Main Street Electrical Parade

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Main Street Electrical Parade
Status Closed
Opening date June 17, 1972
Closing date November 25, 1996
Replaced by Light Magic
Paint the Night
Magic Kingdom
Status Operating
Opening date 1. June 11, 1977
2. May 21, 1999
3. June 5, 2010
Closing date 1. September 14, 1991
2. April 1, 2001
3. Open ended[1]
Replaced SpectroMagic
Tokyo Disneyland
Status Operating as Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights
Opening date March 9, 1985 (original)
2. June 17, 2001 (Dreamlights)
Closing date June 21, 1995 (original)
Disneyland Park (Paris)
Status Closed
Opening date April 12, 1992
Closing date March 23, 2003
Replaced by Disney's Fantillusion
Disney California Adventure
Status Closed
Opening date July 3, 2001
Closing date April 18, 2010
General statistics
Attraction type Parade

The Main Street Electrical Parade is a regularly scheduled parade, created by Bob Jani and project director Ron Miziker, famous for its long run at Disneyland at the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World at the Magic Kingdom Park. It features floats and live performers covered in thousands of electronically controlled lights and a synchronized soundtrack triggered by radio control along key areas of the parade route. The parade has also spun off several other versions that ran or continue to run at Disney parks around the world. Currently, an updated version runs at Tokyo Disneyland as the Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights. In 2014, Hong Kong Disneyland premiered a spiritual successor to the Main Street Electrical Parade, the Paint the Night Parade, which, like its predecessor, features "Baroque Hoedown" as its theme song. An extended version of Paint the Night premiered at Disneyland on May 22, 2015 as part of the park's 60th anniversary celebration.

The original Disneyland copy of the parade runs at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World as "Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade," and has been in an "open ended" run since arriving in Florida in 2010.[1]

The parade is notable for its electronic musical soundtrack, all set to a 1960s tune called "Baroque Hoedown," and its use of a vocoder effect during the introductory and closing announcements.


The predecessor to the 1972 Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade is the Electrical Water Pageant, a show made up of fourteen 25-foot (7.6 m) tall screens with electrical lights placed on them. The screens are placed on a string of seven barges that travel around the Seven Seas Lagoon in front of the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort, beginning at 9 p.m. at Disney's Polynesian Resort or immediately after the fireworks if they are scheduled for 9 p.m.

The Electrical Water Pageant still shows today. The Electrical Water Pageant has been showing since October 26, 1971, just weeks after the Walt Disney World Resort opened. In 1972, when the Main Street Electrical Parade debuted, some of the floats were flat screens on rolling platforms similar to the Electrical Water Pageant. The engineers who helped create the parade also created the first show-control program in existence. This allowed the 2,000-foot (610 m) long parade route to contain multiple radio-activated "trigger zones."

Using radio-activated triggers as each float entered a zone, the audience would hear float-specific music through the park's audio system. Each zone was between 70 and 100 feet (30 m) long, and the zoned system meant that every person watching the parade would experience the same show, no matter where they stood along the parade route.[2] Until 1977, some of the floats like the elephant train and the American flag finale were 2D and had to be pulled or pushed along the parade route. The Blue Fairy float was a 3D float, and ran until closing. The Big Bass Drum pulled by the Casey Jr. Engine, the Cinderella float and canopy, a Chinese dragon (later replaced by Pete's Dragon) and the circus calliope were all 3D.

The original 1972 Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade was designed by Hub Braden, an NBC Burbank Television art director, who had designed projects for Bob Jani, Disneyland Entertainment Division. The original parade units were built by a Chicago, Illinois, display company known for its holiday light displays along Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The Main Street Electrical Parade had counterparts of the same name and layout at the Magic Kingdom in the Walt Disney World Resort, which ran from 1977 to 1991. It was replaced by a similar parade called SpectroMagic, which ran from 1991 to 1999 and then reopened in 2001 and ended on June 4, 2010. In 1992, the electrical parade from the Magic Kingdom went to Parc Disneyland at Disneyland Paris and ran there until 2003.

It was then replaced by Fantillusion, a nighttime parade from Tokyo Disneyland that had earlier replaced the Tokyo version of the Main Street Electrical Parade, which ran from 1985-1995. Tokyo Disneyland's current night parade, Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights began in 2001 and it was a return to the style of the original with updated new music and floats.

