The Osborne Spectacle of Lights: Disney's Hollywood Studios -
Award-winning travel guidebooks
Home Florida - Walt Disney World Caribbean - Disney Cruise Line California - Disneyland Resort Anywhere and Everywhere! Travelers Store Message Boards PassPorter's Club Help!
  About Us  |  Customs Office   |   Register Your Book   |   Book Updates   |  Newsletter  |  Articles  |  Photos  |   Follow Us on
WDW Planning Articles

WDW Traveling Articles

WDW Lodging Articles

WDW Touring Articles

WDW Dining Articles

WDW Making Magic Articles
'Dream It! Do it! My Half Century Creating Disney's Magic Kingdoms' by Marty Sklar
2013 Expedition Everest Challenge
A Birds' Eye View
A Magical Wedding Day
A Pirates League For Us
A Trio of Backstage Disney Tours
Adventuring Forth
Amazing Autograph Books
Amazingly E-Racing the Guilt
Animal Kingdom Lodge
Around the World on a Segway
Backstage Magic Tour
Backstage Tour
Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by Disney Institute with Theodore Kinni
Behind The Scenes
Behind the Scenes
Behind the Scenes
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for Boys
Bringing 'Frozen' to Life at Disney
Busch Gardens Tour
Cast Member Confidential
Cast Members Save the Day
Chaperoning at Walt Disney World
Christmas Day At Disney
Christmas Day Delights
Christmas In November
Cinderella Royal Family 5k
Cirque du Soleil
Dashing Through The ... Snow?
Dealing With the Post-Vacation Disney Blues
Decade of Dreams
Discovering the Magic
Disney Every Day
Disney Fan Gathering
Disney Podcasts
Disney Tech Primer - Part 2
Disney Vacation Countdown
Disney Vacations
Disney World and Down Syndrome - A Winning Combination
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney's Hollywood Studios Then and Now
Disney's PhotoPass and PhotoPass Plus
Disney's Sinister Soiree - A Delightfully Evil Treat
Fireworks Photo Ops!
Gardens of The World Tour
Getting Your Disney Fix
Give a Day, Get a Disney Day
Grad Nites @ Disney
Holiday Highlights at Walt Disney World
Holidays At The World
Holidays At The World
Horseback Trail Rides at Disney's Fort Wilderness
How I Helped My Scaredy-Cat Kid
How Young Is Too Young?
IllumiNations Reflections of Earth
Keeping the Magic Alive
Keys To The Kingdom
Last Day Disney Blues
Learning To Like Disney
Making the Wait Magical
Meeting Marty Sklar
Meeting Mickey Mouse
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Munching With Mickey
My Disney Wins
My Hidden Mickey Surprise
My Three Sons
Our Decade of Disney
Our Happily Ever After
Pack Your Pixie Dust
Pin Trading at Disney
Pirates & Princess Party
Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage
Pirates at Disney Parks Worldwide
Pirates, Pirates Everywhere!
Pleasure Island
Preserving Memories with PassPorter
Rediscovering Walt Disney World
Renting Surrey Bikes at Disney's Boardwalk
Richard Petty Driving Experience
Romance at Walt Disney World
Rumor Round-Up
runDisney Races - Better with Friends
Say Cheese!
Say Cheese!
Scrapbooking Disney
Senses: A Disney Spa at the Grand Floridian
Soarin' Over South Africa
Specialty Cruises
Spreading a Bit of Pixie Dust
Spreading A Little Pixie Dust
Star Wars Weekends
Stories from a Theme Park Insider by Robert Niles
Summer at Disney vs. Winter in Michigan
Survey Marks
Taking It Easy at Walt Disney World
Teeing Off at Disney
The 2009 Holiday Season at Walt Disney World
The 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
The American Idol Experience
The Behinds the Seeds Tour at Epcot
The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund
The Laugh Floor Comedy Club
The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains
The Magic of Disney
The Monorails of Disney's Wonderful World of Theme Parks
The Osborne Spectacle of Lights
The Rest of the "World" For Kids
The Richard Petty Driving Experience
The Richard Petty Exotic Driving Experience
The School that Walt Built
The Seas with Nemo and Friends
The Sunrise Safari
The Unwitting Scrapper
The Vault of Walt by Jim Korkis
The Year Without Disney
There is More to Disney Than Rides
Three Generations of Disney Lovers
Tips & Tricks
Top 10 Disney Questions
Tower of Terror 10 Miler
Travels with
Unexpected Pleasures & Treasures
Unusual Photo Opportunities
Using YouTube for Disney Magic
Valentine's Day at Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World At The Holidays
Walt Disney World Hidden History - Remnants of Former Attractions and Other Tributes by Kevin Yee
Walt Disney World With the Grandkids
What A Wonderful World (of Disney)
What I Miss About a Disney Christmas
What Keeps Us Coming Back to Disney?
When Bad Trips Happen to Good People
When Illness Interferes with Your Vacation
When to Splurge and When to Save at Walt Disney World
Where to Find the Best Views in Walt Disney World - Part 3
Where to Find the Best Views in Walt Disney World - Part 4
Where to Find the Best Views in Walt Disney World - Part 5
Wilderness Back Trail Adventure
Ye Olde Magic Kingdom
Yuletide Magic

WDW General Travel Articles

View all PassPorter articles
Article Tools
Print Article
Download PDF
View Photos
Visit Forum

The Osborne Spectacle of Lights: Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photo illustrating Walt Disney World - Making Magic
by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 7/6/2009

Cool Tip: Click here to get a FREE PDF version of this article, fully formatted to print and put into your PassPorter Deluxe Binder!

