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Do you like watching parades? What about your kids? People seem to either love them or hate them. I, for one, love parades! I especially love the parades at Disney World. My husband, on the other hand, doesn’t care for them. He hates waiting for them to start and believes they are a complete waste of time. The current parade at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is the Festival of Fantasy parade. If you are planning your first trip to Disney World, or you haven’t seen this parade before, you may be asking yourself if the Festival of Fantasy Parade is worth taking time to see. Here is everything you need to know about this parade so you can answer that question for your family.
What is the Festival of Fantasy Parade?
The Festival of Fantasy Parade is the afternoon parade at the Magic Kingdom. It runs daily, weather permitting. The parade kicks off at 3:00 pm each day. It starts in Frontierland near Splash Mountain. The parade then makes its way through Frontierland and into Liberty Square before heading towards Cinderella Castle. It circles around the Tomorrowland side of the Central Hub and then continues down Main Street USA. It ends in Town Square near City Hall and the Fire Station.
The parade features several floats and many classic Disney characters. You will see appearances by Ariel, Goofy, Rapunzel, Belle, Pinocchio, Anna, Elsa, and of course, Mickey and Minnie Mouse. There are also lots of dancers to round out the parade lineup.
What is so special about this parade?
This parade is unlike any other parade I’ve ever seen. It is one huge feast of color and fun. The floats, which were designed specifically for this parade, are large and engaging. They each incorporate movement into their design and are very detailed. For instance, the Peter Pan float is a large rainbow with Skull Rock on one end and a giant sunflower on the other end. Tinkerbell is sitting on the sunflower. On the top of the rainbow is a pirate ship with Peter Pan and Wendy waving from high up. Under the rainbow is a swinging anchor with Captain Hook on it. The float designers redefined what a parade float should look like with these floats.
The dancers and characters that walk along side the floats are all dressed in over-the-top custom costumes as well. The costumes are as dramatic as the floats. It is as if they are an extension of the floats. There is an abundance of color and movement conveyed through the costumes as well. This just adds to the lively feel that this entire parade has.
The most spectacular part of this parade, however, is the steampunk dragon! It is gigantic and breathes real fire! How cool is that?!?! Impressive is the only word that I can use to describe this dragon. It is unbelievable.
Where are good spots to view the parade?
There are numerous places to find a good spot to watch this parade. Most people prefer to find a spot on Main Street USA so they can see the castle in the background as the parade approaches them. Other popular spots are Town Square and the Central Hub. To get a good viewing spot in any of these locations, you will need to grab a seat a good hour in advance of the parade, depending on the crowd level in the park on the day of your visit.
Our favorite place to watch the parade in the Magic Kingdom is actually near the border between Liberty Square and Frontierland. Across from Liberty Tree Tavern and the Diamond Horseshoe, there is a low retaining wall. We love watching it from this wall. It is not as popular, so we can show up 20-30 minutes prior to the start of the parade and still find a wonderful spot.
Is it worth your time?
You have probably figured out by now that my answer to this question is “Absolutely yes!” Even my parade-hating husband enjoyed this parade. He was blown away by the dragon. Who doesn’t love seeing a real fire-breathing dragon? Your kids will love watching this parade. You should definitely take time out during your trip to Disney World to watch this parade at least once. I promise: you won’t be disappointed!
The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is full of wonderful things to do. The Festival of Fantasy Parade, which takes place each afternoon, is one of them. Adults and kids alike will love this upbeat parade full of color, movement, and beloved Disney characters. For more ideas on what to do in the Magic Kingdom, see our Magical Must-Do’s, great spots for photos, and Magical Must-Do’s for kids. To book your Walt Disney World vacation, visit Disney’s website. Have you seen the Festival of Fantasy Parade? What did you think? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts. Happy travels!
P.S. Want more help planning your Disney World trip? Our Travel Resource Library is full of planning tools and fun things for families to do while at Disney World, including a Disney Trip Planning Worksheet. See the form below for details on how to get access.