A Giant Sandwich? The Wacky Way Disney Celebrated America’s Bicentennial in 1976
Disney Parks have long been known for their elaborate parades. And after setting the bar high with the Main Street Electrical Parade, which debuted at Disneyland in 1972, the company knew they would have to create something spectacular for America’s Bicentennial in 1976. They turned to Bob Jani, orchestrator of the Main Street Electrical Parade, to create something that would absolutely delight guests. Here’s what he came up with:
Yep. It’s a giant sandwich. From June 1975 through September 1976, Disney cast members at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom Park in Florida performed Jani's America on Parade, a tribute to America’s history set to a song written by the Sherman Brothers. The parade featured all of the textbook highlights you’d expect: Christopher Columbus on a ship, the first Thanksgiving, Betsy Ross sewing the American flag, and covered wagons heading west, among other things.
But there were also some rather unexpected elements. For starters, as described in the video below, two of the pilgrims were being disciplined for being “mischievous,” with one in the stocks and one being dunked in “chilly” water. The section featuring the “traditional Sunday picnic” included a massive sandwich layered with eggs and celery. A gigantic pot of mustard trailed behind. And the celebration of electricity featured larger-than-life versions of an Edison bulb, an old radio, and an iron.
If you weren’t one of the 25 million people who caught this parade during its brief run in the mid-’70s, or if you did and would simply love to recreate the magic, here’s America on Parade in all of its (abbreviated) glory: