Friday, June 10, 2011

Tomorrow evening the Main Street Electrical Parade Premieres


06.17.09 - Tomorrow evening at 9 p.m., the most ambitious outdoor spectacular since last year's "America On Parade" will premiere in the Magic Kingdom: Our Main Street Electrical Parade!

The Main Street Electrical Parade will be made up of nearly 100 performers and 30 fanciful float units using new techniques of "piping" light through fiber optics and outlining figures with micro-neon "threads" of light to create entirely new visual effects, all interspersed with row after row of twinkling lights.
With the cool evening air shrouding Main Street, the scene will be set for a pageant of enormous proportions, which will combine the latest in Disney "imagineering" to excite your eyes with sights of light in motion, and your ears with an incredible soundtrack.

As Main Street's lights dim, you will be confronted with Mickey Mouse atop the world's largest electrified drum, an eye-blinking hippopotamus, and 33 of our characters outlined in micro-neon light-swirls! The sparkling cavalcade of twinkling lights... over 500,000 strong... along with animation and musical entertainment will take place twice each night in the Magic Kingdom this summer at 9 pm and 11:30 pm.

The Main Street Electrical Parade will be made up of nearly 100 performers and 30 fanciful float units using new techniques of "piping" light through fiber optics and outlining figures with micro-neon "threads" of light to create entirely new visual effects, all interspersed with row after row of twinkling lights.

Winding down Main Street and through the Magic Kingdom in ten divisions, the parade features Alice in Wonderland riding atop one of three giant 15-foot high mushrooms. Huge snails and colorful ladybugs twist and turn along the parade route.

Cinderella rides in her magical pumpkin coach, while her fairy godmother changes the coach's color with a wave of her wand. In a spectacular underwater scene, called the Briny Deep, fiber optics are used to create an underwater set where fish, coral and colorful sea creatures perform a marine ballet followed by Monstro the Whale, spouting a sparkling shower of lights!

The spectacular finale has 33 Disney characters traced in sparkling lights and reflected in a myriad of rotating mirrors, a fitting end to the 30-minute parade.

Other parade units include the Blue Fairy from Pinocchio, whose gown stretches 15-feet to the street below; King Lion's Circus Parade with an elephant rotating merrily in a shower bath; all Seven Dwarfs in fully lighted mining regalia; and "It's A Small World" with child-like figures from many lands.

An electronic Moog Synthesizer produces a unique and lively musical score filled with original and familiar Disney tunes to "theme" each division in the parade. The exciting and unusual Moog music, similar to our popular "Electric Water Pageant" soundtrack, will actually be transmitted from atop Cinderella Castle to individual floats, where the radio signals will be amplified and broadcast from onboard sound systems. The basic musical theme is interwoven with counter-themes to produce a special song for each of the patade's divisions. Because all of the music is broadcast from a single transmitter, all of the tunes are heard in time with one another, and in tune with all the others!

Designed at Disneyland by some 20 artists under the direction, of Bob Jani, Vice President of Entertainment Division, the 30 float units were constructed by a crew of 70 workers who attached each individual light to its assigned spot on the facades.

About 20 craftspeople in our Walt Disney World Wardrobe Department produced the electric powered costumes. And more than 200 cast members are involved in each nightly performance!

A special low-voltage direct current (DC) system using 1,200 batteries transmits energy to more than 500,000 lightbulbs dotted across the 30 floats with 20 silent electric drive units powering them along. Over 12 miles of miniature electric cable is used in our Main Street Electrical Parade.

In addition to fiber optics, the parade also makes use of a new king of multicolored low voltage system of neon tubing, the only one of its kind.

And for those concerned with the energy output of our dazzling parade, the 500,000 parade lights will use approximately the same amount of energy as that which is saved by turning out the lights along the parade route as it passes by. The special electric drive units engineered by Disney technicians for the parade eliminates the need for gasoline powered floats as in conventional parades.

The Wardrobe Department used special safety materials so that lights could be installed along the outlines of performers' costumes. Some of the performers carry their own batteries, while others are designed to plug into the float units they walk along with.

Similar to "America On Parade", the Main Street Electrical Parade will be produced simultaneously at Walt Disney World and Disneyland throughout the summer months.

With some float units reaching almost to the ceiling, the Production Center lately has been the scene of over 200 cast members... both back stage technicians and on stage performers... preparing for tomorrow night's 9 pm premiere.

Although the 30 parade units were constructed in California, each had to be shipped to Florida, unloaded, assembled, tested and declared "ready" to go on stage for tomorrow night's premiere. This enormous task was given to the Entertainment Support Department, which is based at the Production Center complex. Pictured above is a scene typical for the 16 men of Entertainment Support ... they first carefully uncrate a huge wooden container carried from California on the back of a semi-truck rig, and remove the delicate parade parts enclosed. Then a heavy duty crane from the Reedy Creek Drainage Department lifts the main float structure from the trailer bed. While suspended in the air by the crane, an electric drive unit (as seen here being driven by Dewey Rewis, Entertainment Support Supervisor) is carefully positioned beneath the dangling structure and it is gently lowered until contact is made. Long bolts connect them together, electrical connections are made, and the float unit is driven into the Production Center for final readying.

From the June 10, 1977 edition of the Eyes and Ears employee newsletter, published by Walt Disney World.

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