Ever since the Disney Parks released their newest spot celebrating the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade, fans of the happiest place on earth have been trying to figure out exactly what they are seeing. The spot, set in a magical warehouse filled with artifacts of Disneyland’s storied past, was originally leaked in a low-resolution copy. Now that the official version is out, it is possible to take a closer look.
This article is my attempt to point out the many, many Easter Eggs scattered throughout this delightfully conceived and executed spot. Along the way, I will offer a few side notes, as well as admit where even my powers of observation fail.
Note: The first image in each pair is a direct screen grab. The second image is the same shot, but highlighted to show the Easter eggs.
Let’s take a look.
The first thing we see is an unidentified cast member, opening a warehouse door with a complicated lock and a five digit identifying number. (These are highlighted in the second image.) The five digit number, 64658, is the zip code for Marceline, Missouri, the small town where the Disney family moved when Walt was five years old, and where he later claimed to have spent the happiest years of his life. In the complicated lock to the right of the door can be seen a hidden Mickey made up of gears.
Within two seconds, the doors have opened, offering a glimpse of the wonders inside. To the left can be seen the lighted windows of the Monsanto House of the Future, and to the right is Skull Rock, once a major feature in Fantasyland. Below, flanking the red-carpeted walkway are a pair of costumed figures, possible from Pirates of the Caribbean. Skyway buckets slowly pass overhead.
Almost immediately after this we are treated to a high and wide view of the warehouse, and an almost overwhelming collection of riches. Dominating the room is the complete Rocket Jets attraction from the 1967 Tomorrowland (in the upper left of the screen), and the original Disneyland sign from Harbor Boulevard (in the upper right). To the left of the Rocket Jets is a large, unidentified circular object. Below the Rocket Jets can be seen a row of colonial soldier heads from America on Parade (on top of the shelf), as well as lighted letters and street lamps, likely from Main Street USA. In the lower left corner one can barely see a pair of princess gowns (more on those later).
The most easily identified object below the Harbor Boulevard sign is the cross-eyed sea serpent that used to dwell in the submarine lagoon. To the right of that a large, green teapot sits on a shelf. Behind the shelves can be seen the Mighty Microscope from Adventure Thru inner Space. Ranged in front of the shelves is a popcorn wagon from Main Street, a toy soldier, a pair of seahorse statues, and a small maquette. Halfway up the shelves is a birthday cake complete with candles, and on top of the shelves is a topiary tree from Tomorrowland and a Dumbo ride vehicle. This appears to be one of the gold vehicles that were seen during Disneyland’s 50th birthday.
Just after four seconds the point of view shifts to the floor level. As the cast member strides down the carpet, we see a pair of doors or panels to her left (more on those below), and on the far right of the screen an old-fashioned coin-operated binocular.
As she turns the corner, the cast member salutes Rex, the genial (and hapless) captain of the original Start Tours attraction. As Rex returns the courtesy, the distinctive Star Tours chime is heard.
Finishing the turn, the cast member passes by a shiny red Autopia car. The body style is the Mark VII from 1967.
As the cast member continues into the warehouse, she momentarily is blocked from view by a large ship’s wheel in the foreground. The mossy appearance suggests that this is from the lower depths of the Pirates of the Caribbean. And over to the right of the screen one can catch a closer glimpse of the doors or screens seen in the wide shot. The style of these suggests something from Main Street, Frontierland, or New Orleans Square.
At just seven seconds into the spot the cast member emerges in front of the lighted letters previously seen in the wide shot. In front of her can be seen a Mickey Mouse wall clock, a brand for the Big Thunder Ranch, and a bust of Sam, the host of America Sings.
As she pulls on a glove, the cast member pays no mind to the draped People Mover (number 36), or the Tea Cup above.
At eight seconds, the cast member again passes behind an artifact. This is a large lighted lantern, which passes by very closely and rather quickly.
The cast member raises her hand in a two-finger salute to one of the more colorful residents of this magical place. Harold, the Matterhorn’s original Yeti amiably roars in return. To the right is a snow covered pine tree (or icy rock).
Just before taking another turn, an old-fashioned film camera can be briefly seen. This is similar to the kind that Walt posed with in any number of publicity shots during his film career.
