America on Parade ("AOP") was a parade held at Disneyland's and the Magic Kingdom's for the United States Bicentennial. It was the replacement for the Main Street Electrical Parade ("MSEP") during this time, as it held at night as well.
Like the Main Street Electrical Parade, it was also created under the direction of Disneyland's Director of Entertainment, Bob Jani. The first run was in the summer of 1975 and was originally designed to run through 1977, to commemorate the United States Bicentennial. Where the MSEP ran twice nightly, AOP ran once during the afternoon and again just prior to the nightly fireworks display. It travelled the full length of Disneyland from "it's a small world" to Town Square at the beginning of Main Street, U.S.A..
The Sherman Brothers who had left Disney Studios to work for independent film companies were asked to write a specialty song for the American Bicentennial. The song was called "The Glorious Fourth" and was performed as a part of AOP.
The parade also featured synchronized music to which performers danced set routines created by Disneyland choreographers (Barnett Ricci and Marilyn Magness). Each of the parade performers sported costumes appropriate to the float around which they danced, as well as enormous heads fixed on a custom-built apparatus for support, with the performer looking through the neck, giving the parade a carnival appearance. The suits built for the Magic Kingdom version would later be re-dressed in international costumes to serve as original meet and greet characters for Epcot's World Showcase.
The parade's soundtrack was Don Dorsey's first project for Disney. He used synthesizers and antique carousel organs to create the soundtrack. During the parade's run, Dorsey conceptualized a system in which Disney would develop a computer-controlled system called "Mickey Track" that controls the parade's music from 1980 and on.
- Spirit of '76 - The starting float featured Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy standing on a drum, next to a heavily themed eagle float, with Mickey holding a variant of the Stars and Stripes as the three friends all opened the parade. Donald played a flute, and Goofy played a hand-made drum.
- Columbus's Ship - In 1492, before the creation of America, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus travelled the then-unknown seas, seeing what kind of discoveries he has managed to find and bringing him into the new worlds This float resembled a pirate ship.
- The First Thanksgiving - In 1861, the Pilgrims created what would become Thanksgiving. This scene is represented by a giant turkey puppet.
- Salem Witch Trials -
- Dunking Stall
- Square Dancing
- Benjamin Franklin -
- Giant Bell
- Giant Cannons
- Rowing Boat
- Golden Eagle
- Sherman, Robert B. Walt's Time: from before to beyond. Santa Clarita: Camphor Tree Publishers, 1998.