Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Osborne Family Spectacle of Many, Many, Blinking LIGHTS!!!

In 1986, Jennings and Mitzi Osborne’s daughter, Breezy asked her parents to decorate their home in Christmas lights. Eighteen years, three million lights and a $10,000 fine later, the display could no longer continue in their home town of Little Rock, Arkansas. Osborne had violated his court-ordered light schedule for a family that had arrived a little too late in the evening to see the lights and that was the end…until Disney heard of the plight of Mr. Osborne and his lights. Flash forward one year to 1995, when the Osborne Family Lights found their new home on “Residential Street” in Disney’s MGM Studios. It is a display that takes Disney’s crew several months to put up each year.

To name a few things included in or required of this MASSIVE display:

- 30,000 lights on a giant, red canopy
- 800,000 watts of electricity
- 80,000 lights on a 70 foot Christmas tree
- Over 1,500 dimmable relay circuits (to make ‘em dance)
- 110 angels
- 33 snow machines using 100 gallons of liquid “snow” each evening

Click below for a slideshow of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights


Since their arrival almost thirteen years ago, the lights have thrilled millions of visitors to the Studios each year. From late November through early January, the lights begin at dusk and continue until closing. There have been several variations over the years from the introduction of some very bizarre glasses that made each light appear to be an angel (uh, yeah and they danced if you rocked your head back and forth too……) to their current incarnation as “dancing” lights. The displays are now choreographed to blink, fade and twinkle with some of our favorite Christmas songs. From old favorites like “Jingle Bell Rock” to newer ones such as “Christmas Eve in Sarajevo” the lights put on a show that can’t be beat.

Combine the dancing aspect with the already amazing display and throw in a little Disney “snow” and you have a winter wonderland smack in the middle of Florida. Trust me; it’s a sight you need to see to truly appreciate!

Click below to see the lights DANCE!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Christmas Day Parade, a.k.a. "My Butt is Numb"

So, it’s Christmas day and we’re all together as one big, happy, Disney-obsessed family. Now, where are Regis and Kelly? The short answer is, they’re at home with their families. So many people travel to WDW each year and stake their claim for the perfect parade spot, hoping to catch a glimpse of their two favorite morning people as they host the Christmas Day parade. What many don’t realize is that the parade that you watch at home on Christmas Day was shot about two and a half weeks earlier. Sorry folks, no Disney Regis for Christmas.

But, come on!!! It’s Christmas day and you’re in the MAGIC KINGDOM for goodness sakes! Let’s have a little decorum and be glad that we’re here. The parade that takes place on Christmas day, “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” is still about as magical as it gets. It’s essentially the same parade that takes place during each night of “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” (we’ll get to that soon) and it is amazing. In addition to the cast of characters that we’ve come to expect and almost demand from a Disney parade, there are some extra-special characters. From Scrooge McDuck to the gang of reindeer to a complete band (yes, BAND) of Toy Soldiers there are some essential and magical additions to the Christmas parade. I might be leaving someone out of there but you’ll just have to come see the parade for yourself (or check out the pictures) to see who!

Let’s get back to staking your claim for that perfect spot. Many of us have had the experience of sitting on the curb thirty minutes before a parade to get a good, unobstructed spot but you’ll need a little more than that for the Christmas Day parade. Would you believe………two hours? No, sadly I’m not kidding and that’s why this blog is so aptly titled. Many of your extremities WILL be numb by the time you hear the distant beginnings of parade music, rounding the bend that you can barely see from your carefully-carved seat in the pavement. I assure you though, the minute that the beginning of the floats and characters gets to you and the Christmas spirit takes hold, you’ll be hooked. Or it may just take that moment when you see the look in your child’s eyes for it to all be worth it and that dead-leg syndrome will be a distant memory, soon replaced by some much better, much more magical Disney Christmas memories!

Click below for a slideshow of Christmas Day Parade pictures!!!

