The Magic Kingdom is known for its afternoon parades and its latest is The Festival of Fantasy Parade. Many first time Disney-goers don't understand all the hype about the parades. After all, the majority of the characters in the parade you can meet one-on-one elsewhere in the park... but after watching it, they're completely enamored by the magical spectacle of it all.
The Festival of Fantasy Parade starts every afternoon at 2:00 between Adventureland and Frontierland and winds its way around the hub of the park and down Main Street USA. You can find the full route on your park map shown as a dotted red line.
It can be truly magical to watch the parade right in front of the castle, but be warned-everyone wants those spots too. If you don't like crowds, I recommend sitting in Adventureland near the Country Bear Jamboree. Plus, then when it ends, you can jump right on splash mountain, since the lines tend to go down during the parades!
For this post, I've broken up the parade by sections and outlined specifically what you'll see for each one. Which characters will be there, what the floats look like, you name it! Plus, I've included little things to spot on each float that you might miss if you're not looking hard enough.
About five minutes before the start of the parade, you'll see the Main Street Philharmonic march by, playing classics like the "Mickey Mouse Club March" and "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah". So be sure to get to your viewing spot early!
To start off the parade, we have the princess float. Preceding the actual float, there are some lords and ladies who are beautifully dressed in gold. They dance along as the "Festival of Fantasy Theme" plays. Then, Belle and the Beast stand at the front of the float.
The center section of the float rotates, almost like a lazy Susan. On one side, we see Cinderella and Prince Charming, and on the other, some of her mice friends sewing her pink dress. And on the tail end of the float, there's another spinning platform, with Anna and Elsa on one side and Tiana and Naveen on the other. I think that the spinning platforms are a really ingenious way to fit a ton of characters onto one float!
Don't miss: The bluebirds holding up the ribbons above Cinderella's portion of the float, and Ray the lightning bug stuck in among the roses behind Tiana and Naveen.
Next up we see the Tangled float! Running ahead of the float is a giant inflatable Ulf, the miming thug. He is accompanied by four brightly costumed bar maids, presumably from the Snuggly Duckling. The float itself is incredible! Honestly, it's probably my favorite out of all the ones in this parade. It takes the form of a giant boat with Rapunzel at its helm. She, of course, has her frying pan at the ready, and she sings along to "I've Got a Dream" as she goes by. If you look closely, you'll notice that her braided hair twists through the entire float!
The main potion of the float is comprised of three giant pendulums that are fashioned to look like giant hammers and axes. Swinging on these, you'll find Flynn Rider and Maximus, plus two other ruffians. All in all, it's a fantastically dynamic float that beautifully captures the joy of Tangled.
Don't miss: The small thug on the top of the float leaping off of the moon.
The Little Mermaid float is one of the smallest in the parade, but it's still just as magical as the rest! The float is surround by dancers dressed as fish and shells whose costumes seem to sway back and forth like they're actually underwater! Ariel sits in a giant shell at the top of the float, which is pulled by Sebastian and his goldfish.
Don't miss: Flounder swimming around the top of the float!
Next up is the Peter Pan float. But before that, we see the lost boys. I honestly don't know how these guys can make it through the whole parade because they don't just walk ahead of the float, they dance and tumble and literally jump through hoops! The float itself consists of a Skull Rock, the Jolly Roger flying over a rainbow, and Pixie Hollow. As far as characters go, they've got pretty much all of them! Peter Pan and Wendy steer the Jolly Roger, Captain Hook swings on an anchor below the rainbow, Tinker Bell sits on a giant flower in her hollow, and Mr. Smee and the crocodile follow behind.
Don't miss: The smoke firing out of the Jolly Roger's canons
The Brave float was another one of my favorites. I thought it was a bit odd that they gave such a huge float to just Merida, but it was such a cool float, I didn't mind! The float looks like a giant set of bagpipes! It's covered in plaid, celtic knots, and bows and arrows, of course. Leading this section are eight dancers in Scottish dresses and kilts. Their river dancing skills were very impressive and so fun to watch!
Don't miss: Merida's brothers as bears popping out of the top of the giant bagpipes.
This is the most technically impressive float in the parade. It oozed steampunk vibes with its exposed metal skeleton, bolted up horns and legs the moved with the wheels of the float. Plus, it actually breathes fire! The float is accompanied by Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. Plus, Prince Philip, who tries to fight off giant dancers on stilts dressed in really creepy, thorny raven costumes. I was somewhat surprised, though, that Sleeping Beauty doesn't actually make an appearance.
Don't miss: See if you can spot the driver of the float sitting in the belly of the dragon.
I loved this next section of the parade because it pays homage to the movies that Walt, himself, made. Plus, it includes a ton of characters! Running ahead of the float we have Snow White and all seven dwarfs, Alice, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, and Jiminy Cricket. Pinocchio sits at the front of the float, which is shaped like a giant purple whale. Sitting on the whale's tale is an adorable, little Dumbo.
Don't miss: Cleo, Geppetto's goldfish in a bowl behind Pinocchio, and Figaro, his cat, on top of the spinning portion of the float.
The parade ends with the classic Mickey gang. All your favorites are there- Goofy, Chip and Dale, Donald and Daisy, Pluto, and to wrap up the parade, mickey and Minnie in a giant hot air balloon float. The perfect ending to a perfect parade!
Don't miss: All the Fantasia references! I loved that they included the dancing ostriches and hippos and the baby pegasuses! If you've read my post about underrated Disney movies, you know how much I love Fantasia!
So how much do you love this parade? Just writing this post made me wish I was back in the Magic Kingdom watching it while eating a Mickey shaped ice cream sandwich! Feel free to leave a comment below if you have anything else to add!
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