Tuesday, June 29, 2010

38 Years of Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade

It was 38 years ago this month that Disneyland debuted the Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade, the famous summertime classic featuring floats and performers covered in "thousands of sparkling lights." The parade is also known for its infectious song, which is nearly impossible to get out of your head after hearing it.

Disney's Electrical Parade. (04/17/2010)
Disney's Electrical Parade. (04/17/2010)

Doing a little research, I discovered that the parade did not have a constant presence at the park. It disappeared after the 1974 season only to be brought back again in 1977. The parade also disappeared after the 1982 season, only to be brought back in 1985.

Alice in Wonderland in Disney's Electrical Parade. (04/17/2010)
Alice in Wonderland in Disney's Electrical Parade. (04/17/2010)

In 1996 it was announced that after a 24-year run, the parade would leave Disneyland forever and move to the Florida park. Its last Disneyland season drew crowds like it never had before. Disneyland even extended the final season a month to meet the demand to see it. At the end of the run Disneyland sold all the individual light bulbs that were used on the floats. I still have one.

Big Ben in Disney's Electrical Parade. (04/17/2010)
Big Ben in Disney's Electrical Parade. (04/17/2010)

The claim that the parade would leave Disneyland forever turned out to be almost true. To boost attendance at Disneyland's sister park, the fledgling Disney's California Adventure, Disney brought it back in 2001. Only this time, since it wasn't on Main Street in Disneyland, they renamed it Disney's Electrical Parade.

Pinocchio float in Disney's Electrical Parade. (04/17/2010)
Pinocchio float in Disney's Electrical Parade. (04/17/2010)

But it didn't matter that the Disney corporation used a loophole in their 1996 claim that the parade was leaving the park forever. People were just glad to have it back. It kept going until just this year, when Disneyland announced it would leave Disney's California Adventure to make room for the epic World of Color show that started earlier this month.

Pete's Dragon in Disney's Electrical Parade. (04/17/2010)
Pete's Dragon in Disney's Electrical Parade. (04/17/2010)

I can't tell you the first time I saw the parade, but I can tell you the last. It was just over two months ago, and I was fortunate enough to be able to see it on its final weekend. Disneyland claims it won't return, but they've said that before, so you never know for sure.

2 comments:

beastandbean said...

Don't worry, James...if those cheap bastards in the Disney front office can find a way to squeeze an extra dollar out of something, they surely will. I guarantee you that parade will come back home to roost in your lifetime...

That said, I loved that cheesy parade to death. The music alone totally brings me back to my childhood...so much so that we play it every time before we head down to the park. "Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls...the Main Street Electrical Parade!!" Best song ever!!

forever said...

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