Book Jeff

The Lame Street Electrical Parade

Last weekend, the Main Street Electrical Parade returned home to Disneyland.


Unlike the electricity that powers this parade, the return shouldn’t shock anyone. This parade has been unplugged, and plugged back in, more times than your Wi-Fi router. The Main Street Electrical Parade always comes back.

I know. I know. Everyone loves the Main Street Electrical Parade. Well, almost everyone. I can’t stand it. I didn’t grow up in Southern California. I don’t have the fond memories and emotional connection that fuel the high voltage responses. And that’s okay. You can still love the Main Street Electrical Parade even if I do not.

Whatever floats your float, right?

What I really don’t understand is how fans keep falling for the hype that the parade is leaving “for forever” only to get equally excited when it inevitably returns a few years later. I have friends who purchased the limited-edition VHS version of the parade “glowing” away in the 1990s.

More than two decades have since passed. Granted, the 90s might feel like forever ago but we all still remember the Clintons, Brett Favre, and Cher. I might not be the brightest bulb in the parade, but you only get so many comebacks. Unless, of course, it is 2019 and you are the Main Street Electrical Parade.

While I’ve never been a big fan of parades, I loathe this one. My disdain starts with the baroque/techno/hoedown music and ends with the #FakeNews that it is going away, again, forever. In between, I have to pretend to be impressed by floats that are more than four decades old, a dragon from a movie that, for Pete’s sake, nearly no one today has seen, and a Bicentennial memory from a 4th of July that America celebrated when I was in middle school, circa 1976.

I do, however, love the story behind the parade. The Main Street Electrical Parade premiered in 1972 as Disneyland’s response to its younger sibling, Walt Disney World. Florida’s Magic Kingdom was the new kid and was naturally getting all of the attention. Dedication Day, October 25, 1971, ended with the Electrical Water Pageant out on the Seven Seas Lagoon. This nighttime spectacular, which still takes place every evening, was the inspirational spark for Disneyland’s own Main Street Electrical Parade. Cast members left behind in California wanted to see if they could compete with their upstarts in Florida.

Launching the parade on land, with more than 600,000 specially constructed light bulbs, took a lot of trial and error. First rehearsals included many of the lights not illuminating, costumes sparking, and a float crashing into a shop on Main Street. Nonetheless, the parade made its scheduled premiere on June 17, 1972. It has been “premiering” at Disneyland, again and again, ever since.

Perhaps the real reason why I keep raining on the Main Street Electrical Parade’s return is because the parade makes promises that we all know it is never going to keep—a painstaking reminder of what I hate about my own existence. Every time I think my bad habits have gone away, forever, the old me inevitably returns.

This is the inevitable cycle of life. I wish it weren’t true but it is. Just when we think we have ourselves figured out, suddenly we don’t. This doesn’t mean that I am broken. It means that I am human.

So are you.

Writing this blog is a great example. Despite my promise of new content every two weeks, this is my first post in Seventy Days. I could give you 600,000 lame excuses why it has taken me more than two months to write anything new, but you’ve heard them all before. Maybe not from me, but from someone. Perhaps even yourself.

Honestly, I thought I was past this. Working on The Wisdom of Walt has allowed me to overcome, finally, the obstacles that always held me back in the past; fear, frustration, procrastination, self-doubt, distractions, lack of time, etc.

Sound familiar?

I now know that success and the Main Street Electrical Parade share something in common. Both are only temporary. But if the Main Street Electrical Parade can keep plugging back in again, so can you. Even if you haven’t kept your promises, keep premiering. Keep parading.

Yesterday, I started back by simply committing to ten minutes of writing. What can you do for ten minutes today that will get you back on track? What can you do for ten minutes tomorrow that will get you off Lame Street and back on Main Street?

Today I am happy to announce that The Wisdom of Walt blog is back. Again. This time for forever.

At least for now….

“The difference between winning and losing is most often not quitting.”
Walt Disney


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