Today, September 11th, Disney Parks officially announced that this year is the final year of the Osborne Family Spectacle Dancing Lights to make way for Toy Story Land and Star Wars-Themed Land the lights have to go out.
What exactly is the story being the Osborne Family Spectacle Dancing Lights?
Christmas lights and decorations at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World was created by Jennings Osborne along with his wife Mitzi in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1968 for their daughter, Allison Brianne Osborne.
Jennings decorated their home with 1,000 lights and each year it grew, it grew so much that Jennings had to purchase two properties next to his own to display them. 6 neighbors filed a lawsuit because of traffic in their neighborhood, and the Osborne family responded to the lawsuit by adding 3 million more lights. Something I can only guess Walt Disney might’ve done too!
The county court ordered for a limited amount of days and hours that the Osborne can show their lights and the Jennings appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court but lost. Then in 1994 to the U.S. Supreme Court and Justice Clarence Thomas refused to halt the order, and in 1995, the state Supreme Court shut the display down altogether.
The family continued to have a light display but smaller afterwards. It wasn’t till after that Walt Disney World project director, John Phelan, after several other offers to host the display, that the Osborne family agreed to have the display on “Residential Street,” a back-lot section at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park.
Jennings Osborne was a fan of the resort and accepted Disney’s offer and it was in 1995 that the display was set up as “The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights,” becoming an immediate success.
Did you know after the 9/11 attack in 2001, the Osborne family displayed a lighted up American flag with the words “God Bless America and God Bless George W. Bush” across the top and bottom of the flag.