post was by an Osborne family member who said Disney contacted them to do an inventory of the items that belonged to the Osborne family. I'm sure Disney added items after the original display. Once again, this was not an official Disney announcement. But it does make sense since the original's all belonged to the family.
September 11, 2015 at 1:46 PM · It would be really funny if the Osborne family made a deal to have it all go to Universal...
September 11, 2015 at 2:13 PM · I actually have been to his house when the lights were in Little Rock. Disney only has a portion of the lights. The original display had about three times as many, and was a sight to see. The Osborne family was about the nicest people you could ever meet. I would imagine they will find a use for the lights somewhere.
September 11, 2015 at 2:23 PM · While I doubt Disney would do it, another great location for this would be Disney Springs. It would definitely drive people to Disney Springs and in turn, drive more sales!!!
September 11, 2015 at 3:57 PM · I guess you read my facebook post, Robert Parker, or we are just both very smart people :)

I highly doubt Disney will completly get rid of the lights outright. I am guessing it is going to be somewhere else in DHS. After all, it was their Holiday Attraction.

The lights are a "thing" people come to see a "thing". "Things" become tradition. Disney will put it somewhere else!

September 11, 2015 at 4:23 PM · Two petitions are already up on change.org trying to get them to move the lights rather than take them away entirely.

Petition #1

Petition #2

September 11, 2015 at 5:45 PM · Osborne Millennium Falcon? Osborne Tower of Terror?

Anyway...a new entrance to the park? Will that mean DHS will have two entrances like EPCOT has? Or will they be removing the current entrance? I imagine two entrances, as the boats from EPCOT Resorts would then essentially be pointless, taking guests to nowhere in particular.

It also makes me wonder about the new size of the park. I mean, EPCOT is like two distinct parks in one, so having two entrances makes sense. DHS is so small, having two entrances would be beyond overkill, so perhaps they are really planning for this park to finally draw in crowds that stick around more than 5 or 6 hours?

Or am I just misunderstanding "park's planned new entrance"? Perhaps it just means the cars entering the parking lot via the flyaway bridge, and not the people entering the park itself.

I'm sorry to see the Osborne lights leave. But I'm a bit more interested in the new park entrance, and wonder who knows what about this news?

September 11, 2015 at 7:14 PM · For those of you that are hoping that it will come back in a different location, you really need to read the official Disney announcement. Disney uses the words "finale", "not able to present OFSDA in the future", "in this, the 20th and final year". It's done. The official announcement..."As you plan ahead, we also wanted you to know that this holiday season will mark the finale for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, going all the way back to when it first appeared on Residential Street. In order to prepare for some incredible experiences coming to the park, including the recently announced Toy Story Land and a Star Wars themed land, we will not be able to present the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in the future. Our heartfelt thanks go out to the family of Jenning Osborne for letting us share their family tradition year after year. And thank you to all of you for being part of the spectacle with us. Here's to making more memories in this, the 20th and final year".....That kind of says it all....Additionally, Disney just announced that long time DHS band Mulch, Sweat & Shears will play their last performance in October....Times they are a changin (sounds like a good song).
September 11, 2015 at 7:19 PM · New entrance is reportedly the parking entrance. Lot's of budget money will be going to that reconfiguration and parking garages. That parking lot, in it's present form, has problems handling large crowds.
September 11, 2015 at 9:05 PM · There is nothing like the Osborne Family Lights. It is one more Disney tradition down the drain. Remember how cool Epcot used to be at Christmas? It's a shell of that now. Just as Hollywood will be after this year. What's next to go? Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party? Universal owns Halloween with HHN. Maybe it's time for them to step up and own Christmas as well. Love to see them put the Osbornes in New York and San Francisco. The Macy's parade is nice but a non-event.
September 11, 2015 at 8:38 PM · This stinks....this was a major draw for my family to visit during the holidays. People from all walks of life walked around that area in awe as the lights performed to the music. Adults looked liked kids enjoying something that is sadly not practiced as much in residential neighborhoods today as it has been in the past. It put people in the Christmas spirit. I REALLY hope this idea has a happier ending than "well that's 20 years worth, turn the switch off before ya' go"! RELOCATE-RELOCATE-RELOCATE
September 11, 2015 at 11:56 PM · So they're kicking the "Osborne Family" out? Maybe some guests were confused and thought the Osborne family was Ozzy and Sharon...
September 12, 2015 at 12:38 AM · Great Disney is replacing the lights with the terrible Star Wars Holiday special. Nothing says Merry Christmas like a family of wookies
September 12, 2015 at 5:12 AM · They might as well just say that DHS is dead. No longer existent. A new park shall instead take it's place.
September 12, 2015 at 9:18 AM · Sad to say, but this is all part of the "charge more / offer less" philosophy Disney started a couple of years ago (remember the printed paper napkins you got everywhere?), & as long as people pay - which they are, Disney will keep on this track. Wish they would put them in Disney Springs, but since more people are now going there, they probably see no need. Would LOVE if Universal got them, but I doubt they'd go for them.
September 12, 2015 at 2:31 PM · What a true shame :(((( Our first trip to Disney last fall was such a blast that I was planning to go again this year at Christmas time, I was so thrilled and excited to go see the lights but we had to cancel last minute. Now we're planning a Disney cruise for the beginning of next year and then planned to go back to Disney in Christmas 2016 to see the lights and everything. Now so bummed, what's the point in going at all ??
September 12, 2015 at 5:21 PM · This will sorely be missed. Coming at the Christmas season won't be so attractive any more.
September 12, 2015 at 6:12 PM · We plan a yearly trip to Florida in December and always enjoy the lights. This is so sad to hear that this year is the last year. Like many people who have posted above, I wish that they would move it. Downtown Disney is a fantastic suggestion, even at a lesser scale so that everyone can enjoy the spirit that the season offers.
September 12, 2015 at 6:12 PM · Personally, I always thought the Lights were garish and tacky. That said, I get the concept of tradition so I understand the anger.
September 12, 2015 at 7:47 PM · They can go.
September 13, 2015 at 9:57 PM · Just take what lights are needed and reinstall the Lights of Winter in EPCOT. Those lights were removed 'officially' because they were of an older technology that could not be maintained.

The Osborne lights are the latest, most modern technology and can easily be re-purposed.


September 14, 2015 at 3:07 AM · Just so we are all clear. The lights will be up in December and won't go dark for another year. Also we know that construction begins on the Star Wars attractions in 2016.
September 14, 2015 at 4:25 AM · surly they can be put somewhere else?????
epcot prehaps??????
September 14, 2015 at 4:27 AM · i was very lucky to see them last year for the 1st and now only time very sad for as its the most christmassy thing i witnessed last year :>((
September 14, 2015 at 4:34 AM · And coming right on their heels...

Walt Disney: One Man's Story is dead, Jim...

September 14, 2015 at 9:11 AM · Like I said on the Aladdin thread, I'm planning on writing a letter to protest both of these terrible decisions.

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