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Disney's Electrical Parade Archives

August 21, 2009

Summer Evening at Disneyland

Lee and I visited Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure last Saturday evening - I wanted to see the new and updated Electrical Parade and some of the other things that you can only enjoy after dark.

For a Saturday evening in the summer the parks were not too crowded. Splash Mountain had a 75 minute wait, but things like Buzz Lightyear and Star Tours were 10-15 minutes.

We wandered around Disneyland a bit trying to decide what we wanted for dinner. We went by the Celebration BBQ, which had a menu/format/price change in July. The characters are no longer at the meal though there is still entertainment on stage. Lunch is $19.99 for adults and dinner is $24.99 but drinks and dessert are no longer included in the price. (The price for kids 3-9 is $9.99 at either lunch or dinner.) Corn cob wheels and polish sausage are offered at dinner but not lunch, though either way it is still all-you-care-to-eat. Doesn't seem like much of a price decrease to me - at least not for dinner, by the time you pay for your drink. Still too expensive in my book, though I would consider going for lunch. I wish they would go back to the counter service BBQ idea they had there about 10 years ago.

We ended up having and early (5:15) dinner at Rancho del Zocalo. The portions have been slightly reduced in size since we last dined there, but it's still quite a bit of food. We both had the enchiladas - I had the regular cheese enchiladas, and Lee had the cheese enchiladas that came with tortillas and several slices of carne asada.

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After dinner we went over to Disney's California Adventure to wander around and wait for night to fall. We did something we'd never done before: went to the Cove Bar (next to Ariel's Grotto) and had a drink. It's a full-service bar, and Lee was impressed by the selection of beers on tap. They also have quite a selection of specialty drinks - like various flavors of Comospolitans, Mojitos, and Margaritas, and drinks that glow. I was hoping they might have some dessert-type items, but they only serve appetizers: nachos, crab cakes, artichoke dip, buffalo wings, fried calamari, and bbq chicken pizza. So I had a Godiva Dark Chocolate Martini instead. It was supposed to come with a chocolate stick, but they were out of those. :-( Lee had a beer.

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It was a nice way to relax for a while, and it was pleasant to be outside, though it started to cool off quickly once the sun disappeared.

One of the things we had planned to see that night was the lights on Mickey's Fun Wheel, and as it got darker we could start to see them. When Disney re-themed Mickey's Fun Wheel they added a bunch of new LED lighting and at night these are animated in number of different patterns and colors. We'd never seen it before, and I have to say that I was fascinated by all of the different colors and actions that it was able to produce. We must have watched it for about 20 minutes over the course of the evening, and I don't think we ever saw a repeat. Here's a short video that's just a sample of the kind of thing that it can do.

(If you're interested in more, I put up an 8:30 minute clip also, it's HERE.)

With all of the construction walls up around Paradise Pier it is a little more of a challenge to find a spot to see the Electrical Parade. Parade viewing is not allowed at all between the Golden Zephyr and what used to be the entrance to Golden Dreams. But with less than 10 minutes until the parade started we found a spot in front of the Golden Zephyr, where we were standing behind a row of people who were sitting, and that was a fine spot. There was a construction wall on the other side, which meant that there were no people there, so the characters focused all of their attention on our side of the parade route.

What can I say? As far as I'm concerned, Disney's Electrical Parade is still the best nighttime parade ever. The "new" soundtrack didn't sound any different to me - just more crisp and clear, maybe - it's still just a catchy and bouncy as ever. The lighting looks great, and it was nice to see the "new" parade elements: Tinker Bell's float leading it off (though I miss the Blue Fairy!), the Seven Dwarfs' mine (which gives three of the dwarfs something to do besides follow Snow White around), and the two Pleasure Island floats. The latter replaced the Dumbo's Circus floats.

