Billed as the successor to the beloved Main Street Electrical Parade, Disneyland's new 1.5 million-light Paint the Night will be a near carbon copy of a Hong Kong Disneyland nighttime parade.
Starting May 22, Disneyland's new parade joins a new fireworks display as well as Disney California Adventure's new version of the World of Color water show as part of a diamond jubilee celebration that's expected to stretch through the end of the year and beyond. A smartphone app will allow visitors to interact with the parade.
Described as "overwhelmingly bright," the new nighttime parade will feature 76 performers in lighted costumes. The musical soundtrack, which will be recorded at London's legendary Abbey Road Studios, pays tribute to the Electrical Parade's indelible "Baroque Hoedown."
Using the Hong Kong version as a template, the Paint the Night parade will feature floats from "Cars," "Toy Story," "Monsters Inc.," "Beauty and the Beast," "Little Mermaid" and "Frozen." The procession will kick off with a Tinkerbell float and conclude with a Mickey Mouse float. The signature drum float from the Electrical Parade will make a nostalgic appearance.
During a recent press preview, I watched a dress rehearsal of Paint the Night and was surprised at how technically advanced the new parade was compared with the old Electrical Parade.
During the demonstration, Carz Crew dancers wore illuminated costumes that changed colors in time to the music. A life-size big rig truck float, known as Mack in the "Cars" movies, pulled a trailer filled with volumetric lights that cycled through a seemingly endless array of mesmerizing displays.
Spoiler Alert: What follows is a detailed breakdown of the floats and performers featured in Paint the Night. Consider yourself forewarned.
Tinkerbell leads off the parade with a float dubbed the Magic of Pixie Dust that kicks up a sparkling swirl of rainbow colors, brought to life from a storytelling standpoint by Mickey Mouse's magic paint brush. Following close behind, a drum float with Peter Pan sitting atop pays tribute to the Main Street Electrical Parade.
Performers known as Fiber Fairies wearing costumes festooned with fiber optic strands are intended to look like dancing pixie dust. Several of Tinkerbell's fairy friends will join the procession.
With Sulley Sullivan and Mike Wazowski on board, the "Monsters Inc." float will feature a series of spinning peek-a-boo doors with hidden video screens that reveal Monstropolis scarers.
Lightning McQueen leads the "Cars" contingent with the 25,000-light Mack truck followed by the glow-in-the-dark Carz Crew dancers.
The 25-foot-tall "Little Mermaid" float, dubbed Electric Watercolors, features a massive King Triton figure with a rear-projection face. A large troupe of performers tags behind, including the electroluminescent coral fish as well as the Nemo and Marlin characters.
Video footage shown during the press event showed an electric jellyfish performer wearing a device on his head that made hypnotic glowing tentacles spin around him as he walked the parade route.
No Disney parade would be complete without a procession of princesses. Belle from "Beauty and the Beast" commands the lead float dominated by a massive red rose with Cinderella and Rapunzel on trailing candelabra mini-floats. The Court Dancer performers wear color-changing costumes while the Dove Dancers look like winged ballerinas.
Frozen Fractals is one of two new floats not found at Hong Kong Disneyland (the other is the drum). Elsa's towering ice palace glows an iridescent blue as the "Frozen" snow queen is joined by her sister Anna and the delusional-wacky snowman Olaf. A team of Ice Crystal Dancers that look like winged snowflakes trail the float.
The "Toy Story" float, dubbed Electric Rodeo, features a 20-foot-long Slinky Dog with Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear sitting precariously atop the illuminated coils. The Lasso Dancers, each spinning a lighted ball on a string designed to look like a neon lasso, are joined by Jessie the cowgirl.
Wielding a giant paint brush, Mickey Mouse brings the Paint the Night parade to a close with a 17,000-light finale float boasting a wild kinetic sculpture that creates an optical illusion with an array of disco balls. Nearby, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy sit rather awkwardly atop lighted spherical mini-floats that perfectly preserve the whimsical wackiness of the original Main Street Electrical Parade.