Last year of Osborne Spectacle of Lights

By Michael Lowin (Own work (own picture)) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Osborne Spectacle of Lights by Michael Lowin is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Well, I’m really sad to say that this is the last year of Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights. That’s right, 2015 will be the last time you can see it. This makes me really sad. We’ve always enjoyed this fantastic display when we have been there over the holidays.

Fortunately for us, we will get to see it one last time since we have a trip scheduled in December. We feel doubly fortunate because we are also taking our parents on this trip and we are glad they will be able to see it.

A brief history

The display started in 1986 when Jennings Osborne bought 1000 lights and set them up with his six year old daughter at their home in Little Rock Arkansas.  The display at their home grew each year peaking in 1993 with around three million lights. Jennings had to buy adjacent properties just to support the display.

The display grew so large and garnered so much attention that the Osborne’s neighbors began to complain about the traffic congestion caused by the hoards of people driving to see the spectacle. It was in 1995, as a result, that Disney acquired the rights to host the display.

Once Disney had hold of it, they did what Disney does best. They made it huge. If the millions of lights that are now used were stretched in a straight line it would be ten miles long.

Disney Announces Final Year

In a blog post, Thomas Smith, the Social Media Director for Disney Parks announced that 2015 would be the final year with this statement:

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.

While I’m excited for the new things Disney is bringing to Hollywood Studios (particularly with Star Wars) I am greatly saddened that this will be our last year to enjoy the Osborne display. It truly is remarkable and if you have never seen it, I recommend that if you can, by any means possible, get there to see it in its final year.

What do you think about this closure? Please let us know in the comments.


9 Replies to “Last year of Osborne Spectacle of Lights”

  1. Truly a fantastic light show. I’m sorry too that this will be the last year of The Osborne Spectacle of Lights. This makes it all the more urgent that those who want to experience the magic should plan to see them soon.

    I wish The Osborne Spectacle of Lights did not have to end, but since Disney owns the rights and they are a business, it appears their priorities have shifted to things more Hollywood.

    The lights will be missed, but who knows, perhaps another family will carry on the tradition.

    1. Yes, I agree. It had a good 20 year run. I hope I’m not disapointed in what they replace it with and honestly, with Disney’s track record I doubt I will be. I’m rarely disappointed when they remove something to make room for another attraction. I had a bit of the same sentiment over the Indian Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular which also got cut for the same expansion.

      Cheers and thanks for the comment.

  2. It looks very nice and I do not know why people should always complain about everything. We always decorate our houses during Christmas time, but never to this extend.

    It is also sad that Disney is making it their final year with all of the lights. Would like to visit Disneyland before I die :).

  3. I didn’t know that the spectacle of lights is ending this year. I’ve been to Walt Disney World 2 years ago and we truly enjoyed ourselves and admiring such a gorgeous spectacle of lights.
    I hope WDW will have a much better ‘show’ in replacement of this spectacles of lights. I simply love the view of colorful lights at nights. And yes, this spectacle of lights made us stretched our visit way past 9 pm in WDW.

    1. Unfortunately I don’t think the replacement is going to be another light display. I believe that they are making room for something else, but we will have to wait a while to see.

  4. What a shame! Unfortunately, as you say bigger corporations such as Disney need to keep things big and within the ‘current trend’ of their brand image however I do sincerely hope that others are motivated to keep something as authentic as this alive. When I was last in California I went to Candy Cane Lane and they have a very similar concept which is reassuring – it is very popular and attracts a lot of attention as well! It’s nice to know that this local festive spirit has not completely died and there are still some real life neighbourly displays out there 🙂

    1. You’re so right, Holly. It is a shame that this holiday attraction is getting the heave ho. But I am excited to see the expansion, which Disney has now come out saying would not be possible without canceling future years of this attraction. I just wish there was a way for them both to co-exist.

      There are a lot of changes around the corner for both Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. We’re working on some updates for both. Thanks for the note.

  5. Goodness gracious. Whoever snapped this deserves a credit. Well, they’re amazing. More so when you’re there looking at those lights live!

    I hope they changed their mind and hope to continue actually. It’s a huge loss for the public in all honesty.

    I am sure the final, 20th edition is the most spectacular, most beautiful and most memorable for anyone who visited.

  6. Wow! The Osborne spectacle of lights looks awesome, what a shame this has come to the end of an era.

    I live in the UK, the nearest thing we have to this kind of display regards Blackpool illuminations which runs a mile along the seafront which is famous for drawing in the traffic to ride along the stretch and view the lights around late Autumn time however the Osborne display makes Blackpool look like the poor member of the illumination family, the lighting display looks so full and spectacular in comparison.
    Thanks for introducing me, what a shame it’s come to an end,

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