I'd go back to summer of 1970, after the Haunted Mansion opened but before Nature's Wonderland had decayed too badly. I'd spend time in Tomorrowland absorbing the Carousel of Progress show and Adventures through Inner Space and riding the Peoplemover.
Then I'd ride the Mine Train several times. I would love to see the rainbow caverns and with the digital video camera I'd sneak in, maybe I'd be able to record the insides in color (there doesn't seem to be a film of the insides of the caverns in color that I've been able to locate). In any case, it would be great to have a reminder of that once glorious portion of the park.
A time in which I already lived? I'd say I'd like to go back to 1978.
A time in which I WISH I'd lived? The Roaring '20's, 1940's or 1950's.
1) I would want to go in '92...back when I was really small and a lot of stuff I barely remember or never saw was still there and I missed out on.
2) Sometime in the early 70's...to see the old Frontierland, the old Tomorrowland, so many different things. I wouldn't want to go to Disneyland from opening day...that day was a nightmare from what I've read!
You all had some great ones on here. I've enjoyed reading them. A lot of you picked years in the 80s. This makes me glad. To me, the 80s was a new golden era for Disneyland. When all the great trademark attractions were still alive and active within the realm of the park. This is a time when Disneyland was really riding that wave from the Main Street Electrical Parade. We just ate that time up. It was truly good times.
It's hard picking one time to go back to during my years at Disneyland. I already said before I'd go to 1990, but I have another one. I think that it would be just absolutely wonderful to go back and relive the final night of the Main Street Electrical Parade. That night was truly magical and yet sad, surreal, and mind numbing. My thoughts were very divided that night. It had been over two years since we last went to Disneyland, and obviously since we saw the parade, which was my favorite thing in the park. So I was so excited to see it again, and excited that I would be apart of the final performance of it, essentially apart of history. Never before or since have I been on hand for such a pivotal turning point in the history of Disneyland, or Disney for that matter. What was even more remarkable was the fact that my folks made a point to get us down to Disneyland to see this event, without me asking! If you knew my folks you'd understand, but they're the type of people to be very indifferent about a lot of things; sometimes downright cold. I was 10 years old at the time, and there was no doubt that I wanted to see the parade before it left Disneyland, and the thought crossed my mind that it would be so super cool to be there for the last performance. However, I also knew that my folks probably wouldn't want to, even if I begged to go. They are what we would call regular party poopers. lol. So I just let it go, and accepted the fact that I was going to miss out. Imagine how shocked I was that Monday morning, when they got me up early, and I realized that they had took the day off from work; and then we started driving southeast on our typical route to Orange County. LOL! They were trying to surprise me, but I knew from the start of the day exactly what they were doing. Why else would my sister take a day off from work, on a Monday; and it was too much of a coincidence that today was the last day of the Main Street Electrical Parade. We were going to Disneyland, for the first time since before the Skyway left. I'll never forget how taken I was that my stone cold folks actually had enough heart to let us go to this major major event, especially for me. It wasn't like them. That just goes to show you that this parade transcends ALL age, socio-economic, and demographic barriers. Yes, we're slightly poor people, which is another reason why I thought they wouldn't want to go; but they made it happen because this was for the Main Street Electrical Parade, and even they knew how wonderful it is and how much everyone loves it.
I remember that night like it was yesterday. It was a perfect full moon that night, and we were just three days away from Thanksgiving. Early that evening, I rode Big Thunder Mountain for the very first time in my whole life. I was finally tall enough. lol. I remember that we missed the start of the first performance because we were riding Alice In Wonderland. I still regret that a little today. It was kinda ironic that when we got off the ride, the Alice In Wonderland was just starting to roll by. lol. We stood there and watched the whole thing, and it was beautiful. It was fitting that we watched it there because we had never watched the parade from Fantasyland before, so it was good since this was the last day. My folks are typically not the type of people to get a good spot for a show early, like a parade. However, this time around, we got to Main Street with ample time to catch the last performance, which was at 8:30 pm. We stood on the corner in front of the Disneyland Emporium. I remember Michael Eisner and Mickey Mouse gave some sort of announcement before the start. I don't even remember what they said. Then that baseline dropped, and the electronic announcerman's voice come out of nowhere (seemingly) to declare the beginning of the Main Street Electrical Parade once more. Then the lights went out, like always, and I heard the biggest roar come up out of the crowd. I had never heard anything like that in Disneyland before or since. Of course, my voice was added to that mixture. lol. It was a great feeling of unification, knowing that everyone there felt exactly the same way that I did. When Blue Fairy, and all the other floats came by, it was business as usual. If you didn't already know, you wouldn't have known that this was the last time the parade was performing. There were very few, if not any at all, indications of it. That always struck me. It's like, how can you keep it business as usual when you know this is the last time? I think of the performers when I ask that question. I know that it must have gotten really emotional at times. As each float passed by, we all said good-bye, and I tried to keep my eyes on each one for as long as possible, since this was "the last time" I would see them. It was hard letting the floats go. I never did believe that the parade was going away forever. I kept saying to myself the whole day, and the whole farewell season too, that someday, somehow, the parade would make a comeback. Even as a 9-10 year old, I could see that this parade was, and still is, WAY too loved to just let go that easily. Fortunately, I was right, as I found out later.
