Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World guests may see the return of fan-favorite nighttime parades. Sources indicate that the Main Street Electrical Parade will return to Walt Disney World, while the Paint the Night parade will return to Disneyland Resort.
It is assumed that the Main Street Electrical Parade will return to Disneyland this summer for a seasonal run before being sent across the country to Walt Disney World. The following year, Paint the Night will finally return to Disneyland Resort.
Main Street Electrical Parade
The fan-favorite Main Street Electrical Parade is rumored to return for the summer at Disneyland. A debut date for its return to Walt Disney World is unknown at this time, but it could be as early as late this year or as late as sometime in 2024.
The Main Street Electrical Parade was only meant to run for the summer of 1972 at Disneyland. However, in what would turn out to be a repeated theme, the parade was extended through the busy summer and holiday months in 1974.
The Main Street Electrical Parade returned in 1977 at Disneyland and debuted at Walt Disney World with all the floats built in 3 dimensions and powered by battery motors, accompanied by a reworked score by Don Dorsey.
This time, Disney built two versions of the parade at the same time- one for California and one for Florida. The new versions for California and Florida had one main difference, the Magic Kingdom floats were wider. The Main Street Electrical Parade performed for the first time in Florida on June 11, 1977.
It was replaced at Walt Disney World in 1991 with SpectroMagic, and the floats were sent to Euro Disney (now known as Disneyland Paris).
The Disneyland version of the parade marked a “farewell” in 1996, and the floats were sent to the Magic Kingdom for its farewell tour there from 1999 – 2001. After its “final” performance, the parade was sent to Disney California Adventure. There it stayed until 2009, and returned for a “limited time” to Magic Kingdom in 2010.
That limited time went on for six years, until Disney announced the parade would be “glowing away” following a short run at Disneyland in 2017. It didn’t perform again until 2022, when it returned to Disneyland to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
A new finale float made its debut during the parade’s run last summer. It replaced the “To Honor America” float and is designed as an homage to Mary Blair and “it’s a small world.”
The new float features a medley of Disney songs set behind “it’s a small world.” We caught “Bare Necessities,” “How Far I’ll Go,” “A Whole New World,” “Give a Little Whistle,” “The Family Madrigal,” “I’ll Make a Man Out of You,” “Touch the Sky,” and “Go the Distance.”
Watch our video of the 2022 edition of the Main Street Electrical Parade below.
It’s worth noting that this time, Disney did not say the Main Street Electrical Parade was gone for good. It ended its “limited time run” on September 1, 2022.
For a full history and exploration of the Main Street Electrical Parade, check out our interview with nighttime spectacular designer Don Dorsey here.
Paint the Night
Reports indicate that the floats are still being repaired, and the notoriously expensive batteries are still being replaced, so we shouldn’t expect to see Paint the Night return until 2024.
The parade has performed at both Disneyland Resort parks, and while it seems most likely to return to Disney California Adventure, leaving Magic Happens in place at Disneyland Park.
The parade debuted in 2015 for the 60th anniversary of Disneyland. It has a rather spotty performance history, ending its initial run in September 2016 only to return for the holiday season. It was replaced by the original Main Street Electrical Parade’s return (one of many) in January 2017.
In 2018, Paint the Night returned — but this time, it performed at Disney California Adventure, where a new “The Incredibles” float replaced “Frozen” as part of the celebration surrounding the opening of Pixar Pier. It ran until mid-November of the same year and has not been performed since.
Reports indicated that factors including battery issues and Cast Members sustaining injuries from the costumes contributed to the decision to keep the parade “retired.” Further rumors say that a return announcement was intended for D23 Expo, but at that time, the costumes weren’t in working order.
The original Paint the Night first debuted at Hong Kong Disneyland in 2014. Performances there have been suspended since 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
If you haven’t seen Paint the Night or can’t wait for it to return, check out our video of the first Disneyland Park version of the parade below.