The parade features scenes from Disney films depicted through the use of colorful electric lights, and features many Disney characters. The parade's theme song is a version of Perrey and Kingsley's 1967 song "Baroque Hoedown", arranged by Don Dorsey.
Currently, there are two operational versions of the Electrical Parade:
Main Street Electrical Parade (Magic Kingdom)
Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights
Main Street Electrical Parade (Magic Kingdom)
This is one of the two remaining operational versions of the Electrical Parade, and is comprised of surviving floats from the Disneyland version of the parade that ran from 1972 to 1996, as well as new elements created for its run at Disney California Adventure between 2001 and 2010. The parade's run is scheduled to end at Magic Kingdom on October 9, 2016, with the parade moving back to Disneyland in 2017 for a limited engagement. Disneyland's current nighttime parade and spiritual successor to the Electrical Parade, Paint the Night, is scheduled to end its nightly run on September 5, 2016, and then returning as a seasonal offering for Holiday 2016, before being suspended indefinitely.
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom premiered its version of the Main Street Electrical Parade on June 11, 1977, coinciding with the premiere of the new, nearly identical, three-dimensional Disneyland version that year. This version ran until September 14, 1991, when the parade was shipped to the soon-to-open Euro Disneyland. It differed from the Disneyland version in that it featured the Toy Soldiers from Babes in Toyland.
In 1999, the Disneyland version was sent to Florida, where the parade ran again until 2001, after which it was sent back, where it would then begin its run at Disney California Adventure to improve its flagging attendance.
In April 2010, Disney's Electrical Parade ended its run at Disney California Adventure and was sent to Florida, where it began its new run at the Magic Kingdom on June 6. The Disneyland Resort loaned the parade out to Walt Disney World in order to prepare for Disney California Adventure's latest nighttime entertainment offering, Disney's World of Color, which was to premiere June 11. Because the parade is still the property of the Disneyland Resort, it has been suggested that no physical changes were allowed to be made to the parade, explaining why the drum still reads "Disney's Electrical Parade" rather than "Main Street Electrical Parade." Insider sites such as MiceAge have suggested the parade will remain in Florida through 2012, while videos from Disney suggest the parade will only have a ten-week run.
Disney announced on July 29, 2010 that it will be extended to an "open ended" run at the Magic Kingdom. On August 10, 2016, it was announced that the parade would end its run at Magic Kingdom on October 9, 2016, after which it will be moved back to Disneyland, where it is scheduled to begin an "encore engagement" in early 2017.
"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Walt Disney World (1977 version)/The Magic Kingdom (1999/present version) proudly presents our spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination. In thousands of sparkling lights, and electro-synthe-magnetic musical sounds: the Main Street Electrical Parade!"
After a six-year absence, the an entirely new, updated Electrical Parade returned to Tokyo Disneyland. Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights (東京ディズニーランド・エレクトリカルパレード・ドリームライツ) premiered on June 17, 2001, and is one of the two remaining operational versions of the Electrical Parade. This version featured an entirely new soundtrack focused more on orchestral music than electronic. It still featured "Baroque Hoedown," though somewhat stylistically different from the Perrey and Kingsley version. This new version of the parade featured updated versions of classic floats, while introducing new ones based on Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., Aladdin, Finding Nemo, Winnie the Pooh and "it's a small world". During the Christmas Season, the Soundtrack gets enhanced with Christmas Carols along with decorated floats and changed dialogue to go along with the Christmas season.
The parade has been given three major updates: the first in 2007, and the second in 2011. A third update rolled out on 10 July 2015 (originally scheduled for 9 July, but it rained that night), where a new float based on Tangled was added, along with a refurbishment of 7 of the old floats.
"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Tokyo Disneyland proudly presents our most spectacular pageant of nighttime dreams and fantasy. In millions of sparkling lights, and brilliant musical sounds: Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights!"
Note on the changing order of the floats between Alice in Wonderland and It's a Small World:
2001- 2007: Peter Pan, Snow White, Pete's Dragon, Winnie the Pooh, Toy Story, Beauty and the Beast, A Bug's Life, Swan Lake, Cinderella.