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We followed the crowds out of the park who were mostly headed to Disneyland. We weren't trying to see the fireworks, but we did catch a little bit of Magical, including a glimpse of Dumbo flying around the castle. We were trying to get to Pixie Hollow, to see more of the Pixie Hollow Enchantment light/fountain sequences. Unfortunately we had a bit of a wait - they go off about every 15 minutes, but even though the fireworks were over before 9:45, the first Pixie Hollow show wasn't until about 10:00. And then it ended up being the one we'd originally seen in June (which you can see HERE).

So we waited another 15 minutes, and saw this one:

Unfortunately the HD video camera doesn't have a wide enough angle to show you everything that's going on - like all of the jumping fountains and the lights in the trees and on the fountains.

It's really a fun little show - I'll be sorry to see it end, though I hope they will bring it back in the future - maybe for the holidays?

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Disneyland AllEars® Meet and Greet!

AllEars® Team members Deb Wills, Laura Gilbreath, Lisa Berton and Cathy Bock invite you to come by and say "Hello!" at 11 a.m. on Sunday, October 11, 2009, at the Carnation Plaza Gardens in Disneyland.

Here's a picture of the entrance to the Plaza Gardens, which is located between Frontierland and the castle.

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July 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Disneyland!

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54 years young!

This year we've already seen the opening of the updated "it's a small world" attraction, the new Celebrate! A Street Party, the Celebration Round-up and BBQ dining experience, and the new Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Over at DCA, the Food and Wine Festival returned for a 4th year, Cocina Cucamonga moved to a new location with an expanded menu, Mickey's Fun Wheel opened, and the Blue Sky Cellar preview center just re-opened with updated exhibits on what we can expect in DCA's continuing expansion.

I think Disneyland received some of its birthday presents early this year with the premiere of the new Summer Nightastic! event, featuring the return of revamped favorites like Disney's Electrical Parade and Fantasmic!, and the new TLT Dance Club, Pixie Hollow Enchantment, and the all new fireworks show, Magical, where Dumbo flies around the castle.

The Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend returns Labor Day weekend, with events Friday-Sunday - Lee and I will be running the half marathon on Sunday. And the very first D23 Expo takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center September 10-13.

Disney's HalloweenTime returns on September 25, including the popular Haunted Mansion Holiday and the return of Mickey's Trick or Treat Party at DCA on selected nights in October.

Also this fall, the very first DVC resort in California, The Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Resort & Spa opens its doors.

The holidays return to Disneyland in November as Disneyland is transformed into the "Merriest Place on Earth", with all of the special decorations, parade and fireworks that go with it.

Next spring the new Disney's World of Color nighttime spectacular opens in DCA and who knows what else Disney might have planned?

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Happy Birthday, Disneyland!

AllEars pages on some of the events and attractions mentioned above:
"it's a small world"
Celebrate! A Street Party
Celebration Roundup and BBQ
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Disney's California Food and Wine Festival
Mickey's Fun Wheel
Summer Nightastic!
Disney's Electrical Parade
Fantasmic!
Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend
Mickey's Trick or Treat Party

May 1, 2009

More on the What's New Presentation

A few (ok, actually a LOT) more details on the What's New presentation last week.

The presentation began with our host Russ Marchand introducing Summer Nightastic! - Disneyland will be the hottest place for kids and adults this summer. (All of the nighttime activities described below start on June 12.)

More on the What's New Presentation

Jill Estorino, Senior Vice President of Marketing was the first guest. This summer Disneyland wants to make the night sparkle even more - "when the sun goes down, things light up." There will be new glow-in-the-dark merchandise and even glowing drinks. The TLT Dance Club at the Tomorrowland Terrace will feature entertainment 7 nights a week, with dance club DJs Monday-Thursday and live bands Friday-Sunday. Trivia games and other activities will offer something to appeal to the whole family.

She also spoke about the new Summer Fun Pass for Southern California and Northern Baja residents. This is a three-day park hopper for only $99. It is valid for 45 days from first use (a LOT longer than the usual 13 days!), which must occur between June 1 and August 23, 2009. The pass is available to residents in zip codes 90000-93599 and 21000-22999. Proof of residency is required for purchase. The tickets will be available at Disneyland.com, Disney Stores and the Disneyland ticket offices, and also at Vons, Albertsons, Ralphs, Stater Bros., Food 4 Less, Gelsons, Dearden's and Toys 'R' Us. (It's highly recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance either on-line or at one of the above-mentioned outlets to avoid lines at the ticket booths.) $33/day for a park hopper? That's a great deal!

