Ever since that "It's Coming Home" ad first began airing on
television earlier this year ...
... Disney fans have been flocking to the Happiest Place on
Earth to check out the Main Street Electrical Parade. Which returned to
Disneyland Park back on January 20th to begin a limited-time
In fact, so many people have poured into this theme park,
eager to once again experience this " ...
that - back in early March -- Disneyland was forced to create a brand-new
policy to address how Guests could go about viewing its parades.
Photo by Scott Brinegar. Copyright Disneyland. All rights reserved
To explain: The theme park had previously allowed people to
claim a viewing spot in advance along Main Street, U.S.A. by spreading a
blanket or tarp out along the sidewalk. The only problem was - what with the
enormous popularity of the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade - Guests
were now claiming spots hours ahead of time. Which - what with all of the
blankets & tarps that were now spread out along the sidewalks in this part
of that theme park by mid-afternoon - was making it extremely difficult to traverse
Main Street, U.S.A. Which is the main entrance / exit corridor for Disneyland Park.
So for public safety reasons (as well as to sort of level
the playing field for those Guests who were arriving at this theme park later
in the day), Disneyland Resort officials announced that visitors would no longer
be allowed to reserve spots hours ahead of time that they could then use to view
this theme park's nighttime parades or firework displays from. Effective March
2, 2017, Guests would now have to wait 'til Cast Members had actually set up
the ropes & stanchions along Disneyland's parade route (which then delineate
what exactly the boundaries of this theme park's official viewing areas are)
before they can then claim a viewing spot.
But even with this new no-reserving-viewing-spots-hours-in-advance
policy in place, there have been so many people pouring into Disneyland Park over
the past few weeks -- eager to experience the Main Street Electrical Parade
before its limited-time engagement at the Happiest Place on Earth ended on June
18th -- that Mouse House managers have decided that " ... the show
must glow on." Meaning that the Disneyland Resort has just extended this nighttime
entertainment's limited-time engagement through August 20th.
Mind you, for those of us who remember what happened back in
1996, Disney's decision to extend the MSEP's run wasn't all that surprising.
One of the many billboards that were erected around Southern California back in 1996 to help hype the "Farewell Season" of the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland Park.
In the Spring of that year, Disneyland officials announced that
the Main Street Electrical Parade was about to enter its "Farewell Season." Meaning
that - after its final public presentation on October 15, 1996 and then an
annual-passholder-only presentation on October 17th - this much beloved
nighttime entertainment would be " ... glowing away forever."
Well, so many people made the trip down to Anaheim that year
to catch the Main Street Electrical Parade before it ended its 24-year run at
that theme park that Disneyland officials were then forced to extend the Main
Street Electrical Parade's "Farewell Season" by six weeks.
One of the thousands of light bulbs that were harvested off of MSEP floats and then sold in late 1996 / early 1997 to benefit various Orange County charities.
And when the night of November 25th finally
arrived, the Happiest Place on Earth was something of a misnomer. Given that
there were tens of thousands of people in tears all along the parade route as
they watched a chunk of their childhood make what was supposed to have been its
very last run through that theme park (And given that Disneyland Park then sold
off thousands of light bulbs that had supposedly been harvested off of MSEP
floats to benefit various Orange County charities ... Well, back then it seemed
pretty definitive that this nighttime entertainment would never be coming back).
Of course, November 25th was the very last day
that the Main Street Electrical Parade could run through Disneyland Park back
in 1996. Given that - on November 28th of that same year - the Happiest
Place on Earth was then slated to become the Merriest Place on Earth. What with
the Disney Family Christmas Celebration kicking off at that Resort's hotels and
the Christmas Fantasy parade about to begin its annual run through that theme
Copyright Disneyland. All rights reserved
Which brings us to that just-announced-yesterday extension
of this limited-time engagement of the Main Street Electrical Parade at
Disneyland Park. Given that Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort typically
gets underway in early September (the 2016 edition of this resort-wide seasonal
celebration actually started on September 9th of last year), it
wouldn't be all that wise to assume that Mouse House managers will be able to extend
the MSEP's limited-time engagement yet again past August 20th.
Especially when you take into consideration that - as part of its "Mickey's Halloween
Party" hard ticket event - the Frightfully Fun Parade (which features dozens of
Disney Villains) is scheduled to roll through Disneyland Park. Which means that
there really wouldn't be enough staff or time available to present the Main
Street Electrical Parade as well.
So long story short: If you had previously wanted to see the
MSEP back in the theme park where it originally debuted some 45 years ago (on
June 17, 1972 to be exact) but weren't planning on doing so because of its previously-announced
June 18, 2017 end date ... Well then you should definitely take advantage of this
extension of its limited-time engagement.
Because once August 20th passes, who knows? Maybe
this time around, the Disneyland version of the Main Street Electrical Parade
really will be " ... glowing away forever."
This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Sunday, April 2, 2017