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Step in Time: America Goes on Parade at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on October 21st, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week, we’re taking a look back at “America On Parade,” a procession that brought American history to life on Main Street, U.S.A., at Magic Kingdom Park in honor of the United States Bicentennial celebration.

'America on Parade' at Magic Kingdom Park in 1975

The parade ran from June 6, 1975, to September 6, 1976, and was the park’s largest daily procession yet, featuring more than 150 performers and 50 floats, which showcased some of the nation’s major historical milestones, like the invention of the car, the first airplane flight and the moon landing.

Mickey, Donald and Goofy led the parade atop a Spirit of ‘76 float. A series of 8-foot-tall People of America characters, each representing historical figures such as Christopher Columbus, Betsy Ross and Benjamin Franklin, followed along on floats that recreated their milestone moment in American history. The finale of the parade was punctuated by a Celebration of Independence float that featured Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam.

One particularly unique aspect of the parade was its soundtrack, which blended the sound of an antique band organ with a modern synthesizer. The music featured new arrangements for “Oh Susanna” and “Turkey in the Straw” which were recorded from a 300-pipe, 19th century military trumpet organ called the Sadie Mae of St. Louis at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Additionally the legendary composing duo, the Sherman Brothers, were hired to write an original song for the parade called “The Glorious Fourth.”

Do you remember this parade? Tell us what you enjoyed about it in the “Comments” section below.

For more from the “Step in Time” series, click the links below:

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Filed: Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

5 Comments 3 Replies

1

Lucinda from IL on October 21st, 2013 at 11:01 am

I was at the Magic Kingdom for my first visit in November 1975. Before then, I’d never witnessed a parade of such caliber and my entire family was deeply impressed with America on Parade. I remember that the giant sandwich was our favorite float.

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on October 21st, 2013 at 11:13 am

Thanks for sharing, Lucinda!

2

Debra on October 21st, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Thank you for posting this, Jennifer. I saw this parade in November of 1975 when I was 8 years old. It was my family’s first visit to the Magic Kingdom. Such great memories!

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on October 21st, 2013 at 2:25 pm

That’s great, Debra. :)

3

Robert on October 21st, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Thank you so much for posting these great pictures. When I was a kid we visited Walt Disney World for the first time in 1976 and saw this parade on Main Street, USA! We also visited the newly opened River Country. I still have my tee shirt with the Walt Disney Bicentennial graphic on it. Of course I remember I met the Orange Bird as well!

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on October 21st, 2013 at 5:08 pm

You’re welcome!

4

Anthony on October 22nd, 2013 at 10:37 am

I love the photos. Thanks for sharing. I wasn’t born yet, so I don’t remember the parade, ha!

At any rate, I read online that the 8-foot tall characters were reused in World Showcase at EPCOT Center when the park opened.

5

John from OR on October 22nd, 2013 at 9:38 pm

My very first trip to Disneyland was in June of 1976. We walked into the park at 3:15 and the parade coming around Town Square was the first thing I saw. Can you imagine the impact those huge floats had on me? I’ve been collecting America on Parade items ever since. I recently won an AoP hot dog wrapper on eBay. I’m beyond thrilled! Really!

5 Comments