Ring in the holidays with this video of the 2015 Osborne Family Spectacle lighting ceremony. (Photos/video by Seth Kubersky)
Walt Disney World‘s holiday season celebrations are in full swing, and the final season of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is drawing huge crowds each night to the Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Recently, I brought you video of the Spectacle, featuring three full performances from the Dancing Lights. After that posting, some readers wondered whether the small ceremony that kicks off each evening’s illumination is still occurring. Well, wonder no more, because I’ve brought you this complete video of the 2015 Osborne Family Spectacle lighting ceremony:
Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, the long-running nighttime spectacular at Epcot, is beloved by many. But is it really that good? Let’s break it down.
Backstory: The first incarnation of an Epcot nighttime show premiered in the fall of 1982 and was called Carnival de Lumiere (no relation to the candelabra from the not yet conceived Beauty and the Beast film.) This small scale fountain show was replaced a year later by A New World Fantasy and that show was replaced yet another year later by Laserphonic Fantasy. Both of these shows used fireworks, lasers, lights, and projection screens on barges all set to classical music. The first version of the show actually titled IllumiNations began in 1988 and continued with some variations until 1999 when it was replaced by the current show Reflections of Earth. This version of the show was originally conceived as a signature attraction of the Walt Disney World Millennium Celebration but has been showed continuously ever since with the only variation being a special ending for the Christmas holiday season.
Touring Strategy: The show takes place at the center of World Showcase lagoon so it can be seen in full from anywhere around the lagoon, with the fireworks visible from many parts of Future World as well. The really good spots for IllumiNations do go early, however, especially in busier times of year. Without a reservation at a restaurant on the lagoon, your best walk-up locations to see IllumiNations are the raised area in front of the Italy pavilion and the area in front of the Yorkshire County Fish Shop in the United Kingdom pavilion. If these areas are being used for special events, consider the bridge between France and the United Kingdom and the area between Mexico and Norway. Just keep in mind that these locations can fill up by 45-minutes before showtime. If you don’t mind being partially blocked by a tree, a fence, or a guy taking selfies in front of you, then you can grab a location at pretty much any point before the show begins. (FastPass+ is not recommended but if you choose to use it, you will be positioned between the gift shops at the front of World Showcase and should arrive at least 20 minutes before showtime.)
Disney has been changing up their FastPass+ options lately. Earlier this week, Brian shared that Epcot would be seeing some major changes what with Soarin’s upcoming refurbishment, as well as with the closure of Captain EO.
Now, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be seeing a FastPass+ change as well with the addition of Flights of Wonder into the mix. Beginning on November 25, Guests will have the opportunity to choose the exotic bird show as one of their three experiences. This educational show combines live animals, a conservation message, and humor.
FastPass+ Attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (as of November 25)
Festival of the Lion King
Finding Nemo – The Musical
Flights of Wonder
It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
Kali River Rapids
Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
As a reminder, Guests who visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom have the option to choose from any of the FastPass+ attractions available to make up their first three FastPass+ selections. For more information about using FastPass+ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, make sure to check out our tips page.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom‘s expansion is rolling on and today Disney announced a brand new signature table service restaurant called Tiffins will be opening its doors on Discovery Island, next door to Pizzafari.
Tiffins, which is an Indian English word that means a midday meal or a type of container used to carry food while traveling, will celebrate the diverse art of traveling. (The artwork looks fabulous, by the way!)
The table service restaurant, which will be open for both lunch and dinner will feature a diverse menu that draws from places that inspired the creation of the park. Tiffins will also include waterfront views from both indoor and outdoor seating areas.
The restaurant will be opening in the spring of 2016 around the same time as the debut of Rivers of Light, as well as the nighttime version of Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Are you excited about Rivers of Light, the new nighttime spectacular headed to Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Details have been minimal so far, but today, Disney shared some more about this stirring new show, as well as some gorgeous new concept art.
The main concept of the nighttime show is that as you move from day to night, the animal rules change.
For those who don’t know, Rivers of Light is going to take place on the Discovery River in between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest. The main concept of the nighttime show is that as you move from day to night, the animal rules change. The show will feature a pair of mystic hosts have come to the river and are bringing with them the gift of light.
Disney will soon be rolling out the Made with Magic interactive merchandise collection to Epcot beginning on November 23. For those who don’t know, Made with Magic products are programmed to light up and change color along with moments that occur during nighttime events in the parks, such as Fantasmic, The Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights, and Wishes. At Epcot, these products will soon be able to interact with key moments that occur in World Showcase.
Guests will be able to choose between the light up Mickey Ear Hat, the Minnie Mouse Headband, Mickey Mouse Glove, or Sorcerer Mickey’s Wand. The Made with Magic merchandise costs $25 each and guests will be able to pick them up at the following locations in Epcot:
Kiosk near Disney Traders
American Adventure Cart
With the addition of these items now working in Epcot, as well as the recent new products that are offered, are you more likely to purchase a Made with Magic item?
Thanks to the folks at the WDW Today podcast, I was able to put together a timeline of things that my parents and I will have to do to prepare for our Walt Disney World trip. I put it together in August and sent it to my father…and then completely forgot about it.
Suddenly a couple of weeks ago, I realized that some of those things on the timeline were quickly approaching. I called up my dad and we discussed a few things concerning our lodging. With his input, I know that we made some good choices.
As I mentioned recently, for Star Wars fans, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is going to be the place to be coming up this winter at Walt Disney World. The fun will be staggered, but begins soon – December 1. Actually, some of the fun has already started, as the new scene and other fun surprises have already been added to Star Tours: The Adventures Continue.
As a reminder, here is what Guests can expect to see beginning December 1 in the park, transporting them to a galaxy far, far away:
Star Wars Launch Bay
Located in Animation Courtyard, the Star Wars Launch Bay will be a primary location within the park for fans to celebrate all things Star Wars. Guests will be able to see special concept artwork, interact with beloved Star Wars characters, tour galleries featuring treasured memorabilia and replicas of large-scale Star Wars artifacts, including ones from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and play the latest Star Wars interactive video games, plus you’ll of course, have access to special Star Wars merchandise.
In our second segment of music from Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we go to the section of the park that revolves around Africa. This area includes a village called Harambe and the attractions Kilimanjaro Safaris and Festival of the Lion King.
Harambe Village (and its market) has a nice variety of music in its area. It doesn’t stick to the norm, but mixes styles that make you feel like you’re in a real African village.
The village was created as a good connection to the savannah that you see in Kilimanjaro Safaris. The idea was that people who lived in the village would be in charge of the savannah and the safari rides. There’s a lot of history shown through the weathered buildings, fort, and canons. But the area music brings out the modern style.
Crowds across Walt Disney World Resort were slightly lower than expected overall in the early part of last week and higher than expected in the latter half of the week. Again last week we saw record breaking wait times for this time of year. On Monday for example, At Magic Kingdom we saw a crowd level ‘9’. The same day last year was a crowd level ‘1’. Animal Kingdom saw some wild swings in wait times day-to-day although four of the seven days the Disney World Crowd Calendar was within one of what we observed at that park.
We recently added a collection of videos to our YouTube channel that show samples of walkthroughs at the Magic Kingdom during various crowd level days. Take a look and let us know what you think.
Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the Disney World Crowd Calendar Report: