With Thanksgiving but a blip on the Disney radar, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is in full force this holiday season. The Lights will be dancing every night from November 10th through January 7th, with the exception of December 8th when Hollywood Studios closes at 5pm for the Pop Warner party. Note that while the original end date for the Osborne Lights was January 3rd, they have been officially extended through the 7th.
We’ll start with what you can expect to see before the Lights are turned on. The Times Guide for the week will indicate the Osborne Lights are turned on at “dusk,” but you can be assured that “dusk” translates to 6pm. Still, we’ll plan to be in the area by 5:45pm just to be sure we don’t miss anything.
In addition to the regular drinks at Studio Catering Company – High Octane Refreshments, there are some special holiday additions. For the regular menu (which is still offered) and more information about its location, see this post. In short, it’s attached to Studio Catering Company on the Backlot Tour side. It’s not very obvious, which means a lot of people pass right by and lines are usually short. This sign out on the street does bring people in though.
It’s about 5:20pm here and there are already people in the area waiting for the Lights to be turned on. If you would like to see Mickey Mouse and the Lighting Ceremony, you don’t need to arrive until around 5:45pm. Fill in the space on the Street.
Pretzel Garden has a new menu for the holidays:
It’s a small kiosk to the right of Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure.
There it is. A good choice when junior swears he isn’t hungry at Pizza Planet an hour ago. You swear you won’t be buying him anything else later so he better eat that cute miniature meatball sub now. Then he proceeds to cry starvation right before Osborne Lights. Of course, you could follow through with those threats and deal with a crying kid for the next three hours. Or buy him a $4.00 pretzel and enjoy the Lights with a smiling child. This isn’t a parenting website. I can’t tell you what to do. While the Glazed Nuts are a part of the menu all year, they do seem a little more festive for the holidays.
This convenient (strategically placed) temporary kiosk serves holiday treats in the center of the Streets of America. Try to order before 6pm because the process is much easier before the Lights are turned on.
You would think they would come up with some sort of “house wine” brand name since Sutter Home is a $3 bottle of wine in every grocery store in the United States. If my dream wasn’t to be in the guacamole business, I would want a piece of that Sutter Home action.
Cocoa and a “Holiday Cupcake,” which is apparently a cupcake with a glow cube smushed into the top of it. Should you have a glow cube and a Snowman Souvenir Popcorn Bucket, try putting the cube in the bucket to make it light up. People (your author included) will be jealous!
Mickey’s Crisped Rice Treats – purchase in a “regular store” and save 30 cents.
Youse Guys Moychandise and the Newsstand will be open should you need a last minute glow stick or Mickey shirt. These are little “pop up” stores on the Streets of America sidewalks.
At 5:30pm, the Mulch, Sweat, and Shears truck will drive down the Streets of America and park on the Star Tours/Muppet Vision 3D side. Very festively decorated:
They just talk through most of their set, but they’ll play maybe one holiday song and one other song between 5:40pm and the 6pm Lights ceremony. At 6pm, they head off to Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat to continue their talking show.
For one reason or another, most of the people you see present from 5pm to 5:45pm will be sitting on the curb. Just look at them behind this jumble of managers. It’s not a Parade – you can fill in the street. The Mulch, Sweat, Shears truck will come through at 5:30pm and you’ll need to move to the side, but other than that, the street is preferable. If you’re looking for somewhere in the area to sit that’s more comfortable, try Studio Catering Company around the corner across from Backlot Tour. There are plenty of tables all around that area. In this picture below, it would be located around Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure to the right.
Getting a little busier around 5:45pm.
Streets of America filling in.
The lighting of the Osborne Lights should be preceded by a preshow featuring Mickey, Goofy, and a “family of the day.” Unfortunately, that didn’t happen this evening. Hopefully it’s a “one off” oversight as the show did take place the night before.
Right at 6pm, a voice over the loudspeaker should introduce Mickey, Goofy, and the family of the day. At that time, it will begin “snowing” on the Streets of America. Following the Lighting ceremony, the Lights will begin “dancing” to the music.
A few poor shots of the Lights, just to give you an idea of the size and scope:
A video of the dancing portion from WDWMAGIC.com:
Best time to see the Osborne Lights:
The least crowded time to visit the Osborne Lights is around the time the Studios is officially scheduled to “close.” The Lights will stay on and continue to dance for at least 30 minutes after the official Park close. Because most people don’t know this and instinctively head to the exit, the Streets of America is less crowded from 15 minutes before Park close to 30 minutes after. Otherwise, the best time to see the Lights is just before they’re turned on at 6pm. Luckily, the 6:30pm Fantasmic show takes 7,000 to 9,000 people away from the Lights when they’re turned on. Once that Fantasmic gets out, many of those people make their way over to the Osborne Lights, causing it to stay crowded from 7:15pm – 7:45pm as well. The Lighting Ceremony is a lot of fun and should your group consist of adults, you shouldn’t have much of a problem moving around the crowd that forms just as the Lights are turned on. With kids, walking around and enjoying the Lights becomes more difficult because you’ll have one eye on the kids and the other eye on the Lights. Or worse, both eyes on the kids and no eyes on the Lights.
While the Streets of America may seem unnecessarily wide and desolate during normal hours, the area fills up during the Osborne Lights:
Expect to see a lot of people from 5:45pm – 7:45pm. Avoid this timeframe unless the Mickey Mouse Lighting Ceremony is important.
If you want to see the Lighting Ceremony with Mickey Mouse, consider arriving just before 6pm, watching the show, and then leaving the area until after 7:45pm.
Disney will most likely have the entrance to the Streets of America near Star Tours and Tatooine Traders blocked off while the Lights are turned on. You’ll need to continue walking down toward Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show. I recommend walking all the way down to the end of the Streets and entering at the end near Lights, Motors. This is a more “awesome experience” than turning at the first street you’ll see on your right. If you’re coming from the Backlot Tour/Pixar Place area, this is also where you’ll begin your tour.
Most people spend about 20 minutes looking at the Osborne Lights, but you’re welcome to spend as much or as little time as you like.
You absolutely do not want to visit Hollywood Studios during the holiday season without seeing the Osborne Lights. It’s one of Disney’s best holiday shows.