Saturday, January 10, 2015

#50 - Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Category: Seasonal
Category Rank: 6

Park: Hollywood Studios
Park Rank: 6

We start our 2nd ten with our first seasonal item.  This category obviously relates to things that are not permanent attractions, but come out at the same time each year.  Seasonal events are like Magic-squared, given that you get the overall magic of the park, as represented by all the things on this list, and add to it other special events AND the fun of that particular season.

Christmas, for example, is a unique experience all in of itself, and it represents half the seasonal events on this list.  And, that was somewhat of a slight, as there are many Christmas traditions in WDW that could easily find their way on a list like this.  Everything from the big trees that decorate each of the parks to the decorations at the resorts, to things like the gigantic gingerbread houses that sell gingerbread shingles... the World is an entirely different experience at Christmas time.

We have been to WDW three times during the Christmas season, so the seasonal aspects hold quite a bit of nostalgic longing for our family.  We consider it the best time to be in the park, and only part of that is because its the best time to avoid Iowa's weather.

One of the most unique items on our list is the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, proudly keeping the tradition of making the official title way longer than it needs to be.  The lights are a Clark Griswold-like display on the Streets of America within Hollywood Studios.  This display is set up in November and December only to coincide with the Christmas season.  There are lights everywhere except for the street you walk on, and they are all synchronized to blink to the different music (think the infamous Engineer's Christmas synchronized to Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which launched the YouTube sensations and the subsequent reality shows).

This tradition came, not from the Osborne Family of Ozzy Osborne fame (thank goodness), but rather from Jennings Osborne and his family in Arkansas, which had been going full Griswold before there was a Griswold.  They "shared their magic with the world" in 1995, as the website proclaims.  And thank goodness they did.  The streets are rather barren otherwise, and looks amazingly empty and a huge waste of space the rest of the year.

A few thoughts about its ranking on this list:  It is easy to see how this item makes the list, as it is easy to recognize and remember.  It is unbelievably crowded when the lights show comes alive, as people love wandering the streets in wonder.  However... it is just Christmas lights, and while it is a memorable part of Christmas, it falls much more in the "yes, we need to see it to get our 15 seconds of wow completed, and then it is checked off our list" part of our itineraries.  And, as far as Christmas decorations go, I feel Hollywood Studios is much weaker than the other parks.  It's almost like they can't come up with any creative ways to implement Christmas other than that one item... as though it sucked up all their creativity (or electricity).

It is properly placed here at the back end of the top 60 list, since it is definitely memorable and has its place, but isn't a headliner item when it comes to thinking of WDW.  I think if given a sheet of paper, a pencil, and the order to write down the things that come to mind when thinking of WDW, this won't appear on your list until someone reminds you of it, and then you say "Oh yeah!".  However, because of the magnitude of the display and the fact that it appears next to very little else in the park, this event makes it over things like the Jingle Jungle Parade in Animal Kingdom or the Candlelight Processional at Epcot, which don't make it at all.

Our next item takes us back to an ambience, again within Epcot.  This one will be a bit of a surprise on the list, as it isn't that memorable to most people, but is one of my personal favorites.

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