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The beloved attraction is about to pull the plug.

September 13, 2016

The brightest lights Walt Disney World has seen are about to go dim. After entertaining visitors for nearly half a century, Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade will end its run at Magic Kingdom on October 9.

 Joe Penniston/Flick (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The glimmering spectacle debuted on June 17, 1972, and remains the only parade to appear at three of Disney’s stateside parks throughout its 45-year reign. The heavily adorned pageant will officially bow out with a “limited time engagement” at its original home of Disneyland early next year, and shortly thereafter, the longest running parade in Disney history will finally pull the plug.

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Appearing in everything from Scooby Doo to The Simpsons, Main Street Electrical Parade has cemented itself as a part of pop culture history, and its famed soundtrack of “Baroque Hoedown,” a synth-fueled favorite that’s both nostalgic and only slightly maddening, has aided in making it a part of Disney vacation-goers’ most cherished memories.

To this day, when the nighttime parade begins, the lights are dimmed across Main Street, the vocoder announcement is made, and the procession begins with a shimmering Tinker Bell, who has led the procession since 2008. Minnie and Mickey wave from an embellished train caboose and Cinderella glides by in an orange pumpkin while Elliott, the glimmering green protagonist from Pete’s Dragon, allows Pete to peer down at guests from 16 feet off the ground. There are spinning turtles, whirling snails and Alice up high atop a toadstool, but the real showstopper is the grand finale, a massive Honor America display with a glittering, waving American flag, lighting up in synchronization to the soundtrack, like all the other floats.

 Jeremy Wong/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

With over 80 performers—and 11,000 LED lights worn on the dancers alone— the parade remains nothing short of a success, still entertaining crowds after all this time. When compared to Disneyland’s beloved Paint The Night, which serves as a technologically embellished version of the evening mainstay, Main Street Electrical Parade is reliably nostalgic, offering a glimpse into Disney parks’ magic and impressive admiration of the past.

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While many Disney fans scramble for their last chance to see its half a million lights twinkle, it’s not the first time Main Street Electrical Parade has left the parks. Throughout its lengthy existence, the parade has appeared and reappeared at Disney parks in both Anaheim and Orlando, with various iterations making their way to Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris as well. It even held extended run beyond Main Street at Disney California Adventure, located next door to its debut location, for the better part of a decade.

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This switch-up in Disney’s evening entertainment is but one of the recent upheavals of Walt Disney World’s illuminated events, with Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights ending its decade-long holiday run earlier this year as well. There is plenty of change occurring at Disneyland, too—save for a short holiday appearance, Paint The Night parade ended in early September, leaving the current fate of both parks’ post-fireworks entertainment in flux.

As Animal Kingdom’s forthcoming Rivers of Light still lacks a debut date, and Disneyland remains at least one year out from the return of Fantasmic! due to Star Wars Land construction, the evening options on both coasts are dwindling. And yet, a small piece of the parade remains. Its predecessor, the Electrical Water Pageant, can still be seen from the resorts bordering the Seven Seas Lagoon as well as Fort Wilderness Resort and Wilderness Lodge each night. 

With so much change at Disney Parks, it’s hard to say goodbye to a long-time favorite. All a Disney fan can do now is hope something amazing will take its place.

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