Disney Hollywood Studios is host to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights display. Through a pleasant set of circumstances, I found myself there on a Tuesday night in late November, and I was totally enthralled. The thirty-five miles of lights are all timed to the Christmas music, and Disney’s magic touch has graced this exhibition.
Between performances, the streets are lit bright as day, but when one of the shows starts (only one song long at a time), the lights go dark, and the crowd stills. Then the first notes of the carol sound, and the lights begin to flash in unison with the rhythm of the song. Christmas trees, angels, nutcrackers, Santa, reindeer, and even the lights shining on a Nativity flash in unison with the beat, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas! The crowd’s energy becomes palpable as the music reaches its crescendo. By the end of the song, the crowd is laughing, dancing, and singing along while speckled with manufactured snow, fluttering down from the surrounding rooftops.
If you should find yourself in a situation to enjoy this fabulous spectacle, take advantage. You won’t regret it.
During the evening, I had the pleasure of speaking to one of the lighting technicians. While learning of behind-the-scenes details (they’re having problems with orange lights and probably won’t use them next year), a more amusing tale than the rest came to light (pun intended). Did you know there’s a Halloween cat in the mix?
The story told was of Disney, Inc. sending the big rigs to pick up the lights from the Osborne’s in Little Rock, Arkansas. When the family toured the display for the first time (nineteen years ago), Mitzi Osborne exclaimed, “There’s my cat!” The technicians at the time did not realize the purple cat with red eyes was not part of the Christmas display, and they had inadvertently taken one the family’s Halloween decorations. They offered to return it to her, but she insisted it stay with Christmas. She loved it. So, a tradition was born.
Nineteen years later, the cat still graces the display. A fable has grown that if you find the cat, you’ll have good luck. So the techs move it around periodically. That way, no one person can spoil it for the rest of the guests.
Now, I’m not the world’s biggest Disney fan. There is a great deal of negativity in their organization. However, one cannot deny the joy on people’s faces who are fortunate enough to be a part of this cultural phenomena. If you’re one of the anti-Disney brigade, I suggest you drop the hostility and allow yourself to be a part of the delight the Disney parks can bring.