December 23, 2009

Pinvestigation: Spectacle of Lights

Arkansas resident Jennings Osborne and his family were very big on the Holidays. In 1986, Jennings asked his youngest daughter Breezy what her Christmas wish was. She replied that she would like to see their whole house covered in lights. They had quite a large house but Jennings was determined to make his daughter's Christmas dream come true. That first year the Osborne family covered their home with a modest 1000 red lights. With each passing year, the family wanted to do more. The Osbornes eventually purchased property adjacent to their own in order to expand on their newfound hobby.

The display grew to millions of lights. There were flashing lights, multi-colored lights, custom-made light sculptures and a 75 foot Christmas tree adorned by lights. This drew onlookers from all over Arkansas. Displeased by the resulting traffic jams, the local residents asked that the Osborne family stop the annual display. Legal intervention was sought, and it appeared that the Osborne's beloved tradition was about to come to an end. At that time, Walt Disney World executives were looking for a new and different holiday experience for, at that time, Disney-MGM Studios.

In 1995, Residential Street at the Disney-MGM Studios became the home of this dazzling light show. Approximately 80% of the lights that are on display come from the original Osborne collection. And they instantly became a hit, among guests, Cast Members, and the Osborne family.



However in 2003, the lights were not displayed as Residential Street and the area surrounding it were in a renovation for the new Lights, Motor, Action Stunt Show, which opened in 2005. Fortunately, a new home was found for this magical attraction. The Streets of America (formerly New York Street) began hosting the lights in 2004, still being just called The Osborn Family Spectacle of Lights, just on large “city buildings” instead of quaint suburban houses.

In 2006, Walt Disney World executives wanted to find a new and fun way to spruce up his now holiday classic and fan favorite, they thought and saw the video sensation on the internet of the houses with music and “dancing” lights. They tried it out and it became a hit as well.

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Check out this clip of the Dancing Lights from this year’s display. (video by Amanda Tinney at Disney Everyday Blog and @amandatinney on Twitter)

This pin was released when the lights were on Residential Street, and at the end of the walk were a wall of Christmas Trees with Mickey heads all over them. 10979192

This pin shows the beloved Angels that have been apart of the event since the beginning in 1995.10979190


This pin was released the first year that the lights were on the Streets of America, you can see that by the subtitle of “Goes to the Big City” below the title. 10903561


This double pin set show the GIANT light switch that is used nightly to turn on the lights on the street. 10958566

We will leave you today with a few pieces of trivia from the Spectacle of Dancing Lights.150


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Pictures and Information from WDW Info, PinPics, and All Ears Net

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