2007-2011: Snow White, Peter Pan, Monsters' Inc, Winnie the Pooh, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Beauty and the Beast, Pete's Dragon, Cinderella, Swan Lake. (Note: Monsters Inc and Pete's Dragon swapped places again in Jan 2010)
2011- July 2015: Pete's Dragon, Snow White, Peter Pan, Aladdin, Winnie the Pooh, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., Cinderella, Disney Fairies
July 2015-Present: Snow White, Pete's Dragon, Peter Pan, Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Aladdin, Tangled, Disney Fairies
(Note: Voice talents are of the current version only. This is the only version of the parade where all of the characters are speaking throughout the entire parade.)
Main Street Electrical Parade (Disneyland)
The Disneyland version of the Main Street Electrical Parade was the first incarnation of the parade, premiering on June 17, 1972. This version originally featured floats with mostly flat scenes depicted in lights, the full effect of which could only be seen when the float passed directly in front of the viewer. It ended its run in 1974 to make way for America on Parade.
A new version appeared in 1977, featuring three-dimensional floats that could be easily seen from any angle. It again ended its run in 1982, and was replaced the following year with Flights of Fantasy Parade.
The MSEP again returned in 1985, with a few new floats, and ran all the way to November 25, 1996. At this point, the Snow White and Pinocchio floats were then sent to join the only surviving MSEP (at that time) at Disneyland Paris, which later ended its run in 2003, and moved to Hong Kong Disneyland for a very short run.
After its run there, it was moved to Disney California Adventure, where it ran from July 2, 2001 until April 2010. In 2009, it was given an update, with added LED effects, a new Tinker Bell float replacing the Blue Fairy, the return of the Snow White and Pinocchio floats (shipped over from Hong Kong Disneyland), the removal of the Dumbo floats, and a new soundtrack based on Tokyo's Dreamlights.
In 2010, this incarnation of the parade moved to Magic Kingdom, and is still running. In August of 2016, it was announced that the parade would end its run at Magic Kingdom in October and move back to Disneyland in January 2017 for a "limited-time encore engagement," implying that the parade will be retired permanently after this.
"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Disneyland proudly presents our spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination. In thousands of sparkling lights, and electro-synthe-magnetic musical sounds: the Main Street Electrical Parade!"
The parade's soundtrack was updated in 1977 after the parade's hiatus, with a new arrangement of "Baroque Hoedown" by Don Dorsey. This version was used for all subsequent versions of the parade except Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights in 2001 and the updated Disney's Electrical Parade in 2009.
The original version shared its soundtrack with Walt Disney World's Electrical Water Pageant, which began its run on October 24, 1971, about nine months before. This version used a loop of the original Perry & Kingsley version of "Baroque Hoedown" with a bass addition. Most of the musical sequences were used in the updated version in 1977, except for the Alice in Wonderland sequence, which was updated and extended. A vinyl record was released in 1973 at Disneyland as "Main Street Electrical Parade" and at Walt Disney World as "Electrical Water Pageant.
Disney's Electrical Parade (Disney's California Adventure)
Disney's Electrical Parade, the Disney's California Adventure version of the parade, premiered on July 3, 2001, around five months after the park's opening. It ran until April 18, 2010. This version was actually the original version the adjacent Disneyland park, which ran there from 1972 to 1996, and at the Magic Kingdom from 1999 to 2001. However, the run at Disney California Adventure was initially actually shorter than the final Disneyland version in that the Pinocchio unit and the Dwarf Mine float were omitted.
On the 2008 edition of the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade special on ABC, it was announced that a new Tinker Bell float would be added to Disney's Electrical Parade, which would be the first new float added to the Disneyland Resort version since the temporary Mickey Mouse's 60th Birthday float was added in 1988 while the parade still ran at Disneyland. It was later announced that the Dwarf Mine and Pinocchio floats would return, as well as the classic soundtrack replaced by a new version based on that of Tokyo Disneyland's soundtrack. The opening voiceover was left unchanged.
In preparation for Disney's World of Color, the parade went on hiatus in April 2010, and was shipped out to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World for what was originally planned as a limited run. Insider site MiceAge suggested that it be shipped back to the Disneyland Resort after the spring of 2012. However, it now continues to run with an 'open-end' at the Magic Kingdom (see below), and there are certainly no plans for it to return to the Disneyland Resort.
