WDW Electric Light Parade

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By: David Polinchock

Many years ago, my first job out of college was working on Main Street at Walt Disney World in Orlando. For the first summer, I worked in one of the retail shops on Main Street and learned a whole lot about creating a great guest experience. Later, I became what they called a cross U, meaning that I worked a half-shift in the merchandising group and then I got to head off to the entertainment division and perform for the rest of my shift.

My first show there was with the Tencennial Parade, where I was a part of the Main Street Trolley team and we did a routine to The Trolley Song, from Meet Me in St. Louis. It was a hoot, although wearing a three piece, wool suit in Orlando in August for a 30 minute parade while dancin’ around was kind of a pain in the ass!

My second parade at Disney was the Main Street Electrical Parade, which used a seriously cool song called Baroque Hoedown as its main theme. Interestingly, They Might Be Giants recorded a version of this song too.

I don’t know what made me start down this memory lane, but thanks to youtube, I was able to find video of the parade, although this is the newer version from Disneyland. Since it’s someone’s home video, there’s lots of talking and stuff, but you don’t really have to watch the whole thing. Just listen to the first minute or so. The anticipation as the lights dim. The synthesized-voice introduction. The cheers, the clapping. You can’t imagine the energy that we would feel as performers when that music started and the audience came to life! It was incredibly powerful.

And although it’s been 25 years or so since I did the parade, just hearing that music and the crowd brought all of those feelings back to me again. Sitting on my couch in West Orange, NJ, I felt the energy that I used to feel waiting to go out the gate at step-off. That performers high you get when you know you’re about to bring something special to the audience that’s been lining up for probably an hour just to see you. That my friends, is the hallmark of a great experience.

So, take a look at the experiences you’re delivering right now and ask yourself this. 25 years from now, will one of your employees see something that brings back those memories and feel elated and excited knowing that they were part of it? Or will they be thinking I can’t believe I used to do that. What a waste. We spend so much time trying to figure out how to create great experiences for our guests, but many times we don’t even think about the employees. And if they’re not feeling the elated and excited first, your guests never will!

Original post: http://blog.brandexperiencelab.org/experience_manifesto/2006/11/wdw_electric_li.html