12 Must-Do’s of Christmas: #2 Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

12 Must Dos 2

Well, we arrive tomorow! It’s surreal. Maybe it’s due to the fact that it hasn’t felt like December in New York, but this trip truly snuck up on us. I say it every year that it doesn’t “feel like Christmas” until I get to Disney. Nothing screams Christmas at Walt Disney World like the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.

It’s truly a bittersweet feeling, knowing that this will be the attraction’s final year. While it’ll hurt to see the holiday mainstay go, it’s to make way for bigger and better things at Hollywood Studios.

I had been in the market for a good DSLR camera for some time – weighing the pros and cons of spending nearly a grand on “something my iPhone could do.” But with my Mets in the playoffs and my impending trip to Florida for the Giants game and Disney for the Food and Wine Festival, I was starting to cave. When Disney announced that this would be the final year for the Osborne Lights, I made the decision and invested in a high-quality camera.

One of my favorite threads on the DisBoards forum features users’ photos of old and defunct Disney attractions and rides. It kills me knowing that photos of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will soon be on that list. I plan on taking my time and really enjoying the lights. I’m going to grab as many photos as possible and even record a video of the dancing lights on my GoPro.

I’m fortunate enough to have experienced the lights during my past five trips. They’re awe-inspiring and I’m sure that tons of Disney fans will make the pilgrimage to Disney to catch a glimpse of the unique attraction before it’s extinct.  

Christmas week at Disney is fast-paced. Between the crowds and long wait times, it’s easy to rush around and miss out on the little details. I know I stress planning an efficient trip and packing in as many attractions as possible – but I also recommend slowing down and enjoying the sights and sounds. Spend an hour or two touring the lights and watching them dance to the music. Find the Arkansas Razorback, the black cat and the hidden Mickeys. Take photos. Take photos of your family standing under the giant canopy. Record the show, put it on instagram, tweet it and send it to family. It’s easy to hang around for 20 minutes and run to Toy Story Midway Mania for your FP+, but I strongly advise guests to set an hour or two aside and really take in the sights.

Some tips:

  • Find the black cat. The “legend” has it that when the Osborne family send Disney boxes of lights, they accidentally included a black cat from their Halloween decorations. Rather than get rid of it, Disney hid it among the decorations and move it to a different location each week.
  • Find the Arkansas Razorback Mascot. With the family being from Arkansas, they’re big Razorback fans. There is a Razorback mascot shaped light hidden among the decorations.
  • Look for hidden Mickeys. There are over 80. Can you find them all?
  • Watch the Switch Flipping Ceremony. Around 6pm, Disney will “flip the switch” and turn on the lights. It’ll be crazy crowded, but it’s reminiscent of Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation!
  • The Giant canopy of lights is actually a large video screen made from individual RGB video nodes, which can be customized to create over a trillion color effects. This explains the awesome patterns and how Jack Skellington is able to make an appearance!
  • Go later at night. There will be lighter crowds toward the end of the night, especially when Fantasmic is showing and during evening Extra Magic Hours. Wait for the park to close an the crowds should alleviate a bit. 
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