Tag Archives: main street usa

USA 2016 – 11 Paint the Night Parade and Disneyland Forever Fireworks (2016-07-13) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 12 JAN 2018

Having now pretty much spent the entire day exploring Disneyland on foot, I found myself gravitating back towards my original starting point of Main Street U.S.A., somehow eager to stake out a good spot among what was quite clearly a rapidly growing crowd lining the edges of the street.

Turns out, the reason for this sudden change of focus for the hordes of people milling about the theme park was actually pretty simple – the time for the big finale pieces had finally arrived, kicking things off with probably the most amazing electric light parade that I’ll probably ever see: the Paint the Night Parade!

The Paint the Night Parade actually premiered in Hong Kong Disneyland back in 2014, but did eventually arrive at Disneyland Park on May 22, 2015 as part of the original theme park’s big 60th anniversary “Diamond Celebration” season.

A spiritual successor to the long-running Main Street Electrical Parade, Paint the Night is Disneyland’s first all-LED parade, utilizing over 1.5 million LED lights to bring to life the special affects of the 8 units and their 76 performers that make up the show.

Lasting for approximately 20 minutes, this spectacle of light is accompanied by a mix of arrangements of Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley’s “Baroque Hoedown” and Owl City’s “When Can I See You Again?”.

The parade is led by the Peter Pan unit, featuring Rosetta, Silvermist, Iridessa, Tinkerbell, and Peter Pan. Following closely behind is the Monsters, Inc. unit (Sully and Mike), and the Cars unit (Lightning McQueen, Mack and DJ), before making way for the spectacular Little Mermain electric watercolors float (featuring Ariel, Sebastian, Flounder, King Triton, and Marlin and Nemo from Finding Nemo).

After that comes Toy Story (Jessie, Slinky Dog, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the Aliens), followed by Candlelight Dreams (Belle, Rapunzel, and Cinderella), and then the hugely popular (based on the crowd’s roar) Frozen Fractals float (featuring of course Anna, Elsa, and Olaf).

The last unit to come rumbling through is Mickey’s Lightastic Finale, featuring Goofy, Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, and Sorcerer Mickey Mouse!

The parade is a wonderful, musical, and colourful assault on the senses, and was most definitely a highlight of the  day for me.

Not that you have a chance to catch your breath mind you. No sooner had the closing notes of the Paint the Night Parade rung out, when the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle sparked to life with all its bedazzling lights, causing the crowd to quickly shuffle further down Main Street (towards the hub) in order to jostle for a better view.

The reason for this move was of course to catch a glimpse of Disneyland Forever, the nighttime spectacular at Disneyland that premiered on May 21, 2015 (again as part of the theme park’s 60th anniversary celebration).

Weaving a 15 minute long narrative while depicting iconic scenes from many of Disney’s classic films, Disneyland Forever incorporates an incredible mix of fireworks, projection mapping, fire, lasers and searchlights to bring a truly spectacular closing show to life.

Now I’m already a huge fan of projection mapping and the incredible tricks it can play on your senses, but when you combine this technology with fireworks and story at the scale that Disney does – the end result is simply just “wow”.

Honestly, what an incredible experience, and quite probably the best way that you could ever cap a day out and about in a theme park off with! The music was rousing, the visuals and narrative inspiring, and the fireworks simply put, astounding.

There really isn’t any more to say than that.

Anyway, the smoke cleared, the crowd started leaving, and I found myself exiting the gates and trundling down the road to grab a bite to eat from my very first American McDonalds – purely because this is something that we have in SA and thus I wanted to compare.

As it turns out, the American McDonalds experience (especially in terms of flavour) is actually a lot better than what we get back home – which came as a bit of a surprise really, considering how little I think of McDonalds at the best of times!

A short bus trip back to the hotel and given the long day I had just got under the belt, I was soon fast asleep in my surprisingly comfy Holiday Inn bed.

Of course, I did take a few photos of the night, purely as a reminder for myself, but obviously they’re not great given the fact that I used my phone for the photography – nevertheless, here they are in all their fuzzy glory:

So, with the first day fun now well and truly over and done with, next up was the real meat and potatoes of why I found myself in the USA in the first place – NACUFS Idea ’16.

Related Link: Paint the Night | Disneyland Park | Wikipedia | #USA2016

USA 2016 – 02 Disneyland Park – Main Street, U.S.A. (2016-07-13) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 11 NOV 2017

Having arrived in Anaheim a day before the NACUFS expo was due to kick off, I did what any first time visitor to the United States of America who finds themselves in Anaheim, California does – I immediately purchased a (VERY expensive) ticket to the legendary Disneyland, the only theme park to have been designed and built under the direct supervision of Walt Disney himself!

Disneyland, or rather Disneyland Park as it is known these days (because of all the other attractions on the Disneyland lot nowadays), is of course absurdly massive, and in fact I literally spent the entire day wandering about the theme park – so much so that I have had to split the day’s cache of photos into 10 separate blog posts!

(The fact that Disneyland is naturally split into separate themed lands also kind of facilitates this anyway).

Given that the first area you enter after passing through the gates is good old Main Street, U.S.A., it makes perfect sense then to kick off my Disneyland series here.

Patterned after a typical Midwest town of the early 20th century, Main Street, U.S.A. is reminiscent of the Victorian period of America with the train station, town square, movie theater, city hall, firehouse complete with a steam-powered pump engine, emporium, shops, arcades, double-decker bus, horse-drawn streetcar, jitneys and other bits of memorabilia.

Disneyland is of course always filled with people, but seeing as this is technically the hub of the theme park, there are a LOT more people milling about, shopping at the various specialty stores, grabbing something to eat from the themed eateries or food snack vendors, and generally just resting their feet up for a bit.

Main Street is also home to the Disney Art Gallery and the Opera House which showcases Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, not to mention the important City Hall that has all the answers for any question that you might think of.

Also, pro tip, if you are a first time visitor to Disneyland Park you really should pay a visit to City Hall and lay claim to your special 1st visit badge!

On the far end of the street is the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle as well as the famous Partners statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse holding hands. (Fun fact, this statue now appears in five different locations, namely Disneyland Park, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney Studios, and Disneyland Paris).

That’s also the location of the Hub, otherwise known as the Central Plaza, which gives you direct access to Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland, and Tomorrowland.

As you can see from all the photos, this is section of Disneyland doesn’t actually feature any theme park rides, but nevertheless there is plenty for the eye to take in.

Also, and rather satisfyingly at that, because there aren’t any rides in Main Street, U.S.A. there aren’t any of those scarily long queues that you will soon encounter (and become VERY familiar with) as you enter the rest of the lands!

I did of course not stay in Main Street, U.S.A. for too long – after all, I had arrived early morning and was on a mission to take in every facet of this iconic theme park that I possibly could given that I only had one day to explore.

(That said, I did return to this area a further three times over the course of the day – the first to tuck into a delicious ice cream snack, the second to experience Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, and then later that evening to experience the Paint the Night Parade and obviously the massive Disneyland Forever fireworks display!)

Going through all these photos a year later – man I wish that I can take my kids here when they are still small enough to properly enjoy the magic of this incredible fantasyland experience!

So, if you have kids or you yourself grew up during the classic feel good period that defined Disney for the early parts of its existence, then a visit to “The Happiest Place on Earth” is definitely a must!

Related Link: Disneyland Park | Wikipedia