Electrical Water Pageant Celebrates 40 Years at Walt Disney World Resort

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“Water will also serve as a ‘stage’ in Walt Disney World. Lakeside and on the lagoon, fireworks shows and water spectacles will be presented – even including special ‘parades.’”

These words printed in the 1970 “Walt Disney World Preview” book certainly ring true when you think of the Electrical Water Pageant, which launched in 1971 and marks 40 years of shows today, Oct. 26.

Electrical Water Pageant at Walt Disney World Resort

When Walt Disney World Resort opened in 1971, a series of grand-opening ceremonies took place: One for Magic Kingdom Park, one for each resort (then the Contemporary Resort Hotel and Polynesian Village) and one for the Polynesian Luau show. The Electrical Water Pageant, originally called “Electrical Pageant,” debuted as a part of these various grand opening celebrations.

Much like today, the first pageant consisted of 14 barges that pull 25-foot-tall floats across Seven Seas Lagoon. Each float features illuminated characters, such as a whale, turtle, sea horse and a multi-float sea serpent. During the second half of the show, these floats switch to display illuminated American flags and stars.

Electrical Water Pageant at Walt Disney World Resort

Not only did the pageant wow guests, making it a regular sight on Seven Seas Lagoon, but it also paved the way for another innovative guest draw – the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland in 1972, which was inspired by the success of The Electrical Water Pageant. The pageant also was first to feature the track “Baroque Hoedown,” which later became the famous soundtrack of the Main Street Electrical Parade. (After “Baroque Hoedown” moved to the parade, “Water Music” – a compilation of music by Georg Freidrich Handel, and several other tracks, took its place in the pageant).

Today the show can be seen by guests (weather permitting) at resorts along the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake: Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

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