High-voltage 'Hercules' parade set for Fifth Ave.

NEW YORK — The neon lights of Broadway will pale in comparison to the high-voltage illumination produced on Fifth Avenue Saturday night by a parade celebrating the world premiere of Walt Disney’s “Hercules.”

Disneyland’s famed Main Street electrical parade has been transported to Gotham for its first performance outside the amusement park. It was recently replaced by the Light Magic procession after a 25-year run at Disneyland, where it was seen by 75 million people.

“What better place for an encore performance than the streets of New York?” asked Bob Gault, director of Disney entertainment special projects. “We have a great relationship with the city.”

Lights on, lights out

In addition to such classic units as Peter Pan, Cinderella, Dumbo and Pleasure Island, the electrical parade will include a new Hercules unit made up of 66,000 white, blue, turquoise and purple bulbs.

The “Hercules” electrical parade will begin at 9:15 p.m. in front of Disney’s newly refurbished New Amsterdam Theatre on 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue, where the preem runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. As the procession moves east on 42nd Street to Fifth Avenue and then north to 66th Street and Central Park, lights in businesses and homes will be extinguished to set off the dazzling display.

As the floats pass, more than a million paradegoers will hear music, which is being broadcast by 68 speaker towers that have been installed along the 1.8 mile route.

The megawatt march will culminate Disney’s Herculean effort to promote its latest animated feature, which opens nationally June 27 after a two-week run at the New Amsterdam.

Mini-amusement park

The Mouse House has installed a mini-amusement park at Chelsea Piers, which will host a “Forum of Fun” that begins todayand ends Sunday. More than 50,000 people are expected to visit such exhibits as “Baby Pegasus Playland,” “Titan’s Tattoo Parlor” and “Hercules’ Arcade” featuring a sneak preview of a 32-bit videogame to accompany its heroic cartoon.

The last time the Disney marketing machine descended on New York was in 1995, when the Mouse House held an al fresco screening of “Pocahontas” in Central Park. New Orleans was the backdrop for the launch of last summer’s animated feature, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

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