The lights dimmed in the room, which was suddenly filled with the sounds of the Baroque Hoedown. One of the spinning turtles from the Electrical Parade came into the room, as did several of the light-costumed lords and ladies from the parade who posed artfully on the steps leading up to the stage. As the lights came up the "lord" on the top step removed his glowing jacket - and it was our next speaker, Denny Newell, Senior Show Director.

Disney's Electrical Parade is being spruced up for the summer, with some new elements added, and some older elements that are returning. The Baroque Hoedown music has been enhanced - it's mixed better with deeper lows and higher highs.

More on the What's New Presentation

A new Tinker Bell float will now lead off the parade - "a fairy's Magic lights the way." The float has state-of-the-art LED lighting, with 160 dimmers on that float alone to provide all kinds of different lighting effects. There are new LED lights on all of the floats, and also on the costumes. This new technology gives them more control over the lighting to better choreograph it to the music.

More on the What's New Presentation

The Cheshire Cat on the Alice in Wonderland float has been redesigned, and now he can really disappear. He's obviously a cat now instead of a "pink...pile".

More on the What's New Presentation

Captain Hook's Pirate Ship is a foot-and-a-half taller, and the skull on the front of the ship glows with internal LED lights.

More on the What's New Presentation

Updated versions of three floats are returning to the parade - Snow White's Diamond Mine and the two Pinocchio Pleasure Island floats. They were part of the parade when it left Disneyland in 1996 but did not return when it came back to Disney's California Adventure in 2001.

Denny Newell also spoke about Pixie Hollow Enchantment.

More on the What's New Presentation

Normally Pixie Hollow closes in the evening, but during the summer it will be open, as the fairies transform the queue area and pond into a Festival of Pixies. The "Light Talent" fairies will light up the trees while the "Animal and Garden Talent" fairies light up the grounds, and the "Water Talent" fairies light up the water with fountains and pop jets lit with fiber optic lights. There will be a 90 second show choreographed to music about every 15 minutes.

More on the What's New Presentation

Next up was a short skit on the two big summer vacation specials - the $99 Park Hopper I mentioned above, and the "Two Nights Free" vacation package. Those who purchase vacation packages including lodging and tickets at the Disneyland Hotels and selected Good Neighbor hotels will get two additional nights and two more days of park hopper tickets for free. This offer is good for stays at the Disneyland Hotels starting immediately, and for stays at the Good Neighbor Hotels starting on May 1. It's valid through 9/26/09, and packages must be booked by 8/11/09. I checked, and these are the "Select" Good Neighbor Hotels:

Anabella
Anaheim Marriott
Best Western Pavilions
Best Western Raffles Inn & Suites
Best Western Stovall's Inn
Carousel Inn & Suites
Clarion Hotel
Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim
Fairfield Inn Anaheim
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites
Hotel Menage
Jolly Roger Hotel
Marriott Suites
Motel 6
Portofino Inn
Red Lion Anaheim Maingate
Residence Inn Anaheim Resort
Staybridge Suites

The agent I spoke to said things are booking quickly, and you'll pay less if you book a Monday-Friday stay and avoid the higher weekend prices.

The lights dimmed again, as the psychedelic glow-in-the-dark monkeys from Fantasmic! made their appearance, ushering in Carla Carlile, Show Director who spoke about the updated Fantasmic! show.

More on the What's New Presentation

All of the animation on the water screens has been converted to high-definition and will be projected with HD digital projectors.

There's a new crocodile that will be swimming along behind the pirate ship - he is more animated and will be able to jump toward and snap at Captain Hook.