From 2006-2010, it was sponsored by Osram Sylvania. The words on the Drum unit were hence changed from 'Disney's Electrical Parade' and 'A California Classic' to 'Disney's Electrical Parade' and 'Presented by Sylvania'.
"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Disney proudly presents our spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination. In thousands of sparkling lights, and electro-synth-magnetic musical sounds: Disney's Electrical Parade!"
This version of the soundtrack borrows almost entirely from the Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights version, with the same arrangement of the Electric Fanfare and Baroque Hoedown (though continues to use the 2001 voiceover) and the Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Pete's Dragon sequences. New music was composed for the Cinderella, Pinocchio, and To Honor America sequences. While Tokyo's version does contain a Cinderella sequence, the music from that sequence was not used for the updated California version. While Tokyo's version progresses from an electronic sound to a more orchestral sound throughout it, the new California version mostly maintains an electronic sound, which may explain why the Tokyo Cinderella sequence was not used. New music was composed for the Dumbo one, but this was eventually cut from it.
The Disney's Electrical Parade soundtrack from 2001 to 2008 was a modified version (vocoder intro changed, remastered soundtrack) of the original Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade soundtrack from 1985, which itself was a modified version of the 1977 Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade soundtrack. From June 12, 2009, onward, the Electrical Parade featured a new soundtrack based on that of Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights!.
Elliott (He Disappears on the parade route and suddenly reappears.)
To Honor America
Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade (1985-1995)
The Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade (東京ディズニーランド・エレクトリカルパレード) premiered on March 9, 1985, and ran until June 21, 1995. The name change from "Main Street Electrical Parade" to "Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade" is due to the fact that Tokyo Disneyland does not have a Main Street, U.S.A.. Rather, it has a similarly-themed land called World Bazaar. Nor did the parade route actually go to Main Street/World Bazaar. Instead, the route wound through the park, starting around Haunted Mansion, skirting past Westernland (Tokyo's version of Frontierland), going around the Plaza area, and finally heading up past Tomorrowland. This version was similar to the American versions, albeit without the To Honor America floats, and with a new Swan Lake sequence.
"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Walt Disney proudly presents our spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination. In thousands of sparkling lights, and electro-synthe-magnetic musical sounds: Tokyo Disneyland's Electrical Parade!"
The Euro Disneyland/Disneyland Paris version premiered with the park's opening on April 12, 1992, and ran until March 23, 2003. This version was shipped from the Magic Kingdom, and like the Tokyo version, was nearly identical to the American versions while omitting the To Honor America float. Newly added to it, but soon after removed, was the "it's a small world" float.
Unlike all other versions of the parade, whose voiceovers are in English (including the Tokyo versions), Disneyland Paris' version is almost completely in French, except for the last line.
"Madames et monsieurs, et vous les enfants! Disneyland Paris est fier de vous présenter son extraordinaire festival de magie nocturne et d'enchantement, dans une féerie de milliers de lumières, sur une musique electro-synthe-magnetique: the Main Street Electrical Parade!"
June 14, 1997. One of the presentations of the Electrical Parade outside of the Disney parks was in New York City for the opening of Disney's New Amsterdam Theater and [[Hercules] movie. Called one day on Broadway - "The Hercules Electrical Parade". Disney arranged for the lights to be all turned off on about 8-blocks of Broadway up to the theater. All businesses complied—with the exception of Disney rival Warner Brothers. It was led by a custom Hercules title unit made for this one time only use. It was shown on national television on a one-hour promotional program featuring the music and making of Hercules. Due to lack of batteries (caused when some were accidentally left behind in Anaheim), several parade floats arrived with insufficient power. This caused a host of problems, one being the 2nd Pinocchio unit which went mostly dark before it even got onto the parade route, but Disney crew had no way to move the unit out of the parade. Others, including the To Honor America and Pete's Dragon floats, went partially out along the parade route as well.
Blue ans Pink Mushrooms (They were dismantled and de-bulbed following the first of the two final public performances at Disneyland. They (along with the Train and Drum) were shipped to Walt Disney World for the parade's first return to Florida on May 28, 1999)