Paint the Night Parade Disneyland
The initial run of the Paint the Night Parade at Disneyland ended on September 5, 2016.
It returned to Disney California Adventure from April 13-November 7, 2018.
Paint the Night lights up the night in a dazzling display of over 1.5 million computer controlled LED lights. The parade features floats, Disney characters, imaginative costumes, motion, light and choreography, and a bouncy soundtrack.
Here’s a full-length video:
Paint the Night — The parade starts at “it’s a small world” and ends at Town Square – when there is a second parade the route is reversed and the later parade starts at Town Square and ends at “small world”.
The eight parade units include nods to classic Disney animated features like Peter Pan, the princesses, and The Little Mermaid, as well as the Disney-Pixar hits Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., and Cars. There’s also a Frozen float with Anna, Elsa, and Olaf. And it pays homage to the original Main Street Electrical Parade: the light on the end of Tinker Bell’s wand is a rosette from the original parade, and if you listen carefully, you’ll hear the Baroque Hoedown woven into the new soundtrack.
The main theme is “When Can I See You Again” from Wreck-it Ralph. As the various parade units pass by, there’s also musical selections from the associated movie, such as “You Can Fly”, “Life is a Highway”, “Under the Sea”, and “Let it Go”. The musical style changes to match the floats: for example, the theme is much more subdued and melodic during the Princess segment.
Drum Unit – the parade opens with the “light fairies”, followed by Tinker Bell floating in front of a huge drum. The drum is animated with thousands of LEDs and Peter Pan rides on top.
Monsters, Inc. – The doors on the Monsters, Inc. float spin around, and appear to open and close as different characters and scenes appear on them. Sulley and Mike ride along.
Cars – The “Cars Crew” dancers precede the largest float in the parade: Mack the Truck. Mack’s sides are a 3-dimensional volumetric display – the colorful patterns and images appear to move. Lightning McQueen and DJ are also a part of this unit.
The Little Mermaid – The float features mermaid Ariel and a 12′ King Triton. Accompanying the unit are coral dancers, spinning jellyfish and puppet versions of Marlin and Nemo, who “swim” in and out of the coral and jellyfish.
<img=”paint paint_02.jpg”=”” alt=”Paint the Night Slinky Dog” width=”150″ height=”200″ border=”0″ style=”float:right; margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px”></img=”paint> Toy Story – Slinky Dog is the main figure on the Toy Story float. His “coils” are kaleidoscopic illuminated spinning disks. Jessie and cowgirl dancers walk alongside.
Princess float – Belle stands at the front in a brilliant illuminated ball gown with a 17′ rose behind her. Video screens around the rose show scenes from “Beauty the the Beast” and other romantic images. Cinderella and Rapunzel follow in gazebos illuminated by softly glowing candelabras.
Frozen – At 30′, the Frozen float is the tallest in the parade. Anna and Elsa stand on the balcony of Elsa’s ice palace, with Olaf stands in an icy grove of trees on the back of the float. There are six etched “ice” windows, depicting Anna and Elsa, the trolls, Kristoff, and Sven.
Sorcerer Mickey – The final parade unit features Mickey and the gang. The pinwheel dancers lead out followed by Minnie, Donald, and Goofy, riding on lighted spheres with changing colors and patterns. Sorcerer Mickey follows, atop a 12′ “kinetic sculpture” that whirls in very Escher-like fashion.
There are good viewing opportunities all along the parade route. The terraced area along Small World Way will give you some additional height and distance. Being a little further away helps with perspective of some of the larger floats. This area also tends not to fill up as quickly as Main Street.
Along Main Street, a parade viewing area will be roped off on both sides of the street. Only people right on the curb are allowed to remain seated during the parade – everyone else has to stand up. So about 20 minutes before the parade starts, cast members will go by and ask everyone to stand. This frees up space inside the ropes, so if you’re wandering on the sidewalks or hanging out in the shops nearby you’ll have an opportunity to slip under the ropes to get a viewing spot. You won’t be in the first row, but you won’t have to wait for over an hour, either.
If you are watching the first parade in order to see the Disneyland Forever fireworks right after the parade, then you’ll want to be either on Main Street or close to “it’s a small world”. After the parade passes by, move immediately to either the middle of Main Street or to the area just in front of “it’s a small world”. Both of those locations will give you an excellent view of both fireworks and projections.
