12 May 2021

An Old Cowhand

In the fall of 1987, the 15 Years of Magic celebration was beginning to wind down at Walt Disney World, which meant it was time to find a new event to shape entertainment around for the next couple of years. Luckily, Disney has a history of making the most of patriotic milestones, like the bicentennial of the Constitution.

New and refurbished floats and themes were included in the All-America Parade, sometimes referred to as the Spirit of America parade, which ran from September of 1987 until it was replaced by the Disney Character Hit Parade in 1989. The pageantry was to represent the country from sea to shining sea, with six distinct parade sections. While each would utilize scenery and music from an area of the country, it felt more thematic than actual regional based. For instance, the parade featured Mickey and Minnie in colonial garb, a Mississippi River steamboat, and there was a Wild West segment, at a time when the west wasn't so wild any longer. Although the lighthouse and barn floats definitely feel like specific places in the country. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the depiction of indigenous people by Chip and Dale, in the background of the above photo, which could definitely use an update.

During the Wild West segment of the parade, Goofy, resplendent in his cowboy getup, actually rode a horse along the parade route. One of the few times I can recall a non-face character riding a horse during a parade. Save the Headless Horseman of course... Oh, and of course Goofy's trusty steed had an equally befitting name, Leadfoot.