The Main Street Electrical Parade is a regularly scheduled parade famous for its numerous runs at Disney theme parks around the world, most notably Disneyland at the Disneyland Resort and the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World. Originally created by Bob Jani and project director Ron Miziker, 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 inspired several variations and spin-offs, some of which still operate today. 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 iteration of the parade ran at Disneyland until its heavily-promoted "Farewell Season" in 1996, but after being scrapped, rebuilt, and sent to perform at other Disney theme parks from 1999 to 2016, it returned to its original home for a limited-time run starting on January 20, 2017. This run was intended to last until June 18, 2017, one day after the 45th anniversary of the parade, but popular demand saw it extended to August 20, 2017. After this, the parade sat dormant for nearly two years, but returned for a second limited-time run at Disneyland from August 2 to September 30 of 2019.
The Parade appeared on the 2020 edition of Dancing with the Stars.
Creation and Early Years
The predecessor to the 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 Walt Disney World, 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 premiered on October 26, 1971, just weeks after the Walt Disney World Resort opened, and continues to operate to this day. It was decided shortly thereafter that Disneyland needed a similar show, but because the park's property did not contain a sufficiently large body of water, the concept was revised into a more traditional street parade.
The original 1972 Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade was commissioned by company president Card Walker and 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 Silvestri, a Chicago, Illinois, display company known for its holiday light displays along Michigan Avenue in Chicago. However, construction of the floats in the factory ran severely behind schedule, leading Disney to ship the half-built floats to Anaheim, where Imagineering technicians and electricians finished the work themselves.
Because of these delays in construction, Disneyland was only able to hold one dress rehearsal before the parade's debut. This rehearsal was a complete disaster, with performers' costumes emitting sparks and several floats collapsing or crashing into buildings. Even with construction occurring around the clock, the parade was still being worked on as late as the day of its premiere. Against all odds, however, the parade opened successfully on June 17, and quickly became a favorite of park guests.
The engineers who helped create the parade also created the first show-control program in existence. This allowed the 2000 foot long parade route to contain multiple radio-activated "trigger zones". As each float entered one of these zones, the park's audio system played float-specific music through that zone's speakers. Each zone was between 70 and 100 feet 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.
From 1972 to 1974, the parade's roster of floats consisted largely of flat, two-dimensional screens similar to those used in the Electrical Water Pageant. These screens were placed on rolling platforms that needed to be pushed or pulled manually along the parade route. However, even from the beginning, some units were partially or entirely three-dimensional. Of the original floats, the Blue Fairy, Casey Jr. and the drum, the Cinderella ballroom canopies, the Chinese Dragon (later replaced by Elliott from Pete's Dragon), and Dumbo's circus calliope were all 3D. In 1974, this original version of the parade was retired and replaced by the Bicentennial-themed America on Parade from 1975 to 1976.
On June 11, 1977, an upgraded version of the Electrical Parade was introduced to Disneyland, now featuring an entirely three-dimensional lineup. On the same day, a nearly identical replica of the upgraded parade was formally introduced to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. To coincide with these upgrades, the parade's soundtrack was updated as well. Working at United Audio Studios in Santa Ana, California, Don Dorsey and Jack Wagner rearranged the soundtrack, adding an opening fanfare, a spoken introduction announcement provided by Wagner, and new music loops for some of the parade units, though others retained their music from the original soundtrack.
In 1978, several of the parade's floats were used for a special performance in the halftime show of the 1978 Orange Bowl. For this presentation, Don Dorsey composed a closing fanfare, and starting the following year, this element was implemented into the parade's soundtrack at the theme parks. At the same time, Disney started applying a vocoder effect to Jack Wagner's opening and closing announcements; both of these alterations carried over into all future versions of the parade.
Walt Disney World's version of the Main Street Electrical Parade ran continuously 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 was relocated to Disneyland Paris and ran there until 2003. After closing there, the parade was sent to Hong Kong Disneyland, but when the park opened in 2005, the Main Street Electrical Parade was nowhere to be seen. For unknown reasons, Hong Kong Disneyland sent the floats back to Paris shortly after they arrived, and operated without a night parade until the 2014 premiere of Paint the Night, an original show heavily inspired by the Electrical Parade. After receiving the Main Street Electrical Parade back from Hong Kong, Disneyland Paris elected not to run it again either, and as of today, the floats are no longer under the ownership of Disney.