Filed in Articles > Walt Disney World > Making Magic  

Most of us put up Christmas lights to help celebrate the holiday season and usually it might take us a few hours - perhaps even a couple of days if we're really keen on putting on a show. Imagine then the work that goes into creating the Osborne Spectacle of Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios every year.

Work to put the lights up usually gets underway at Disney's Hollywood Studios in July, when most of us would be enjoying (or should that be suffering?) the high temperatures of a Florida summer. Then they're usually ready for a grand switch-on in November, remaining on until just after the arrival of the New Year.

Why so long? Well, it might have something to do with the fact that there are five million lights to put up each year... a little bigger than the average household celebration, but amazingly, that's exactly how this spectacle started. It's a story well known to anyone who's been to Disney during the holidays. Jennings Osborne, a businessman from Little Rock, Arkansas, promised a Christmas display of lights to his daughter and each year he just added a few more, until it got a bit out of hand. After he ran out of space at his home, he purchased the houses on either side of his property, so he could continue expanding the display.

Unfortunately, this wasn't met by great approval from his neighbors, who complained about the disruption to their lives from so many visitors coming to see the lights. The case ended up at the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1994 and it was ruled that the three million lights - for that was what he was up to by then - were a public nuisance and he was barred from lighting them up. Despite that, he did still carry on and ended up in contempt of court. A year later, Disney came to the rescue and the lights moved to their new home at the Hollywood Studios and they've been setting the park ablaze ever since with a stunning display that differs each year.

Photo illustrating Walt Disney World - Making Magic
The Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios

No-one knows what 2009 will have in store for us, but if it's anything like the previous years it will be a sight to behold. Last year saw the lights dance for the first time and it certainly was a breathtaking spectacle, perhaps highlighted by the fact that we kept returning time and time again during our stay to see them dance. In previous years, 3D glasses have enhanced the lights, producing various effects including snowflakes. And, speaking of snow, there's usually some of that white stuff to be magically found as you make your way around the lights.

So what can you expect if you've never been to Disney before during the holidays? You need to know that the Osborne Lights are always bewildering in their splendor the first time you see them. I still clearly recall rounding a corner and just literally standing there with my jaw dropping open and my eyes almost popping out, trying to take in the sheer scale of what lay in front of us. It's no exaggeration to say that everywhere you looked, there were just millions of lights. The impact on your senses is something you can't quite appreciate it until you see it for yourself. Yes, there are photographs, but they can only show you a small part of the display and to suddenly see everything lit up is quite something.

Be sure to allow plenty of time at the Osborne Lights. If you're anything like us, you'll want to linger as you wander through them. Although you usually do have to follow a set pattern through the lights, with Cast Members directing you and ensuring that you head the right way, you can take as long as you like -- and most people take a long time. At times, you'll find you can only move slowly, shuffling forward step by step, because of the huge amount of people around you. That's usually as you enter the lights and, the further you go in, the more space you'll find to admire them.

The only time you'll be hurried through is if the park is actually closing, so be sure to allow yourself enough time before that happens. We find we usually need at least 30-40 minutes to fully appreciate the lights and, if they're dancing again as they have done during the last couple of years, you might want to allow an hour, so you can see a couple of those dances, as they're well worth catching.

Something else to allow time for is to get photos done with the PhotoPass photographers that you'll find there. Last year, we found about three or four in different locations throughout the lights and got some superb images from them. It's very difficult to photograph the lights with people in front of them and we found this to be a perfect way to get souvenir shots with one of our favorite holiday events at Walt Disney World.

The Osborne Spectacle of Lights will be lighting up the Streets of America area of Disney's Hollywood Studios from November 30, 2009 through January 3, 2010, although in previous years, there have been special previews of the lights from as early as mid November. They will be lit every night and there's no additional cost, apart from park admission, to see them.

Crowds thong the streets during the display

About the Author:
Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

Related Links:
Gardens of The World Tour - A Guided Tour During Epcot's International Flower and Garden Festival last updated 5/28/2009
Star Wars Weekends - Feel the Force at Disney's Hollywood Studios last updated 6/4/2009
Unusual Photo Opportunities - Getting Unique Photos at Disney last updated 6/18/2009
Dashing Through The ... Snow? - Sleigh Rides at Walt Disney World last updated 11/30/08

Reader Comments:

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)

Updated 7/6/2009 - Article #104 

Read additional articles from

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  



We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2014
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Making More Magic: Everything Else at Walt Disney World!
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Discuss tours, holidays, special occasions, childcare, and other magical opportunities.

Post-Trip Disney Gift Card Magic For Us
by Her Dotness
13 Dec 2014 at 5:30pm
Was sorting through our gift card collection from the trip, all of which had been used, I thought. Stuck in a wad of receipts was one with a...
(click title above to view replies)

Discounts on Disney Vera Bradley!
by HollyH
25 Nov 2014 at 7:34am is having a sale on Disney Veras now until Wednesday. 10%-20% off (have to buy 3 Vera items to get 20%). Code VERALOVE There was...
(click title above to view replies)

Total Visits: 7288

PassPorter ~ 1998-2014 ~ 16 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
News & Updates
Message Boards
Concierge Desk
Books & E-Books
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.