We love Disneyland history and looking back at memories over the years. This article is no longer being updated, but is a great way to look back and see what was happening at Disneyland when this was originally published.
The Main Street Electrical Parade is returning to Disneyland on January 20 for a limited time engagement! Disneyland fans are more than excited to see the original parade return to its home after so many years. It’s a nostalgic spectacular you won’t want to miss if you’re visiting the Disneyland Resort between January 20th and June 18th this year. UPDATE: The parade has been extended to run through August 20, 2017. To fuel your excitement even more, here are 15 facts you might not know about the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland:
1. The original Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland was created by Imagineer Bob Jani and Ron Miziker. They didn’t go it alone, though – many designers and engineers from the Disney team were used to turn the parade from a dream into a reality.
2. It was inspired by the Electrical Water Pageant that has run in Walt Disney World, around the Seven Seas Lagoon, since 1971. The water parade showcases sea creatures, King Neptune and other surprises as it glides past Disney’s Polynesian Resort and Contemporary Resort.
3. Disney hired a company in Chicago for production of the many light bulbs they would need. The company was known for its light displays on Michigan Avenue and seemed a perfect choice to create the floats for the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland.
4. Less than two months from the debut, the Chicago company was behind schedule so Disney moved all the supplies to a backstage area and hired multitudes of people to finish the project. The temporary workers not only assembled the floats, but hand-tinted and installed more than half a million light bulbs!
5. It’s rumored that the first rehearsal went terribly, with one of the floats even crashing into a Main Street U.S.A. building and many of the lights not working. While a float may not have crashed into a building, it’s probable that the engineers faced difficulties with the lights as it was reported that electricians were continuing to put finishing touches on the parade floats up until the moment they began the parade.
6. Luckily, the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland debuted on June 17, 1972 without a problem. It ran in the park for 24 years – the longest a parade has ever run in Disneyland history!
7. The original floats included the Blue Fairy, Alice in Wonderland, Casey Junior Circus Train, Dumbo’s Circus, Cinderella’s Ball, Chinese Dragon, “it’s a small world” and the American Finale. Most of them were two-dimensional at the time, with only a few three-dimensional parts. New floats have been added and updates have been made so that almost every float is now three-dimensional.
8. The first welcoming message of the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland was voiced by the original voice of Disneyland, Jack Wagner. His voice was used until 2009. Bill Rogers, also the current voice of Disneyland, now welcomes the crowd to the nighttime spectacular. Fun fact: Rogers is married to Camille Dixon, who is the voice of Disney California Adventure as well as the voice of Smith’s Marketplace!
9. Walt Disney was inspired by many things when creating Disneyland, one of those things being the Kansas City Electric Park that had a nightly firework show and light-up floating barges. This may have even been the inspiration that led the Imagineers to create the Electrical Water Pageant and therefore the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland.
10. In 2001, after a short time in Disney World, the Main Street Electrical Parade was supposed to return to Disneyland, but returned to Disney California Adventure instead to help boost attendance for the park’s opening summer.
11. When the parade ended in California Adventure in 2009 and was sent back to Disney World, lights from the floats were sold as souvenirs to commemorate the event.
12. The Main Street Electrical Parade was only supposed to run for one summer in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, but ended up running for six years and just barely ended last October. It’s obvious that this parade is a fan-favorite since it always sticks around!
13. The parade’s theme song is called “Baroque Hoedown” and was created in 1967, but has been tweaked with each change of the Main Street Electrical Parade. The most current version was created in 2009 and used over 11 synthesizers.
14. Disney released a new commercial announcing the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland on January 2nd. If you watch closely, you can find other attractions that are no-longer, like the Rocket Jets and PeopleMover.
15. There have been rumors that this will be the Main Street Electrical Parade’s final goodbye, although that has not been confirmed. We’ll let you know as soon as we hear anything!
We are so excited for the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland! It’s going to be truly magical to see classic floats like the Peter Pan characters, Pete’s Dragon and the huge drum announcing the parade once again.
Don’t miss this chance to share the nostalgia of the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland with your family! It will only be running from January 20th to August 20th, so book your hotel and Disneyland tickets now for the best prices and availability. Book our Disneyland packages online or give our Disneyland experts a call at 855-GET-AWAY. We can’t wait to help light up your next trip to Disneyland!
Chris Dallin is a Disneyland fanatic. He travels to the Disney parks several times a year and continues to find hidden gems, adventure, joy and magic in the Happiest Place on Earth. Tune into future blogs for additional ways to experience the magic of the Disney parks.
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