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7 Facts and Secrets About the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Editor’s Note: Sadly, the Mainstreet Electrical Parade has been retired. However, enjoy this walk down memory lane with some amazing facts and secrets from a parade that has given so many guests so many great memories over the years.

The Main Street Electrical Parade has appeared in some way, shape or form at Disney parks for many years.  Even if the parade took a hiatus at one park, it would be moved to another for guests in another area of the world to enjoy.  If you haven’t seen it, that gives you an idea of the popularity of the parade and how impressive the floats are!  Here are also 7 fun facts and secrets about this beloved parade.

Editors Note: Catch this one while you can. The last performance of the Main Street Electrical Parade will be October 9, 2016.





 

7 – The parade wasn’t a native Magic Kingdom or Disney World attraction.

This parade first appeared at Disneyland in 1972.  The parade was extremely popular and even with various updates and moves over the years, versions of it managed to survive at one of the Disneyland parks in California.  It did end in 2015 at Disneyland when Paint the Night premiered.  Two parade versions still run most nights today.  They are located at Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland today.  The parade at Magic Kingdom is comprised of floats from the Disneyland version and some of the newer elements from when it was at Disney California Adventure, too.

6 – The parade was inspired by Disney World, though.

The Electrical Water Pageant came first.  This was the nighttime electrical show with floats that moved across the water to create a light show for guests to enjoy.  This was a unique experience and Disneyland executives and planners took note of the popularity.  They wanted to create something that would keep more guests in the park during the evening hours, so the concept for the Main Street Electrical parade was born! It was a brilliant concept that still is extremely popular in the parks where the parade is shown.

MS Electrical Parade

5 – The parade took at hiatus at the Magic Kingdom.

The nighttime parades have always been popular as guests love the lights, characters and music.  The sun is also down so it isn’t as hot to stand out and watch a parade in the evening time when you don’t have the sun beating down on you.  The Disney World version of Main Street Electrical debuted at the Magic Kingdom in 1977.  It ran until 1992 when the parade then moved to Disneyland Paris.  The Magic Kingdom had Spectromagic, another nighttime parade with all new floats and music, until 1999 when Main Street Electrical returned for a couple years.  Spectromagic returned in 2001 and ran until 2010. After Spectromagic ended, Main Street Electrical came back and has remained at the Magic Kingdom since then.

4 – 600,000 lights are needed to light up all of the floats and costumes.

Yes, you counted all of those zeroes correctly! That is a lot of lights, right?  That equates into over 500 miles of lights! The power from the batteries to power all of these lights would equal the amount of power needed to provide power for 32 homes, too! That is a lot of power and lights, which is no wonder why the show continues to impress and remain a visual delight for guests of all ages.





 

3 – The birth of a new way to do parades.

Before this parade, the parade floats would project the music for the show, so that you heard the music more clearly as the float approached you.  With this parade the imagineers developed a whole new control system, which is how we experience parades today.  The area is broken in zones where speakers are.  When a float reaches a zone it triggers the system to play certain music, so the music comes from speakers in the area.  You get constant music the entire time at a constant level, which is also perfectly synced with the parade!

2 – Baroque Hoedown

Don’t you just love the catchy tune of the Main Street Electrical parade?  The music has remained a constant with the parade and has guests dancing, moving to the music and tapping their toes.  The tune is called “Baroque Hoedown”.  It was electronically written by Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kinglsey.  The electronic synthesized music was new for this era in 1967.  They wrote the song for commercial used and didn’t realize that Disney created a parade set to the tune of the music until Jean-Jacques Perrey made a trip to Disneyland in 1980 and heard it played.

MS Electrical Parade-2

1 – Quick parade facts.

  • There are over 80 performers that perform during the parade as characters, dancers and other entertainment.
  • There are 11,000 lights on the dancer’s costumes.
  • There are 23 different floats in the parade.
  • The longest float in the parade is the finale float. It is made up of 7 cars and spans 118 feet total.
  • The tallest float is the Cinderella float. The clock tower is 18.5 feet tall.
  • All of the lights have been upgraded to LED lights so that they are more energy efficient.





 

About Christy Caby

Hi! I’m Christy, and I am a wife and mother of 2 young boys (ages 5 and 2). I first fell in love with Disney when my mom took me when I was a child. After that I proceeded to go to WDW for my senior trip with my friends, and I completed a year in the Disney College Program (working in merchandise at Mickey’s of Hollywood at Disney’s Hollywood Studios). I shared my love of Disney with my now husband and sucked him in. He proposed at Disney, we honeymooned at Disney, we started bringing our boys before they were born and then as early as 8 weeks old. We then continued to vacation to Walt Disney World 2-3 times per year. We decided that what makes more sense than just moving to Orlando so that we could live the Disney life and be here for all of our favorite events and seasons every year. That is exactly what we did! Now we are at the parks a couple times a week and go for most events and major holidays. We can’t get enough and get to experience Disney in a whole different way. I love to share this love and passion for all things Disney with the world and hope that I can help others appreciate the magic that Walt Disney World has to offer!