I'll never forget when Pete's Dragon came by. He just sat there, for what seemed like 20 minutes, but it was more like half that. He actually had a pretty nice convo with us on the ground. He was asking us to yell Brazzle Dazzle to make Elliot dissappear, and he was asking us how many times did we see his movie. I forgot how many times. lol. And when Elliot started to inch a little bit, we thought he was leaving so we all started yelling "bye!" Then he said, "No. I'm not leaving yet." We all LOL! Shortly after that, my folks made us leave. I swear to goodness, I didn't want to go; but I didn't put up a fuss because I thought to myself that they were nice enough to bring me here in the first place. They could've just said forget about it. As we walked out, I saw the finale float wrapped around Town Square, still waiting for the floats in front to move. The last image I have of the Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade was Pete's Dragon and To Honor America still frozen in place and not moving. I was thinking to myself, "they might stay there all night." I don't know what the hold up was, but I think it's a safe bet that once all the floats were out of the gate, they decided to have the parade pause for a while because this was THE last time. So might as well savor the moment, right? There were no complaints from the crowd either. lol. That image of the parade frozen in place, frozen in time has always been a very vivid memory from that night. That's the way it'll stay. I always had a sense of satisfaction leaving Disneyland. Like I just went to the happiest place on earth and I got to see the Main Street Electrical Parade too; I'm feeling pretty good. I left feeling that way again on this particular night, as if I could come back and feel that way again. The only difference was, I felt just slightly dissapointed that we couldn't stay longer or walk with the parade back to It's A Small World, but I was still satisfied nonetheless.
Fast forward to 2006..... When I was reading the page on www.yesterland.com about the final public performance of the Main Street Electrical Parade, it brought back all of those strong memories and emotions. I was particularly touched when I read the last part. He spoke about how him and his son joined the crowd and followed behind the big bald eagle up Main Street to It's A Small World. Apparently, this was after we left, and also apparent, the parade didn't stay there all night. lol. Anyway, he wrote that as the parade passed through each zone, and the final announcement proclaiming "Disneyland's Main Street Electrical Parade!" came up, the crowd would say it along with the vocoded voice and then a huge roar would come up. He wrote that there were scores of people that made this pilgrimage back to It's A Small World. Then when they finally made it to the end, he wrote that the big bald eagle exited the park through the gates by It's A Small World and fog machines came on making the bald eagle dissappear from sight. Then the final announcement came up, but it could barely be heard because of the tremoundous roar from the crowd. That's not where it ends though. Someone in the crowd started to sing "Na-na-na-na! Hey Hey-ey! Good-Bye!", and everyone joined in. Then someone started the Mickey Mouse Club March. They all sang that togother too, all the way to the last part that says "Now it's time to say good-bye to all our company. M-I-C... See you real soon. K-E-Y... Why? Because we like you. M-O-U-S-E!" When I read that, I almost lost it. I teared up, and I don't do that very often. I was like, "Oh, gosh! Now I wish I had've at least tried to make my folks stay longer to walk the parade back." I felt like I missed out big time. I would've loved to be apart of that. I'm the type of person who would have walked all the way back to It's A Small World with the parade, if I wasn't inhibited by my folks. SMH. I got really upset. Then, the way he wrote this article was so personal. He really painted the picture. I felt like I was there. I could see everything he was saying in my imagination. And I couldn't help thinking how sad it must've been to see the big bald eagle pass through those gates for the very last time, thinking back to all the times that float, and all the rest of them, passed in and out of there over the years. It was so much apart of Disneyland, it became synonymous, it became a trademark. All that history, and they just let it go. We could always count on the Main Street Electrical Parade to be there to complete our visit to Disneyland, and now it was gone. It's like, where do we go from here?
It really was the end of an era at Disneyland. It was also the end of my era there. See, that visit to Disneyland was my last visit as a kid. The next time we came to the park, I was a teenager (16); and of course everything felt different. Somehow, I still believed that the parade would be there, even though I knew it wasn't so. So, with all that said, I would love to have November 25, 1996 to live over again.