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Disney’s Oldest Parade - Electrical Water Pageant

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Walt Disney World has plenty of parades. The Magic Kingdom currently has the “Celebrate A Dream Come True” parade every afternoon at 3:00 and the “Main Street Electrical Parade” at 9:00 and 11:00. Disney’s Animal Kingdom features the “Jammin’ Jungle Parade” at 3:45

Over the years there have been many themed parades at each of the Disney parks but the undisputed grand-daddy of all parades is the Electrical Water Pageant which sails the waters of Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon. It has been running every night (weather permitting) since October 26, 1971. There have been a few subtle changes over the past 42 years, but it is still as captivating as it was the first time I watched it in 1977.

One of our favourite ways to end our day at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground is to head to the beach and watch the nightly performance of the Electrical Water Pageant.

We try to arrive a bit early, find a comfy seat on the patio beside the marina and wait until those tell-tale green lights begin to appear. The 14 barges which provide the show run very quietly. They are nearly invisible, with only their running lights to reveal their approach. Then once they are in position the show begins with a fanfare of techno music and all those wonderful lights reflecting off Bay Lake.

The first four barges all light up their 40 foot long and 25 foot high displays at once and portray the image of a sea serpent accompanied by "Boo Bop Bopbop Bop (I Love You Too)" from Pete's Dragon.

Sea_Serpent

Soon the next float comes alive with the image of a spouting whale as you listen to "Whale of a Tale" from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Whale_and_Turtle

Floats six and seven feature a turtle bobbing its head under water and an octopus, also accompanied by lively music generated by the 800 watt sound system.

Soon the first three floats in the second string light up to reveal three jumping dolphins, followed in turn by a Brachiosaurus, a crocodile, four seahorses and finally King Triton. By the time all 14 floats are illuminated there are over 50,000 lights involved in the animated panorama. WOW!

Dolphins

King_Triton

Then, just when you think it’s all over, the grand finale begins. It’s an inspirational salute to America, with Flags and Stars set to a patriotic musical medley of God Bless America, Yankee Doodle, and You're a Grand Old Flag.

Stars_and_Flags

You don’t even have to spend money on park admission to enjoy the Electrical Water Pageant.

It sails past the beach at every Disney resort on Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon. The normal schedule is:
• 9:00 p.m. - Polynesian Resort
• 9:15 p.m. - Grand Floridian
• 9:35 p.m. - Wilderness Lodge
• 9:45 p.m. - Fort Wilderness
• 10:05 p.m. - Contemporary Resort
• 10:20 p.m. - Magic Kingdom (only when MK is open past 10:00 p.m.)

The Electrical Water Pageant is an often overlooked feature at Walt Disney World and it truly is a hidden gem. Plan to watch it from the beach at one of the resorts soon. With a little planning you might even see the Wishes fireworks spectacular reflecting off the water before or after the pageant. Check with Guest Services at your resort to confirm exact show times.

If you watch it from the Polynesian Resort I recommend a stop at Captain Cook’s on the way. Pick up a cool Dole Whip to enjoy as you sit on the beach enjoying the show. If you watch from Fort Wilderness, take a look around, you may just see Carol and I on the patio beside the marina!

The previous post in this blog was Food and Wine FastPass ??.

The next post in this blog is Jim’s Attic: Bits of Disneyland.

Comments (7)

Candace Dadswell:

Thank you very much for the info Gary! Our family is heading down to the World for Thanksgiving this year and I was just recently saying that we should plan on seeing the water pagent during our visit. We have not yet taken the time to do so. I especially like the idea of watching from the Polynesian with an accompanying Dole Whip! :)

I enjoy reading your trip reports and hope to get the chance to say hello to you and Carol while there (I am a fan of your Disney Room and noticed our trips overlap). Looking forward to your next blog!

[Gary adds: Thanks Candace, I'm glad you are enjoying our personal blog site as well as the AllEars blogs.

We arrive just before Thanksgiving . . . if our paths do cross, be sure to say hello!]

Diane:

Hi Gary,
Thanks for the great blog entry. I have wonderful memories of the Electrical Water Pageant, too. Many moons ago when I was a teenager, my family and I traveled to WDW and stayed at the Contemporary, so we got to watch the parade from our tower room as well as the long dock at the Contemporary. I must say I have a fondness for the old soundtrack that began and ended with Handel's Water Music. Genius! Thank goodness for YouTube where I can watch the vintage version. :)
Diane

Penny from Vermont:

I was at WDW this past April with a cousin from California and wanted to show her the Wilderness Lodge. As a suprise I timed it just right so we could see the parade from the boat dock after our tour of the hotel.

She thought it was pretty cool (something Disneyland does not have)


Ashley:

We saw this for the first time on our trip last year. We stayed at Shades of Green & used the monorail at the Poly whenever we were going to MK/Epcot. We timed it just right one night getting back to the Poly and only had to wait a couple minutes out on their dock for the floats to come by. It was very colorful! Definitely worth the walk out there.

Jane Boeck:

Great article Gary. This is truly a hidden gem. I love this parade!!!!

Debbie:

When I was just a kid we visited MK (only park there was - no later than 1975, I'd say). We stayed in the now-vanished Garden Wing of the Contemporary and were amazed to find the Electric Water Pageant right outside our window at night.

Memory says the music was, or at least started with, the Electric Hoedown that is now the music for the Electric Light Parade in MK. Is this correct or have I confused old memories?

[Gary adds: According to Wikipedia "The Paul Beaver version of Gershon Kingsley & Jean Jeaque Perrey's "Baroque Hoedown", created specially for the Electrical Water Pageant, was used from 1971 until 1977. The original Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland used the same soundtrack from 1972 until 1974."

Your memory is good Debbie!]

Carolyn:

The Electrical Water Pageant has always been my favorite thing at Disney.

I even got engaged during it from our balcony at Grand Floridian! It is nice to see something that has been around since the beginning of Magic Kingdom.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 22, 2013 10:06 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Food and Wine FastPass ??.

The next post in this blog is Jim’s Attic: Bits of Disneyland.

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