The Main Street Electrical Parade closed at Disneyland in 1996 after a 24-year run. Light bulbs certified as having been part of the show were sold to collectors. The replacement show, Light Magic, opened in 1997 and was an immediate failure. Disney quickly cancelled Light Magic but held off in bringing back the popular Main Street Electrical Parade. However, the parade was refurbished and appeared at the Magic Kingdom in May 1999 for a limited engagement, just in time for Walt Disney World's Millennium Celebration. The parade ended its run at the Magic Kingdom on April 1, 2001 and SpectroMagic was brought back the following day.

The Main Street Electrical Parade floats were then sent back to California for the parade's return to Disneyland. These plans changed after Team Disney Anaheim saw the poor attendance figures for the spring break season at Disney's California Adventure and feared that the park would fail to attract large crowds during the crucial summer season, unless they had a big draw.[citation needed] So, on April 25, 2001, Disney announced that the popular Main Street Electrical Parade would be coming to Disney California Adventure Park on July 2, 2001 in honor of the first summer of the park.

The name of the show was changed from the Main Street Electrical Parade to Disney's Electrical Parade. Most of the 1996 parade floats returned, except for the Pinocchio Pleasure Island section and Snow White diamond mine float, which were sent to Parc Disneyland at Disneyland Paris in 1997. The parade has been offered during summer periods and selected weekends. It finished a nine-month hiatus during the 2005 off-season at the Disneyland Resort, which allowed replacement of lights on all of the floats and alteration of wording on the drum to "Disney's Electrical Parade, Presented by Sylvania."

On the 2008 Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade special, Disney announced that a Tinker Bell float would be added to Disney's Electrical Parade, which would make it the first new float to be added to the classic parade in 20 years, since the temporary Mickey Mouse's 60th Birthday float in 1988.[citation needed] It was announced at a press conference on April 24, 2009, that the Snow White and Pinocchio units would be returning as well.[3] Disney started testing updated and new units in late May 2009. Most of the major floats have had new LED pixie dust effects added to them. This parade, with the new Tinker Bell float replacing the Blue Fairy, made its formal premiere on June 12, 2009. California's caterpillar received a new digital face in December 2009. One of the original turtle floats from the Main Street Electrical Parade was on display at the "technology section" of the D23 Expo.

Disney's Electrical Parade at California Adventure ended its run on April 18, 2010 and was sent to the Magic Kingdom as part of Walt Disney World's 2010 promotional package "Summer Nightastic!." While initially it was announced the parade would stay just through the summer, Disney has since announced that the parade is in an "open ended" run.


The Main Street Electrical Parade's underlying theme song is entitled "Baroque Hoedown." The original version was created in 1967 by early synthesizer pioneers Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley and appeared first on the album Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Electronic Pop Music from Way Out. Originally, the parade's soundtrack had the same themes as the current recording, but was a different arrangement by Jim Christensen and Paul Beaver. In 1977, it was updated and arranged by electronic music artist Don Dorsey and Jack Wagner at Jack Wagner Studio, which was used until January 2009 in Disney's Electrical Parade.[citation needed]

When the parade returned to Disney's California Adventure in June 2009, it began using the updated, orchestrated DreamLights soundtrack from Tokyo,[4] but with changes made as certain floats in the California parade are not included in the Tokyo parade. The soundtrack for the current version, the 2009 version of Disney's Electrical Parade, The Main Street Electrical Parade (currently running at the Magic Kingdom), as well as Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade DreamLights version were arranged, programmed and performed by Gregory Smith. Smith also arranged the music for Disneyland's Remember... Dreams Come True show (which also contains a snippet of the original Don Dorsey arrangement, which then concludes in a grand orchestral finale arranged by Smith) as well as Magical: Disney's New Nighttime Spectacular of Magical Celebrations fireworks shows.

