PHOTOS, VIDEO: Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights Comes to An Emotional End After 20 Years

Last night, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights finally faded away after an incredible 67-night-long final season. The lights were originally supposed to end on Sunday, January 3rd, but were extended 3 more nights to accommodate the thousands of guests and off-duty cast members who wanted to say goodbye.


The lights turned on around 5:50PM, this was the scene just ten minutes before that. All of the Streets of America were packed with guests who wanted to see the lights turn on one last time. Around this time, the Hollywood Studios parking lot was forced to close and the area surrounding the lights was pretty much gridlocked and stayed this way for quite some time.


The actual end time for the lights was unclear based on the previous two nights, but the lights ran until 10PM. By 8:45PM, the crowd began to calm down and what was left was a sizable crowd of die-hard fans who would remain until the lights were turned off. To close out the Walt Disney World holiday tradition, the new dancing light song for this season performed last, followed by a few heartfelt words from Donnie and Annie on WJBO Radio, the fictional radio station that provided some commentary between music over the last 10 years of the event. When they were done, the lights danced to the Mickey Mouse Club sign-off, and slowly, section by section, the Spectacle of Dancing Lights faded away forever:


A darkened New York Street signified the end of a defining piece of the history of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Not only are we saying goodbye to the Spectacle of Dancing Lights, but also the Hollywood Studios we have known for almost 27 years. The Backlot Tour, the Magic of Disney Animation, the Streets of America, the Premier Theater, and the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights are all gone. It seemed as if we had talked about a makeover of Disney’s Hollywood Studios for well over a decade and now we are at the start of what may be the largest undertaking in over three decades for Walt Disney World.

A 14-acre land filled with Star Wars, new shopping, dining, and attractions from the world of Toy Story, and much more await, but first we had say goodbye to so many attractions that we have enjoyed for over 20 years. While Star Wars land and all of the other great projects for the park will surely amaze, it is sad to see so much that we love vanish, but probably no lost Studios offering hurts as much as the lights. The good news is it seems this will be our last loss before construction begins on those new additions, however, the holidays at Walt Disney World may never be quite the same again. Maybe we will see the Spectacle of Lights once more someday, but for now, and possibly forever, we say goodbye to one of the most awe-inspiring and memorable offerings in the history of the Disney theme parks: the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights.

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  1. Very well written, Tom. I’m really going to miss this as well. I love Disney’s ambition in planning new things, but I wish they’d be more committed to keeping alive elements of what we’ve all loved for so long. The Backlot Tour could’ve been redone to bring contemporary movie magic to life. The Animation Studios could’ve reinvented itself again…perhaps entirely with Star Wars special effects theming. And the Osborne Lights would be bigger and more beautiful than ever in EPCOT’s Millennium Pavilion…or all throughout the World Showcase for that matter.

    1. True that , Charles .
      Now , I am starting to wonder how Disney is going to A. keep the park named Disney’s Hollywood Studios going without the attractions and activities that gives the park name so much validity over the years , B. How is Disney going to be able to continue to give the guests a quality Disney Experience on times when they try to suck a huge amount of people
      into the park(s) in one day on times when there are so few attractions and activities running in the park(s) while they have so many attractions closed at a time for updating or changing , etc .
      Otherwise , if you are not an imaginer yourself then unfortunately whatever the Disney People decide to do
      that becomes the law of the land ( or world ) pretty much .
      But at east thank God that they allow people to preserve this magic like this and have made other ways to
      preserve the magic so that guests have something to look back on in case they ever miss the old attractions and activities so much .
      – Dwight ( djthereplay )

  2. This sums up the whole article to me:

    “however, the holidays at Walt Disney World may never be quite the same again.”

  3. It was a bitter sweet end with a tear to the Osborne Lights and running for 20 years was incredible run for Disney. I understand and welcome to change because you want to see the park evolve and not become stagnant. With Star Wars and Cars coming it is needed space for both.

    MGM / HS has been a park that many feel they can just go to for 1/2 the day because many are just looking for the rides. To get the most out of the Disney experience you need to utilize your FP+ well but also stop and look around you at what the Disney Imagineers have included because everything has a story. Door handles, window decor, window signs, billboards, etc. Look up and look down not just run from one ride to another and take in the experience Disney meant you to have.

    Thanks for the article and great pics and video.

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