Main Street Electrical Parade

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Main Street Electrical Parade
Main Street Electrical Parade Logo Train.jpg
The Minnie (left) and Mickey (right) drum float, with the parade's old logo in the middle
Status Operating
Opening date June 17, 1972
Closing date November 25, 1996
Replaced Paint the Night (2015-2016)[3]
Replaced by Light Magic (1997)
Paint the Night (2015-2017)[4]
Magic Kingdom
Status Closed
Opening date June 11, 1977
May 21, 1999
June 5, 2010
Closing date September 14, 1991
April 1, 2001
Replaced SpectroMagic
Replaced by 1991
Tokyo Disneyland
Name Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights
Status Operating
Opening date March 9, 1985 (original)
June 17, 2001 (Dreamlights)
Closing date June 21, 1995 (original)
Replaced Disney's Fantillusion
Replaced by Disney's Fantillusion
Disneyland Park (Paris)
Status Removed
Opening date April 12, 1992
Closing date March 23, 2003
Replaced by Disney's Fantillusion
Disney California Adventure
Name Disney's Electrical Parade
Status Removed
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 in California and Walt Disney World at the Magic Kingdom Park in Florida. 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 ran at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom as "Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade" from June 5, 2010 to October 9, 2016, when it closed in preparation for a limited-time run at Disneyland which started January 20, 2017 and was planned to run through June 18, 2017, marking the 45th anniversary of the parade.[1] However, as of March 31, 2017, due to popular demand, Disneyland has announced the parade is scheduled to continue playing until August 20, 2017.[2]


The predecessor to the 1972 Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade is the Electrical Water Pageant, a show made up of fourteen 25-foot-tall (7.6 m) 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. The Electrical Water Pageant has been showing since October 26, 1971, just weeks after the Walt Disney World Resort opened.

Not long after the Electrical Water Pageant debuted, Card Walker commissioned the development of what became the Main Street Electrical Parade to provide Disneyland with a similar nighttime visual spectacle.[5] The Parade's design used nickel–cadmium batteries, which the Disney movie studio had recently started using,[5] and Italian-made miniature bulbs that Disneyland staff had seen in light displays along Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.[5] Disney arranged for the Parade's original floats to be constructed by the Chicago-based company responsible for those holiday displays.[5]

Two months to deadline, Disney discovered the float contractor was far behind schedule, and decided to finish the floats itself in a backstage area at Disneyland.[5] Disney brought on welders, electricians, and other temporary workers to assemble the floats, and hand-tint and install 500,000 bulbs.[5] The first rehearsal was a disaster; a float crashed into a building on Main Street, U.S.A., and the performers' costumes emitted sparks.[5] Despite all these obstacles, the Parade successfully debuted on schedule on June 17, 1972.[5]

The engineers who helped create the parade also created the first automated parade 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 to 100 feet (21 to 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.[6]

The original parade floats featured the Blue Fairy, a large drum pulled by the Casey Jr. Engine, Cinderella, a Chinese dragon, and a circus calliope. Until 1977, some of the floats, such as the elephant train and the American flag finale, were flat screens on manually-pushed rolling platforms similar to the Electrical Water Pageant.

The Main Street Electrical Parade had counterparts of the same name and layout at 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 version from 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 to 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.

On June 14, 1997, a presentation of the 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.[7]

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.[8]

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.[citation needed] 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 Magic Kingdom in May 1999 for a limited engagement, just in time for Walt Disney World Millennium Celebration. The parade ended its run at 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 Anaheim management 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 had 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.[9] 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 Disney California Adventure ended its run on April 18, 2010, and was sent to Magic Kingdom as part of the Walt Disney World 2010 promotional package "Summer Nightastic!" The parade was not modified from its Disney California Adventure run, with the drum still saying "Disney's Electrical Parade". While it was initially announced that the parade would stay just through the summer, Disney later announced that the parade was on a "open-ended" run.


