A Christmas tradition came to an end last night. Not for everyone — the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will continue through the end of the year at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But last night was my last night to see them.
Disney is planning some major reconstruction in the upcoming year, on the area that’s now occupied by the Streets of America – the false-front movie-set streets designed to represent historic San Francisco and New York City. Added Star Wars attractions will take the place of this (admittedly aging) part of the park. And that’s great for the Jedis among us. But all the light sabers in the world can’t compete with this holiday display.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve gone to Disney, just to see these lights. It’s easily been a decade or more. Each time, I take my mother, and we get to experience the closest thing to “snow” that you’ll see in Florida (more like soapy suds that float down from the rooftops). At least one year it rained. A couple of times the temperature was genuinely chilly enough to warrant a sweatshirt. Once, my mom was recovering from pneumonia — but still, we went. Every year I thought about taking my camera and tripod, but this is the first year that I actually did it.
The lights used to be held on what was then Disney-MGM’s Residential Street. They moved to the city when that part of the park was closed and demolished (sadly, taking away the Golden Girls house, and a few other notable TV and movie sets). Later, the whole setup was converted to LED lights, and computerized. The show went from sublime to stunning.
January 3, 2016 will be the final night for the light show as we now know it. Disney hasn’t revealed any plans to move the lights to a new location, which I suspect (or at least hope) is a marketing strategy. If everyone thinks this is their last chance to see the lights, everyone will come to the park this year. But it’s hard to imagine that the park would allow a tradition like this one to go away — not to mention the capital investment in lights and technology, along with the potential sponsorship revenue. I’m still hoping that, in the new year, we’ll receive word that the lights are moving to another part of the park, or maybe to another Disney park.
But just to be safe, you’d better go now and see them. One last time.
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is included with your admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Admission is $97 for adults, $91 for children 3-9. The park hopper option adds $64 — but allows you to go from one park to another on the same day. Details on Disney’s ticket prices can be found here. If you’re thinking of going, you can find a deal on a hotel using the Booking.com box on this page.