Thursday, August 18, 2022

Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade Returns with Reimagined Ending

Theme ParksTheme Park NewsDisneyland Main Street Electrical Parade Returns with Reimagined Ending

by Joe Tracy, Editor of Theme Park Magazine

A Disneyland fan-favorite parade – the Main Street Electrical Parade – is returning to the park of its origins in 2022. Disney made the announcement several months after Disney Parks put the following teaser video on Tik Tok (October 26, 2021):

Artist Concept of Sleeping Beauty Castle

According to Disneyland Resort, the Main Street Electrical Parade will make a triumphant return to Disneyland on April 22, 2022, in honor of the show’s 50th anniversary. However, the parade isn’t without changes. The “To Honor America” float, which had been a part of the parade since 1977, is being replaced. The new 118-foot long float – broken into seven segments – will feature movie scenes and characters created in the iconic “it’s a small world” art style of Mary Blair.

The Blair-inspired finale float will feature more than a dozen Walt Disney Animation and Pixar Studios movies, including The Jungle Book, Aladdin, Mulan, Brave, Encanto, Raya and the Last Dragon, The Princess and the Frog, Pinocchio, and other movies.

According to Disney, “These stories will be interpreted in thousands of sparkling lights and electro-synthe-magnetic musical sound, with unique representations of beloved characters as animated dolls.”

Bringing up the end of the float is a 19-foot tall Blair-inspired style of the Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Main Street Electrical Parade History

On June 17, 1972, Disneyland debuted a new parade that would capture the imagination of guests for nearly two decades. Called the Disneyland “Main Street Electrical Parade,” it was a musical and brightly lit procession of magical floats that brought colorful cheer to thousands of people. The parade featured floats themed to Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Pete’s Dragon, Alice in Wonderland, and a “To Honor America” float. The parade was so beloved that when Disneyland announced that 1996 would be its final season, fans flocked to Disneyland in droves to see it.

The parade didn’t run continuously for the entire 24 years. From 1975 through 1976, “America on Parade replaced it.” And from 1983 through 1984, the “Flights of Fantasy Parade” was showcased instead. 

The announcement that the Main Street Electrical Parade was going away for good in 1996 shocked a lot of people. Fans flooded Disneyland to get one last look at the parade. Its “final night” was November 25, 1996, which was well documented. Here’s a video broadcast from that night:

Many guests thought that would be the last time they would ever see the parade. Disneyland even sold off individual lights from the floats at $10 each as souvenirs. They sold out.

It’s hard to keep a wonderful production down, however, and that was the case for the Main Street Electrical Parade, which wasn’t on hiatus for very long.

On February 8, 2001, Disneyland Resort opened its second Anaheim park, Disney California Adventure. Reception of the park was timid and low attendance was a concern. To help boost summer attendance, Disney announced that the Main Street Electrical Parade would return, but this time to the Disney California Adventure Park where it remained for nearly 10 years. It then had two brief stints back at Disneyland in 2017 and 2019.

At different time periods other parks like Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland had their own version of the Main Street Electrical Parade.

Throughout the original Disneyland run, the Main Street Electrical Parade grew in size and presentation. There were originally 12 floats in 1972 and that number grew to 22 by the end of the original run in 1996.

Main Street Electrical Parade Music

The original theme song for the Main Street Electric Parade is called “Baroque Hoedown” by Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley (known as Perry & Kingsley), both synthesizer electronic music pioneers. They wrote the music in 1967 for their album, Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Electronic Pop Music From Way Out. Shortly after writing Baroque Hoedown, the pair went separate ways. When Disney was looking for a unique piece to accompany their electric parade, they came across this song and worked out an agreement with the publisher and adapted it to their needs, including sub-sets for each float and the infamous introduction:

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.

Other Disneyland Resort Parade and Show Announcements

In addition to the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade, Disney fans will see the return of “World of Color” at Disney California Adventure Park on April 22. Also returning on the 22nd will be the “Disneyland Forever” fireworks show at Disneyland. And Fantasmic will restart at Disneyland nightly beginning May 28, 2022.

Resources (Videos)

The Story Behind the Main Street Electrical Parade Music

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World version of Disney’s Electrical Parade

Tokyo Disneyland Version of the Disneyland Electrical Parade

Disneyland Paris Versions of the Disneyland Electrical Parade

Disney California Adventure Park Versions of the Electrical Parade

2019 Disneyland (Anaheim) Version of the Main Street Electrical Parade

Explore More (Resources)

Feature image and Sleeping Beauty Castle images are artist concepts only ©Disney. Tinkerbell float image ©Disney.

About Joe Tracy

Joe Tracy is the founder and editor of Theme Park Magazine, launched on June 1, 2021. Like many others, his passion for theme parks and themed experiences started in childhood and never faded. Joe has over two decades of experience in the print and online publishing industry.


Did you see the original Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade? What’s your favorite part? Did you buy one of the Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade lights in the late 1990s? Here’s a pic:

$10 souvenir sold after the “final” Main Street Electrical Parade in 1996.

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