From 1985 to 1995, Tokyo Disneyland had its own version of the Main Street Electrical Parade. Because this park features the World Bazaar in place of Main Street, USA, and because the park's parade route does not traverse the World Bazaar, this rendition of the parade was instead known as Tokyo Disneyland's Electrical Parade. In 1995, it was then replaced by a new parade called Disney's Fantillusion, which ran until 2001. At that point, Tokyo Disneyland received its current night parade, Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights, which was a return to the style of the original with updated music and new floats. Unlike most other versions of the Electrical Parade, DreamLights has been updated on a somewhat regular basis throughout its run at Tokyo Disneyland, with each update adding, removing, or changing floats in the parade's lineup. The most recent major update occurred on July 11, 2017, though a more minor update in March of 2019 did result in at least one float being replaced with a newer model.
Disneyland's version the parade ran until 1982, when it went on hiatus and was temporarily replaced by the Flights of Fantasy Parade. The Electrical Parade returned from its hiatus in 1985 with some upgrades, and ran for another eleven years before finally ending it's run at Disneyland on November 25, 1996. As a promotional event, Disney sold light bulbs certified as having been used in the parade as collectible souveneirs. These light bulbs were sourced from the Casey Jr. float and the blue and pink mushroom floats in the Alice in Wonderland unit; the latter two floats were de-bulbed following the first of two performances given on the parade's final day, and the former was de-bulbed shortly following the second. After being stripped of their lights, all three of these floats were destroyed, though the drum attached to the Casey Jr. float was kept and placed in storage.
Disneyland's replacement nighttime 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. Despite the parade's absence from Disneyland, however, it did make one more appearance that year when it was used to promote the premiere of Disney's newest animated film, Hercules. For this event, the Electrical Parade floats that had not been dismantled were sent to New York City, where the film was set to premiere at the recently-restored New Amsterdam Theater. These floats were then joined by four new, Hercules-themed floats that had been created specifically for the event. The parade was temporarily re-branded as "The Hercules Electrical Parade" and traveled down the streets of New York for a special, one-night-only performance on June 14, 1997. Following this performance, the diamond mine float from the Snow White unit and both of the Pleasure Island floats from the Pinocchio unit were sent to Disneyland Paris to join its version of the Main Street Electrical Parade. The remaining floats, including the special Hercules-themed ones, were all scrapped , though the fireworks from the "To Honor America" unit were later reused in It's a Small World Holiday.
In 1999, the Magic Kingdom's SpectroMagic parade was in need of refurbishment, so the decision was made to put it on hiatus and temporarily replace it by bringing back the Main Street Electrical Parade. To accomplish this, Disney hired Garner Holt Productions to create perfect replicas of the floats from Disneyland's version of the parade . The only units that were not rebuilt from scratch were the Hercules-themed floats (which were only meant to be used for the "Hercules Electrical Parade" event), the floats that had been sent to Disneyland Paris (which were simply omitted completely), and the drum pulled by Casey Jr. (which, as the only remaining original float, only needed its lights replaced). This new rendition of the parade premiered at the Magic Kingdom in May of 1999 for a limited engagement, just in time for Walt Disney World 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 with the intention of running the parade at Disneyland once again. However, this plan 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 without a big draw. Therefore, on April 25, 2001, Disney announced that the popular Main Street Electrical Parade would be coming to Disney's California Adventure on July 2, 2001, in honor of the park's inaugural summer.
