When did WDW's MK begin having their nightime parade start from Town Square? in the 1988 and subsequently '89 ('88 4th of July Spectacular footage cheatingly re-used) the Electrical Parade is seen heading towards Town Square.
I am not absolutely sure about this and I'm sure
someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe
the early evening parade starts at Town Square
and goes over to Frontierland and the second
parade does just the oposite. I believe they also
do that at Disneyland except at Disneyland the
parade goes to some where in Fantasyland(?)
I know I've parades going in both directions.-Mitch
As it stands now, the "Share a Dream Come True" parade goes from Splash Mountain to Liberty Square, then the Castle, then to Town Square. The "Spectro Magic" parade always goes in the opposite direction, starting in Town Square and ending at Splash Mountain.
Since my first visit to WDW in 1991 the MSEP and later Spectro always started at Town Square and exited in Frontierland near Splash Mountain--this for both performances. It's possible, however, that on special media occasions it ran in the opposite direction, probably so that Cinderella Castle could provide a backdrop for the parade to be taped or filmed as it proceeded along Main Street.
At Disneyland the parade's first performance generally proceeded from It's a Small World to Town Square, then reversed direction for the second performance, this due to the fact that the parade could not easily circle around backstage to it's starting point, as it could at MK.
I can also vouch for the fact that since my first visit to WDW in 1989 every perfomance I have witnessed of both the MSEP and SpectroMagic always started at Town Square for either the early or late performance. I have also seen many promo photos where the floats were heading in the opposite direction towards Town Square. Not to mention the "A Day at the Magic Kingdom" videos from the early 90's where they shot footage of both parades during special after hours showings that proceeded from the Castle down south on Main Street.
I've also seen the WDW MK night time parades start from town square, and never the opposite way. This is the most practical direction for crowd control, since many guests leave the park right after the parade goes by to rush to the Bus/Boat/Monorail. If the parade headed toward town square, the exiting crowds would run into the guests still waiting for the parade, or like the mess at the AK parade, a very large crowd of people would wind up following the tail of the parade.
Funny you should mention this since that's exactly what Disneyland had always done w/ their earlier more popular showing of the MSEP. While the later less crowded showing of the parade "will begin at Town Square and proceed up Main Street to It's a Small World", as the late Jack Wagner's announcement used to read; the first performance headed in the opposite direction. As a result, everyone from all along the parade route wanting to leave the park would follow the last float all the way to Town Square. Then about 1:30 after the floats disappeared backstage Fantasy in the Sky would begin and Main Street would be a big old mess.
As you pointed out, since that is not good crowd control procedure, I think Disney did it in part to clog up Main St. hoping people would hang around and buy food and/or merchandise in the shops, which they did. And of course the situation just magnified after Fantasmic's debut.