Walt Disney World knows how to use lights and lighting effects to surprise and delight its guests, from the ice lights that adorn Cinderella Castle every winter to the colored fountain lights and globe screen in Illuminations at Epcot.
Perhaps the most impressive use of lights is the annual Christmas Osborne display. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, which goes up every year at Disney's Hollywood Studios for the holiday season, combines millions of colorful bulbs into an eye-searing extravaganza.
Over the past several years, the light count has gone up and the once-static display has been coordinated to music. Originally there were three songs, but now it's expanded to eight, with a closely coordinated light show where you'll even see the lights "blow out" with the wind in "Winter Wonderland."
In fact, that detailed of coordination of lights and music is one reason the park doesn't use the popular light show song "Wizards of Winter," according to Robert Hamberg, a producer at WDW Entertainment who's instrumental in making sure the display is up, ready, and perfect each year. It takes seven to eight weeks to put them up and a little over two weeks to take them down, a time frame that's been reduced with practice over the years.
"We don't just want them going on and off," Hamberg explained. Instead, they're literally coordinated to perform effects in tandem with the music.
Click the video accompanying this article to hear more from Hamberg on the Osborne display and on another way lights are being used at the park: Glow With the Show Mickey ear hats, which perform along with Fantasmic and the Cinderella Castle projection show and fireworks. Although they only work at two parks now, Hamberg says there's a strong possibility that it will expand in the future.