I like a good parade. Shoot, nearly every parade I see is good to me. Mardi Gras parades? Love ’em! “Throw me somethin’, Mister!” Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? It’s a classic – what’s not to love about those giant bobbing floats? The added drama of the whole potential wind-disaster factor makes it even more exciting! Neighborhood kids’ parades? Got a soft spot for those, too – the decorated wagons and adorable little costumes get me every time. Don’t even get me started on how great pet parades are!
So, all that now fully disclosed, you can probably guess how I felt seeing the new Festival of Fantasy Parade in Magic Kingdom for the first time! So much awesomeness! In one parade!!! Hel-lo! The wizards of Disney parade assembly are pure genius. From the theme, to the music, to the floats, to the costumes. Pictures and videos (yes, I watched it streaming live from the comfort of my own living room on the day the parade debuted) do not do it justice. It must be experienced in person for the full effect.
Annnnd Cue the Flashback Sequence:
I don’t think there’s a bad place to watch the 3 o’clock parade in Magic Kingdom. If you’re on the parade route, you’ll see everything. I know people have their favorite parade-viewing spots and opinions vary, but I think if you can get a “front row” spot anywhere along the route, you’ll be happy. We were squeezing parade viewing in between fastpasses and needed to be in Fantasyland for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train as soon as the parade ended. We found seats on the curb along the circle of the hub in front of Cinderella Castle – on the Tomorrowland side. We were out in the blazing sun, conveniently situated beside a trashcan, and the concrete of the curb was hot enough to fry an egg on! Luckily, for posterior protection, I opened my handy-dandy, multi-pocketed backpack and retrieved our rain ponchos for us to use as seat cushions. Worked out perfectly for our sitting comfort. Nothing we could do about the sun. It was strong and hot and felt incredibly close – we were wearing plenty of sunscreen, but, let’s not sugar coat it, we were sweating something fierce!
Raymond and I were alone at first (Megan and Joseph were planning to catch up with us before show time). As usual (Raymond is completely used to this by now), I was making friends with the people around me; In this case, the young ladies sitting next to us. They were an adorable group from all over the U.S. – a couple of girls were Disney College Program participants, the rest were friends. They were so excited (like me!) to be seeing the Parade and we just chatted up a storm.
Now, speaking of storm, that’s when the most amazing thing happened – as if preparing for an afternoon shower, clouds moved in and a soft breeze came up – but no rain fell. As the parade was about to start, we got relief from the oppressive heat! Megan and Joseph found us just in time and took their places as we heard the first sounds of the parade coming in the distance, softly at first and then louder as the tops of the first floats came into view above the crowds across the plaza.
We’d chosen our viewing spot based on convenience, but it was beautiful to see the brightly colored floats and our favorite Disney characters pass by us with the castle in the background. I was so amazed by the movement – the floats had many moving parts- and the clever and unique costumed walking characters, I didn’t really notice the music. I think it was because, unlike the previous “Celebrate a Dream Come True” parade which had a repetitive Small-World-esque theme song (that stuck with you for a while), the music for Festival of Fantasy changes for each float. That’s pretty cool, if you ask me!
As one would expect with anything produced by Disney, the magic of the Festival of Fantasy Parade is in the details – the clever, fun, and funny touches that Disney adds to surprise and delight us. This new parade has no shortage of those things. And if there’s a steam punk, fire-breathing Maleficent Dragon for the grand finale? Well, that’s just as perfect a way to wrap up a spectacularly entertaining show as I could imagine.
If you have a trip to Walt Disney World in your future, put Festival of Fantasy Parade-watching on your touring plans. Your family will love it!
Talk to me: If you’ve seen Festival of Fantasy, what did you think?