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Tree Lighting Tips from the Experts at Disney World

USMagazine, Thursday, December 2, 2010, 7:19am (PST)

If Tuesday's annual tree lighting at Rockefeller Center sparked a desire for a "flip the switch" event at home, then follow these tips from the organizers of Disney World's Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.

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Light It Up with LEDs

These alternatives to the incandescent bulbs use about 1/10th of the electricity and last for much longer. "What is really wonderful about them is they almost last forever," Mark O'Connor, lighting designer for Walt Disney Entertainment, tells UsMagazine.com. "Last year, about 70 percent of our display at Disney World was LEDs." The strands come in the same varieties as traditional lights, plus a few upgrades. "Look for LEDs that can be put in liquid, which are great for floral displays," O'Connor suggests.

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Think Beyond the Tree

Basically, the more lights, the better. Put strands in garlands and on wreaths. Or create a wrap for a bannister or mantle with an LED strand affixed to a sheer ribbon.

Safety First

Keep plenty of outlet strips handy. "Make sure you have a strip that is fused to add extra protection," Lisa Borotkanics, manager of Holiday Services for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, tells Us. Also, consider using a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). This protects light plugs from any moisture or water.

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Time It Perfectly

Build excitement around the lighting with an hour-by-hour countdown. "Sunset is the magical time for flipping the switch," Borotkanics tells Us. Plug your lights into an outlet that is light-switch controlled, or use an automatic light timer. "Both create a 'tah-dah' without scrambling to plug anything in," she says.

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