The soundtrack to the parade has been released numerous times:

  • Main Street Electrical Parade (1973 soundtrack) (Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort)
  • Main Street Electrical Parade (1977 soundtrack) (Disneyland & Magic Kingdom)
  • Fantasmic!: Good Clashes with Evil in a Nighttime Spectacular (1992) (Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort)
  • The Main Street Electrical Parade (1999 CD) (Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World)
  • Les Parades En Musique (2000 CD) (Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort Paris)
  • Disney's Electrical Parade (2001 CD)
  • Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights (2001 CD)
  • Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights- Show Mix Edition (2001)
  • Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights ~Christmas~
  • Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights (2011 Renewal Version)
  • A Musical History of Disneyland (Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort)
  • Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection: Disneyland (2015)

Don Dorsey used the following synthesizers to create the soundtrack: Moog Model III, Mini-Moog, Steiner-Parker Synthacon, Oberheim 8-voice, Sequential Circuits Prophet-5, Fender Rhodes Piano, New England Digital Synclavier II, Bode 7702 Vocoder, Roland MKS-80 Super Jupiter, Yamaha DX7 and Yamaha TX7.

Jack Wagner provides the synthesized vocoder voice for the intro and outro to the parade. Don Dorsey took over after Wagner died in 1995 by adding the word "Disney" to the introduction and outro of Disney's Electrical Parade in Disney California Adventure Park. Bill Rogers provided the synthesized vocoder announcement when the Disneyland version of the parade made its first visit to The Magic Kingdom in 1999. When the parade moved to California Adventure, the announcements were a combination of Don Dorsey's voice on the "Disney" in the Intro and "Disney's" in both the opening and closing announcements, with the remainder of the announcements coming from the original Disneyland version. When the soundtrack was updated, these same announcements were used, albeit with a pitch change to reflect the change in the key the soundtrack was in. When the parade returned to The Magic Kingdom in 2010, the same Jack Wagner source was used as the 2001 Disney California Adventure announcements, but with either Don or Jack's voice to fill in the words "The Magic Kingdom" instead of the word "Disney."

While the original soundtrack is played solely on synthesizers, the Tokyo Disneyland version utilizes a full orchestra with adult and youth choirs in addition to harmonies and synthesizers. This version also includes Character voices in both English and Japanese. This version was also orchestrated, programmed, conducted, and performed by Gregory Smith. During the Christmas season at Tokyo Disneyland, the Electrical Parade gets a new soundtrack; it is mostly the same soundtrack with added Christmas songs, mixed in with the theme music. For Tokyo Disneyland's 30th anniversary, a show stop was added to the parade, it includes a 2 minute Christmas medley; fireworks from Cinderella Castle are synced during the show stop as well.

The 2009 version of Disney's Electrical Parade at Disney California Adventure Park and current Main Street Electrical Parade at the Magic Kingdom utilizes much of the soundtrack created for DreamLights, with new loops created for the Cinderella, Pinocchio, and To Honor America units. However, the new soundtrack retains a more electronic sound than that of Tokyo's in that many of the orchestral parts of the DreamLights soundtrack have been replaced by synthesizers in this version.

Remixes, samples and parodies[edit]

  • In Japan, Walt Disney Records released a CD called DJ Digs Main Street Electrical Parade which featured the theme music remixed by Japanese DJs.
  • The album Eurobeat Disney 3, also only released in Japan, was done by the group A-Beat Power and features a remix of the song in Eurobeat style.
  • In 1998, a Disney Tribute Album entitled We Love Mickey ~Happy 70th Anniversary (Walt Disney Records), featuring covers of Disney songs by Japanese artists, included a remake by The Eccentric Opera. The track uses samples from Dorsey's arrangement and Snow White. Lyrics appear to be in German and are from an unknown source.
  • A "Celtic"-inspired version was heard in the Main Street Electrical Parade's replacement Light Magic. Light Magic ran for one summer, never to return again.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Selma's Choice" Lisa could be seen dancing in a dazed state in front of the Duff Gardens Light Parade with a musical take off of Main Street Electrical Parade Theme & Background music.
  • A tribute to the vintage Main Street Electrical Parade was recorded "old school style" by Jim Presley for Jiminy's Limited Editions entitled "Jiminy Salutes The Main Street Electrical Parade."
  • The parade is parodied in the 2002 film, Scooby Doo as a spooky themed parade called The Electrical Torture Parade.

Incarnations of the Parade[edit]

Main Street Electrical Parade (Disneyland)[edit]

  • Park: Disneyland
  • Original Run: June 17, 1972 - November 25, 1996
  • Sponsors: Energizer (1972–1985) General Electric (1985–1996)
  • Opening Announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Disneyland proudly presents our spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination. In thousands of sparkling lights, and electro-synthe-magnetic musical sounds: the Main Street Electrical Parade!"
  • Closing Announcement: "Disneyland's Main Street Electrical Parade!"

