Thousands of Disneyland Resort cast members celebrated the long-awaited return of nighttime spectaculars over two consecutive nights of cast-exclusive events that featured dancing, treats, photo ops — and lots of Disney magic.
“It’s a classic, so I love how there’s a special event just for cast members,” Ticket Sales Agent Ruby Masri said of the April 20 viewing of “Main Street Electrical Parade” in Disneyland park. The parade, as well as “Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular and “World of Color” in Disney California Adventure park officially returned April 22, while “Fantasmic!” is scheduled to return to the Rivers of America on May 28.
The cast event for the parade, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer, was followed by a disco party on Main Street, U.S.A., with many cast members decked out in bell bottoms, platform shoes and gold medallions to reflect the trends of the parade’s 1972 debut. They posed for photo ops and enjoyed cotton candy and Hostess Twinkies prior to the parade, the thousands of sparkling lights brightening the late-night event while the familiar electro-synthe-magnetic music filled the air.
Many cast members were most excited to see the new grand finale float (below), which brings together more than a dozen Disney Animation and Pixar stories with the theme of togetherness and was inspired by Disney Legend Mary Blair’s iconic art style from “it’s a small world.”
“The ‘Main Street Electrical Parade’ was one of my earliest, favorite memories of Disneyland,” said Carol Shiu of the Walt Disney Travel Company, who was brought to tears as she recalled watching the parade from her father’s shoulders as a child. “My favorite part is when the snail and turtle do that little turn … I feel like a kid again!”
The next night, April 21, thousands more cast members crossed the Esplanade for a preview of the return of “World of Color” in Disney California Adventure park. Some cast members were brought to tears as they stood along Paradise Bay and watched the colorful animated sequences from favorite Disney and Pixar stories come to life once again on the 19,000-square-foot water screen created by 1,200 programmable fountains. It was more than two years ago when cast and guests last saw the show, just before the parks closed in March 2020.
“I used to come all the time with my mom and this was my No. 1 show I’d never miss,” said Emma Elliot, Parade support (below). “It opens up so many emotions; I always have tears streaming down my face.” And Emma said getting to experience the show’s return with her fellow cast member friends made the night even more special. “I’m so happy right now; this is the best night ever.”
While every cast member attending received cotton candy, the first 100 were surprised with a special dessert party and reserved seating. When the lights went down and the first drops of water hit the splash zone, those standing in the front shrieked with glee. After the show, cast members had the chance to experience attractions before the night ended.
“Nights like this bring back so many memories,” said Laura Mejia, who works at Indiana Jones Adventure. “It’s special to be here with fellow cast members. We’re used to making the magic for guests, and now the magic is being made for us.”