The Osborne (still no ‘u’) Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is one of Disney’s most popular holiday spectaculars. This year will be the last time they are presented at the Streets of America at Hollywood Studios.
The Lights are turned on nightly through January 3rd with the exception of Wednesday December 9th, when Studios closes at 6pm.
Before the Lights are turned on, guests are free to enter the Streets of America from a variety of locations, including the easiest, which is to the left of Sci-Fi Dine-In.
Once the Lights are turned on at 6pm, guests will be directed further down to the left around Star Tours and Muppet Vision 3D. This facilitates traffic flow.
The Lighting Ceremony, featuring Santa Goofy and a lucky family, occurs in the middle of the Streets of America in front of the tall tree and toy soldiers.
It should be scheduled at 6pm nightly. I recommend being in the area no later than 5:45pm.
Santa Goofy hosts a very brief lighting ceremony.
You don’t necessarily need to position yourself to see the show, but it isn’t usually difficult to find a spot. For whatever reason, people tend to sit on the curb waiting as if a parade is about to roll through.
Unfortunately, the Streets are typically at their busiest when the Lights are turned on for the first time.
On one hand, it’s pretty magical to see the Streets go from pitch black to dancing with light. On the other hand, the stifling crowds limit movement and make it more difficult to enjoy the show.
Crowds typically ease a bit by 6:45pm as guests wander for about 30 minutes and head elsewhere. With Fantasmic moving to 7pm (with a potential second show at 8:30pm) from 6:30pm this year, you don’t get the rush of people right around 7:15pm that you used to. Some people in the know will head over to the Lights after Fantasmic lets out and arrive around 7:45pm, but it’s not the vast wave of past years, probably by design.
If you’re planning to see the 7pm Fantasmic, it’s probably not possible to see the lighting ceremony and arrive in time to see the show unless you’re using FastPass+ and really hustle over. If an 8:30pm Fantasmic is scheduled and you’re interested in seeing it, your best bet is to arrive at the Streets of America around 7pm and exit by 7:45pm. You’ll arrive at Fantasmic at 8pm to decent seats. You could also feasibly enjoy the Lighting Ceremony and then do something else before the later Fantasmic.
The Osborne Lights are kept on for one hour after official close. The least crowded time to view them is from official Park close through the final song. If you’re seeing the 8:30pm Fantasmic and the Studios “officially” closes at 8pm or 8;30pm, you won’t arrive in time to see much or of the Lights. So there are a few give/takes there.
Assuming you want to see the 7pm Fantasmic and Osborne Lights (this method is less advisable now as there is always the risk that you’ll visit on the one random night where there’s technical problems or a private event or something that causes the Lights to be turned off earlier than usual):
- Arrive at the theater by 6pm. By 6:15pm, the theater will be mostly full. Show lets out at 7:30pm.
- Head over to Osborne Lights.
Assuming you want to see the 8:30pm Fantasmic and Osborne Lights:
- For the best Fantasmic seats, plan to head over to Fantasmic no later than 7:45pm. You could arrive for the Lighting Ceremony and then do something else after or arrive around 7pm to enjoy the Lights for 30 to 45 minutes.
No interest in Fantasmic and want to see Lighting Ceremony:
- Arrive at the Streets of America by 5:45pm and take up a spot in front of the unlit tree/toy soldiers. You can return later in the evening to enjoy the Lights in lower crowds if you like.
No interest in Fantasmic and want to enjoy the Lights with the lowest crowds:
- Arrive at the Streets 15 to 30 minutes before official Park close – earlier if you want to guarantee some time before Park close, just in case the Lights are turned off earlier than expected.
10pm or later close around Christmas:
- Visit as late as possible.
Santa Goofy is another potential wrinkle. This year, he meets in the old Backlot queue area where Sorcerer Mickey briefly met after he was kicked out of the Animation Building.
There’s some good news and some bad news here. The good news is that Goofy meets most of the day, so you don’t need to visit when lines are longest during the Lights and also don’t have to take precious time with the Lights away. The bad news is potentially that the backdrop is a lot more boring than last year’s. But the good news there is that there’s no pressure to visit Goofy in the evening when the Osborne Lights acted as a backdrop. My advice is to see Goofy earlier in the day as to not waste time during the Lights.
Snacks and drinks are available before and during the Lights. Pretzel Garden serves its regular pretzel menu plus the pumpkin spice pretzel:
Considering egg nog is fairly expensive, the $2.50price is relatively reasonable. This is, of course, the spiced egg nog which brings the warm comfort of bourbon to the chilled holiday beverage. It’s what you would expect from the Evan Williams bottled variety. The whiskey helps thin out the thick nog and the nog covers up the aftertaste of the bourbon. Like most things, it’s good if you enjoy it.
Herbie’s Drive-In, near the entrance to Lights Motors, is also open with its standard menu:
A quick spot to grab a water if nothing else.
NEWS used to be another dedicated food/beverage outlet during the Lights, but instead deals solely in Glow with the Show ears and other lightup options. The ears run $25 with tax and are heavy, uncomfortable, and difficult to carry as they can’t be squished into a smaller ball.
If you’d like a holiday-themed beverage, you’ll need to scout out one of the temporary bars, most easily found outside Sci-Fi Dine-In.
A few more pix to close things out:
“What’s This” from The Nightmare Before Christmas
A Mad Russian’s Christmas
This year, Disney is offering a “Merry and Bright Dessert Party. It includes a table here at the reserved seating section at the end of the Streets of America with a dessert party including alcoholic beverages, in addition to a stadium blank to take home.
Unless you’re seriously going to pound drinks during the party, my advice is to forgo it. The seating area does virtually nothing to help you take in the Lights. If you wanted to rest, you could simply walk another 30 steps to Studio Catering Co. where there are hundreds of tables.
Some decorations around the Park (from 2014 as 2015’s aren’t up yet):
Osborne Lights are a lot of fun. You’ll have the least stressful experience if you can go late.