Disneyland Resort

Happy 50th, Main Street Electrical Parade

A half-century ago, The Sparkliest Parade on Earth first rolled through the heart of Disneyland.

Richard Harbaugh/Sean Teegarden/Disneyland Resort

LOTS OF LIGHTS: Here's a quirky, not-too-serious, super-sparkly quiz question to ponder: Are there more lights in the Main Street Electrical Parade, which debuted at Disneyland park on June 17, 1972, or are there more hours filling a 50-year span? The final numbers aren't too far apart, actually, but if you said "lights" you'd be right. "Approximately 500,000 lights sparkle in the parade's nighttime journey from 'it's a small world' mall in Fantasyland to Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A.," shares The Happiest Place on Earth, while a year holds 8,760 hours (putting the hour count for 50 years at 438,000). In short, or rather, in very, very long? There are a lot of lights to ponder with this particular parade, and five dazzling decades, too, as the celebrated procession marks the day of its 50th anniversary. (Or night, rather.)

"BAROQUE HOEDOWN": There are so many quirky components that fans love about this sparkling celebration, with the memorable music serving as a central source of excited conversation. "Baroque Hoedown," from composer Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley, first debuted in 1967, and it was later "adapted" to be a perfect fit for the nighttime parade. And speaking of toe-tapping tunes? The Disneyland team reveals that the Main Street Electrical Parade was "the first parade to feature unique musical arrangements synchronized to each float unit as it moved along the parade route." Tech-cool wizardry, for sure, and that wizardry can be found beyond the floats, in the light-up costumes seen on many of the performers.

FIVE PARKS: The panache-packed parade has wended through a quintet of Disneyland parks over the last half-century, but it returned to its original home earlier in spring 2022. And the parade brought with it something new: A fresh grand finale featuring an ultra-lengthy float featuring "Encanto," "Coco," "Raya and the Last Dragon," and "The Princess and the Frog." Oh yes: There is new merchandise to browse while visiting the Anaheim theme park, and bright treats themed to the spirit of the parade, too. So a giant "Happy 50th" to the glitteriest and most gargantuan of after-sunset spectaculars, an event that boasts big bulbage, ear-catching melodies, the characters we adore, and a way to add a whimsical flourish to a busy day spend at Disneyland. Here are some other fun must-knows about the Main Street Electrical Parade.

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