Behind the Magic: Main Street Electrical Parade Fun Facts

The Disney Blog

The “Main Street Electrical Parade” will soon be entertaining Disneyland guests with its thousands of sparkling lights and electro-syntho-magnetic musical sounds one more time. But you only have a limited time to enjoy the sense of wonder, joy and nostalgia of Disneyland’s original night time parade. Its return run is scheduled from August 2 through September 30.

“Main Street Electrical Parade” made its world debut at Disneyland June 17, 1972, and later appeared at Disney Parks around the world. The spectacular pageant of nighttime magic and imagination entertained guests at Disneyland until it “glowed away” on Nov. 25, 1996. Most recently, the dazzling after-dark parade ran for a limited-time at Disneyland in 2017, and prior to that, it illuminated Disney California Adventure Park from 2001-2010.

Here’s a closer look at the legacy of the “Main Street Electrical Parade”, by the numbers.

  • 600,000 lights sparkle in the parade’s nighttime journey from Small World Mall in Fantasyland to Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A. (approximate number).
  • 22 floats illuminate the parade route at Disneyland, nearly doubling the number of floats from the parade’s debut (12) in 1972.
  • 7 films are represented in the parade: “Alice in Wonderland,” “Cinderella,” “Peter Pan,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Pinocchio,” “Dumbo” and “Pete’s Dragon.”
  • 27 beloved Disney characters perform throughout the show including Goofy, Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, Captain Hook and Tinker Bell.
  • 80 parade performers (estimated number per night) bring the magic to light including 10 To Honor America patriots, 16 royal court dancers and the Seven Dwarfs.
  • 35 dazzling, lighted costumes are worn by the parade performers.
  • 8 jittering insect floats spin and dance for guests during the “Alice in Wonderland” sequence.
  • At 18 1/2 feet highthe Clock Tower in the “Cinderella” sequence of the parade, is the tallest float.
  • At 118 feet long, the To Honor America float is the longest float in the parade. It was added in 1979 after the success of the bicentennial tribute parade “America on Parade.”
  • At 5,600 pounds, the massive Elliot float, added in 1977 for the release of “Pete’s Dragon,” measures 16 feet tall, 10 feet wide and 38 feet long.
  • 2 composers, Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley, wrote the iconic synthesizer piece known as “Baroque Hoedown” in 1967, and the song was adapted for the “Main Street Electrical Parade” in 1972, interwoven with classic Disney themes to create the now iconic parade soundtrack.
  • 6 different colors of light bulbs flash throughout the parade, in amber, blue, green, chartreuse, red and pink.
  • 150,000 glowing amber lights are used in the production, the most of any color.
  • 80 highly skilled cast members were involved in the creation of “Main Street Electrical Parade”, including 20 designers and 60 craftspeople.
  • Disney Parks have presented versions of the “Main Street Electrical Parade” including Disneyland, Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Park, Disney California Adventure Park, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris.

Historical:

  • Nearly 3,600 performances entertained guests at Disneyland from June 17, 1972 to Nov. 25, 1996.
  • 900 miles is the approximate distance traveled by the “Main Street Electrical Parade” during its original run at Disneyland, nearly the distance from Anaheim, Calif., to Seattle, Wash.
  • In 2005, “Main Street Electrical Parade” creator and former director of entertainment Robert Jani was inducted as a Disney Legend.
  • June 17, 1972, marked the debut of the “Main Street Electrical Parade”, and it returned for its encore performance at Disneyland 45 years later – Jan. 20-June 18, 2017.
  • 500,000 hand-tinted white miniature bulbs twinkled each night in the early versions of the parade.
  • 500 miles of wiring were used to light the floats during early years of the parade, enough to travel to the top of the Matterhorn and back nearly 9,000 times.
  • Approximately 75 million guests viewed the “Main Street Electrical Parade” during its original run at Disneyland.

Will you be at Disneyland when the “Main Street Electrical Parade” returns Aug. 2, 2019?

Photo credit: Disneyland, Scott Brinegar photographer.

1 thought on “Behind the Magic: Main Street Electrical Parade Fun Facts

  1. I loved…loved the Electric Light Parade…found it much more entertaining than these laser light shows on the castle walls….it was true Disney Magic and I wish they would Bring it back to Disney World again. My little grandchildren who were just there for the first time will never know this wonder of Disney….an entire generation will never see this?

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