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  1. #1

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    Electrical Parade

    I always loved the electrical parade as a kid! I especially enjoyed the music. My mom enjoyed it a lot too and we were both sad to see it go. My godfather (who lives in CA) even got me one of the light bulbs from the parade that went to charity. When we went back in soon after DCA had opened (before Country Bears closed) we got to see the parade. We talked to an “it’s a small world” CM about the changes to the parade and how she said that most of the DL CMs wanted it back on main street. Eventually the "main street" part of the name was dropped and it still runs at DCA. I love this parade and it is my favorite part of DCA. I was sad to miss it because of the rain (aka lack of guests one Friday night) but I can't wait to see it again in May. Since I was younger I don't remember much of the details of the change. I was wondering what you could share? What is better? What is worse? I know that the music changed a little too (I have the CD) and two floats were missing when it first started. Thanks.

  2. #2

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    I can't swear to this, as it was a long time ago, but the "old" Main St parade was a bit longer...and there were some characters, et al, from Fantasia (I especially remember the mushrooms) that aren't in the current edition.

    Back then, too, they were always looking for something new to expand into the parade, something that doesn't happen now with it at DCA.

  3. #3

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    Ah, I love that parade!

    The Main Street Electrical Parade was inspired by the Electric Water Pagent at Walt Disney World which started in October of 1971. From what I've been told (and correct me if I'm wrong here) the Electric Water Pagent would feature small barges that had 2 dimensional characters & designs on them. After the last boat comes on the water all of the barges merge together to form an american flag & animated fireworks for the finale. The folks at TDA wanted to duplicate it for Disneyland but there was no body of water large enough to perfom the pagent. So they decided to use wheels instead of barges and turned it into a parade.

    The theme song of the parade is called Baroque Hoedown & it was not written for the parade. It was a piece of music owned by Vanguard Records, copyrighted in 1967.

    When the parade debuted at Disneyland in June of 1972 most of/or all the floats were 2 dimensional. The original floats were The Blue Fairy, Casey JR Circus Train, Alice In Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty Dragon (quickly changed to Chinese Dragon), Dumbo's Circus, Cinderella's Ball, It's A Small World, and To Honor America (in that order I believe).

    The parade was originally scheduled to run only through the end of 1972 but due to it's popularity, it ran through 1974. The parade was gone from 1975 - 1976 while Disneyland put on a new parade called America On Parade, as part of Disneyland's celebration of America's Bicentennial. By Popular request the parade returned in 1977. When it returned the music received an update by Don Dorsey and the floats were now 3 dimensional. The Chinese Dragon was removed and a new dragon named Elliot was added (from the movie Pete's Dragon). Elliot was only supposed to be in the parade for one year but has stayed due to the popularity of the float (the popularity of movie is another story ). Actor Sean Marshall who played Pete in Pete's Dragon was the first person to play Pete in the MSEP. Oddly, he wasn't asked to play the part in the parade; he was told. The boy just said "okay" and that was it. He was not the first celebrity to appear in the parade. Annette Funicello was the first woman to play the Blue Fairy. I have no idea how they got her to do it. 1977 was not only the year the Main Street Electrical Parade returned to Disneyland; it was also the year it debuted at Magic Kingdom in Florida.

    In 1980 there were 2 floats that ran til the end of the year; Return To Oz (designed to look like the emerald city) and Disneyland's 25th Anniversary (a replica of Sleeping Beauty Castle). Pinocchio made his MSEP debut with 2 floats ; Pinnochio Underwater and Pleasure Island. 1980 was also the year Peter Pan's Pirate Ship & The Dwarf Mine were added to the parade. In 1981 there was a Fox And The Hound float but few seem to remember it. I don't remember it either but in 1981 I was only 2 years old. The parade ran through 1982 before taking another 2 year hiatus. During it's 1983 - 1984 hiatus Disneyland put on a parade that featured big balloon type floats called Flights Of Fantasy. Although park guests found it interesting they still wanted to see the MSEP again. So the Main Street Electrical Parade returned in 1985. In 1988 there was a float called Mickey's 60th Anniversary, honoring Mickey Mouse's 60th birthday. The music coming from the float was the Mickey Mouse Club March. By this time Tokyo Disneyland was open & running their own MSEP so now there were 3 Disneyland parks in the world running the same popular nighttime parade.

    In September 1991, the Magic Kingdom version ended it's run at the WDW resort & was shipped to Marne La Vallee, France where in April 1992 it became the Euro Disneyland Main Street Elelctrical Parade. Magic Kingdom replaced the parade with another one called Spectro Magic. Tokyo Disneyland retired their MSEP & put on another successful nighttime show as well. In Disneyland, the parade continued to run through 1995. Then in 1996 the parade returned for what was called "The Farewell Season". The folks at TDA decided to retire the parade in 1996 and then replace it the following year with a show from Tokyo Disneyland called Light Magic. During it's "farewell season" the suits were saying the parade is "retro" , "outdated", "it's seen better days", "Disneyland is not a museum" and other lame comments as a weak attempt to get people to focus on the upcoming Light Magic.

