One of my oldest memories of Walt Disney World was being traumatized and terrified at age five by giant critters in the Main Street Electrical Parade. We were up close and they were coming right at me. I am certain my family barely escaped with our lives. While my five-year-old self might throw a hissy fit at the idea of having an up-close view of the Main Street Electrical Parade, my adult self loves the idea of getting up close for interaction with the parade and being engulfed in the magic of its lights and sounds.
And because the name is the MAIN STREET Electrical Parade, the assumption by many people is that the only or best place to watch the parade is on Main Street, or possibly at the Hub. For years, however, I’ve told anyone who would listen about the secret to watching the Main Street Electrical Parade—get off Main Street.
Unlike Celebrate the Magic, which you can only see from Main Street or the Hub area, or Wishes, which is designed with some effects being best visible from Main Street or the Hub, the Main Street Electrical Parade is the same parade on Main Street as it is in Frontierland. The same, but with a major exception—fewer people blocking your view.
Here are my main reasons (pun intended) for viewing the Main Street Electrical Parade from Frontierland.
Snagging Good Last-Minute Seats
Last Saturday night, my family did a last-minute trip to the Magic Kingdom, and on a whim, decided to catch the Main Street Electrical Parade. We left It’s a Small World at 9:01 PM (around the time the parade was starting on Main Street) and were able to have prime viewing in Frontierland, including a place for the three of us to sit, with plenty of time to spare. Not having to camp out for two hours ahead of time is an absolute must with a five-year-old child who lives by the phrase “How much longer?”
I’m incredibly short—on a good day, I can say that I’m five feet tall. Basically that means that unless a toddler is in front of me, odds are good that anyone in front of me will block my view if they opt to stand up. There are many sections in Frontierland on the left side (if you are facing up towards Liberty Square and Fantasyland) where the parade viewing area is so tight that only a single row of people can fit in. This means no one behind you—or in front of you.
Lots of Seats
I don’t mind sitting on the sidewalk to watch a parade, but benches, walls, and seats are certainly preferable. Frontierland has a lot of options for seats other than a patch of sidewalk. From raised platforms that can hold an entire family to short walls to seats at Pecos Bill’s and even rocking chairs (although you will likely have people in front of you if you sit in the rocking chairs), there are plenty of places to find a decent seat, even a few minutes before the parade arrives.
Access to Foods
There’s a lot of snack options in Frontierland to help with the pre-parade munchies. Not only will you be able to find turkey legs, popcorn, and churro carts, but there’s roasted corn and baked potatoes near Liberty Square, or an easy cut-through takes you to the new location of Aloha Isle for a Dole Whip. Let’s face it, nothing is more Disney to me than a Dole Whip and the Main Street Electrical Parade!
As a bonus, you can also see Wishes from Frontierland, again with smaller crowds.
In general, crowd levels are always lower for the second showing of the parade, so if you can wait around for that one, you’ll have a better view no matter where you decide to watch. One place to avoid, regardless of the land you watch in, is any place where there will be a crosswalk. If you are in a designated crosswalk, you will be asked to move before the parade starts. If you are next to a crosswalk, you’ll have large numbers of people crowding around you, waiting for an opening when they can cross.
So are you a Main Street purist or do you brave the Frontier(land) for your Main Street Electrical Parade viewing, and what is your number one must-have for the ideal parade viewing location?