The Main Street Electrical Parade had a LOOOOOOOOOONG history. Let’s get started!
Chapter 1: The Electrical Water Pageant
So our story begins with the Electrical Water Pageant. What’s the Electrical Water Pageant you ask? Well, it’s a nighttime show that takes place at the Seven Seas Lagoon at Walt Disney World. In fact, it debuted on the same year Walt Disney World first opened (October 25, 1971). It featured floats that were flat screens with lights on them making them resemble real sea creatures. The went down the Seven Seas Lagoon to a song called “Baroque Hoedown“ written by Jean-Jacque Perrey and Gershon Klingsey. The Floats in this show were...
Sea Monster (3 floats)
Whale (1 float)
2 Sea Lions Playing with a Ball (1 float)
Clamshell opening revealing a Mermaid (1 float)
3 Fishes swimming in Bubbles (1 float)
3 Jumping Dolphins (3 floats)
3 Red-Haired Mermaids (1 float)
Octopus (1 float)
3 Flying Fish (1 float)
4 Seahorses (1 float)
Neptune (1 float)
The show was a hit and luckily you can still see it today. Later it added some new floats...
Turtle (1 float)
Shrimp (1 float)
Brachiosaurus (1 float)
Crocodile (1 float)
Stars and Stripes
Chapter 2: A new nighttime show
Bob Jani (who was the creator of the show) wanted to bring it to Disneyland, but there was one BIG problem. And that problem was that there was no water source in the park. So He had a different Idea, and that idea was to make a Parade that is simular to the Electrical Water Pageant. The Parade is planned to go down Main Street U.S.A, so the name of the parade was named the Main Street Electrical Parade. So the Disney Company hires electricians and engineers to help them build the floats. But they were not doing a good job. And it was 2 months before the Parade debuts, so the Company fired the electricians and engineers, and finished the floats thesmells. Then it was time to rehearse, but it didn’t really go as planned. One of the floats crashed into a building, some of the lights on the costumes caused sparks, and the parade didn’t even finish the route. But they still had the Parade debut anyway. So on June 17, 1972, the Parade officially debuted on Main Street U.S.A. The Floats in this Parade were...
Casey Jr pulling Drum
Alice and Wonderland unit (fountain with dancing butterflies and flowers)
Cinderella unit (Pumkin Carrige, Canopies)
Dumbo unit (Circus Hippo pulling calliope played by King Leonidas, circus animals)
It’s a Small World
American finale (drum, American flag)
Even though the rehersals did turn out that good, the premiere was a HUGE success! In fact, The Parade was a BIG hit!
However, the Pumpkin Carrige, Circus Animals and the American Flag were flat, making them look similar to floats from the Electrical Water Pageant.
The Parade ended its run in 1974, and was replace with America on Parade, a daytime parade to celebrate America. This Parade was also seen in Magic Kingdom,
Chapter 3: The Parade gets 3d entirley
On June 11, 1977, America on Parade ended it’s run, and the popular Main Street Electrical Parade returned to Disneyland. But this time, the Parade was reimagined and ALL of the floats were now 3D! The Parade even got an opening announcement and a closing announcement done by Jack Wagner, but it is synthesized. And Baroque Hoedown is rewritten by Don Dorsey. The Blue Fairy is now refirbished. The Alice and Wonderland unit‘s dancing butterfly’s and flowers with the fountain was replaced with 3 mushrooms (one with a butterfly and a ladybug, one with Alice herself and the Cheshire Cat, and one with the Catterpillar and a frog), 2 Whirly Snails, a Centipede, 2 Whirly Turtles, and 2 Whirly Fireflies. The Cinderella unit’s Pumkin Coach was now 3D, it added a second Canopy, A float which featured Prince Charming and Cinderella’s 2 Step Sisters, and a Clock Tower, which was the tallest float. The Dumbo unit’s Hippo was now 3D, and the flat Circus Animals were replaced with a Bear Balancing on Barrels, and a Pink Elephant Bathing. A Briny Deep unit was also added. The Chinese Dragon was replaced with Elliot from Pete’s Dragon. This Float was originally going to be used in 1977 in honor of the premire of Pete’s Dragon. Smoke can come out of Elliot’s nose. Even though the film‘s box office flopped, the float was a HUGE success and was really popular, so they decided that Elliot and Pete can be in the Parade PERMINANTLEY. And the America Finale was replaced with a Neon Finale, which featured rotating mirrors which featured various Disney Characters. In Fact, June 11, 1977 was the same day that the Parade came to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Then in 1978, they added a Mickey Mouse‘s 50th Anniversary float in honor of Mickey’s 50th birthday, which the float was only used in 1978. The Parade was also presented as a halftime show for the 1978 Orange Bowl college football game (Well, at least the Alice in Wonderland floats and the Elliot float). Later in 1979, the Neon Finale was replaced with a new American finale called “To Honor America”. Then in 1980, The Briny Deep unit was now the Pichnoccio Underwater unit, bringing Pichnoccio in the Parade. The also added A the Fox and the Hound unit in honor of the premiere of The Fox and the Hound, which was only used for 1980.
The Parade then Ended it’s run in Disneyland in 1982 and was replaced with Flights of Fantasy (No, it’s not the 2011 reboot from Hong Kong Disneyland witch didn’t exsist back then) in honor of the expansion of Fantasyland. It debuted on June 18, 1983 to September 10, 1984.
