Ever since WDW brought back the Main Street Electrical Parade (MSEP) to the Magic Kingdom there has been some debate as to which is the better parade. Spectromagic was the parade that had recently been at the Magic Kingdom since 1991. There was a two year break where MSEP did come to the Magic Kingdom, but other than that, it’s been Spectro. In June 2010 they switched over to the newer version of the MSEP and that has been the parade ever since.
When it was announced that the MSEP was coming back, my first thought was, “wow, that’d be great!” Up to now I had seen some video and had heard the music and was looking forward to the change. I was down in the parks that June solo and had my first chance to see this parade. Again, not something I would normally do alone, but with all the hype I made it a point. And, sad to say, I was not impressed. Let me explain.
First, a small tangent thought. I went to see the film ‘Waking Sleeping Beauty’ when it came around a couple of years ago. Producer Don Hahn gave a great talk and answered questions about the movie and his times at the WDW Studios. One of the things that he said has always stuck with me. Sound is about 75% of your movie experience. He then went on to explain this statement by saying, “When you have a chance, throw in a favorite movie and first watch a couple minutes of it with no sound. Next, watch a couple minutes with sound but don’t watch the screen.” I’ve tried this and had some other people do the same and it’s always the same, you can listen to the movie as long as you want while watching with no sound gets real boring real quick. That logic might apply here, kind of. As I watched MSEP for the first time, about ¾ of the way through the parade I was like, is that it? The song seems to be on a loop as it plays its way through the parade. As I was thinking that, it actually began to gnaw at me a little more and became one of the main impressions that I came away from the parade with. The music began to get repetative.
Don’t get me wrong, the floats were great and the interactions with Alice and Pete (Pete’s Magic Dragon) and the crowd were very cool. I liked how they were mic’ed up and you can hear what they say. The Dwarf train was fun and colorful and the swish of electric stars that was on each float that lit up like a wave from the front of the parade to the back boasted technology and looked great. And the closing float with the patriotic dancers was a great touch also and totally fitting where we are with the country. Even so, I still came away humming that same refrain over and over and thought it was just over done.
In August, my whole crew went down. I wanted to see the parade again to see if it had been a fluke and the three times in Jan. was just my imaginataion. I also wanted to get the kids reactions to the parade. Well after we watched the parade from the curb on Main Street, their thoughts were basically the same. I was hoping that I would have a change of mind also, but again as the parade went on, the thought again came into my head about, “Is the music stuck in a loop?” The kids, were not thrilled enough to even want to see it again while we were there. Let’s just say we used the Parade Diversion-Short Line Ride method for the other days we were in MK and the Parade was running.
Things I liked about Spectro:
- I liked how the music had basically the same theme, but had it's own sounds or specific song for each unit or float.
- I liked the magical flourish of music that would trigger the change of all the colors in that section of the parade to go to black and white and how all the characters reacted the same way.
- I liked having the kids try to find the animated Tinkerbelle that flew between various floats.
- I liked how colorful it was even compared to the MSEP. It seemed to just have more.
- I liked being in the right place at the right time to see Chernabog open up.
- I liked Chip and Dale playing it up at the Piano.
- And as sentimental as it is, I liked how it felt to see my kids see their first night-time parade when they were so young and it was Spectromagic.
So, bring back Spectromagic...Please?