The Main Street Electrical Parade first appeared in Disneyland in June of 1972. I think it’s THE parade most people think of when thinking of Disney parades. Well, it’s back and more brilliant than ever! They’ve added new floats, lights and music to it and also revamped some of the costuming. Personally, I only remember it from tv, but as soon as the parade started Brandon said, “Oh, I saw this when I was a kid!”. I think a lot of people are going to be saying that during this Summer Nightastic event and I think it’s really cool that what we once experienced ourselves, we can now share with our kids!
I was able to go on a behind the scenes tour of the parade and saw some of the things that make the parade magical. I am a huge nerd when it comes to details! Forgive me if I bore you, but I love listening to details on how things work and I thought I’d share some of them with you. If you’d rather not read the “fine print” on the parade, skip to the bottom and look at the pretty lights.
While on the tour, I sat with other local media and listened to a panel of people ranging from the show’s director, Forrest Bahruth, to the technical director, (Flounder) Marc Hurst, the engineering services manager, Ramon Rodriguez and my personal favorite, senior costume designer, Douglas Enderle. Being a girl, I especially loved hearing about the pretty dresses and the sparkling lights that make the dresses magical.
I had a chance to sit and chat with Douglas about the dresses and his job there at Disney. Douglas is an Emmy award winning costume designer and has been with Disney since the early ’80′s. He is the Senior Costume Designer for the parade. He was telling me about what it took to get the costumes from California (Disneyland) to Orlando. One of the details I found interesting is that the laws are different in Florida and each costume had to be adjusted to suit the laws. For instance, because of the heat in and the rain in Florida, there is a law that a special flame resistant fabric be placed between every light and the human body. That law doesn’t exist in California so they had to go through each costume and adjust them to protect the performers in the parade.
The amount of lights per costume was surprising to me as well. For instance, he showed us a gown that is worn by one of the court dancers in the Cinderella unit of the parade and it was adorned with 284 lights! Crazy! Could you imagine putting all those lights on the gown? And that’s just ONE gown! There are more than 80 performers in the parade!
Here’s a few other highlights of the parade:
- There are approximately half a million lights twinkling in the parade,
- 10,000 new LED “pixie dust” lights are spread over the 23 floats,
- The Tinkerbell float has more than 25,000 points of light and 75% are LED,
- There are more than 11,000 lights on the dancer’s costumes alone,
- Approximately 5 miles of wire is used throughout the floats,
- The tallest float is the Cinderella clock tower at 18.5ft. tall,
- A new control system makes it possible for the first time to program each light individually.
Anyway, that’s just one part of the detail and the work that went into making the Electrical Parade what it is. I could go on and on and on…and on, but for now I’ll leave you with some pictures of the parade and tell you that if you have the chance to go see it, please do! It’s what you remembered from your childhood and much more! Plus, if you’re a Florida resident there is special pricing for you to attend Summer Nightastic. To see that pricing, go to disneyworld.com/summer.
*Full Disclosure: Disney paid for my families accommodations, park tickets, and some meals and the opinions I express are strictly my own and influenced by giddiness, joy, vacation, and my children.*