May 31, 2010

Origins of Electricity

This week we will be revisiting our Main Street Electrical Parade series we did in the very beginning of the GDP, to celebrate the debut of the Main Street Electrical Parade back in Magic Kingdom for Summer Nightastic!


This parade was a regularly- scheduled parade, created by Bob Jani. MSEP ran through most summers between 1972-1974, 1977-1982, and 1985-1996. This parade features floats and live performers covered in thousands of electronically controlled lights and a synchronized soundtrack triggered by radio control along the parade route... The Main Street Electrical Parade was spun up around the world in various of the theme parks, mostly Magic Kingdom- Style Theme Parks. With various names this parade has been to both American resorts, the European resort, and the Japanese resort. When in Disneyland and Magic Kingdom the parade was named Main Street Electrical Parade. When in Tokyo Disneyland, it was named Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade and then updated as Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights, and in Disney's California Adventure it is just simply called Disney's Electrical Parade.

The predecessor to the Main Street Electrical Parade is Electrical Water Pageant, a show made up of seven 25-foot tall screens with electrical lights placed on them. They travel around the Seven Seas Lagoon in front of the Magic Kingdom starting at around 9pm in front of Disney's Polynesian Resort and ending up in front of Magic Kingdom as the fireworks end and the guests start to pour out.. This water pageant is still playing today. Debuting on October 26, 1971, just weeks after WDW opened.


Debuting on June 17, 1972, Main Street Electrical Parade has been the longest running parade in Disney History, with it various incarnations. With its recognizable beginning and song, every Disney fan, or even some visitors know what is coming when they here:

"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-sythe-magnetic musical sounds. The Main Street
Electrical Parade!" Then the iconic "Baroque Hoedown" begins and the parade

In 1972, the engineers who helped create the parade also created the first show control program. This allowed the 2,000 foot long parade route to contain multiple radio-activated "trigger zones". Using the radio activated triggers as each float entered a zone, the audience would hear float specific music thought the audio system. Each zone between 70-100 feet long and the zoned system meant that every person watching the parade would experience the same show, no matter where they stood on the parade route. Until 1977, almost all of the floats were 2D and had to be pulled or pushed along the parade route. The Blue Fairy float was the only 3D float, and ran until closing. A 3D Chinese Dragon float was added later on.

Running most summers between 1972 and 1996 this parade became the most viewed and longest running parade at Disneyland. With the stints in 1972-1974, 1977-1982, and 1985-1996. The parade was put on hold so two other parades could be shown. America on Parade was show from 1975 through 1976, and Flights of Fantasy Parade was shown from 1983 through 1984.


After closing in 1996, ending the 24-year run. The replacement show, Light Magic, opening in 1997 and was an immediate failure. Disney quickly cancelled Light Magic but held off bringing back the popular parade. After ending its run in Magic Kingdom on April 1, 2001 the floats were sent back to California for a return to Disneyland. Once seeing the poor attendance figures of Disney's California Adventure, Team Disney Anaheim changed the plans and on April 25, 2001 Disney announced that the popular parade would be coming to Disney's California Adventure on July 2, 2001 because they feared the park would not beadle to attract large crowds. The name of the show changed from Main Street Electrical Parade to Disney's Electrical Parade. Most of the 1996 floats returned, except for the Pinocchio Pleasure Island section and Snow White diamond mine float, which was at Disneyland Paris in 1997. The parade has been offered during summer periods and select weekends since then. Finishing a nine month hiatus during the 2005 off season at Disneyland Resort, which allowed a replacement of lights and changing the opening drum adding the words presented by Sylvania. During the 2008 Walt Disney World Christmas Parade, they previewed the addition of the Tinker Bell float being added to the parade, replacing the Blue Fairy float in the Summer 2009 season. In April 2009, Disney's press conference for the Summer season previewed the concept of the float and also they announced the return of the classic floats of Snow White and the Pinocchio Pleasure Island. Also, updating the floats to LED lights. In February 2010, it was announced that Disney’s Electrical Parade would be moving back to the East Coast for Walt Disney World’s version of Summer Nightastic, for the Summer 2010 season.

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