Disney's Electrical Parade[edit]

  • Park: Disney's California Adventure
  • Original Run: July 3, 2001 - April 18, 2010
  • Sponsor: Sylvania (2005-2010)
  • Opening Announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Disney proudly presents our spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination. In thousands of sparkling lights, and electro-synthe-magnetic musical sounds: Disney's Electrical Parade!"
  • Closing Announcement: "Disney's Electrical Parade!"

Main Street Electrical Parade (Walt Disney World)[edit]

  • Park: Magic Kingdom
  • Original Run: June 11, 1977 - September 14, 1991
  • Second Run: May 28, 1999 - April 1, 2001
  • Third Run: June 6, 2010 – Present[5]
  • Opening Announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! The Magic Kingdom proudly presents our spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination. In thousands of sparkling lights, and electro-synthe-magnetic musical sounds: the Main Street Electrical Parade!"
  • Closing Announcement: "The Magic Kingdom's Main Street Electrical Parade!"

Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade[edit]

  • Park: Tokyo Disneyland
  • Japanese Name (in Kanji): 東京ディズニーランド・エレクトリカルパレード
  • Japanese Name (in Romaji): Tokyō Dizunīrando Erekutorikaru Parēdo
  • Original Run: March 9, 1985- June 21, 1995
  • Sponsor: Unisys
  • Opening Announcement: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Walt Disney proudly presents our spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination, in thousands of sparkling lights and electric electro-synthe-magnetic musical sounds: "Tokyo Disneyland's Electrical Parade".
  • Closing Announcement: "Tokyo Disneyland's Electrical Parade"!

Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights[edit]

  • Park: Tokyo Disneyland
  • Japanese Name (in Kanji): 東京ディズニーランド・エレクトリカルパレード・ドリームライツ
  • Japanese Name (in Romaji): Tōkyō Dizunīrando Erekutorikaru Parēdo Dorīmuraitsu
  • Original Run: June 17, 2001–Present
  • Sponsor: Unisys
  • Opening Announcement: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Tokyo Disneyland proudly presents our most spectacular pageant of night time dreams and fantasy in millions of sparkling lights and brilliant musical sounds."Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: Dreamlights".
  • Closing Announcement: "Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: Dream Lights!"

Main Street Electrical Parade (Disneyland Paris)[edit]

  • Park: Disneyland Park (Paris)
  • Original Run: April 12, 1992 - March 23, 2003
  • French Name: La Parade Électrique de Main Street, U.S.A.
  • Sponsor: Phillips (1992-2002)
  • Opening Announcement: "Mesdames et messieurs et vous les enfants ! Disneyland Paris est fier de vous présenter son extraordinaire festival de magie nocture et d'enchantement. Dans une féerie de milliers de lumières, sur une musique electro-synthe-magnétique : the Main Street Electrical Parade!"
  • Closing Announcement: "The Main Street Electrical Parade!"

The Hercules Electrical Parade[edit]

On June 14, 1997, a variant of the Main Street Electrical Parade, the "Hercules Electrical Parade", ran on Broadway, Manhattan, New York City for the opening of Disney's New Amsterdam Theater and the film Hercules. Disney arranged for the lights to be all turned off on about 8-blocks of Broadway up to the theater. All businesses complied—with the exception of Disney rival Warner Brothers. It was led by a custom Hercules title unit made for this one time only use. It was shown on national television on a one-hour promotional program featuring the music and making of Hercules.[6]

1978 Orange Bowl[edit]

On January 2, 1978, the other outside presentation of the Electrical Parade was presented during the halftime show of the 1978 Orange Bowl college football game.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b ‘Main Street Electrical Parade’ Extended at Walt Disney World
  2. ^ "Article describing the creation of MSEP audio technology". [dead link]
  3. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  4. ^ "Summer Nightastic! at the Disneyland Resort". Laughing Place. April 27, 2009. Retrieved June 28, 2014. 
  5. ^ Smith, Thomas (February 10, 2010). "Main Street Electrical Parade Returns to Walt Disney World Resort this Summer". Retrieved June 28, 2014. 
  6. ^ Gest, Emily (1997-06-10). "Disney's ready to roll with Herculean labor". Daily News. Archived from the original on 2009-05-10. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 

External links[edit]