    The parade ran through October 15, 1996 but came back a month later for 3 nights of encore performances due to popular demand. After those performances the parade left Disneyland but it was certainly not the last time people would see it. Two months later, a few floats were added and/or modified and for one night only the Main Street Electrical Parade was performed in New York City as the "Hercules Electrical Parade" to promote the release of the Disney animated film Hercules. After this bizaare incarnation, the parade made a brief appearance at Tokyo Disneyland. Meanwhile, Light Magic debuted in Disneyland. The Main Street Electrical Parade ran for over 20 years. Light Magic barely ran for 20 weeks. It was so unpopular that it got the axe before the year was over. The suits at TDA claimed the "streetacular" (that's how they described it) would be retooled over the next 3 years and would return to Disneyland in 2000. It didn't. The Main Street Electrical Parade was dismantled after it ran at Tokyo Disneyland but once word got out of the failure of Light Magic, the floats were quickly reassembled. The Dwarf Mine & Pleasure Island floats were sent to Euro Disneyland just in time for their summer 1998 season. They used the promotion "More lights! More Magic!" to advertise their new additions. The remaining MSEP floats were given a refurbishment and in May 1999 began a 2 year run at Magic Kingdom, temporarily putting MK's popular Spectro Magic on hiatus. A few Spectro Magic peformers were mixed into the parade during this limited engagement.

    By the summer of 2000, it was unofficially decided that the Main Street Electrical Parade would return to Disneyland by the summer of 2001. There were two reason. The first reason was the continuing popular request to bring back the parade. The second reason was California Adventure. The folks at Disney were so sure that DCA would be such a huge hit that they worried Disneyland's attendance may suffer a big dip unless there was something special to draw people to the park. There were talks of updating the parade since there had been no technological upgrades to the look or sound since 1977 and Tokyo Disneyland was currently building a brand new electrical parade costing $25 million (about the same price as the pooh ride at DL). The parade's return to DL was cancelled after fears it would overshadow the opening of DCA. Then the folks at WDW told TDA that they wanted to bring back Spectro Magic & were going to return the MSEP to DL in April 2001 (ready or not, here it comes ). So TDA came up with the plan to refurbish the floats during the summer of 2001, have rehearsals in the fall, and re-introduce the parade to DL during the Christmas season by performing a special Christmas Edition using special colored lights, decorations, and music overlay (this had already been done in Euro Disneyland). After the Christmas season, the parade would go back to it's normal version and continue running throught the early half of 2002 as being "held over!" and by summer 2002 "Back By Popular Demand!". This would help to get around the promise made back in 1996 that the parade was "glowing away forever!". So that was the plan until California Adventure opened and immediately flopped. It was clear that something had to be done to get the attendance up for the crucial summer months. There was little money in the resort budget and the popular MSEP had just been returned from MK. Three guesses what they did . The "retro", "dated" electrical parade was being sent in to rescue the "hep", "modern", "edgy" California Adventure. As a cheap way of giving the parade an update, the Disneyland music was replaced with the music that was recorded in 1983 for the original Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade (the one exception is the To Honor America float).

    Since then, Euro Disneyland ended their MSEP in March 2003 & replaced it in July 2003 with Fantillusion. Fantillusion was another Tokyo Disneyland nighttime show. Due to high shipping costs & lack of money Euro Disney only purchased 16 of the 47 floats from Tokyo Disney. They chose each float very carefully. The MSEP floats that ran in EDL (originally from MK) have now been sent to Penny's Bay, Lantau Island where in September 2005 it will become the Hong Kong Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade.

    This parade just keeps glowing, and glowing.

    I LOVE it but hate seeing it in California Adventure cause it makes no sense there. It's as if The Matterhorn was torn down & replaced by a crappy ride and then years later The Matterhorn is rebuilt but it's placed inside HPB area of DCA. What's the connection ? "The first Matterhorn ride was at Disneyland, which is in California" ? Also, I think it hurts what little credibility DCA has. "Come here to see old shows you've seen 20 years before" ? Why not something new? Why not something that actually fits the theme ? It's lazy.



    Geez, I've said more than a mouthful haven't ?

  4. #4

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    Say.. what happened to the other floats from Fantillusion... Does TDL still have them in storage... waiting for DLP to purchase more.... (I wish Dreamlights was built for DL....)

  5. #5

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    Does anyone know if DCA will be adding any Floats to the MSEP/DEP in celebration of DL's 50th? It seems as though this parade has been shown plenty of disrespect by NOT adding any new units to this parade that has been around half the time DL has been in existence.

    None of the parade units units represent any Disney movie since Pete's Dragon! Where's the Little Mermaid, Belle and the Beast, Aladdin, Hercules, Tarzan? And Now with DL celebrating 50 years, a special unit should be representing that alone.

    Please, someone, ANYONE! Tell me MSEP / DEP, the parade that brought crowds to the DOA DCA, will be shown some respect and be given something new to shine for this most significant event in DL history!