Designated viewing areas for guests in wheelchairs and ECVs are available – ask a cast member.
PAINT THE NIGHT DINING PACKAGES
There are two dining package options available for those who wish to guarantee themselves a viewing location without staking out a spot far in advance. They can be booked up to 60 days in advance by calling Disney Dining or booking online at disneyland.com. In the descriptions below, the prices do not include any applicable tax or gratuity.
The Blue Bayou offers a 3-course dinner package: appetizer, entree, and dessert. It is $62 for adults and $25 for kids ages 3-9. The viewing location is on Main Street.
Aladdin’s Oasis offers a Grab-and-Go meal. $22.99 for adults and $13.99 for kids. When making the reservation guests will schedule a time to pick up their meal, sometime between 12:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. The meal is served in a to-go tray, with a bottled beverage, but a dining area is available in the Oasis, and it’s expected that most guests will choose to eat there. Pending availability, guests may also walk up and order a meal and see the parade that evening. The viewing location is near “it’s a small world”.
Paint the Night features many Disney characters as well as other performers. Guests are not allowed onto the parade route, but the walk-around characters will interact with guests as the opportunity permits.
- Paint the Night premiered on May 22, 2015 as part of Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration.
- The parade tells eight different Disney and Disney-Pixar stories, each story represented by multiple floats, props and performers.
- Paint the Night is the first-ever parade lit almost entirely by LED lights. Only very minimal incandescent lighting sources are used: at the tip of Tinker Bell’s wand and in Rapunzel’s flickering lanterns.
- Each costume has its own sophisticated system of lighting controls. Some lights are sewn into the costume fabric and some are sculpted pieces worn by the performers.
- Including the video screens, the parade contains more than 1.5 million sources of light. The 500 strobes used in the parade are a custom lighting product developed by Disney.
- Paint the Night requires more than 200 “universes of control” to operate everything from the video presentations on the floats to the lights on individual costumes.
- The Tinker Bell float is 40 feet long, with 44 universes of control and, including video screens, more than 850,000 points of light. The float design includes a tribute to the drum unit that led the classic Main Street Electrical Parade from 1972 to 1996 in Disneyland. Tinker Bell’s wand is handmade and is capped by a rosette from the original 1972 Main Street Electrical Parade.
- The video on the doors of the Monsters, Inc. float was created for the parade in collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios. Custom automation programming allows the doors to act as individuals or as a group.
- In the Cars unit, Mack’s 3D volumetric display contains 26,730 individual orbs. Almost 2000 feet of LED “neon” is used in the unit.
- On The Little Mermaid float, Triton is over 12 feet tall. There are nine fish, eight flowers and more than 250 blades of grass. Each of the 80 “sea grass bubbles” was custom cast and painted and can be individually programmed.
- Belle’s video screen contains more than 500,000 pixels and presents scenes from Beauty and the Beast as well as floral graphic imagery and starry night skies. In addition to color changing programmable ribbons, Belle’s dress has 40 custom-designed jewels and the most decorative lighting caps of any float.
- The Toy Story float is 32 feet long, and Slinky’s ears are 18 feet tall and 11 feet across. The 10 spinning disks rotate at 120 RPM and are programmed with custom video content.
- The Frozen float is almost 35 feet long and 30 feet tall. The central chandelier is made up of 72 individual “ice shards,” each lit by its own LED. There are 56 over-scale scenic snowflakes and 11 individual water jet cut swirls on the float. Eight snow-covered trees surround Olaf, enhanced with 3,000 tear drop crystals.
- The Mickey Mouse & Friends Finale features Goofy, Donald Duck, and Minnie Mouse on a series of smaller whirling parade vehicles. Each vehicle has 352 points of light custom designed for the character on board. The Mickey Mouse float is 31 feet long, has 40 universes of control and more than 10,000 points of light. The spiraling kinetic sculpture behind Mickey on his float is 14 feet tall, 7 feet wide, contains 6,944 individually programmable LED pixels with 124 “paddles” on 31 armatures.
If you have comments or tips to share with others about touring Disneyland, please email us. Thank you.