The Osbourne Lights Disney MGM Studios

Years back, a man from Arkansas tried to make Christmas magical for himself, his family, and especially his little girl, Breezy.  He had the most incredible spectacle of lights anyone had ever seen, and people came from miles, no, hundreds of miles to see the annual display.  Unfortunately, this man lived in Grinchville, and his neighbors complained.  A lot.  They didn’t like the traffic, the people, the mess the people made parking all over, walking on their lawns, and they demanded that this man take down his lights.  Not to disappoint his family and his beautiful little daughter, this man went all the way to the Arkansas Supreme Court before finally accepting the fact in 1994 that he would no longer be allowed to put out his Christmas display.

But wait!   In 1995, a Mouse came to the rescue.  And from that was born the Osbourne Spectacle of Lights, courtesy of Jennings Osbourne and Mickey Mouse.  The light display that made so many people happy would now be available for the world to see, as it transformed Residential Street at Disney MGM Studios into a Winter Wonderland, with colorful, twinkling lights and animated displays for as far as the eye can see.

Disney added lights and changed a few things over the years, and in 2003, due to renovations being made at Disney MGM Studios, the light spectacle was not displayed at all.  But it came back in 2004, on New York Street.  Each night during the holiday season, the lights go on in a short ceremony, snow comes gently falling down, and throngs of guests put on special effects glasses that make each light look like a snowflake, an angel, whatever they decide that year.  There are vendors through the display offering hot cocoa in holiday mugs and you can take as long as you like, roaming up and down, admiring the talent and effort that goes in to putting up so many lights.

Is this a must see?   I would rank this among one of the things not to miss if you are going to be in Disney World during the holidays.  I would say in terms of holiday spirit, if I had to choose between this and the Candlelight Processional, I would choose the Candlelight every time.  But this display is one of a kind, chock full of the spirit of Christmas, and a joy for the eye to see.

EPCOT Candlelight Processional

If you are spending any part of your holiday season in Disney World, this is a not to be missed event that will have you wishing you could come back to Disney every year at Christmas time.  This is a very popular, celebrity hosted event, and there are two ways to get in to see it.  Anyone who purchases a ticket (any ticket – annual pass, seasonal pass, park hopper, single day ticket) into EPCOT center, can go to see one of the three nightly performances that takes place from the day after Thanksgiving up until the day before New Year’s Eve.  There is no extra charge to go and see this spectacular holiday event.  HOWEVER…

Disney sells what are called Candlelight Processional Dining Packages.  These packages include your dinner at one of the participating restaurants and reserved general seating for one of the three shows.  The packages are sold at three different price levels, depending on the restaurant you choose.  For example, Tier I is about $30 per adult (not including tax or gratuity), and you are limited to the Garden Grill restaurant or the Biergarten.  Tier II is about $39, and includes restaurants like the San Angel Inn and the Rose and Crown Pub.  Tier III, the most expensive at about $46 per adult, includes the most restaurants.  With that package, you can dine at Chefs de France, the Coral Reef, and Le Cellier, and a few others.  The meal includes an appetizer, an entree and a dessert.  Alcoholic beverages are not included, and park admission is still required – this price does not include your admission to EPCOT. 

With the package, you will be able to enter the American Gardens theater, and everyone who has purchased a package is escorted in first.  There are no reserved seats, just the guarantee that you will have a seat in the theater.  As the line of package purchasers begins to dwindle, they then allow those people who have not purchased packages to file in to the theater.  People line up at least 30 minutes prior to the start of each show to get standby seating, and closer to Christmas, I have seen people waiting an hour or more.  You are NOT guaranteed a seat if you do not purchase the dinner package.  If you have your heart set on seeing a particular celebrity perform this event, I HIGHLY recommend the package.

The show itself is a 150 member choir, providing the music that weaves together a retelling of the story of Christmas.  The story is told by a celebrity narrator, and in the past, the narrators have included Gary Sinise (Forrest Gump, CSI:NY); James Caviezel (Passion of the Christ); Rita Moreno (Broadway); and other stars of stage, screen, TV and music.  The music is beautiful, the story is, of course, beautiful, and the experience is one of the best for your money at Disney World. 

If you plan on doing a dinner package, book it as soon as possible once the packages are available.  They do sell out, as the restaurants book up quickly.  You DO need to make an advanced dining reservation when you purchase the package.

And look for the CD of the Candlelight Processional when you leave.  We find ourselves listening to it at all times of the year!