Spectromagic: Disney Parks History

Disney is always looking to change up its entertainment lineup, and sometimes even timeless classics fall out of favor to give way to new classics.

Welcome to Disney Parks History, a series where we explore the history of Disney rides, attractions, entertainment, and more. Today we are bringing you through the history of Spectromagic, the second night parade of the Magic Kingdom.

The Magic Kingdom had received a clone of the Disneyland night parade, Main Street Electrical Parade, in 1977, which had been based on its own Electric Water Parade. It was an instant hit and became a mainstay of a night at the Magic Kingdom.

But for the 20th anniversary of the park, it was decided that Walt Disney World needed their own nighttime spectacle, and Disney had a new park running overbudget in need of inexpensive entertainment as quick as possible. So the decision was made to retire the Main Street Electrical Parade at Walt Disney World and ship it off to Disneyland Paris to make way for a new night parade.

Spectromagic would open on the park's 20th anniversary, October 1st, 1991.

The story of the parade was that Mickey and the Spectromen, original characters created for the parade, were creating Spectromagic that ran the parade.

This parade was a notable technical upgrade from the Main Street Electrical Parade, taking advantage of new upgrades in lighting technology at the time, as well as being of a grander scale, incorporating more floats and performers than the Main Street Electrical Parade.

While the order and exact character lineup would change slightly over the years, it would remain similar, with only minor swap-outs of individual characters and the order of the floats.

The parade would feature five major segments all including multiple floats.

The opening segment featured the Spectromen and characters from the Silly Symphonies introducing you to the parade. This would significantly include Mickey Mouse and Roger Rabbit as well as other Mickey and Friends characters.

The next segment would feature a Sleeping Beauty inspired garden featuring characters from the film as well as butterflies.

Next would be an underwater segment based on the characters of The Little Mermaid, featuring giant fish-themed floats, as well as floats featuring the characters in both animatronic and in-person form.

A Fantasia themed unit would be next, notably featuring a massive float of Chernabog.

Then there would be a grand finale featuring a collection of all Disney characters

This parade would run until 1999 before it was replaced by Main Street Electrical Parade (the Disneyland version) temporarily for the new millennium. It would return in 2001 when the Main Street Electrical Parade would move to Disney California Adventure in an attempt the help the struggling park (a familiar story).

Spectromagic would return to the Magic Kingdom in 2001 with a few notable changes, most significantly Genie would replace Roger Rabbit and it would continue to run until 2010 when it would be replaced with Main Street Electrical Parade once again being shipped over from Disneyland in what was intended to be a one summer run at the park.

But this would not be the case and Specromagic would never return.

Reportedly Spectromagic was improperly stored and destroyed by the harsh Florida weather to a point where it could never return to use. Disney decided it was not worth the expense of fixing it and allowed it to be permanently retired.

This parade, while popular, never reached the iconic status Main Street Electrical Parade did. Now, when the Magic Kingdom has been without a night parade for an extended period of time, and no new one foreseeably on the way for a considerable time it has given us time to appreciate this parade.

Spectromagic had a strong artistic style that was held through the entire parade and felt original while incorporating characters into it in fun creative ways. It is a shame the parade never got a real send-off, nor was properly preserved as the significant piece of Disney history it is.

Very little remains from this parade anywhere in the Disney Parks. The music is lost from the Disney Parks. One of the last pieces of it is the Sebastian animatronic, which was repurposed into the Festival of Fantasy daytime parade.

This was the only unique electrical parade in the history of the Magic Kingdom, but hopefully not the last.