Nuggets of Wisdom

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Throwback Thursday: SpectroMagic

With this Disney-themed month coming to a close, what would be a more apropos way to end this series of Disney-themed Throwback Thursdays that with a nostalgic throwback to a parade that helped end the day at the Magic Kingdom park?

Nighttime entertainment at the Disney Parks seems to serve as a congratulatory prize to guests for having spent many long grueling hours walking around in the blazing heat while standing hours in line for their attractions without going straight home at the end of the day. Whether they be the fireworks or nighttime parades, they’re the best way possible to end an otherwise great day at the parks.

Now when most people think of night parades, they often think of the Main Street Electrical Parade, and while I do like the parade (despite never having seen it in person), my all-time favorite parade would have to be the now long-gone SpectroMagic.

SpectroMagic first premiered in 1991 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort. The parade replaced the Electrical Parade (which was then imported to Disneyland Paris), and would run in the park for 19 years, with a small break between 1998 and 2001 to allow the Electrical Parade to run again.

Speaking of which, it would be quite easy to claim that this parade is simply another version of the Electrical Parade, but SpectroMagic is a much more unique experience, and, in my honest opinion, was the superior of the two parades.

For one, while the Electrical Parade’s music was written as a march (as is typical for many parades), giving it a jovial and upbeat tune, SpectroMagic was written as a waltz, which was unique, if not unusual, for a parade, making its music all the more majestic and eloquent. The parade almost feels like an orchestral symphony come to life with its score when combined with its lights.

Speaking of which, while both parades utilize electrical lights, SpectroMagic went above and beyond in its presentation by utilizing the then new technology of fiber optics, allowing it to pull of better special effects than its predecessor. The most memorable part of the parade is by far the finale, when the parade units shift from blank white light to color in sync with the music.

Sadly, the parade offered its final performance in the summer of 2010—and in what seems to be an effort to dash any hopes of the parade ever making a comeback, the parade units were destroyed nearly one week later.

I was fortunate enough to watch the parade twice during its run, with the first time being my very first time at the park in 1994. So hearing of the parade’s closing and inevitable destruction was heartbreaking to say the least. Yes, I can still watch the parade through video footage on YouTube, but if anything, that only makes it departure all the more bittersweet, knowing that this is the only way to watch it anymore.

Either way, the parade served as the cherry on top of the sundae which was the visit to the Magic Kingdom parks, and reminiscing about it seems to be the most appropriate way to help bring this Disney-themed month to a close.