The Main Street Electrical Parade
"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Walt Disney World proudly presents our spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination in thousands of sparkling lights and electrosynthomagnetic musical sounds... the 'Main Street Electrical Parade!'"
The legendary Main Street Electrical Parade originally debuted in Disneyland on June 17, 1972. Since then, it has been seen by guests in all four of Disney's theme parks, including Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland. Currently, the parade still makes its daily appearance at Disney's California Adventure in Disneyland, and at Disneyland Paris. In Walt Disney World, the parade was replaced by "SpectroMagic," and in Tokyo Disneyland, it was replaced by "Dreamlights."
On June 11, 1977, a version of the parade that was slightly different than the Disneyland original debuted in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Floats in the parade included the Blue Fairy from "Pinocchio," the Casey Junior Circus Train (from "Dumbo"), with Goofy at the controls, pulling a huge bass drum that read, "The Magic Kingdom Presents Main Street Electrical Parade" in multicolored lights.
Sponsored by Energizer, more than 27 tons of batteries powered the lights, audio and floats - they provided enough power to light 32 homes. The final float was a tribute to America. The memorable theme from the parade was adapted from a 1967 synthesizer piece known as "Baroque Hoedown," written by Gershon Kingsley and Jean-Jacques Perrey. It was discovered by Jack Wagner, the longtime "voice of Disneyland." (He's the monorail narrator? you know, the "Please stand clear of the doors" guy). Paul Beaver, a pioneer in the world of synthesized music, took the song and mixed in themes from some of its classic films. The tune was updated in 1977 by Don Dorsey.
After 15 seasons in Orlando, it made its final journey down Main Street in Walt Disney World on September 14, 1992, before it was moved to Disneyland Paris. It was replaced by a new spectacle of nighttime lights and music, "SpectroMagic." The Magic Kingdom's most technologically advanced parade to date, "SpectroMagic" featured classic Disney characters like Mickey, who conjures up the parade through his sparkling crystal ball, and Goofy, who performs in the parade band.
SpectroMagic uses advanced technologies such as 100 miles of fiber optic cables and threads to cast more than 72,000 watts of light onto the streets of the Magic Kingdom. The more than 250,000 fiber optic points of light are found in the form of dancing Disney characters, birds, butterflies and other animals. In fact, more than 30 computers are used to control the lights alone! The opening features Mickey and the Spectrowizards, with the finale including the wicked Chernabog from Fantasia. On May 28, 1999, the Main Street Electrical Parade made its return to Walt Disney World as part of the Millennium Celebration? Sort of.
Instead of the Walt Disney World version that was now in France, the Disneyland version that had been running until 1996 was brought over. It underwent a dramatic "makeover" including the addition 575,000 new lights, and replaced "SpectroMagic." On April 1, 2001, this cherished favorite ended its run at Walt Disney World permanently to make way for the return of "SpectroMagic." The Main Street Electrical Parade was renamed "Disney's Electrical Parade" and was moved to Disney's California Adventure in July of 2001.
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About the Author: Louis Mongello has been fascinated by Walt Disney World throughout his more than 50 visits, and in the process learned everything he could about the history, secrets and inner workings of the resort. He is the author of the Walt Disney World Trivia books and owner of http://www.DisneyWorldTrivia.com