The Disneyland Resort has a new catchphrase to describe all the new things going on there this summer: Soundsational. Having recently been there, seen it, and done that, I think Soundsational is a pretty apt description, and nowhere more so than their new summer parade. It's called -- what else -- Mickey's Soundsational Parade.
I happen to think that parades are one of the best things about Disney's parks. They are something you can't get anywhere else, and they are one of the reasons that people are happy to pay the higher cost of admission to a Disney theme park. Their parades are like mini mobile musicals, and you'd have to pay at least $20 to see a show like that at your local concert venue!
I'm actually amazed -- thankful, but amazed -- that Disneyland actually goes through the trouble and expense to put on new parades year after year, because families would probably continue to line the sidewalks of Main Street an hour before parade time even if it was exactly the same parade. Fortunately for the grownups, Disneyland does put on new parades all the time, and I think Mickey's Soundsational Parade is the most interesting and enjoyable of all the parades I've seen since we took the kids to Disneyland for the first time in 2008. Here's why:
1) They start the parade with a syncopated drumline! These guys are amazing. I loved hearing their crisp, catchy, complicated rhythms.
2) In this parade, the music takes center stage, and we get to hear some of Disney's most beloved music instead of parade tune composed especially for the parade that nobody can sing to. Each of the 9 main floats is themed on a movie with a distinct musical style -- Caribbean (Little Mermaid), jazz (The Princess and the Frog), Samba ("Tres Amigos"), African (Lion King), etc... People can actually sing to favorites like "Under the Sea", "Chim-Chimenee", and everyone's favorite "Mickey Mouse Club" (M-I-C-K-E-Y...M-O-U-S-E!).
3) The floats are amazing! They are whimsical and colorful, and best of all, they really reflect the musical theme. A lot of the floats were shaped like drums, or tambourines or cymbals. My hands-down favorite float was Princess Tiana's riverboat. Check out how the smokestack looks like a flute:
I was rather perplexed that they chose to end the parade with Mary Poppins, instead of having a great big finale float with Mickey on it (Mickey was actually the first float of the parade), but Mary Poppins is one of my favorite classic Disney movies -- I still know all the lyrics to the songs -- so I can't complain too much. Besides, the moving merry-go-round horses were the coolest things ever.
The Princess float was beautiful, and I'm sure all the little princesses in the crowd loved it, but I wish it had reflected the parade's musical theme a bit more.
I had the opportunity to speak with John Addis, the parade director and Steve Davison, the creative director, who shared some fun facts about Mickey's Soundsational Parade with me:
* Mickey's Soundsational Parade has 9 themed floats
* There are 11 chimney sweeps in the parade
* There are 97 performers in the parade, but the directors hired 180 in total (since they can't perform 7 days a week!), not to mention the choreographers, drivers, props people, sound people and more.
* In January, over 1000 people auditioned to perform in the parade, and rehearsals started in March.
* Look closely at each of the parade floats; there are lots of hidden paper character sculptures on them! For example, on Tiana's float, there is a character that doesn't really belong because he or she is from another movie. Do you know which character it is?
Mickey's Soundsational Parade will be strutting and stepping its way down Disneyland's Main Street U.S.A. all summer until September 5.
For more photos of the parade and of Disney's Soundsational Summer, check out my photo set on Flickr!
Soundsational Summer at the Disneyland Resort , a set on Flickr.
Disclosure: I received a media invitation to attend the opening of Star Tours and other events. Transportation, lodging and park tickets were provided by Disneyland Resort Public Relations. I was not obligated to blog about my experiences at the event. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.