Chapter 4: Another Return with more Updates
In 1985, the Parade returned to Disneyland for another run. But this time, The Dumbo unit added 2 Four Ring Circus platforms which each featured 2 clowns doing tricks. The Pichnoccio Underwater unit was replaced with 2 Pleasure Island themed floats. They even added A Snow White unit which featured Diamond Mine themed floats. And Elliot can now disappear. The also added a Return to OZ unit in a honor of the premiere of Return to OZ. This float was only used for 1985. Meanwhile in Tokyo Disneyland, The parade was brought to this park, but the floats looked very different. And the name of the parade was changed to “Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade“ since Tokyo Disneyland had no Main Street. They also added new floats...
Knights of Light
Mushroom with 2 Butterflies (Alice in Wonderland unit)
Swan Lake unit
Meanwhile back in Disneyland, The Parade added a Mickey Mouse’s 60th Anniversary float in honor of Mickey‘s 60th birthday. This float was only used for 1988. However, The It’s a Small World unit was retired. Then in 1991, one of the clowns from the Dumbo unit was replaced with Dumbo himself.
Chapter 5: SpectroMagic
Meanwhile in the Magic Kingdom, on September 14, 1991, The Parade ended it’s run, and was replaced with a simular Parade called SpectroMagic. This Parade was for Walt Disney World’s 20th anniversary. The floats in this Parade were...
Opening unit (Trumpeters, Whirly Balls, Mickey Mouse, Title float)
Silly Symphonies unit
Sleeping Beauty unit
The Little Mermaid unit
Grand Finale unit
The Music in this Parade was originally going to be a slowed version of Baroque Hoedown, and the name of the parade was originally going to be ElectroMagic, but instead the Music they used was On this Magic Night, and the name of the Parade was changed to SpectroMagic. This Parade was also popular. And then in 1992, the Main Street Electrical Parade floats from the Magic Kingdom were sent to Disneyland Paris for It’s opening. So on April 12, 1992, The Parade debuted at Disneyland Paris.
Chapter 6: Another Farewell
Meanwhile back in Tokyo, the Parade ended it’s run on June 21, 1995. The Parade’s final performance added a special ”Sayanora” float. The Parade was then replaced with a similar Parade called “Fantillusion”. The Floats in this Parade were...
Echanted Garden unit
Happy Ending unit
This Parade was popular as well.
Meanwhile back in Disneyland, they announced that the Parade will be ending it’s run on October 17, 1996! Everyone was upset. In fact, they were SO upset, that the company had to push it to November 25. At It’s final performance, before the Parade began, Paul Pressler announced that there will be a replacement show called “Light Magic.” The Parade made it’s final performance on November 25, 1996. But However, the Parade was still seen in Paris, and Tokyo’s Swan Lake unit was added in 1997.
Chapter 7: Light Magic
On May 23, 1997, Light Magic officially debuted in Disneyland. This Show was mix of a Parade and a Street Show. It featured new characters that were very related to Tinker Bell. These characters were called the “Pixies”. The First float would come down Main Street U.S.A, and the Pixies would then wake up and dance around, later being joking by classic Disney characters. At the finale, a projector screen is shown, and then Pixie Dust would appear and more floats would come down Main Street U.S.A. Even though nothing went wrong during the performance, lots and Lots and LOTS of Guests were really confused on what was going on in the show. Everyone demanded refuns and for the Main Street Electrical Parade to return, but it still didn’t come back. Light Magic would now earn the nickname, “Light Tragic.” It then closed on September 1, 1997. But the company did announce that Light Magic might return in 2000.
Chapter 8: The Hercules Electrical Parade
On June 14, 1997, The Main Street Electrical Parade came to Walt Disney Studios in honor of the premiere of Hercules. The name was changed to the “Hercules Electrical Parade.” It was led by 2 Hercules themed floats...
Pegasus and Title float
All the other classic floats returned as well, except Casey Jr and the Drum, so Goofy did not make an Apperance in the Parade. However, Mickey and Minnie were moved to the To Honor America float. The Disney Company was able to get all business to turn of their lights for the Parade (except Warner Bros.). The Parade was shown 1 night only.
Chapter 9: The Return to Magic Kingdom
The Floats were then shipped to Florida so the Parade can finally return to Magic Kingdom, But for a limited-time. The Floats had to travel ALL the way to the park. And on May 21, 1999, SpectroMagic ended it’s run after Walt Disney World’s 20th anniversary was over, and the Parade officially returned to Magic Kingdom. Everyone was really happy to see the Parade return. But the Diamond Mine float and the Pichnoccio unit were sent to Paris in 1997. However back in Disneyland, 2000 already came by and Light Magic didn’t return at all. The Magic Kingdom run ended on April 1, 2001, and Spectromagic was brought back the following day.
Chapter 10: Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: Dreamlights
On May 15, 2001, Fantillusion ended it’s run and Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade was finally brought back the following day. However, It had brand new floats and LED lights. And the music was rewritten by Gregory Smith. And The Parade‘s name was changed to “Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: Dreamlights.” This Parade can still be seen today and it kept getting new floats over the years.
Chapter 11: Coming to California Adventure
The Floats at Magic Kingdom were shipped back to California for the Parade’s return to Disneyland. However, the company saw the poor attendance at California Adventure and feared that they will fail to attract large crowds unless they had a big draw. So they had to change plans and announced that the parade will debut at California Adventure for the 1st summer of the park. So on July 3, 2001, the Parade officially debuted in California Adventure. However, they had to change the name of the parade to “Disney’s Electrical Parade” because California Adventure had no Main Street U.S.A. However, this didn’t fix the attendance problem. Guests would spend the day at Disneyland and then go to California Adventure just to see the Parade.