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INTERCOT > News > 100 Years of Magic > Walt Disney and Parades

Walt Disney and Parades

Walt Disney was infatuated with parades from the time of his youth in Missouri. “When the circus came to [Kansas City],” chronicles author Bob Thomas in Walt Disney: An American Original, “Walt followed the parade from beginning to end, his sister Ruth striving hard to keep up with him. He devised his own circus parade, enlisting Ruth and the neighborhood children to help decorate floats atop play wagons.”

More than 40 years later, Walt’s love of parades had a whole new “stage”: Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland in California.

“On ‘day one,’ Walt read a dedication and then the parade started,” says Disney historian Dave Smith. That was July 17, 1955. The Disney characters -- Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, Snow White and others -- took on a new, three-dimensional life in a procession that marched to the beat of the Disneyland Band. Actors Fess Parker (Davy Crockett) and Buddy Ebsen joined in the fun. The parade featured TV commentary by Ronald Reagan.

On Thanksgiving Day in 1955, Walt introduced a circus parade. The following Easter, there was an antique automobile parade. In December 1957, the "Christmas in Many Lands Parade" premiered. Then came Cavalcade of Bands. And "The Parade of Toys." Then the Christmastime extravaganza "Fantasy on Parade." And "Tencennial Parade" in 1965 to salute Disneyland’s first decade.


 

 

 
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