Friday, May 7, 2010

Main Street Electrical Parade

Starting in June, the Magic Kingdom Park at the Walt Disney World Resort will be presenting Main Street Electrical Parade instead of SpectroMagic parade during Summer Nightastic!.

I don't remember where I first saw the Main Street Electrical Parade. It might have been in Disneyland or possibly the Magic Kingdom in the 90's. I definitely caught it a time or two or three while it was at Disney's California Adventure. I'm glad I caught it again last year before it got packed up and shipped to the Magic Kingdom this year. Here are the pics to memorialized a night in August 2009.

If you want to compare the Main Street Electrical Parade and the SpectroMagic Parade, here are the pics I took in October 2009.

From an excerpt from Disney's Backstage Pass, May 2010, here's how the Main Street Electrical Parade came to be.

Just imagine the collective brightness in store for Magic Kingdom Guests like you when the grand and glorious Main Street Electrical Parade returns beginning June 6! Just hearing the strains of "Baroque Hoedown" floating through the Walt Disney World air gives shivers of joy to many of us.

Some wonderful things are also the simplest

Simply put, the Main Street Electrical Parade is a nighttime procession of memorable Disney scenes with beloved characters set aglow with millions of twinkling lights. And it began as a simple observation of Disney Legend Robert Jani, who was Creative Director of Walt Disney Productions.

"Bob was sitting in his living room, watching the twinkling lights on his Christmas tree," recalled Forrest Bahruth, Show Director, Walt Disney Entertainment. "He took his glasses off and on and thought, 'It's more interesting without my glasses because the light diffuses.'

"He began unstringing the lights on his Christmas tree, made a circle and a square, made a couple of flowers. His wife came in and said, 'What in the world are you doing?' He said, 'I'm just thinking about something.'"

A new kind of entertainment

The Main Street Electrical Parade evolved when Bob and his creative and technical team were thinking about performing the daytime parade at night. "In the early days there was no system for that," explained Forrest. "It turned out that the cost of lighting the existing parade was similar to creating a brand-new parade. So he and his team came up with an entirely new kind of Disney spectacle: a parade that makes its own light."

The Main Street Electrical Parade became a sensation, lighting up the hearts of Guests at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland® Resort in California and Disneyland® Paris. The parade even made special appearances at the Super Bowl in Miami, and even on the streets of Manhattan (to dazzle the usually unflappable New Yorkers)!

It's also personally significant to Gene Harding, Show Producer, Walt Disney Entertainment. "This parade was my first job when I started as a Disney performer in 1985," he recalled. "When it came back in 1999, I was on the production team."

It's back again for the first time

Now when it returns as part Summer Nightastic!, the Main Street Electrical Parade will combine memorable elements that Gene and millions of Guests love, plus several new features making their Magic Kingdom debut.

"The parade will now begin with a completely different lead float, featuring Tinker Bell in a hot air balloon along with four of her pixie friends," said Gene. "From there, Tinker Bell's pixie dust will sparkle throughout the entire parade."

Parade fans can look forward to the familiar twinkling train, the giant drum heralding the parade title and the delightful Alice in Wonderland section–with Alice waving from a mushroom, the Caterpillar, a butterfly and the whirling snails, fireflies and turtles.

Next up you can relive the ballroom sequence from Cinderella, and giggle at her "dysfunctional family" of stepsisters snarling at the crowds. Peter Pan, Wendy and the Never Land friends are next, plus some foes: Captain Hook aboard his ship and Mr. Smee rowing behind.

A new mine is yours to enjoy

"We had the Snow White portion of the parade in Florida before, including Dopey's train," added Gene, "But the diamond mine was a California feature. Both the mine and the entire Pinocchio section are making their debut in Florida, including a funhouse float, 'cigar store' and the Pleasure Island boys." After waving "hello" to Pete, perched atop Elliott the dragon, the shining, shimmering American flag float brings the Main Street Electrical Parade to a patriotic finale.

"The parade has the same charm we all remember, but new developments in design and technology have been added here and there," said Gene. "We've added luminescent panels, upgraded the sound reproduction and the synchronization between floats. In a sense, you'll experience it in a way unlike you could before."

But it's still the Main Street Electrical Parade we know and love. "When we can create something that really engages our Guests for generations, that's absolutely magical," said Forrest. "It's like a classic 'E' ticket Disney attraction."

Are you wondering what Disney's California Adventure Park will be showing at night now that the Electrical Parade has been shipped to Florida? Yes, there is something wonderful in the works. I hope to get out there to catch it's summer debut -- Disney's World of Color.

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