Nostalgia reigns: Main Street Electrical Parade to remain at Walt Disney World indefinitely

The Main Street Electrical Parade, which was slated to end its run at the Magic Kingdom on Aug. 14, will continue at Walt Disney World‘s Magic Kingdom indefinitely.

The Disney Parks blog says the Main Street Electrical Parade has gotten high ratings from guests since it returned in June. Disney executives call it “an overwhelming success.”

It has been a Disney classic since 1972, but it hasn’t been seen at the Magic Kingdom since 2001. I remember watching from atop my dad’s shoulders in the 1980s, waving at the Disney characters as they rolled by. So, I was excited to share the Main Street Electrical Parade with my daughter this year.

Nostalgia like mine is apparently driving a lot of the parade’s popularity. I have talked with numerous Walt Disney World guests this summer who traveled to Orlando to pass the parade tradition on to their children.

Even many Disney employees have been excited to share the parade with a new generation.

Disney Ambassador Clay Shoemaker remembers first watching the Main Street Electrical Parade when he was 6 years old.

“I can remember seeing the lights coming closer and closer, and then Cinderella waved at me,” Shoemaker said. “You would’ve thought I was the only child in the park.”This summer, Shoemaker waved at Cinderella with his 2-year-old daughter by his side.

The parade, with its 23 floats, 80 performers and more than 500,000 lights, is an undertaking “bigger than any rock concert,” according to Forrest Bahruth, show director.

But there’s a pervasive belief among the Disney employees I talked with that the parade is more than the production.

“Underneath it all, it’s steel and copper and computers. Cold and heartless. But it’s more than that. It’s emotion and character and life,” said Marc Hurst, the parade’s technical director.

Bahruth even describes that parade with that “M” word you hear so often at Walt Disney World: magic.

“When we’re out there in town square and that gate opens…music, magic, memories.”

The Main Street Electrical Parade is performed nightly in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.