The Main Street Electrical Parade was renamed to Disney's Electrical Parade, as California Adventure does not have a Main Street. Aside from the absence of the floats that had been sent to Paris and the the revision of the drum float to reflect the parade's new name, this version of the parade was largely indistinguishable to guests from the one that used to run at Disneyland. The parade was offered during summer periods and selected weekends. It finished a nine-month hiatus during the 2005 off-season at the Disneyland Resort, which allowed for the lights on all of the floats to be replaced and for the wording on the drum to be altered 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 nearly 20 years, since the 35th Disneyland anniversary float in 1990. In truth, however, this addition was a merely the first step in a process to upgrade the entire parade for the Disneyland Resort's 2009 "Summer Nightastic!" promotion. Starting on January 5, 2009, Disney's Electrical Parade went on hiatus, and over the next five months, the parade underwent a complete refurbishment. During this time, one of the turtle floats from the Alice in Wonderland unit was put on display at the "technology section" of the 2009 D23 Expo.
Elements of the parade that had remained unchanged for years were given an overhaul. The entire soundtrack was revised to more closely resemble that of Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights, and the Blue Fairy float that had led the parade since 1972 was retired and replaced by the new Tinker Bell float as the parade's first float. The entire Dumbo unit was also cut from the parade for unknown reasons, despite the fact that its music was updated along with the rest of the soundtrack, as could be heard in some backstage choreography videos. However, this removal was made up for by the return of the missing floats from the Snow White and Pinocchio units, as announced by Disney at a press conference on April 24, 2009. Hong Kong Disneyland had sent these floats back to Anaheim after deciding not to run the Electrical Parade and sending the remaining floats back to Paris, but they required significant refurbishment to be able to run alongside the rest of the parade.
Various enhancements were made to the existing floats as well. Animated LED pixie dust effects similar to those on the new Tinker Bell float were added to most of the major floats. The lightbulbs that made up the letters on the drum float were replaced by smaller bulbs embedded into the side of the drum, and new, larger lightbulbs were added around the edges of the drum. The butterfly in the Alice in Wonderland unit was altered in appearance and given the ability to flap its wings, and the Cheshire Cat was altered to fade between "visible" and "invisible" rather than simply blinking on and off. In the Peter Pan unit, Tinker Bell was removed from the crow's nest of the pirate ship (as she had her own float now), the central mast was made slightly taller, and the skull on the bow of the ship, previously formed by a group of light bulbs, was replaced by a single piece lit from the inside. In the Pete's Dragon unit, Elliott was given more detailed eyes and, much like the Cheshire Cat, a more elaborate sequence for fading in and out of view. Finally, the To Honor America unit was given a new title banner and animated fireworks.
Disney started testing these updated and new units in late May of 2009, and finally unveiled them formally to the public when the parade returned on June 12, 2009. That December, one more change was made to the parade: the caterpillar in the Alice in Wonderland unit was changed in color from green to a more movie-accurate blue, and was given a digitally-projected face whose lips synched up with the caterpillar's dialogue. However, despite the sheer scope of all of these upgrades, guests at the Disneyland Resort would only be able to experience the newly-enhanced parade for a few more months. Ongoing construction projects at California Adventure necessitated that parts of the parade route be walled off, and because of this, Disney's Electrical Parade was forced to end its run at the park on April 18, 2010.
That same year, "Summer Nightastic!" was extended to Walt Disney World, and to tie in with the promotion there, the parade was sent back to the Magic Kingdom, where it started performing on June 5, 2010. Though billed as Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade, the title on the drum float was not changed from its run at California Adventure, still reading "Disney's Electrical Parade". The "Presented by Sylvania" text was removed, however. While Disney initially announced that the parade would stay just through the summer, they later extended this into an open-ended run. On August 11, 2016, it was announced that the parade would be ending its run at the Magic Kingdom on October 9, 2016, at which time it would travel back to Disneyland in 2017 for a limited-time encore performance.
On January 19, 2017, a special ticketed premiere event was held after regular park hours, costing 95 US dollars to attend. Banners with the parade's logo were hung on the Main Street lamp posts during the parade's run, similar to those hung on the lamp posts during the Halloween and Christmas seasons and during the Diamond Celebration. Jack Wagner's original opening announcement was restored, albeit pitched down slightly to better match the updated soundtrack that had been in use since 2009.
