Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade made it’s debut in Disneyland on June 17, 1972 and will be returning for a short time at Disneyland Resort. Beginning on August 2nd with nightly performances through September 30th, 2019, guests will once again get to experience one of the most beloved parades in Disney history.
I never had the opportuntiy to see the parade in Disneyland, my memories are from Walt Disney World where a slightly different version of the parade debuted in June of 1977. Seeing the Main Street Electrical Parade was always really magical. When you stand on Main Street and see those floats coming with all the LIGHTS, it’s overwhelming.
As with all of Walt Disney World memories, the Main Street Electrical Parade holds so many great ones for me. I had ambitions of being IN the parade either driving one of the little bugs, or as a trumpeter! I think many of us have these goals we remember from our times there as kids. On one of our Keys to the Kingdom tours we had a VIP guide who told us the story of his first time seeing that parade and how he told his Mum right then and there that one day he would play the trumpet on that float. Sure enough, after high school he got a job at Walt Disney World, playing a trumpeter on the float. It was then that he realized they didn’t actually PLAY a trumpet, and that he had made his dreams come true.
I remember being little watching this parade and being in AWE of Pete’s Dragon Elliot. He was so overwhelming, so BIG – and one of my favorite movies so it was pretty cool to see. But the big emotional connection to this parade for me came when I saw it during a trip when I was 10 years old. My sister Becky, my brother-in-law Keith and his friend Barry took me to Walt Disney World for Easter. I knew I was going to have a ball – Keith and Barry were like brothers to me and while they were older than me, they totally made a point of coming down to my maturity level! It was really the first time that we had been away without my Mum and Dad and they were given strict instructions about how to ‘take care of me’ especially in the Florida sun since I was so fair. I think it may have been day 2 or 3 when I officially had sun stroke.
Given that we had limited time at the Magic Kingdom, there was no time for sick days! The only way to get through it was to get me a wheelchair and keep on going. There were points in the day that my teeth were chattering because I had such a fever that they had to buy me some Disney towels to wrap myself in to try and ‘warm up’. I really think they had no idea what to do, and there was no internet to google!
We sat down to get our spot on Main Street to watch the parade, it wasn’t nearly as busy as it gets today. It wasn’t our first time seeing the parade but we loved it so much we made sure to see it every time we could.
Cindrella was in her carriage and Prince Charming was on a different float. His float had a lighted staircase where he stood at the top holding a pillow with the glass slipper. As his float passed us, he looked me right in the eye, bowed, and made the gesture of offering the slipper to me. I was SO excited! Prince Charming had noticed ME and offered ME the slipper! I’m not sure why that one moment made me so happy, maybe it was the fever – but I really believed that Prince Charming thought that I was special. If I close my eyes right now I can see him and feel the excitement all over again. I remember my brothers making fun of me for being so excited (cause thats what brothers do) and teased me for days about going back to find my Prince Charming!
I often think back to that parade, it was a moment – a split second that left such an imprint in my memory and heart. I felt SO special in that moment and I’m sure that Prince Charming from that float had NO idea what it meant to me. He had no idea that such a small gesture would lift my spirits and make me feel so special. I’m sure that 10 year olds now are a little more savvy than I was back then, but I can’t see that parade without thinking about that moment.
I have so many memories like that from growing up at Walt Disney World that has made me the fan I am today. Each time I visit there are new experiences, new moments created that give me all the feels – what do they call them in Inside Out? Ya, that was definately a core memory for me.
Here’s a look back at what it was like back then! When was your first trip?