Christmas Parade Walt Disney World December 2007

The Christmas Castle

Cinderella Castle; we know it, we love it and it’s the first thing that most of us associate with the Magic Kingdom if not WDW in general. But, for those of us who might not have ever been to WDW during the holidays, what happens to transform the most magical place on earth into a winter wonderland?

Well, the quick answer is “Far too much to type in one blog.” but one of the biggest transformations happens on the very face of Cinderella Castle itself. Beginning in 2007, WDW turned our favorite castle into a spectacle of twinkling, winter magic. Before many of us began to even think of Christmas presents, big dinners or whether or not Aunt Edna’s cat would get into the Jell-o again this year, crews in the Magic Kingdom began to painstakingly install some 200,000 LED lights. Across the turrets, walls and entire fa├žade of our favorite castle, an ice palace of epic proportions began to take shape for all to see.

Click below for a slideshow of Cinderella Castle at Christmas time!!!


Disney’s “Castle Dream Lights” bring an amazing blue glow to the sky each night beginning in late November and lasting through the Holiday Season. What does it take to light up an entire castle? A lot, including….

• Five weeks and 65 elves
• Two pretty big cranes
• 15 miles of cable
• 32,000 square feet of fishing nets
• 200,000 energy-efficient LEDs
• 500 strobes

The castle lights up during each of these nights during a short show that is narrated by some of our favorite Disney characters. Over the course of a few minutes, the most well-known castle in the entire world becomes a twinkling, blinking, mesmerizing sight that you’ll never forget. Of course, this is just one of many reasons to make a trip to WDW during the holidays. Keep checking back and we’ll keep telling you about more as we get closer to the holidays!!!

Click below for a video of the Magic Kingdom's Christmas "Kiss Goodnight"!

Halloween at Disney

Spending any holiday at Walt Disney World is a blast. By this I mean any holiday. If Disney did an Arbor Day celebration, we’d be there with our families. But really, who doesn’t love Halloween? After all, this is our one chance during the year to be someone we aren’t and NOT get in trouble for it! We all loved Halloween when we were kids and those who have kids now have the fun of watching them enjoy it.

Click below for a slideshow of Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Pictures!!!

As with anything, Disney does Halloween and they do it right! The best example of this is Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or MNSSHP as you might see it written in some places. The Halloween party is one of Disney’s three hard-ticketed events (the others being Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Mickey’s Pirate and Princess Party) and is set up in the same way. The Magic Kingdom will close to the general public at 7pm and then the real fun begins!

Click below for a video of the Headless Horseman!!!

Your ticket to the party includes the “Boo-to-You” Halloween parade; trick-or-treating around the park at candy stations set up in various locations (avoid the gummy hot dogs and hamburgers. Trust me on this.), characters all dressed up in their costumes (bring yours too!) and the HalloWishes fireworks display which features fireworks being launched from ALL around the park!

But there is SO much more to the party than that. The “Boo-to-You” parade is really one that you don’t want to miss. From the Headless Horseman’s ride along the parade route to get things started to the Grave Diggers and their sparking shovels, it’s really a sight to be seen and experienced. We haven’t even talked about the fact that this party, like the other two allows you to ride some of your favorite Magic Kingdom rides with a much-reduced crowd since party tickets are limited. Since those tickets are limited though, they sell FAST! Halloween night is already sold out but there are still some available. If you’re interested, just click on our link for The Magic for Less Travel where one of their Disney-specialized agents can help you make your Not-So-Scary Halloween trip plans!

Click below for a video of the Gravediggers!!!

MNSSHP Quick Facts:

- Advance Purchase tickets are:
o $42.95 + tax (Ages 3 - 9)
o $48.95 + tax (Ages 10+)
- Day-of-event tickets are:
o $49.95 + tax (Ages 3 - 9)
o $55.95 + tax (Ages 10+)
- Party runs on select dates from September 5th through October 31st (September 16, 19, 23, 26, 28, 30. October 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 13, 16, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, 31)