The parade underwent several changes in the months between the final Magic Kingdom performance and the Disneyland premiere. Casey Junior was made the lead float of the parade, and the text on the drum float was reverted to its original state, alternating between "Disneyland Presents" and "Main Street Electrical Parade" rather than "Disney's Electrical Parade" fading in and out. The Tinker Bell float was relocated from the front of the parade to the end of the Peter Pan unit, and Tinker Bell's balloon was replaced with a large flower platform. Despite Tinker Bell no longer leading the parade, the pixie dust effects on the rest of the major floats were not removed until several weeks into the parade's run. Finally, the float upon which Pinocchio rides in the Pleasure Island unit was omitted completely; to compensate for this, the donkey boys' dance was rechoreographed, and Pinocchio himself was integrated into the new routine. The Main Street Electrical Parade's 2017 run at Disneyland Park ended with its final performance on August 20.
Immediately following this date, Disney did not make any announcements regarding the parade's future. Nearly two years later, on June 28, 2019, Disney announced that the Main Street Electrical Parade would return to Disneyland once again on August 2, 2019 and run through September 30, 2019. On July 22, to advertise the parade's new run, the official Disneyland Resort YouTube channel posted a slightly edited version of the aforementioned commercial from two years prior. The parade returned as promised on August 2, and aside from several minor choreography updates and behind-the-scenes refurbishments, the parade had not received any alterations since its 2017 run. After only eight weeks, on September 30, the Main Street Electrical Parade performed for the final time once again, leaving this as the parade's shortest run to date.
Notably, one week prior to the last performance, the Disneyland Resort's official Twitter account stated that it would be the final show "of the season". This indicates that Disney may have future plans for the parade, but the company has yet to provide further details regarding any possible future performances.
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". Notable previous units included the Blue Fairy from Pinocchio, a circus float connected to Dumbo, a series of floats based on It's a Small World, and a promotional float for Return to Oz that ran for only a few months in 1985 before being retired, placed in storage, and then destroyed in a backstage fire approximately three years later.Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights features several upgraded or alternate models of floats featured in the western incarnation, alongside units unique to the DreamLights version. As of the 2017 renewal, the floats are Blue Fairy, Knights of Light, Mickey's DreamLights Train, Alice in Wonderland, Disney Fairies, Pete's Dragon, Peter Pan, Toy Story 3, Aladdin, Tangled, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, and It's A Small World.
*These floats did not return because they had been dismantled and destroyed in 1996. In Casey Junior's case, only the train portion of the float was destroyed, while the drum portion was saved and put into storage until 1999.
Baroque Hoedown Dance Floats (golf carts with lights)
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, an updated version was arranged by electronic music artist Don Dorsey and Jack Wagner, which was used until January 2009 in Disney's Electrical Parade. The current soundtracks for both the Main Street Electrical Parade and Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights were arranged, programmed and performed by Gregory Smith, who also arranged the music for Disneyland's Remember... Dreams Come True and Magical fireworks spectaculars.
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)
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 eleven 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.
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. An alternate version of the soundtrack is used during Tokyo Disneyland's Christmas season, with Christmas songs mixed into the theme music. For Tokyo Disneyland's 30th anniversary, a show stop was added to the parade; it includes a 2-minute Christmas medley, and fireworks from Cinderella Castle are synced during the show stop as well.
As of 2009, the soundtrack for the American version of the parade utilizes much of the soundtrack created for DreamLights, with new loops created for the Cinderella, Pinocchio, and To Honor America units. Although the Dumbo's Circus unit was removed from the parade before the new soundtrack debuted, a new music loop was created for it as well, possibly suggesting that the decision to remove the unit was a late one. The American 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. This version of the soundtrack was used for the parade's runs at Disney's California Adventure from 2009 to 2010, the Magic Kingdom from 2010 to 2016, and Disneyland in 2017 and 2019.
Jack Wagner provided the synthesized vocoder voice for the intro and outro to the parade during its original runs at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Tokyo Disneyland. Bill Rogers provided the vocoder announcements when the parade returned to the Magic Kingdom in 1999. The announcements used for the parade's run at Disney's California Adventure were based on Jack Wagner's announcements for the Disneyland version of the parade, with alterations made to reflect the parade's new name and venue. After the soundtrack was updated, the vocoder announcements were updated as well. In Disney California Adventure, the announcements were rerecorded in a lower key with new vocoder effects, though they were still sourced from Jack Wagner's Disneyland announcements. The parade's third run in the Magic Kingdom used newly-recorded vocoder announcements instead of either the 1979 or 1999 versions, but for the parade's runs at Disneyland in 2017 and 2019, Jack Wagner's original vocoder introduction from 1979 was pitch-corrected and integrated into the modern soundtrack. However, Wagner's original closing vocoder announcement was replaced with a segment of audio reused from the opening announcements.
