Anyone remember Disney On Parade? Long before Disney On Ice was a touring mega-hit we (the older generation) had the privilege of watching Disney On Parade. Disney On Parade received it’s first preview on December 16th 1969 in
Long Beach, California, before it’s official opening in on December 24th 1969. It was an instant success. Walt Disney Enterprises joined forces with TV’s NBC and formed a company called Nawal Productions to oversee the production. The show itself was a major breakthrough in family entertainment, combining screen performances of Disney classics before characters would flood the stage in song and dance. Over the years four separate units were produced each featuring different aspects of the Disney legacy. Chicago
Each Disney on Parade would be slightly different to the previous. Naturally, the main focus remained, the Disney movie legacy. The final three units all featured a similar finale, It’s A Small World, but all slightly different. Alice In Wonderland, Jungle Book and Cinderella & Dumbo were the main attractions in the first unit. Pinocchio featured in the 2nd unit , while Fantasia and Snow White took a sizeable chunk of the 2nd act. Sleeping Beauty and the Three Caballeros were major players in the third. Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks were the popular choice for the final unit.
While the show toured arenas in the
United States, Australia (at that time) had no such venues – the largest circus tent ever seen in – was imported. Seating was divided into four different sections – Mickey Mouse Seating or Donald Duck Seating (each side of the stage) or Goofy Seating or Pluto Seating (directly in front of stage). The stage measured 140 feet by 56 feet, the tent covered 2 acres and supported over 8 tons of canvas. In Australia , a gust of wind ripped a hole in the canvas during the Alice In Wonderland production number causing a flying rig to crash to the ground injuring a number of performers. As they say, the show must go on. Adelaide
Today, Disney On Parade seems to be a forgotten part of the Disney legacy. The concept of taking the characters "out of the park" was obviously a huge success, Disney On Ice is still giving children of today the same kind of thrill I had when I was young. The final word comes from some Disney On Parade publicity: "Although it is all very bippity-boppity-boo and cynics may scoff at those giant cartoon characters bobbing about on the enormous stage, the kids love it. So do most of the parents".
If your interested in Dosney on Parade, I started a separate blog at http://disneyonparade.blogspot.com/