The Main Street Electrical Parade Returns to Disneyland

April 20, 2022, 11:15 PM · Parades are back at Disneyland, as the Main Street Electrical Parade returned again tonight, just in time for its 50th anniversary this summer.

Though the park reopened from its 13-month pandemic closure one year ago this month, Disneyland has not resumed any of its parades or nighttime spectaculars. In addition to the Electrical Parade, the Disneyland Forever fireworks and Disney California Adventure's World of Color are set to return Friday night, but Disneyland hosted a press preview of the parade and fireworks tonight. The previews delighted the crowd of Disneyland guests who got to watch the shows, too.

The Main Street Electrical Parade stepped off for the first time at Disneyland on June 17, 1972. Since it "glowed away forever" in November 1996, the Disneyland Resort had brought back the MSEP three times before, but the absence of all parades and nighttime shows for the past two years made tonight's return all the more special. And Disneyland has made a big change to the parade this time, too. The long-running "To Honor America" bicentennial float has retired, clearing space for a new grand finale unit. At 118 feet long, the seven-segment float celebrates more than a dozen Disney, Pixar and theme park franchises.

It's ironic that by changing, the show has become more nostalgic for most Disneyland fans. After all, that "To Honor America" float commemorated a celebration which no Disney fan under the age of 50 holds any conscious recollection. The new finale instead provides a roll call of Disney's recent hits - the ones that many young (and young-ish) Disneyland fans grew up with.

Make no mistake. Nostalgia - amplified by two years without big entertainment in the parks - brought back the Main Street Electrical Parade. Before the show tonight, I spoke with Show Director Robin Trowbridge about the parade's return, and he confirmed that the 50th anniversary drove the decision to revive the MSEP over other parades in Disneyland's recent history.

The cheers of the crowd at the beginning of the show testify to the Main Street Electrical Parade's continued popularity. But tomorrow's nostalgia must be fed with fresh memories today. Enjoy the Main Street Electrical Parade's 50th anniversary this summer, then perhaps we can look forward to the return of Disneyland's newest parade, Magic Happens, in 2023.

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