Remixes, samples, and parodies
The nighttime parade Paint the Night at Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland is heavily inspired by the Main Street Electrical Parade, while also not being a direct upgrade to the parade like Tokyo’s DreamLights. One of its theme songs is an EDM remix of Baroque Hoedown, alongside Owl City’s “When Can I See You Again” from Wreck-It Ralph. The parade’s opening fanfare and announcement are both based on those of the Main Street Electrical Parade. The California version also has a drum float behind the Tinker Bell float that leads the parade, heavily modeled after the drum float in the Main Street Electrical Parade.
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.
Samples of both the original 1972 and 1977 compositions of Baroque Hoedown (the former of which was orchestrated by Paul Beaver and Jim Christensen, and the latter by Don Dorsey) made for the Electrical Parade were used from 1975 to 1979 in the end credits of the Mexican comedy series, El Chapulín Colorado.
The audio was acquired from the 1973 and 1977 soundtrack picture discs released and were used without authorization from Disney or Perrey and Kingsley. It is unknown how it was obtained for the production of Chapulín and if there were any lawsuits for using Baroque Hoedown specifically.
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 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.
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 parody of Baroque Hoedown. Most of the floats appear to have 2D designs, which might be a reference to the Electrical Parade's original 1972-1974 iteration.
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. It is also heard in the episode “Orlando” from ABC’s sitcom The Middle, where Sue listens to it during the Heck family’s road trip to Walt Disney World.
A parody of the parade can be found during the ending credits of Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario.
A remix by Shinichi Osawa was released on the 2014 Disney remix album, Dconstructed.
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.
Versions of this Parade
At least four versions of the parade have been created since 1972. As recently as 2020, three of these are still known to exist, though only one still operates regularly.
Version A (Original Disneyland version) was built in 1972 and consisted primarily of flat wire frames on wheels that were hand-pushed. In 1974, it went on hiatus due to America on Parade and returned in 1977 with new 3D floats. The refined Version A ran at Disneyland Park (in Anaheim) from 1977 to 1982, went on hiatus from 1983 to 1984 (during which time it was replaced by the Flights of Fantasy Parade), and then returned for another run that lasted from 1985 to 1996. It remained in storage until 1997, when it performed a one-off performance in New York to celebrate the opening of the New Amsterdam Theater as well as the premiere of Hercules. The original floats were later recorded to be destroyed except for Casey Junior's drum, the Diamond Mine float, and the two Pleasure Island floats (the former was reused in Version D starting in 1999, and the latter three were sent to join Version B in 1998).
Version B (Original Walt Disney World version) was built in 1977 and premiered in Magic Kingdom (in Orlando). It was a clone of the one that was running in Anaheim, but with slightly wider floats to better fit the Magic Kingdom's larger parade route. It lasted there until 1991, when it moved across the Atlantic to Disneyland Paris and ran at that park from 1992 to 2003. At that time, it was sent off to perform at Hong Kong Disneyland, but for unknown reasons, the park decided not to run the parade and instead sent the floats back to Disneyland Paris. By that point, Fantillusion had already replaced the Main Street Electrical Parade as the Parisian park's nighttime parade, so the floats were not used there either. As of today, the Version B floats are no longer under Disney's ownership, though they still reside in storage in France in roughly the same condition as when they last performed in 2003. The Diamond Mine and Pleasure Island floats (originally from Version A) were sent to Anaheim shortly after the end of the Paris run, where they sat unused until joining Version D in 2009. A popular rumor that has since been debunked claims that Version B was scrapped sometime after arriving at Hong Kong and disposed of in the bay just off of Lantau Island.
