The Main Street Electrical Parade has been my favorite Disney Parks parade ever since I saw it for the first time at Walt Disney World when I was a little girl visiting from Indiana in 1979.
Like many fans, I was enthralled with the novelty of the parade’s array of lights and electronic music. Even when it later left Orlando for other Disney theme parks, I still considered the Main Street Electrical Parade my favorite Disney parade. No others could top it.
So imagine how excited I was to learn about the parade’s return to the Magic Kingdom in 2010. By that time, I was living in Orlando with a family of my own, and I couldn’t wait to share this magic with them. But I was going to be on the receiving end of a little pixie dust myself first.
Then a journalist at the Orlando Sentinel, I was invited to cover the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade at a Summer Nightastic media event that allowed writers and photographers to get up close to lighted floats that had just returned from Disneyland. We even were allowed to sit inside one of the bug floats where the driver is positioned. Talk about a dream come true!
Fast-forward six years, and we now have to bid farewell to the Main Street Electrical Parade again because it’s heading back to the West Coast for a limited-time engagement. The last day to see the parade at Walt Disney World is Oct. 9. Sad to see it go? Here are some ways to create some final memories.
** See the Main Street Electrical Parade one last time if you’re going to be at the Magic Kingdom. Make the parade the focus of your visit and take the time to stake out an excellent viewing location. We like to sit along the curb on Main Street, and the center sections in the hub by Cinderella Castle and Town Square offer great views. Know that to secure many of these spots, you’ll need to wait in place ahead of time.
** If you won’t be at the Magic Kingdom before Oct. 10, you can watch the parade live from the comfort of your own home when the Disney Parks Blog streams the parade live tomorrow (Sunday, Aug. 28). On Sunday, a link to the livestream will be provided on the Disney Parks blog site.
** Even after Oct. 9, you can watch the Main Street Electrical Parade whenever you want with our AllEars.Net video of the parade.
** Bring the Main Street Electrical Parade home with two merchandise options. Two limited edition T-shirts commemorating the Main Street Electrical Parade were sold last summer through the Disney Store online. One featured Mickey Mouse and the other Minnie Mouse. Now, a small selection of these T-shirts has shown up at Walt Disney World. I spotted both shirts at Epcot’s Mouse Gear last weekend. The Mickey version also is available on the Shop Disney Parks app. The other item is a collectible pin that depicts Elliot from “Pete’s Dragon” sparkling with jewels to represent the lights on the well-known float. The words “Disney’s Electrical Parade” are displayed, as well, which was the name of the version of the parade that was shown at Disneyland from 2001 to 2010. The pin is available on Disney property and through the Shop Disney Parks app.
** Just as iconic as the lighted floats is the “electro-synthe-magnetic” music of the parade. Guest columnist Al Krombach, a veteran journalist and an alumnus of the Florida State University College of Music, recently wrote an article for the AllEars newsletter detailing the musical history of the parade. The article soon will be archived and can be read here. He concludes by offering this advice about purchasing the Main Street Electrical Parade music: “Recordings of the Main Street Electrical Parade soundtrack seem to be limited to Disneyland reissues. The most recent release is a 9-minute version in “The Legacy Collection — Disneyland,” a three-CD set (Walt Disney Records, 2015). It also can be found in 5-minute versions on “Official Album — Disneyland/Walt Disney World” (Walt Disney Records, 1991) and on “The Music of Disney — A Legacy in Sound,” a three-CD boxed set (Walt Disney Records, 1992). A true collector’s item is a limited-edition 7-inch LP recording of the original parade sound track issued in 1973.” There also is a CD called “Disney’s Electrical Parade” (Disneyland) available for purchase on the Shop Disney Parks app.
Can’t bear to say goodbye to the Main Street Electrical Parade? Start planning a trip for early 2017 when the parade will appear at Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif.