16 January 2017

Thousands of Sparkling Lights

The Main Street Electrical Parade returns to Disneyland later this week, but every memory of the parade comes from its presence in the Magic Kingdom. It has a place in both parks as some of their best, and most nostalgic, nighttime entertainment. It was the first parade I saw as a child, or the first parade I can recall seeing at the very least, and I have many memories of it tied to my family and friends, my father and wife in particular. It is my sincerest hope that everyone who catches the Main Street Electrical Parade during its run at Disneyland makes memories that are just as special as my own.

However, what is the current plan for the Magic Kingdom’s nighttime procession? The announcement of the Main Street Electrical Parade’s impending October 2016 removal came in early August of last year. Since then, the news has been light and whispery on what will be replacing the nighttime staple. We were told fairly quickly that this was not a swap and that the Paint the Night parade was not going to be making its way to Walt Disney World anytime soon. Aside from that, nothing has been hinted at. Perhaps there is a method to the madness.

For starters, there were the holidays of Halloween and Christmas to consider. While neither Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parade or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parade were daily occurrences during the fall and winter, their namesake parties ran enough nights that I can forgive the Magic Kingdom for not rushing something out immediately. Similarly, would any entertainment endeavor, no matter how insanely well-orchestrated and executed, want to be the follow up to the Main Street Electrical Parade? I can only imagine how some fanatics would accept nothing less than the Electrical Parade’s return as a suitable replacement or option. Placing some period of time between the parades allows for enthusiasts to accept that one attraction has left and begin anticipating the arrival of something new, without the gnashing of teeth that could potentially sink an immediate follow-up.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we need to look at entertainment ventures from the last year to see where Disney may be taking a pause. Rivers of Light, the much-publicized malignancy and delay-ridden nighttime show destined for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, was slated to open last April. Media were alerted to its upcoming opening and guests planned trips around the opening of the spectacular, and then it was pushed back repeatedly and a place holder, The Jungle Book: Alive With Magic, was hurriedly inserted in its place. It would be easy to say that comparing Rivers of Light to any nighttime parade is like comparing apples to oranges, considering their different venues and the history Disney has with nighttime parades. However, Disney has just as sterling a record with nighttime water spectaculars, from Fantasmic! to World of Color. With all of this to consider, is it any wonder that Disney may wish to keep plans for a new nighttime parade under wraps until they are absolutely certain that they can send that parade down Main Street, U.S.A. without a snag?

We are five months on from the announcement that the Main Street Electrical Parade was leaving Walt Disney World, three months beyond its departure from the Magic Kingdom, and two weeks from the conclusion of the holiday season. There isn’t necessarily a down season for the parks and resorts any longer, but if there is one, we’re in it currently. With Spring Break right around the corner and families making decisions about spring and summer vacations, I believe it is time for Walt Disney World to let us know what the next parade in the Magic Kingdom is going to look like. An announcement of this type, at this time, could indeed tip the scales for anyone considering a trip to Walt Disney World. Plus, it is definitely time to let dedicated enthusiasts know when and where their next dose of pageantry will arrive, and what it will look like once it arrives.

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