We are excited to bring to you this stunning example of "Backyard Imagineering". Alex George, a reader of our blog, engineered a way to bring these miniature Main Street Electrical Parade floats to life. He also takes us on a behind-the-scenes look at his innovative two-year process.
It was the fall of 2009 when I decided to mechanize a miniature Main Street Electrical Parade. I was collecting the Olszewski Main Street miniatures, including the Electrical Parade floats, when I thought how neat it would be to see the floats traveling down Main Street. I soon realized though, that simply moving the floats wouldn't be enough. There should be a sense of “show”, and so the parade would need to enter and exit Main Street to its musical score, then remain queued off stage until the next performance.
Thus began a two-year trek of attraction design and construction of miniature proportion. I'm an artist, not an engineer – so there was a lot of research needed to design the mechanics. I considered a number of ways to transport the floats using preexisting toy tracks and even motorized curtain rails, but ultimately I settled on a chain and sprocket system of my own design. Adding to the complexity was an electrical contact system to light the floats, and new computer-controlled LEDs that make the floats twinkle and cycle through designated colors.
The completed production resides in a low-sitting table which hides the mechanics as well as the parade when it's between shows. It's a lot of fun putting on the parade for guests, and even those who aren't dedicated Disneyland fans seem genuinely charmed by the show. In my own small way, I think I might know the pleasure felt by the creators of the actual parade when they saw their work enjoyed by audiences at Disneyland.
So take a glimpse at the Main Street Electrical Parade in Miniature, and check out the making-of short for highlights of how it came together.
The chain system
Adding building supports
Several mock ups of the road, made from painstaking measurements, ensured that the slot defining the parade path would be perfectly aligned with the chain below.
After months of testing, the wiring that powers the floats began to break from flexing. The chain has been pulled here, and completely refitted with a far more flexible wire specifically designed for robotics and animatronics. There are four wires: two for power and two for network communication to the LEDs.
A backstage view as the floats make their way up to Main Street.
More on the artist at: By George, I Think You've Got It.
A huge thanks to Alex George for contacting us with his spectacular achievement. This is the kind of thing that excites us to no end. Tell your friends!
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