Friday, May 11, 2018

The Mulan Parade at Disneyland - 1998

The Mulan Parade debuted at Disneyland in the summer of 1998 and was the last of the park's "movie tie-in" parades. It ran only at night during those summer months and was basically a replacement for "Light Magic." Light Magic had been Disney's highly touted replacement for the classic Main Street Electrical Parade. It debuted in May of 1997, but it was an immediate failure and ran for less than four months. At the end of summer, park officials insisted that Light Magic would be making a return the following year, but fortunately that did not happen. Instead, we got The Mulan Parade!

The Mulan Parade ran for one full year, and even received it's own Disneyland postcard!

Parade times were 8:50 (followed by the fireworks) and 10:15. Note below, that the Hercules Victory Parade was still running during the daytime.

I took the following pictures of the parade during the summer of 1998....20 years ago!

And speaking of the Electrical Parade, I was told at the time, that the framework for this "Matchmaker" float was the same one that had been used for the Electrical Parade's Blue Fairy float. I'm not sure if that is true or not. After all, Disneyland's Electrical Parade went to Times Square in New York for the premiere of "Hercules" in 1997 and I believe it then went on to Walt Disney World after that. If anyone knows for sure, please chime in!

Mulan and her father, Fa Zhou:

Mushu was chauffeured around in his own rickshaw:

The Fa Family Ancestors:

Mulan's fellow soldiers, Yao, Ling and Chien-Po, disguised as concubines:

Evil Hun leader, Shan Yu:

The Great Wall of China represented by a giant dragon:

Chinese yo-yo performers:

Pot balancers:

Plate Spinners:

Stilt Walkers:

Mulan, her father Fa Zhou, and Chinese army commander Li Shang, rode on a float pulled by a team of horses:

The float was followed by a clean-up crew for the horses:

The parade's finale, The Chinese Emperor:

I also shot video of the parade and I'm including it below, in case anyone is interested.

Mulan had just been released that year, as Disney's 36th animated feature film. Scenes from the movie had also been recreated in miniature, and displayed in the windows of the Main Street Emporium.

I do like the various movie scenes that are currently in the Emporium windows (when they work properly), but I miss the days when the latest Disney films would be represented in multiple window displays.

In 2005, some of the scenes from past window displays made a return for Disneyland's 50th anniversary. This window contained scenes from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pocahontas, Mulan, and Tarzan (partially obscured).

Here is a close-up of the Mulan scene that was brought back that year.

And because I did the same thing with my Hunchback of Notre Dame post, I'm ending this post with a photo of a Tokyo Disneyland guest, dressed up as Mulan for that park's Halloween festivities!


K. Martinez said...

I totally missed this parade. Don't know why. I really like the Great Wall of China/Giant Dragon unit. Very cool! I think it's great that you photographed this rare parade. It's a sort of documentation of an era that isn't much covered. I don't think I've ever seen this many photos of the Mulan Parade before. Thanks for sharing these.

P.S. Not to put down Mulan, but friends up here used to refer to the animated feature "Mulan" as "Moo-Yawn". ;-)

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, poor Mulan! She doesn't get much love. I did enjoy the movie. And the parade was VERY nice....a thousand times better than Light Magic! Considering how big of a hit Frozen was, I'm surprised that they didn't try to do an entire parade themed to that film. I guess the days of devoting an entire parade to just one film are over, just as the days of devoting multiple windows in the Emporium to just one film are long gone too.

K. Martinez said...

I enjoyed "Mulan" too. I just thought the name "Moo-Yawn" was funny. There's a nickname for the animated feature "Pocahontas" too, but I won't repeat it here.

Yes, I remember those days of an entire parade being devoted to a single film and single character too. Remember the Totally Minnie Parade and The World According to Goofy Parade? Then there was numerous parades for Mickey's birthday milestones and even a parade devoted to Donald Duck's 50th birthday.

I was wondering the same thing too about how they used to devote multiple Emporium windows to a single film (usually in current release). It looks like the newer "Enchanted Windows" are a permanent installation which is too bad. I prefer the old-fashioned charm of the earlier window displays and the fact that they were updated regularly.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, the special windows for the 50th anniversary were nice, but they were there for more than 10 years. I'm guessing that the new ones will be there at least that long if not longer. I miss the days when they were swapped out more frequently.

And I forgot about the parades dedicated to just one single character! As for the parades themed to entire movies, there was "The Lion King Parade," the "Hercules Victory Parade," "Aladdin's Royal Caravan," and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame Cavalcade." Also, the Christmas parade used to receive entire units for a new or re-released movie, rather than just one single float like it did for "Frozen." My Christmas Parade post from November 2017 shows how when Cinderella was re-released in theaters back in 1981, they added knights on horseback, musicians, dancers, a castle float and Cinderella's pumpkin coach, which were all part of an entire "Cinderella unit." Sadly, those days are long gone too.

Now, the Pixar Play Parade has already been around for more than 10 years. Maybe Mickey will get an entire parade later this year for his 100th birthday? Or maybe they will only do it, if they can figure out how to charge an additional fee for every single guest that wants to view the parade.

Connie Moreno said...

Wow, wow, wow, thanks for posting this! This one of those rare years when I didn't have a pass so I missed this parade. So interestingt!!

TokyoMagic! said...

Connie, I'm glad you enjoyed this post. For me, that was the last year of having a pass...until 2005, when I decided to get one again during the park's 50th anniversary year in 2005. I was just so fed up with them after they had botched the '98 Tomorrowland redo, closed the Submarine Voyage that same year, gotten rid of the Main St. Electrical Parade in '96, and removed the Skyway in '94. And, there was already talk about Country Bear Jamboree being removed. I was just done with them. Sort of the same way that I feel now about them, but now it's even worse. After having a pass every year from 2005-2016, I just don't feel like I need to go anymore. I hate feeling that way, but I can't help it. They have just destroyed too much of the park now. ANYWAY, I'm glad that I was able to fill in the gap on a year and a parade that you missed! :-)

Major Pepperidge said...

I liked “Mulan”. More than “Pocahontas”, for sure. I know I’ve seen photos of this parade before (mostly the Shan Yu float), but like Ken Martinez, I never saw it personally. All those floats look expensive, and they had just spent a fortune on “Light Magic”. Your personal favorite, ha ha.

I agree, it was more fun when they changed out the parades more frequently - although there was a lot of outcry when they announced that the “Soundsational” parade was going to be pulled after only two years (I think). It’s funny how much I used to like Pixar, and now that it has been taking over more and more of the park, I like it a lot less!

I have perhaps 3 photos (courtesy of Irene and Bruce) of the Hercules parade, and a few other random parade photos, coming up.

Thanks for the post!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I agree with you about this parade looking expensive. Many of the floats were "substantial" looking. I used to like Pixar too, but it seems like it is taking over both parks now. I still don't understand why Paradise Pier at DCA is getting a Pixar overlay. They just spent big bucks to give it the vintage "Mickey & Friends" overlay not that long ago. It's like they can't make up there minds. And sending DCA's Pixar parade to DL and sending DL's Paint the Night parade to DCA doesn't make any sense to me. I wonder if they even know what they are doing anymore?

I'm looking forward to seeing your/Irene's/Bruce's Hercules parade photos! I also documented that parade in it's entirety (with photos and video), so I will do a Hercules Victory Parade post, eventually.