Disney’s Electrical Parade, a California Classic

Written by Werner Weiss. Posted in Disney History, Disneyland Resort, Features, Werner Weiss

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wwdcaelectrical

Published on March 20, 2014 at 8:06 pm with 18 Comments

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Yesterland proudly presents a spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination in thousands of sparkling lights and electrosynthomagnetic musical sounds: Disney’s Electrical Parade.

 

Read the full YESTERLAND article HERE: Disney’s Electrical Parade, a California Classic.

 
 
When you are done reading, please leave your comments below.

About Werner Weiss

Werner is the curator of Yesterland.com, the ultimate collection of Disney theme park past attractions. You'll find his handiwork featured here every Friday.

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18 Comments

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  1. It was like that sad feeling you get seeing an actor you enjoyed as a child, now sadly aged and forced to do an infomercial. DCA 1.0 was SOOOOOO bad that even the zombie Electrical Parade couldn’t keep me in the park at night more than once. The wide uncrowded paths made it seem unpopular/unmagical.

  2. Disney was able to do the impossible with this parade. They took a beloved Disney original that thrilled families for decades and made it a symbol of Disney management betrayal and exploitation. They lied about the final performance. They could had improved the parade with new floats and themes if they really wanted to present a quality performance. Instead this was dragged out of mothballs so many times that it felt like granny being paraded around with a mini skirt. The thrill was long past by the time it mercifully was retired. Why Disney did not create new floats with new themes covered in lights is beyond me.

  3. I don’t care what anyone says, I loved it here, there, and everywhere. It was and is still magic to me. When I hear that music start my heart warms and I get excited all over again every time. I saw it at Disneyland as a child, at DCA, and Disney World. I loved them all the same. Long live the Electrical Light Parade!!!!

  4. Last spring we were at Magic Kingdom and this parade was running. I cried through the whole thing. All 6′ 3″ 220 pounds of me.

  5. I preferred this version of the parade to the current one at Magic Kingdom. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the new version have slightly different music? It also appeared that the old incandescent bulbs have recently been replaced by LEDs. This is pure speculation, and I completely understand the reasoning if it is true. However, there is no doubt that the new “colder” color temperature alters your perception of the parade, especially one steeped in nostalgia (associated with warmth).

    Don’t get me wrong. I ADORE the original Yesterland articles and site. It was one thing that really got me into Disney years ago. However, I can’t help but notice that every article in Yester California Adventure has to take so many stabs at the park circa early 2000s. I think it is somewhat unfair. Anything that involves creativity is a process. In many cases, the first try at a creative work (especially design) is not the best. It is through editing–subsequent iterations and improvements that a work really comes into its own. Didn’t Walt say that himself about Disneyland? Isn’t California Adventure just fulfilling Walt’s own prophecy?

    • CORRECTION
      *have been recently replaced

    • Let me elaborate a little further: In the late 90s Disney had 3 choices: (1) To build a new theme park within a budget that would serve as a BASE point for improvements for years to come, (2) To build a new theme park with a higher budget and more development, but opening could be delayed for years or indefinitely, or (3) To build nothing at all. In the spirit of Walt Disney, a do-er, Disney chose option 1.

      I am confident this was the right decision. First, it acted as a great “test drive.” Any writer, designer, etc. will tell you that it is necessary to work through bad iterations to know what works and what doesn’t. I think that having an existing base structure to critic and build off, and existing restrictions, and being able to respond to guest feedback potentially has led to a better Buena Vista Street, or Paradise Pier, or Hollywood Back lot than what would have resulted if Disney just built their first stab at it and decided that was it.

      • *USUALLY buildings are pretty permanent and NOT a good creative medium to “test drive” AFTER they have been constructed because they are such an investment. However, in the case of theme parks, it is an exception to the rule. Changes are expected every year anyways to keep guests coming through the turnstile and to continue to sell merchandise.

      • If the original DCA had been the original Disneyland it wouldn’t exist anymore. Don’t tell me they couldn’t have built a better park from the outset. That’s just giving into exec crap about cost because Disney is always so short on capital and investors. Bad exec judgement and decisions.

    • Allow me to comment on Justonedream’s observation, “However, I can’t help but notice that every article in Yester California Adventure has to take so many stabs at the park circa early 2000s.”

      In today’s article, I give an example of how the park originally tried to emphasize the California angle more than it does today, and I note that the park initially failed to live to its attendance projections. I guess someone could read these as “stabs at the park circa early 2000s,” but these were not meant to be stabs. I have to provide some amount of “level setting” in each article because not all readers are Disney park history experts. Most Yesterland page views are from readers who come in through Google searches, not from MiceChat folks.

      It’s not my intention to beat up early DCA, just to show how it was. Yes, sometimes I make observations, such as pointing out how Paradise Pier lacked a cohesive style and time period or that Condor Flats was not convincing as a high desert airfield. But, for the most part, I let the “retired” parts of DCA speak for themselves. By investing over a billion dollars to fix DCA, The Walt Disney Company has done more to point out the early flaws than any blogger could ever do.

      The flaws of DCA 1.0 can be attributed to fundamentally poor direction from top executives, much more than to creative work that just needed adjustment.

      • Warner–

        Thanks for the clarification. It actually makes a lot of sense when you put it that way. I understand that you are trying to set a mood/ a tone for each article, and it makes sense that not all web visitors went to DCA in its early years.

  6. If I may blatantly advertise my youtube video of the California Classic ;)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOKkF0tM5FY

    I much prefer both Disneyland and DCA’s version to the one currently at Magic Kingdom. It just always seemed to run smoothly and be a better presentation. For the commenter above, the musical change and additional LED twinkle lights were added at DCA in 2009, Magic Kingdom inherited them. But even the changed version was presented better at DCA for me.

    • I think I was the one who was waving a ton to Alice in that video, what a coincidence! Don’t worry, I won’t knock you down for that. [:

  7. I believe that they ripped the heart out of this parade when they replaced the soundtrack in 2009. To me, the “magic” of MSEP was the amazing Baroque Hoedown foundation track cleverly interwoven with the various Disney melodies. The two fit together, and it no doubt took a huge amount of musical creativity to do that. The replacement track is probably technically superior in terms of sound quality. But it is boring to listen to. Especially after about 15 minutes, when the Baroque Hoedown is essentially dropped from the show. The new music track did let Disney add different floats and lighting effects, but that was achieved at a huge cost: almost all of the warmth of the original. It is a long drop from the magical experience of the Blue Fairy opening to the bouncy Tinker Bell and her LED lighting. I have watched the new version of MSEP several times at DCA and Magic Kingdom in the last few years, and in most cases I couldn’t wait for it to end. That never happened with the original. Check it yourself next time you’re at the Magic Kingdom.

  8. I saw the parade in 1997 when it rolled down 5th Avenue in New York promoting Hercules. It was amazing to see it is a totally different location and just as magical!

  9. That parade was my only favorite parade ever.
    It was one of my favorite attractions at DL.
    Put me in a similar mood to Fantasyland darkrides, but nice and long.
    The baroque hoedown with disney themes provided a setting for the magic, and the sparkly floats and talented performers made it special every time.
    Daytime parades are one thing, but the MSEP should never have left DL.

  10. I loved the parade for decades. However, now the parade is just too old and played out. 40 years is way too much of the same thing. Wasn’t it supposed to “glow way forever” 20 years ago? I just do not understand why Disney doesn’t create a NEW electric parade for Disneyland.

  11. I loved this parade everytime I went to Disneyland, sure do miss it and wish they would bring it back to California!!!!!!