Yesterland
America on Parade
Daily at 3:00 and 9:00 p.m.
throughout the summer season
 
 
Happy American Bicentennial!
America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Frank Taylor, 1975/1976, courtesy of Chris Taylor


Happy birthday to the United States of America! It’s been 200 years since the nation’s founding in 1776.

Celebrate by watching America on Parade—a spectacular tribute to America’s history, people, and traditions. With 50 parade units, 150 character performers, and lasting over a half hour, America on Parade is a grand experience.

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1975

“Spirit of ’76”

The parade starts with the “Spirit of ’76,” featuring Mickey, Goofy, and Donald. Then you won’t see any other traditional Disney characters until the end of the parade.

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Frank Taylor, 1975/1976, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Columbus sailing to the New World almost 300 years before the USA’s founding

The first half of the parade is a summary of American history, starting Christopher Columbus.

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Frank Taylor, 1975/1976, courtesy of Chris Taylor

A turkey as tall as the buildings of Main Street

America on Parade features the “People of America”—eight-foot-tall characters with doll-like heads—including Christopher Columbus, Ben Franklin, Miss Liberty, Uncle Sam, Pilgrims, and giant snack-food vendors.

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Frank Taylor, 1975/1976, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Benjamin Franklin flying a kite—without lightning

Watch as these “People of America” perform to some of the America’s most popular tunes, recorded from a traditional band organ—including “Yankee Doodle,” “This Land Is Your Land,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” and “God Bless America.”

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Frank Taylor, 1975/1976, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Betsy Ross sewing the Stars and Stripes

The parade floats are towering. For example, eight-foot-tall Betsy Ross is dwarfed by her two-story-tall rocking chair, as she sews the immense, first American flag.

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1975

To the tune of “You’re a Grand Old Flag“

The American frontier and the Westward Expansion play a prominent role in America on Parade.

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1975

Riverboat captain

For a while, the parade seems to be a Salute to Frontierland—with units that suggest the Mark Twain Riverboat, the steam trains that call on Frontierland Station, the old Stagecoach ride, the old Conestoga Wagons, the Golden Horseshoe Revue, and the Tom Sawyer Island rafts. Let’s take a look.

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Frank Taylor, 1975/1976, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Elegant “People of America”

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Frank Taylor, 1975/1976, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Gun-toting character atop a Western stagecoach

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Frank Taylor, 1975/1976, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Steam locomotive following an old Western saloon with dancing girls

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1975

California, here I come!

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Frank Taylor, 1975/1976, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher “floating” down the parade route

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1975

Two steam locomotives commemorating the “Joining of the Rails“ at Promontory Summit

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1975

America on the move

The “Creations of America” unit celebrates inventions and innovations, from the dawn of air travel to the age of space travel.

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Frank Taylor, 1975/1976, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Those magnificent “People of America” and their flying machine!

You’ll see more than just American history. You’ll see contemporary American culture too—consisting primarily of sports, junk food, and Disney characters.

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Frank Taylor, 1975/1976, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Giant athletes and giant snack foods

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Frank Taylor, 1975/1976, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Nothing more American than the great American sandwich

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Frank Taylor, 1975/1976, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Still the same parade

The grand finale of America on Parade features a marching band from a high school or college—the only humans in the parade whose faces aren’t hidden within character costumes.

After the 9 p.m. parade, enjoy an extravaganza in the sky consisting entirely of red, white, and blue fireworks.


At Disneyland—and at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World—America on Parade ran from June 14, 1975, through September 6, 1976. Doing double-duty as Disneyland’s afternoon and evening parade, America on Parade displaced the Main Street Electrical Parade for two summers.

Anyone who is old enough to remember 1976 will remember that the American Bicentennial was celebrated as a really big event—and not just at Disney parks. So America on Parade was a big parade. The floats were impressive and the recorded, amplified band organ tunes provided a fitting accompaniment to the various units of the parade.

The daytime parade, illuminated by California (and Florida) sunshine, was colorful and festive. At night, the parade didn’t measure up to the Main Street Electrical Parade.

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Frank Taylor, 1975/1976, courtesy of Chris Taylor

“People of America”—a bit creepy

The “People of America” must have seemed like a good idea to the parade’s designers. The dolls would be so large that even adults would feel like children. However, the actual results were a bit creepy. The characters were not endearing or lovable. They were like adults with the faces of babies—sometimes babies with facial hair—with their huge eyes staring blankly.

America on Parade at Disneyland

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1983

Germany at EPCOT Center in 1983

The folks at Disney don’t like to throw things away. The “People of America” characters were reused when EPCOT Center opened in 1982. Instead of having the usual Disney characters wandering through the park, the former “People of America,” dressed in international costumes, inhabited World Showcase.


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Updated July 3, 2015.