At just after ten seconds in to this thirty-second spot, the cast member takes a slightly baffling turn. As she pulls on her other glove she passes next to the princess gowns seen earlier (in the wide shot of the warehouse). The Rocket Jets should be in the background. Instead, there is now a large wall covered with vintage attraction posters.
On the left of the screen can be seen Snow White’s gown, Cinderella’s gown, and a pair of her glass slippers. On the right are gowns for Belle and Sleeping Beauty (the pink one!). Also visible is a large candelabra (either from the loading area of the Haunted Mansion, or the ballroom sequence in the Christmas Fantasy Parade), a heavily framed magic mirror, and a properly British telephone booth. The Disneyland Hotel once featured a red booth for pay phones, and one also was “stored” in the Hollywood Picture Backlot in Disney California Adventure.
On the shelves to the left there is a smaller ship’s wheel (possibly from the Swiss Family Tree House) and what appears to be an armchair. The shelves to the right may hold tikis. There is another People Mover visible in the lower left corner.
At just about eleven seconds a Flying Saucer glides across the foreground. This is one of the saucers that once carried guests in Tomorrowland from 1962-67.
A close-up of our smiling cast member follows. This also allows a closer look at some of the attraction posters. From left to right they are: Tom Sawyer Island (Frontierland), the Mickey Mouse Club Theater (Fantasyland), the Submarine Voyage (Tomorrowland), and Fantasyland area attractions. The Mickey Mouse Club Theater poster advertises the Mouseketeers in their custom made 3-D Jamboree film, a Disneyland exclusive.
Just under halfway through the spot, the cast member arrives at her destination. A she glances down, a large and rare artifact can be seen behind her. This is the model Nautilus, once displayed as part of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea exhibit in Tomorrowland.
As a colleague looks on, the cast member pulls up a lighted bulb. This bulb is exactly like the type that were harvested from the Electrical Parade in 1996 and sold to the public as a charity fundraiser.
After placing the bulb in one of the floats, it springs to life and is revealed as Elliott, the green dragon who accompanies Pete down Main Street USA.
The spot ends with the Electrical Parade floats making their way out of the warehouse and into a perfect California dusk.
There has been much speculation over whether a warehouse like this actually exists. Of course, there cannot be one exactly like this, as much as we would like it to be. Some of the objects seen in this spot have disappeared forever. Skull Rock vanished with New Fantasyland in 1983. Others are still in the park in altered form. The Rocket Jets, for example, were not completely dismantled. Part of it is still up above Tomorrowland, forming the base of the Observatron. Some of the cars were converted into display shelves for the Store Command shop.
Disney does maintain a number of warehouses, including one in the San Fernando Valley where the Archives keeps many of their theme park artifacts. Understandably, they keep the exact location under wraps. It is, perhaps, not as magical as this one suggests.
You will be happy to know that there is an actual warehouse that served as a model (and possibly a location) for this spot. It (and its twin!) is a few miles south of Disneyland in Tustin. The former Marine Corps Air Station there features two immense aircraft hangars, built entirely of wood in 1942 as part of California’s coastal defenses. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States believed that they needed to patrol the west coast with lighter-than-air craft. These hangars were built to house some of them.
Although the Tustin Marine Corps Air Station is now closed, the two hangars are still in place. One is currently slated for demolition. In the meanwhile, they are frequently used by the film industry for movies, television shows, and commercials. A portion of one may have been used in this spot, it may have served as the inspiration for a computer-generated version, or (most likely) it is a combination of both. One big clue that portions were shot elsewhere is the sudden appearance of that big wall of attraction posters, and the fact that the horizontal windows have vanished from the doors in the final shot. Finally, there is the matter of the message on the Harbor Boulevard sign. In the wide shot the reader board says, “Open Every Day/Today 9-12/1000 Hotel Guest Rooms.” In the next shot, as the cast member is walking toward the camera, it reads, “Open Wed…/Visit…/1000 Hotel…”
Regardless of the reality of this magical warehouse, one thing is true. The Main Street Electrical Parade is returning to Disneyland. I hope to see you there on Friday, January 20.