  6. #6

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    hmm.... What did happen to the newer floats... get dismantled & destoryed?? Comeone.. spend money to make crowds at the park... & get money back.... add to the parade....

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by figment1986
    Say.. what happened to the other floats from Fantillusion... Does TDL still have them in storage... waiting for DLP to purchase more.... (I wish Dreamlights was built for DL....)
    I saw DreamLights and I did NOT like it. Technologically, it was very advanced & the use of fiber optic lighting was wonderful. However, as advanced as it were, the look & sound of the parade left me cold. Something about it lacks a certain amount of warmth & heart that the older version has. If they were to update the parade, I hope they don't copy DreamLights.

    I'm not sure what has or will happen to the additional Fantillusion floats that Euro Disney did not purchase but I doubt they'll be coming to Parc Disneyland anytime soon. Even if Euro Disney got the money to purchase the floats & pay for the shipping fees, there's still a matter of labor costs to maintain & operate the floats. When I check into my hotel I check the tv & watch the clips of the parades shown in the video but when I get inside the park & watch them, they're missing many floats and characters. Hopefully Jay Rasulo can get Euro Disney a larger budget to operate their resort but until then, I would suspect that if any additional floats were to be purchased, they would be rotated in when another float is rotated out.

    Also, I would be concerned that something might happen to them. A few years ago they lost the It's A Small World MSEP float when it somehow caught fire backstage. Maybe that was just a freak accident but it makes me feel uneasy about other parade floats.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aladdin
    Does anyone know if DCA will be adding any Floats to the MSEP/DEP in celebration of DL's 50th?
    It would be nice but I don't see that happening. DCA's Toy Story parade got scaled back to a Block Party so I doubt any additional money would be used to build a new parade float. If they were to build a new electrical parade unit, I would hope for The Little Mermaid or Aladdin. I wouldn't pick Beauty & The Beast cause most likely it would look like the Cinderella's Ball section already in the parade.
    Quote Originally Posted by figment1986
    hmm.... What did happen to the newer floats... get dismantled & destoryed?? Comeone.. spend money to make crowds at the park... & get money back.... add to the parade....
    Yeah it's very easy to build the new floats. The problem is most of the money which could go towards building new floats & such is being used to repair the park after the years of neglect during the Pressler Era. Perhaps after the anniversary we might see something. Then again, the parade was shoved into DCA at the last minute with no intention of spending any additional money on it unless absolutely necessary so it's highly doubtful. Unless enough people request it, it probably won't happen. Next time you visit Disneyland go to City Hall & leave a comment. It's very important to voice your opinion so please do!

  8. #8

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    I just wanted to say thanks for the detailed history of my favorite dead-parade-walking. I kid, I kid. I just wanted to point out a possible error in your assessment...Disney's Fantillusion played Tokyo Disneyland uninterrupted from 1995 until it was replaced by Dreamlights. So my question is, when did DL's MSEP play Tokyo Disneyland? And Light Magic did not come from Tokyo, it was created expressly for Disneyland.

    I like your sig.

  9. #9

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    I believe it was during the farewell season in DL that the DL CM's were telling guests that Light Magic was from Tokyo Disneyland. Perhaps what they meant to say was it was inspired by a TDL show ? I'm not certain what they meant.

    I too thought MSEP did not run in TDL after it was retired from DL but many people seem to disagree with me about that. If you can prove it didn't, please do.

  10. #10

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    EM you are the MSEP Guru, this isn't a LOL smilie, it's a bowing to you smilie



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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsnylndmom
    EM you are the MSEP Guru, this isn't a LOL smilie, it's a bowing to you smilie
    I agree with dsnylndmom, you are a MSEP Guru. When I read your 1st post in this thread HOLY COW, you know alot



  12. #12

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    Minion omission!

    I surprised that EM omitted one of the most memorable floats of the 2000 season.

    It was made of "140 million" twinkling lights and symbolized the cash payout and exodus of Michael Ovitz. The music was revised to emulate the twinkling sound of small change being sucked from cute mouse shaped rotating coffers. Dancers dressed as the board of directors wore flashing blindfolds as they threw stock certificates like confetti into the screaming crowds. High above on a trapeze were the 2 Mikes encrusted in red lights sparring like a scene from crouching tiger. This was true Disney magic. "Broke Slowdown" was the musical theme and the big electric boot was the highlight. Can't believe EM didn't point this out. :devil:

    It was only there briefly till the Pressler "Run to Failure" float replaced it.
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu Minion
    I agree with dsnylndmom, you are a MSEP Guru. When I read your 1st post in this thread HOLY COW, you know alot
    I agree with both above. Never knew about the NYC showing. I really appreciated the history of the floats outside the U.S.

  14. #14

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    I downloaded the music and it brought back so many good memories! I have yet to see it at DCA but it can't be nearly the same can it? I dunno, but that music is great!
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  15. #15

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    Sheesh Evil, thanks for the Info, Are you trying fot the Disney Archivist position?
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