More on the What's New Presentation

There are two new Cast Members - during the Ursula portion, Flotsam and Jetsam will make their debut. They will appear to slither on the water. Each has a Honda personal watercraft inside so they are quick-moving and maneuverable. Designed by Michael Curry, they are partly automated, partly manual: their eyes and heads move and their mouths (with all of those pointy eel teeth!) open and close.

More on the What's New Presentation

And there is a new 3-D dragon - a dragon that finally looks like the dragon we've been seeing on the Fantasmic! logo all these years. 40 feet tall and fully automated, it weighs 10,000 pounds. Some of the pieces had to be air-lifted into place with a helicopter.

More on the What's New Presentation

More on the What's New Presentation

She showed stop-animation sequence of the maquette as it flapped its wings, drew up to full height, and then leaned down to breathe fire on the water. I thought it was pretty impressive when the dragon puppet did this before, but this is going to a whole other level. As Carla said: "HD means Huge Dragon!"

More on the What's New Presentation

Our final speaker was Steven Davison, Vice President of Parades and Spectaculars. (And that has got to be one of the coolest job titles ever!) He made his entrance to a burst of fireworks from either side of the stage.

Magical is the name of the new fireworks show. The score is by Greg Smith, who also did the score for Wishes, and features an 80-piece orchestra and a choir. Eden Espinosa, who was a featured performer at Disneyland prior to her appearance as Elphaba on Broadway, is the featured soloist.

More on the What's New Presentation

The show is divided into six different sections. Tinker Bell flies over the castle to lead off the show in the Neverland - The Magic of Childhood opening accompanied to the music of "Second Star to the Right".

More on the What's New Presentation

Gepetto wishes upon a star and Blue Fairy pyrotechnics light up the sky in the Pinocchio - The Magic of a Wish section. Musical selections include "An Actor's Life for Me", "Give a Little Whistle", and "I've Got No Strings". Eden sings the following lyrics at the end:

"Make a wish on a shooting star
Wish for magic and see who you are.
Because if you don't believe
That things that you see are so unbelievably
Magical, wonderful
Wishes make your dreams come true."

More on the What's New Presentation

Mary Poppins and The Magic of Imagination follow, with the music of Chim-chim-chirree, Jolly Holiday, Step in Time, Let's Go Fly a Kite, and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

More on the What's New Presentation

In the following video clip, Steven Davison acts out part of the Mary Poppins segment. When he refers to the "9-line", he's talking about the 9-position launchers behind ToonTown. And "the castle" refers to the launchers there.

Don't you feel like you've seen part of the show now??? Is this a man who loves his job or what?

In Dumbo - The Magic of a Mother's Love, Eden sings "Baby Mine" as Dumbo himself flies slowly over the castle. He is a fully-articulated character created by Michael Curry, and will be highlighted by search lights that have been added to the castle. It sounds like this part of the show will bring tears to most eyes.

More on the What's New Presentation

More on the What's New Presentation

The first finale is called The Magic of a Kiss and features the songs "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes", "So This is Love", "Beauty and the Beast", and "Once Upon a Dream".

More on the What's New Presentation

The real finale features the original song, Magical, sung by Eden and the choir, with Tinker Bell making a final appearance. And for the rest of it, well, I'll let Steven describe it for you:

Whew. He had to be exhausted after that!

In the audience we got a confetti shower, and the presentation ended as our presenters took their bows.

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It was really a great show - I'd have to say it was definitely the highlight of my day. Lots of "WOW" moments!

I know where I'm going to be on June 12!

April 25, 2009

Disneyland Press Event - Celebrate Today

Deb Koma and I attended the Celebrate Today press event at the Disneyland Resort today.

The press event featured the many new and upcoming events at Disneyland this spring and summer. It was a very busy day, so we'll just hit the highlights for now, with more details later.

We started our morning with three video interviews. First up was a segment on Disney's California Food and Wine Festival, which started today. Deb Koma got to stomp grapes in this one - she said they were very cold! (Sorry that there is no video of this one - I was using an unfamiliar camera and somehow put it in a weird format that we haven't figured out.)

