America on Parade at Disneyland

America on Parade Opens at Disneyland

America’s bicentennial kicked off a year early, when America on Parade skyrocketed onto the streets of Walt Disney World, and a week later, on this day in 1975, at Disneyland. The gala salute to the nation’s history, creations, contributions, and achievements was several years in the planning and included many innovative live production techniques. Most noticeable is the fact that the entire pageant was presented in larger-than-life proportions. The 50 parade units averaged more than 20 feet in height and some reached 30 feet in length. An entirely new family of Disney characters had been developed to accompany these scenes. The “People of America” included more than 150 doll-like performers, which stood nearly eight feet tall to scale proportionally with various parade units. Represented alongside the new super-sized pioneers, pilgrims and athletes were new representations of famous American figures, including Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross, Christopher Columbus, and Tom Sawyer. Just as important as the visual aspect of the parade was the unique pre-recorded soundtrack performed by the “Sadie Mae,” a completely restored 1890 automatic band organ. And what better way to get a crowd of thousands in the spirit of a patriotic parade than a tune by the Disney Legends team of the Sherman Brothers? Their tune, composed specifically for America on Parade, would boom out over the sound system before the parade, and was appropriately and patriotically entitled “The Glorious Fourth.”