The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

One of the reasons that Wine & Dine is my favorite half marathon is that once you get near the end, when you’re starting to feel pretty tired and your feet hurt and the end seems (and is) still miles away, you suddenly turn a corner in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and you see this and suddenly your fatigue and worry are whisked away!


Can you tell how happy this made me, even after more than nine miles of running in the cold rain?  I’ve always loved Christmas lights.  There’s something special about them that just evokes a sense of awe, wonder and peace.  When I’m driving home from a hard day at work and I pull into my neighborhood and see the holiday lights up, it just makes my heart feel happy.  Now take that feeling and multiply it by about a million and you have the wonder that is the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.


In addition to being able to run through the lights during the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, you can see them most nights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from early November through early January.  The history of the display is that the Osborne Family grew their home’s holiday light display until it was so large that some neighbors complained and they were forced to downsize.  They transferred the display to Walt Disney World, where it has been expanded it to its current size of over five million lights (100% LEDs).


There is a “turning on” ceremony at dusk (usually around 6 p.m. each night, check the times guide) where the lights are switched on.  It can be crowded during the first few hours, so you may want to line up a few minutes early if you want to see the ceremony. After the lights are turned on, you can walk through the Streets of America and are welcome to stop and just enjoy the show or to stroll through the magical snowfall (tiny groups of bubbles that float about just like snow).


The lights stay illuminated until the park closes and they dance in synchronization to holiday music approximately every ten minutes.  The music was a little loud for our preschooler, who does not like loud noises, but most children will probably be fine with it.  I think we’re going to try to find some ear muffs for our next visit to help muffle the noise a bit.  We haven’t tried it yet, but the Glow with the Show Ears are designed to light up along with the music.

I think my favorite part of the display was this one with the 101 Dalmatians.


They sell hot chocolate and other holiday treats at stands along the way.  We made sure to get some great photos from the PhotoPass photographers.  Here’s a sneak peek at the one we’re using for our Christmas cards this year.


You can also get your photo taken with Goofy dressed as Santa, but the line was too long when we were there and Eli is not a fan of character photo ops just yet, so we skipped that.


Some tips:

  • Cast Members do control the entrances and exits, which are one-way only.
  • On nights that are more likely to be crowded (around Thanksgiving, on weekends and near Christmas), if you go closer to park closing time the crowds do thin out.
  • Look for the 46 hidden Mickeys!
  • Look for the Osborne Family’s purple Halloween cat that was included originally by mistake but is now a tradition!
  • Take your time, sip some hot cocoa and linger.
  • Definitely get some PhotoPass pictures taken.  Even if you haven’t bought the Memory Maker package, I guarantee you’ll have at least one worth the $15 to download it!


This is one of my favorite things to do during the holidays.  While Eli was a little overwhelmed with it at first, he’s excited to go back (he and I are going again tonight!).   I think if I lived in Orlando, you’d find me here at least twice a week during the holiday season.



The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights — 10 Comments

    • Wow, that is cool! I used to work out in the boonies and there was this house that had so many Christmas lights that they strung them in lines on the yard because they ran out of space on the house, roof and trees! I just love Christmas lights, big or small!

  1. This looks amazing! I haven’t been able to see them yet. I’m planning on doing the Wine and Dine Half next year but I hear rumors that the lights may be going away because of constructions plans 🙁 I hope that doesn’t happen.
    Chaitali recently posted…Weekly ReviewMy Profile

    • I know! I hope we know for sure whether they will be up or not before we have to register for next year’s race. I love the race but I won’t love it as much without the Osborne lights. Maybe they’ll temporarily move them and we can still run through wherever they move them to.

  2. I totally agree 100% with this post! I think wine and dine will be my favorite half mainly because of these lights. It truly is hard to explain what it is like until you are there. and great christmas card pic!
    Juliana recently posted…HEALTHY LIVING 12/8/2014My Profile

    • Thanks! Running through the lights is a big part of why I love Wine & Dine and continue to sign up for it even though it means I have to do double digit training runs in the late summer in Florida (miserable!).

    • We made it back one more time and it was gorgeous but very crowded!