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Next up was an interview with Alex Villa plus Jessie and Woody, on the new Celebration Roundup & BBQ. Here's the scoop on that - and when you see the desserts, you'll know that I do mean "scoop!"

(Deb and I want to say a HUGE thank you to my husband Lee, who did all of the video processing on these videos, which took most of his day.)

Last but not least, Deb received a makeover from the Fairy-Godmothers-in-Training at the new Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, which opened last week in Fantasyland.

The style Deb received is called Pop Princess. Doesn't she look great? She received a lot of (positive) comments on it the rest of the day - but once we came back to the room she took it off - we wanted her to wear it to dinner tonight. :-)

Next up were lunch at the aforementioned Celebration BBQ and then we saw the new Celebrate! A Street Party We'll have more on those later.

I must say that the What's Next presentation was the one that I was most looking forward to. This was where they told us about all of the cool things that are coming up this summer in the Summer Nightastic. Everything starts on June 12.

The TLT Dance Stage at the Tomorrowland Terrace will feature DJs Monday-Thursday nights, and live entertainment Friday-Sundays.

Disney's Electrical Parade is returning to Disney's California Adventure with a new Tinker Bell float to lead it off. The Pinocchio and Snow White Diamond Mine floats are returning after an absence of several years. There are new and updated elements on the rest of the floats, also.

Pixie Hollow Enchantment - by day it's the queue for the Pixie Hollow Meet and Greet, but at night it's a pixie festival, where all the pixies have added their own special magic.

Fantasmic! returns with a lot of enhancements, including hi-def digital projections on the water screens. There's a new crocodile who will be following the pirate ship, and their are two new "cast members" - Flotsam and Jetsam, who will be gliding on the surface of the water. Their mouths open and their eyes move, and they are quite manueverable. There is also a new 40' tall dragon who is fully automated.

Magical sounds like an amazing new fireworks show. In addition to Tinker Bell's flight, Dumbo the Elephant will also fly! The show will feature the voice of Eden Espinoza (Elphaba on Broadway). Steven Davison, Vice President of Parades and Spectaculars, actually acted out portions of the show, as you will see in this clip where he acts out the finale.

It was a great day - we'll have more details on some of the upcoming events soon.

January 26, 2008

Disneyland Resort - This and That

Disneyland has renamed "Early Entry" to "Magic Morning", and changed the days - it's now Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. It's still available to DL Resort guests every day it's offered during their stay, otherwise it is offered one day of most 3- 4- or 5-day park hoppers. There's more detailed information on the AllEars.net page HERE.

I was surprised that Disney's Electrical Parade (which will always be the Main Street Electrical Parade to me, even though it's at DCA) is still running - usually it ends after the holidays. But according to the schedule, DEP continues on weekends/holidays through March 9, then nightly through March 31 (and perhaps beyond, but that's as far out as Disneyland's calendar goes at the moment).

The new Pixar Play Parade starts at DCA on March 14.

In honor of the Snow White "Fairest of them All" 70th anniversary exhibit in the Animation Building, Snow White has a meet and greet spot outside, with the Seven Dwarfs' cottage as a backdrop. She seems to be very popular.

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Rancho del Zocalo in Frontierland has some good-looking desserts! They have coconut flan and tres leches cake, and a special chocolate praline "Year of a Million Dreams" cake (all $4.99 each). The tropical fruit plate ($4.59) also looks really good...if it's nice ripe fruit that would be delicious!

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There's a big crane on the south side of the Grand Californian where they are working on the new wing that will be part DVC and part regular hotel rooms.

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September 4, 2007

Is it Possible to See Both the Disneyland Electrical Parade and the Remember Fireworks on the Same Night?

That seems to be a fairly commonly asked question...and the short answer is yes, if you're willing to accept a less-than-optimal fireworks view.

For those of you who aren't as familiar with the Disneyland parks...at Disney's California Adventure (DCA) Disney's Electrical Parade (DEP) begins at 8:45, and the Remember fireworks at Disneyland (DL) start at 9:25. That's a pretty tight time schedule, but since the two parks are right next to each other it's quite easy to go between them, at least under normal circumstances.

