There is nothing quite like The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios to put everyone in the Christmas spirit. And this year, the Disney entertainment team has added two more goodies to the experience.
Goofy's Winter Wonderland has been set up in Tri-City Square, to the right of the huge lighted globe as you approach it from the Streets of America. It's in the location where the Nativity had been for many years. Don't worry, though, the Nativity is still part of the annual display, just as Jennings Osborne intended when he created this Christmas experience. Look for it near the Premiere Theater.
Goofy's Winter Wonderland is the place to meet Santa Goofy and get your photo taken. When we visited on opening weekend, the line snaked back to the gift shop across from Studio Catering Co. and I thought we were in for a long wait. It turned out to only be about 20 minutes, though, before we were posing with Goofy. Cast members do explain that no autographs are allowed, so that the line does keep moving. In addition, there are Disney PhotoPass photographers stationed in key spots on the Streets of America for those who want to capture other memorable moments.
For those not familiar with The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, the display was created by an Arkansas man for his 6-year-old daughter in 1986. To her delight, he added more lights and features every year. But many neighbors were upset by the traffic the lights generated and sued Osborne, which ultimately forced him to shut down the display.
Disney offered to acquire the lights in 1995 and has continued to expand the display over the years, adding nightly snow flurries, Hidden Mickeys, more lights -- the total is up to 5 million now, and a growing musical playlist. This year, a special arrangement of the classic “Winter Wonderland” by Disney Creative Entertainment Music Director Dan Stamper joins the lineup.
The current music includes:
** “Jingle Bells” by Barbra Streisand
** “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano
** “A Mad Russian's Christmas” and “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24″ by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
** “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops
** “Christmas Is Starting Now” by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy from “Phineas and Ferb”
** “I'm Gettin' Nuttin' for Christmas” by the Plain White T's from “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice”
** “Winter Wonderland” originally by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith (1934), arranged by Dan Stamper (2012)
No matter the temperature of the Florida night, my children -- and many other guests -- associate winter activities, such as seeing the lights at Hollywood Studios, with drinking hot cocoa. Disney recognizes this and offers the sweet drink at concession stands on the Streets of America. From what we saw this year, it appears to be only available in souvenir mugs for about $5 per serving. A tip for those not interested in the mug: stop by the ABC Commissary on your way to the lights to purchase a cup of hot cocoa for about half the price.
Guests who wish to wear some lighted holiday cheer themselves can buy the popular light-up necklaces at gift shops in the park and on Streets of America. There are several varieties from past years, including the holiday string of lights and winking snowmen styles. New this year is a light-up Santa Mickey.
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights begin each night at dusk, which usually means about 6 p.m. in Florida at this time of the year, and continue until park closing. The experience is included in regular admission to the Walt Disney World park.
The previous post in this blog was Review: Dinner at Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom's New Fantasyland.
The next post in this blog is Santa's Fireside Feast begins with Christmas season at SeaWorld Orlando.