Ep137: History of the Main Street Electrical Parade

Feb 1, 2017 | Podcast episode, Podketeers

In this episode: In this episode we talk about the history of the Main Street Electrical Parade! From its roots as an 'Electrical Water Pageant' at the Magic Kingdom to the many night-parades that it inspired, we go through 45 years of dazzling people and the road taken by the parade before coming back home to Disneyland in Anaheim.

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The Main Street Electrical Parade (or “MSEP”) has been around for 45 years and has been seen by millions of people around the world. Here is a quick reference of the dates of when the parade appeared at each park:

Operating runs: 2

Run 1:
June 17, 1972 through November 25, 1996

Run 2:
January 20, 2017 through June 18, 2017

Magic Kingdom
Operating runs: 3

Run 1:
June 11, 1977 through September 14, 1991

Run 2:
May 21, 1999 through April 1, 2001

Run 3:
June 5, 2010 through October 9, 2016

Tokyo Disneyland
Operating runs: 2

Note: During it’s first run at Tokyo Disneyland, the parade ran as the ‘Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade’. During it’s second run, the parade ran as the ‘Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: Dream Lights’.

Run 1:
March 9, 1985 through June 21, 1995

Run 2:
June 17, 2001 through (currently operating)

Disneyland Paris
Operating runs: 1

Run 1:
April 12, 1992 through March 23, 2003

Disney California Adventure
Operating runs: 1

Note: During it’s run at Disney California Adventure (and before it’s return to Walt Disney World) the parade was renamed ‘Disney’s Electrical Parade’.

Run 1:
July 3, 2001 through April 18, 2010

MSEP was inspired by the Electrical Water Pageant on the Seven Seas Lagoon & Bay Lake which debuted on the dedication day for the opening of Walt Disney World.

One of earliest parades inspired by the Main Street Electrical Parade was SpectroMagic. It first ran at Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World from 10/1/1991 thru 5/21/1999 and then had a second run from 4/2/2001 thru 6/5/2010.

Disney’s Fantillusion parade originated at Tokyo Disneyland before going to Disneyland Paris and then heading back to Tokyo. Here is that parade:

Although versions of the original Main Street Electrical Parade have seen their way to several Disney Parks around the world, Tokyo holds the honor of getting a whole new version and still carrying the name “electrical parade”. Check out this video:

Not all parades inspired by the original Main Street Electrical Parade have been successful. After ending it’s original run at Disneyland (Anaheim, CA), MSEP was replaced by a new parade called ‘Light Magic’ which was ill received. Guests were so critical of the “streetacular” that Disney closed it less than 4 months after it started. The parade ran from May 13, 1997 through September 8, 1997.

This brings us to a parade that saw it’s origins at Hong Kong Disneyland before coming to Disneyland in 2015 to help celebrate the park’s 60th (Diamond) anniversary: Paint The Night. Possibly the most vibrant of all of the night-parades in all of the parks, Paint the Night (at Disneyland) is the culmination of technology as it boasts an impressive 1.5 millions LED lights throughout it’s 8 segments of floats and performers.

Finally, the song that has become synonymous with the Main Street Electrical Parade: Baroque Hoedown. Here is the original piece created by Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley released back in 1967 on the album ‘Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Electronic Pop Music From Way Out‘.

So what do you think? Does the Main Street Electrical Parade hold a special place in your heart or do any of the other Disney night parades hold that title? Leave us a comment down below!

Until next time! °o°

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