In a recent Resort Loop podcast, Bob and Tim discussed their fears for the future.
As I reflected on the topic, I could only think of one – I feared the end of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights.
Last week, that fear was confirmed, when the Disney Parks Blog released the following statement,
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. The display of lights has enjoyed a successful run at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, 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 Jennings 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.”
As the ringing finality of the announcement began to sink in, I realized how truly heartbroken I would be to see this iconic event dim its lights for the final time. From its early beginnings on Residential Street to its latest iteration on the Streets of America, I have loved this attraction like no other. I remember the first year my family and I saw the lights; cast members handed out holographic snowflake glasses that made each light dance and float like falling snow. Upon leaving the park, I refused to take my glasses off, instead choosing to wear them the entire ride home and for days after – blissfully immersed in the twinkling, whimsical world of Disney magic. The Osborne Lights became an instant tradition with my family.
And I’m not alone.
The outcry has been immediate and widespread – a true maelstrom, if you will. I’ve not seen a Disney decision so universally panned since Mr. Toad took his final wild ride. It’s no surprise, either. The Lights encompassed those ideas and beliefs we hold most dear about Disney. They separated the Disney magic from the Disney money. The delight and awe discovered in those twinkling, dancing lights epitomized the magic and wonder that consummate Disney fans hitch their ‘second star to the right’ solidly behind en route to Neverland; never wanting to grow up.
Disney World took a hodge-podge of chicken wire and dime-store Christmas lights, and a father’s desire to make his daughter smile, and made it so brilliant you had to wear shades. The Osborne Lights wasn’t about money, or e-tickets, or the latest technology – it was simply about keeping the magic of one man’s dream alive. It was about hot chocolate with marshmallows, snow on residential street, and pretending to shiver in 70° Florida humidity. It was about singing Christmas carols, making memories, and just enjoying the moment. It was about being absorbed by something so vast and bright in scale that you couldn’t help but be swept away. It was a spectacle of simplicity.
Twinkle on, Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights, you will be missed.
Rebecca is currently in recovery for OCD (obsessive Christmas decorating). She is enrolled in a 12-step program, but finds all those ‘lords a leaping’ quite distracting. She lives in Connecticut with her better half, seven Christmas trees, and two miniature adults that insist on calling her mom.
If you’d like to follow her adventures or help her string up the lights, you can find her on: