by Daisy Diva
Parades abound at the Disney Parks, and everyone has their favorite. For me and my family, one of the newest parades to burst onto the scene is our favorite–the Festival of Fantasy Parade at the Magic Kingdom. This is an afternoon parade that replaced the Celebrate a Dream Come True parade in March 2014. Disney Festival of Fantasy begins in Frontierland at 3:00 and travels down by Pecos Bill’s, turns in front of the Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square, circles the Hub in front of Cinderella Castle, travels down Main Street, circles the flag pole, and exits near the Main Street Vehicles building. It is bright, colorful, features some of the most popular and classic Disney characters and movies (with some newbies), and has some fun, catchy music that will be stuck in your head all day! Here’s the run down:
The parade begins with a group of dancers proclaiming the arrival of the parade.
The first float in the parade features some of Disney’s most popular princesses and their counterparts: Belle and the Beast, Cinderella, Tiana and Prince Naveen, and the ever popular Elsa and Anna. **Cue the squeals and mad waving from the little girls (and some grown women) in the crowd.**
Next up is the Tangled float complete with Rapunzel herself, Flynn Rider, a ruffian and thug or two, and is preceded by a giant Ulf, the ruffian whose dream is to be a mime.
The next float arrives straight from under the sea and features Ariel, Sebastian, Flounder and several colorful dancers. Ariel is perched atop a clam shell and playfully flips her fins to the music as she rides by and waves to parade watchers.
A crew of dancing Lost Boys separate Ariel and her float from Peter Pan and his crew in their float that includes Wendy and Captain Hook followed by Mr. Smee and the Tick Tock Croc! Tinkerbell sits on the back of the float waving her wand and her hands and just looking downright adorable.
Merida from Brave “can fly and soar” atop a giant bagpipe as she rides behind her crew of kilt-wearing dancers.
A trio of fairies make way for the menacing Maleficent Dragon from Sleeping Beauty who is being fearlessly fought by Prince Phillip himself as he is surrounded by thorny stilt performers and dancing ravens. The dragon actually breaths fire which is crazy impressive, but my camera flaked out on me every time so I didn’t get a picture with fire.
This is also these only frightening part of the parade, which is why my daughter chose to hide behind the stroller until Maleficent was gone!
Snow White and all seven of her dwarfs along with Jiminy Cricket, Alice, White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter walk behind the dragon and lead the way for the grand finale of classic Disney characters: a float featuring Pinocchio riding on top of Monstro the whale’s head while Dumbo sits on his tail.
Donald, Daisy, and Pluto wave to their adoring fans as they glide down the street on a Fantasia-inspired float.
Goofy, Chip and Dale dance along the street flanked by costumed dancers and make way for the final float featuring none other than Mickey and Minnie themselves!
The costumes on the dancers are really what throws this parade over the top! They are bright, elaborate and completely overboard, and I love them!
Everybody has their preferred way of doing Disney parades, but I will give you Daisy Diva’s parade tips for the Festival of Fantasy parade.
- I like to watch this parade right outside of the Hall of Presidents. (That’s where all of these pictures were taken.) The curve in the parade path makes the view a bit awkward, but you still get up close and personal with the characters, dancers, and floats, and it is not nearly as crowded at Main Street which can have crowds several rows of people thick by parade time.
- Grab a snack at Sleepy Hollow (read my review of this fabulous snack shop here), stake your claim on your prime piece of side walk real estate around 2:30, and hunker down until the parade starts at 3:00. If you are at the Hall of Presidents, it will only take a few minutes for the parade to get down Frontierland and right in front of you.
- Watching the parade from the Hall of Presidents means that you can head to Fantasyland behind you or Frontierland in front of you and enjoy a ride while the crowds are sitting on Main Street waiting for the parade to get to them.
- FastPass+ is available for Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade. The FastPass+ parade viewing area runs along a section of the central hub stretching from Liberty Square to Tomorrowland facing Cinderella Castle. I have never viewed the parade from this area, so I can’t speak as to whether it is a better experience or not, but I can say that it is much less crowded than Main Street. Parade and Fireworks FastPasses are extremely limited in number since they cannot be used all day but just for the specific show time and tend to disappear very, very quickly. (If you are off-property, you can try but it will probably be a lost cause having to wait until 30 days out to obstain FP+.) Personally, I would rather use my FastPasses for rides like 7 Dwarfs Mine Train or Splash Mountain. But avid parade and fireworks fans would disagree with me, I’m sure.
- In case of substantial rainfall, the Festival of Fantasy parade will be replaced with the Rainy Day Parade. Keep this in mind to avoid too much disappointment. The day these pictures were taken, it started to sprinkle right before the parade was set to start, and I was little nervous on whether or not they would run it. But I think a few sprinkles won’t keep the FoF parade away.
- From start to finish, the parade itself is only about 15 minutes long. But depending on where you are along the parade route, it may be 4:00 before the last float comes by.
So next time you are at the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon, be sure to catch this parade. It is super fun and a great way to grab a snack and rest your feet for half an hour or so before taking on the rest of your day in the park.
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