On a recent Friday night visit Lee and I decided to try to see both shows. First step was to see the DEP from some place closer to the beginning of the parade (which starts at Paradise Pier) rather than the end - we chose a spot near the Golden Dreams Theater, which is right next to a walkway that goes around Grizzly Peak and past Soarin' and then out to Sunshine Plaza. The last float of the DEP passed us at about 9:10, and we were off and running (well, ok, walking quickly, but many people tell us we might as well be running!). The parade was still going at Sunshine Plaza (it was about halfway through) when we scooted by and out the exit. (As we have Annual Passes we didn't have to worry about handstamps.)

I don't know if we just managed to get out early or if it just wasn't very crowded that night (or maybe a little of both) but we arrived at the entrance to Disneyland and there were only a few people in line at the turnstiles - we walked into the park at 9:21 and found a spot on Main Street near the candy store which had a clear view of the castle. Unfortunately it turned out not to have a good view of the fireworks - they were going off to the left of the castle instead of over it, and our view was blocked by a big tree. :-( Oh well. We had a good view of all of the changing lights on the castle and were far enough back on Main Street to really appreciate the perimeter fireworks that go off from the buildings on Main Street.

So, you CAN see both the Electrical Parade and the Remember fireworks in one evening, but you have to plan it right and get a little bit lucky with the number of people who have the same idea...and you have to realize that you won't get a great spot for the fireworks. As an alternative, we saw a number of people sitting in the Main Entrance Plaza between DCA and DL who were planning to watch the fireworks from there - but of course from there you can't see the castle or hear the music. I've also heard that the Mickey and Friends parking structure has a good view of the fireworks - though it has the same lack-of-castle-and-music issue.

Laura

September 1, 2007

The Main Street Electrical Parade!

Well, ok...make that Disney's Electrical Parade, now that it's at Disney's California Adventure and not Disneyland.

But it's still a "spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination in thousands of sparkling lights and electrosynthomagnetic musical sounds!"

These days it runs at DCA during peak seasons, which generally means the two weeks around Easter, mid-June through Labor Day, and about three weeks during the Christmas holiday season.

We saw it on a recent Friday night visit - there were a fair number of people waiting in the area around Sunshine Plaza, but about 10 minutes before it started we walked up the parade route to a spot near the Golden Dreams Theater and had a front-row seat right on the edge of the parade route. We also saw the parade a lot earlier than all those people who were at Sunshine Plaza, since it starts at Paradise Pier and ends in Sunshine Plaza.

The Main Street Electrical Parade

Soon enough the lights dimmed and we heard the first strains of that very bouncy Baroque Hoedown. Makes me smile just thinking about it. The Electrical Parade is by far my favorite - SO much better than SpectroMagic! (And I know there's at least two people out there who agree with me!) Lee leaned over partway through the parade and asked me what happened to the scary clowns, but nope, there's nothing creepy about the Electrical Parade - it's all whimsical and fun.

The Main Street Electrical Parade

One thing we'd never noticed before is the music coming from the spin-around turtle, bees, and snail. They actually have their own "electrosynthomagnetic musical sounds", sort of a slower, deeper, more plodding-paced one for the snail, and a higher-pitched, faster snippet for the bee. I thought I recognized a bit of the melody for "Golden Afternoon" from Alice in Wonderland in there. For some reason I'd never really noticed the Cheshire Cat on the front of Alice's float - he fades in and out, so maybe he's just usually faded out when I see him!

The Main Street Electrical Parade

When I told someone at work that we'd seen the Electrical Parade he asked me if they'd switched it to using LED lights yet. Gasp! I was horrified! It wouldn't be the Electrical Parade if they didn't use light bulbs, would it???

Laura

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About Disney's Electrical Parade

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in the Disney's Electrical Parade category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Cars Land is the previous category.

Frozen - Live at the Hyperion is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.