Over the years and numerous iterations of the parade, the roster of floats has changed. The version of the parade that has appeared in Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom, and Disneyland Paris has maintained a continuous set of units. These include The Casey Jr. train from Dumbo carrying Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Goofy, and subsequent floats based on Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Pete's Dragon, and a patriotic American float titled "To Honor America". Previous units included the Blue Fairy from Pinocchio, a circus float connected to Dumbo, an It's A Small World unit, and a promotional float for Return to Oz in 1985, but it was destroyed by a fire.[10]

Tokyo Disneyland's Main Street Electrical Parade Dreamlights features a lot of floats featured in the western incarnation, though they are upgraded or alternate models. Other units in the parade have been based on Pinocchio, Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, Pete's Dragon, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Peter Pan, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, A Bug's Life, Beauty and the Beast, Toy Story, It's A Small World, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, Aladdin, and Tangled.


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 California Adventure in June 2009, it began using the updated, orchestrated DreamLights soundtrack from Tokyo,[11] 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 (the last run ending 2016 at 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 and Magic Kingdom)
  • The Music of Disney: A Legacy in Song (1992) (Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort)
  • Fantasmic!: Good Clashes with Evil in a Nighttime Spectacular (1992) (Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort)
  • Classic Disney Volume II: 60 Years of Musical Magic (1995) (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)

Dorsey used 11 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.

Wagner provides the synthesized vocoder voice for the intro and outro to the parade. Bill Rogers provided the synthesized vocoder announcement when the Disneyland version of the parade made its first visit to Magic Kingdom in 1999. These same announcements were used when the soundtrack was updated, albeit with a pitch change to reflect the change in the key the soundtrack was in.

While the original soundtrack is played solely on synthesizers, the Tokyo Disneyland version uses an 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 showstop is only performed once a year as part of a private event for Disney/JCB Card holders.

The 2009 version of Disney's Electrical Parade at Disney's California Adventure, 2010 version at Magic Kingdom and current Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland utilize 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. Whereas the Magic Kingdom used a newly recorded vocoder introduction for its 2010 version of the parade, the original 1977 Jack Wagner introduction was pitch-corrected to match the updated soundtrack and integrated into Disneyland's 2017 version of the parade.

Remixes, samples and parodies[edit]

  • A remix of the Electrical Parade (called the Retro Future Remix) was released on Dance Dance Revolution Disney Mix, and contains audio resamplings from the Apollo 8 reading of Genesis.
  • 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 Japan only House☆Disney album, also released by Walt Disney Records, contains a remix of the song by famous Japanese DJ Shinichi Osawa. The remix subsequently appeared on the 2014 Disney remix album, Dconstructed.
  • 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 cover version by They Might Be Giants was released on the Disneymania 2 album. The same version was also featured on the soundtrack of the film Moog.
  • A parody of the parade can be found during the ending credits of Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario.
  • A cover version of Baroque Hoedown by ska band Reel Big Fish was included on the Japanese album Dive into Disney.
  • 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 vocaloid producer DaniwellP created a remix of the Electrical Parade using Hatsune Miku.
  • The parade is parodied in the 2002 film Scooby Doo as a spooky themed parade called The Electrical Torture Parade.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Glover, Erin. "Main Street Electrical Parade Returns to Disneyland Park January 20". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved 5 December 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Glover, Erin. "Main Street Electrical Parade Extended by Popular Demand at Disneyland Park". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Smith, Thomas. "Main Street Electrical Parade Ends Run at Walt Disney World On October 9, Heads to Disneyland Resort for a Limited Time". Disney Parks Blog. 
  4. ^ DisneylandToday (2 August 2016). "Hello! Paint the Night parade also will conclude on September 5, 2016." (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h MacDonald, Brady (14 December 2016). "How the returning Disneyland Electrical Parade went from 'absolute disaster' to beloved attraction". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles: Tronc, Inc. Retrieved 14 December 2016. 
  6. ^ "Article describing the creation of MSEP audio technology". Archived from the original on 23 June 2006. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Stayton, Wynton. "1978 Orange Bowl Halftime Show - Main Street Electrical Parade". 
  9. ^ "Lighting Up The Night With New Shows And A New Glow! Disneyland Resort Celebrates Summer Nightastic!". Disneyland. Archived from the original on 29 April 2009. Retrieved 7 October 2015. 
  10. ^ "Disney's Return to Oz Electrical Parade". Walt Disney's Return to Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  11. ^ "Summer Nightastic! at the Disneyland Resort". Laughing Place. April 27, 2009. Retrieved June 28, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Main Street Electrical Parade at Wikimedia Commons