The Main Street Electrical Parade is a nighttime parade, created by Robert Jani and project director Ron Miziker. It features floats and live performers covered in over 600,000 electronically controlled LED lights and a synchronized soundtrack triggered by radio control along key areas of the parade route.
The predecessor to the 1972 Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade was the Electrical Water Pageant, a show made up of fourteen 25-foot-tall screens with electrical lights placed on them. Not long after the Electrical Water Pageant debuted, Card Walker commissioned the development of what became the Main Street Electrical Parade to provide Disneyland with a similar nighttime visual spectacle. The parade's design used nickel–cadmium batteries, which the Disney movie studio had recently started using, and Italian-made miniature bulbs that Disneyland staff had seen in light displays along Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Disney arranged for the parade's original floats to be constructed by Silvestri, the Chicago-based company responsible for those holiday displays.
Two months to deadline, Disney discovered the float contractor was far behind schedule and decided to finish the floats themselves in a backstage area at Disneyland. Disney brought on welders, electricians and other temporary workers to assemble the floats and hand-tint and install 500,000 bulbs. The engineers who helped create the parade also created the first automated parade show-control program. This allowed the 2,000-foot long parade route to contain multiple radio-activated "trigger zones". Using radio-activated triggers as each float entered a zone, the audience would hear float-specific music through the park's audio system. Each zone was between 70 to 100 feet long, and the zoned system meant that every person watching the parade would experience the same show, no matter where they stood along the parade route.
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".