By Jennifer Stuart
The Main Street Electrical Parade, a Disneyland classic parade has returned to the Disneyland Resort for a limited time this summer. Find out what you need to know to enjoy this iconic parade.
One of the clearest memories I have of my first visit to Disneyland as a child was watching this parade. I have to admit that watching this parade on its return to Disneyland, when the music started up, I was overwhelmed with a wave of nostalgia. Debuting at Disneyland in 1972 the parade was a Disneyland staple until 1996 when it was moved to Disney World, Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland. After 20 years the parade finally returned to its original home in 2017. Now returning once more for an extremely limited run from August 2 - Sept 30, 2019.
Parade Route and Times
Most nights Disneyland runs two parades. Check the entertainment schedule on the website or app to double check times. The first parade starts near It's a Small World and ends in Town Square. The second time it reverses, starting in Town Square and ending at Small World. The first parade generally starts at approximately 8pm (before fireworks on nights when this is offered). The second runs at approximately 10pm (after fireworks). If you can wait until the second parade you will find that crowds are CONSIDERABLY smaller. You will have a much better chance of getting a decent spot.
Insider tip: Make sure you know your route! The parade only goes around one side of the hub (the Tomorrowland side) - sit in the wrong spot and the parade won't pass by you.
Staking out a Spot
The response to the return of this beloved parade in 2017 was huge. Possibly even bigger than Disney anticipated, as the parade was originally scheduled to run until June 2017 and was extended another 2 months. After that it was supposed to be permanently retired. In a surprise move Disney has brought it back for a short run at the end of the summer. Because of the popularity of the parade you will want to get a spot early if you want to be curbside. Main Street, the Hub and Town Square will fill up first, with spots near It's a Small World getting full later. If you see an open spot and the ropes are not yet up, make sure to check with a cast member to make sure that it is a spot you will be allowed to stay in. Many times we see people who need to move because the spot was actually in a walkway.
Insider Tip: One person can stake out a larger area by putting down a blanket or towel. You must have at least one person there at all times or cast members will fold it up and you will lose your spot. We recommend the Matador foldable blanket. We could easily fit 5 people (3 adults, 2 kids) last time we watched the parade and it all folds up into a tiny pocket. There are similar ones by other companies but this is the one we own. They do the job and are small and lightweight enough to carry all day in your purse or park bag.
Final Thoughts -- Our Opinion
What did we think? We unabashedly loved it! This is an old school parade. It doesn't have the same high energy as Paint the Night or Soundsational, but rather a happy, zippy instrumental soundtrack. Mickey and Goofy lead the parade. You can expect an array of classic floats and those well-loved bugs and turtles that are so iconic. This is a great opportunity to see lots of characters, some of which you rarely see at Disneyland (like the Seven Dwarves or Cinderella's mice friends!) We give it a big thumbs up.
To view a complete video of the Main Street Electrical Parade you can visit our You Tube channel.
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All Photos by Jennifer Stuart
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Originally published March 2017 this post was completely updated August 2019.
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