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Paint the Night — New Disneyland parade features more than 1.5 million sources of light

by Roy Choi | May 22, 2015May 22, 2015 12:20 pm PDT

We had a chance to check out Paint the Night an all-new electrical parade that users more than 1.5 million sources of lights, 500 strobes across parade floats, performers. All together Paint the Night uses more than 200 “universes of control” a rather fancy name for a complex web of programming that gets all these lights to work in sync to the parade. As the floats glow and pulsate down Main Street U. S. A it does as its name suggests, it paints the buildings and faces of spectators with the glow of the bright floats.

Paint the Night includes your favorite Disney and Pixar characters:

  • Tinker Bell
  • Monster’s, Inc.
  • Cars
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Your favorite Disney princesses
  • Toy Story
  • Frozen
  • Mickey Mouse and all his palls including Goofy, Donald, Minnie.

The parade starts off with a 40 foot long Tinker Bell float that plays tribute to the original Main Street Electrical Parade, in fact Tinker Bell’s handmade wand also includes an original rosette from the original 1972 parade. In fact the soundtrack has little nods to the original classic which can’t help but make the nostalgic emotions emerge. Which is exactly what the brilliant minds behind the parade had hoped for. Randy Wojcik, creative director for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts says, “while we raised the bar in a whole new way for a nighttime parade, we tried to find ways to make the subtle nods to the classic Main Street Electrical Parade.” You’ll notice it from the music, to the firework burst effects in Mack Truck and the orbs which resemble the snails and other figures from the original Electrical Parade.

From Tinker Bell you jump into the world of Monsters, Inc. where you get a glimpse of traveling through dimension altering doors.

There are so many lights! All flashing and shimmering with the syncopation of the soundtrack, make it hard not to be drawn into every bit of the parade. All the floats are great, though I seem to be oddly most drawn to Mack from Cars. Photos do not tell the story of this three-dimensional grid of lights. They seemingly undulate and alternate in such an intriguing manner that you can’t help but get lost in its beauty. This must be what flying bugs feel like before they fly into a bug zapper. I get it. I’m drawn.

I can’t stop staring #disneyland60 @Disneyland

A video posted by Roy Choi (@roymchoi) on

The Little Mermaid float presents a lush environment of sea creatures of sea plants which are of course pulsing with thousands of lights. If you are a fan of princesses — let’s face it who isn’t? — you won’t be disappointed by the Disney Princesses float, with the focus on Belle from Beauty and the Beast. The Toy Story float features Slinky Dog and some wild spinning lights that travel at 120 RPMs which is slower than it sounds, but anything that large spinning that quickly is pretty wild.

If you love Frozen and want to belt out “Let it Go” at the top of your lungs, have at it. The Frozen float features 72 LED “ice shards”, giant snowflakes and dazzling crystals everywhere. Of course Mickey and friends join in at the end to wrap up the parade, like any proper Disney parade.

I’ll be honest, I’m not all that into theme park parades, but there are the occasional ones that stick out as being particularly exceptional and I even got a little excited by all the bright lights and sparkling effects. I told ya, I get the flying bugs, I’m drawn in.

Paint the Night debuts Friday, May 22 at Disneyland during its Diamond Celebration 24-hour party.

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Roy Choi

Roy Choi is a Southern California native. He has been infatuated with technology reviews ever since he bought his first crummy laptop in the summer...