Version C (Tokyo Disneyland version) was built in 1985, and premiered in Tokyo Disneyland. It lasted until 1995. It is unknown what has happened to the floats in this incarnation. It has been rumored that they were destroyed or have been refurbished into Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights. The Swan Lake unit was moved to Disneyland Paris in 1997, and remains in storage alongside the other Version B floats after being rejected by Hong Kong Disneyland, sent back to Paris, and eventually leaving Disney's ownership completely.
Version D (Current American version) was built in 1999 by Garner Holt for use at the Magic Kingdom (in Orlando). It is an exact replica of Version A, minus the drum float (which actually was the original float from Version A) and the Diamond Mine and Pleasure Island floats (which were initially omitted from Version D). This version ran at the Magic Kingdom (in Orlando) from 1999 until 2001. After that, it moved to the struggling Disney's California Adventure Park (in Anaheim), where it ran from 2001 until 2010. In 2009, the Diamond Mine and Pleasure Island floats joined Version D after having been previously used in Versions A and B. After leaving Disney's California Adventure (in Anaheim), the parade moved back to the Magic Kingdom (in Orlando), where it lasted from 2010 until 2016. It then traveled to Disneyland (in Anaheim), where it ran from January 20, 2017 to August 20 of the same year. After this, it was stored away in a parade warehouse owned by Disneyland, before returning to Disneyland once more for its 2019 run, which lasted from August 2 to September 30.
In 2001, Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights premiered in Tokyo Disneyland. It is unknown whether this version is a refurbishment of Version C or was built from scratch; if the latter is true, it is a fifth version, seperate from Version C. In either case, this version continues to run at Tokyo Disneyland to this day. The floats are unique to Tokyo Disneyland and never have been replicated nor relocated to any other Disney park.
The specific details of each incarnation of the parade are as follows:
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 (1977-1996): "Disneyland's Main Street Electrical Parade."
Closing Announcement (2017-2019): "The Main Street Electrical Parade."
Opening Announcement (1977-1991): "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Walt Disney World 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 (1977-1991): "Walt Disney World's Main Street Electrical Parade."
Opening Announcement (1999-2016): "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 (1999-2016): "The Magic Kingdom's Main Street Electrical Parade."
Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade
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
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 electro-synthe-magnetic musical sounds: Tokyo Disneyland's Electrical Parade."
Opening Announcement (1992-1995): "Mesdames et messieurs et vous les enfants, EuroDisneyland 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 (1992-1995): "EuroDisneyland Main Street Electrical Parade."
Opening Announcement (1995-2003): "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 (1995-2003): "Disneyland Paris Main Street Electrical Parade."
Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights
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
Opening Announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Tokyo Disneyland proudly presents our most spectacular pageant of nighttime dreams and fantasy. In millions of sparkling lights and brilliant musical sounds: Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights."
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."
On June 14, 1997, a variant of the Main Street Electrical Parade called 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 Bros. It was led by a custom Hercules title unit that was only used for this singular performance. It was shown on national television on a one-hour promotional program featuring the music and making of Hercules.
Opening Announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, inspired by Disney's Hercules opening weekend in New York, the Walt Disney Studios proudly presents a spectacular pageant of nighttime magic and imagination. In thousands of sparkling lights, and electro-synthe-magnetic musical sounds: the Hercules Electrical Parade."
1978 Orange Bowl
On January 2, 1978, an abridged version of the Main Street Electrical Parade was presented during the halftime show of the 1978 Orange Bowl college football game.
Opening Announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, tonight the Orange Bowl honors the most unique event staged in America in 1977: Disneyland and Walt Disney World's incredible spectacular of nighttime pageantry and imagination, in electrical sights and sounds, the Main Street Electrical Parade."
Closing Announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, the Orange Bowl 1978 Spectacular of Lights."
On December 22, 2012, during a run of the Christmas version of DreamLights, the Crush's Current float from the Finding Nemo unit began to turn in the wrong direction before briefly stopping inches away from spectators, which forced them to quickly stand up to avoid to being hit. Apart from a few screams, no one appeared to be injured in the accident. The parade continued as normal after the float was reversed back into its proper direction.