Photo of a float from the Peter Pan unit

The Main Street
Electrical Parade

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls... Yesterland proudly presents our spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination in thousands of sparkling lights and electro-syntho-magnetic musical sounds—The Main Street Electrical Parade!”

Glowing... Going... Back!

As the electronic theme music begins to bombard your ears, you know it’s time for the dazzling and memorable Main Street Electrical Parade. The main tune you’re hearing is Baroque Hoedown, a 1967 piece by Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley. To provide appropriate music for various units of the parade, additional tunes have been skillfully woven in.

You’ll enjoy dozens of parade units, primarily based on popular Disney movies such as Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Dumbo, Snow White, Pinocchio, and Pete’s Dragon.

Actually, some units of the Main Street Electrical Parade have been part of Yesterland for a long time. The “It’s a Small World” unit and the “Briny Deep” unit went to Yesterland in 1983. They were joined by the “Birthday Cake” unit in 1988.

As the red, white, and blue lights of the grand finale, “To Honor America,” finally disappear in the distance, the music fades away. But the images of the parade and the sound of its music will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Photo of a float from the Pinocchio unit

At Disneyland, the Main Street Electrical Parade premiered June 17, 1972, and had its final public performance November 25, 1996. Does that mean the parade ran for 25 summers? No. It was “lights out” for the parade in the summers of 1975 and 1976 as America on Parade took its place. In the summers of 1983 and 1984, the Electrical Parade again went dark to make way for Flights of Fantasy.

Most discontinued Disneyland attractions go away quietly. Some have announced closing dates. Others just close at the end of a Summer season, and never reopen. The Main Street Electrical Parade was sent off in 1996 with a big advertising campaign. Guest response was overwhelming. People who first saw the parade as children returned with their own children. Huge crowds lined the parade route. Originally scheduled to have its last public performance on October 15, Disneyland management had to extend the parade until November 25 to meet the demand.

Photo of the Light Magic sign

What replaced the Main Street Electrical Parade in Disneyland?

Light Magic—not a parade, but a “streetacular”—opened to mixed reviews in May 1997.

Is the Main Street Electrical Parade gone forever? No! In mid-1999, the sounds of Baroque Hoedown were once again heard on Main Street—as well as in Frontierland and Liberty Square—as most of the floats from Disneyland’s Main Street Electrical Parade reappeared at The Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World until April 2001.

In July 2001, the Main Street Electrical Parade returned to Anaheim as Disney’s Electrical Parade. Why the name change? Because the parade didn’t return to Disneyland with its Main Street—it went to Disney’s California Adventure, the new park on the site of the old Disneyland parking lot.

The Walt Disney Story
Carnation Plaza Gardens

© 1996-2014 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated November 21, 2014.

Photograph of float from Peter Pan (top): 1996 by Werner Weiss
Photograph of float from Pinocchio unit(middle): 1996 by Werner Weiss
Photograph of Light Magic sign (bottom): 1996 by Werner Weiss