What to know before you go to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios


Every year about this time, folks start to climb up into their attics to drag out boxes of outdoor holiday lights and inflatable decorations. That’s all fine and good, of course, but if you and your family are looking for a really spectacular holiday light display, there’s really only one show in town.

What began as one Arkansas family’s Christmas lights is now a 5 million-light display at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that guests to Walt Disney World won’t want to miss during the holiday season. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is a breathtaking display that covers the Streets of America and includes spinning carousels, angels, toy soldiers, and Santa and his reindeer. You might even see a few hidden Mickeys, too.

Unlike a stroll through your neighborhood, though, there are a few things you might want to know before you go:

** Cast members direct the flow of guests onto the Streets of America, and you’ll be asked multiple times to walk with the crowds. This really is in your best interest, both for safety reasons and to lessen your frustration at trying to see the lights along with so many other people. You will be asked to walk past Star Tours, Pizza Planet, Muppet Vision 3D and the Phineas and Ferb meet-and-greet, before finally rounding the corner of the attraction. From there, you’re on your own to explore the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at your own pace, exiting on the opposite end of the Streets of America and walking past the ABC Commissary.


** Guests also can enter the lights display by walking down Mickey Avenue, past Studio Catering Co. This may be the best bet for your family if you would like to meet Santa Goofy first in Tri-City Square. Goofy’s Winter Wonderland debuted last year, and it’s back again as a fun photo op. The backdrop for meeting Goofy is, of course, rows and rows of holiday lights, lighted Christmas trees and even toys covered in lights.


** Speaking of photo opportunities, there is so much to capture here on your camera or videocamera so you can enjoy it again at home. Don’t panic, though, if you forget your equipment or find your view blocked by others. Disney’s PhotoPass photographers are set up in multiple locations on the Streets of America, in addition to the Santa Goofy meet-and-greet. One of the most popular spots year after year is in front of the 70-foot Christmas tree in the center of the display. We’ve also seen photographers roving by apartment steps, the lighted bicycle and other fun backgrounds.


** The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights can get claustrophobically crowded on weekends, so if you have young children, be prepared to keep a close eye on them. Even seasoned park-goers may be surprised how easy it is to get separated in these crowds.


** Light-up necklaces and other accessories are popular at this experience. New this year, though, are the Glow With The Show ear hats, whose colors are synched with the dancing lights for the first time. The hats and other accessories are sold at carts on the Streets of America, but if you purchase them in one of the merchandise stores ahead of time, you can apply any discounts you might have, such as one for having a Walt Disney World annual pass.

** Stay on The Streets of America long enough to see the lights dance and the snowflakes fall. After each choreographed song, there is an intermission of about seven minutes when the lights don’t dance while other holiday music plays or characters talk.

** The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights begin each night at 6 p.m. with a small opening ceremony when a lucky guest “flips the switch.” The attraction usually stays on past park closing, so guests can linger a bit as the crowds clear. It stays in place through Jan. 5 and is included in regular theme-park admission.


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6 Replies to “What to know before you go to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios”

  1. Great tips – thank you! One question – is it possible to enjoy the lights and Fantasmic in the same evening, or do you have to choose one over the other?

    KRISTIN: Thanks. And, yes, you should be able to go to both in the same evening if you go to the 6:30 p.m. Fantasmic! show. When it ends, head straight back to the Streets of America, where the Osborne lights are located. The park closes at 8 most nights, but the lights stay on past that time for at least 30 minutes.

  2. Hi Connie…. I couldn’t agree with you more!
    You know…there was a time when we had the Osborne Lights AND the Lights of Winter to see & enjoy all in the same season. But of course, this was before the lights “danced.”

    Of all the “Lost Favorites” we have lost, TLOW is the biggest loss for me personally. Christmas at WDW will never be the same…. My heart is truly still broken, even ’til this day.

  3. We are going to be there in 11 days. Can’t wait to get my glow with the show ears. My family loves the Osborne lights. The music, the lights, the snow and a hot chocolate, what a way to celebrate Christmas!

  4. I know Osborne Lights are very popular, but I personally miss and prefer Lights of Winter. I truly believe the Lights of Winter was considered passe’ and replaced with Osborne Lights. Does anyway agree or have more facts on this?

  5. Love, love, LOVE the Osborne lights. Thanks for the writeup, the tips, and for getting us extra excited about seeing them soon! Did many guests have the Glow with the Show hats?

    KRISTIN: Enough to see the effects, but it wasn’t an overwhelming number. Of course, I was there on the opening weekend, so maybe they will catch on more throughout the season.

  6. Thank you for your wonderful blogs – I really enjoy them. I was fortunate enough to experience the Osborne Lights a few years ago and I’d love to go back. I’ve heard a rumor that the lights may take a hiatus after this year – do you know whether there is any truth to that rumor? I was also fortunate enough to experience the Lights of Winter during its last year at Epcot. Those two experiences were definite highlights and really made the trip special – the thought of the Osborne Lights not being there on a future trip is disappointing to say the least.

    KRISTIN: We have not heard any rumors about the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights being on hiatus next year.