Magic Kingdom – Festival Of Fantasy Parade’s New Time?

What time is the 3 o’clock parade?  The answer might surprise you on and after August 20, 2017.Festival of Fantasy Parade's New Time

Magic Kingdom – Festival Of Fantasy Parade’s New Time?

I love Disney rumors and gossip – it’s fun to speculate and discuss among my fellow Disney geeks.  When I came across this brief article from WDW News Today, I had to visit Disney’s official website and check out the times info for myself.  Sure enough, the “3 o’clock parade” is moving to 2:00 pm.  Annnnnd I think that’s okay.  Pretty good, in fact.  Here’s why…Festival of Fantasy Parade's New Time

If you’ve never seen Festival of Fantasy, it’s a must-do at least once.  I’ve caught the entire 12 minute spectacle a few times because it’s nothing short of incredible.  Seriously, the floats, costumes, and music are wonderful and as good as Disney gets.  I was not a huge fan of the prior parade (Celebrate a Dream Come True) for a variety of reasons and only watched it in its entirety once because we had VIP seating.  Festival of Fantasy is everything I wanted the previous parade to be and oh, so much more.  3 o’clock can be a tough time of the day to fit in a parade…no matter how fantastic.

Mid-afternoon is the classic post-lunch naptime for legions of littles.  It’s hot, humid, sometimes riddled with pop-up thunderstorms and for lots of families their resort pool is calling.  Sometimes people want to spend a couple of hours before dinner cleaning up and enjoying happy hour (me!).  Sometimes people want to park-hop after knocking off their favorite Magic Kingdom attractions (also me!).  Moving the parade up an hour could really be a huge help for lots of folks.  The Festival of Fantasy Dining Package will also work out better for people who eat at the earliest times available – closing the gap a bit between meal and parade time.Festival Of Fantasy Parade's New Time

I think, if this time change is permanent, The Fam and I will get to enjoy Festival of Fantasy more frequently than we do now.  Our favorite viewing spots are on the Tomorrowland side of the hub and also at the end of Main Street USA across from the flagpole – easy to exit the park from there after Mickey and Minnie go by.Minne Mouse in the Festival of Fantasy Parade

Are you a Festival of Fantasy Fan?  How do you feel about the parade’s new time?Festival Of Fantasy Parade's New Time

 

Making the Most of One More Disney Day

 

RM-Magic-Kingdom-SelfieWhen we think back about the happiest days of our lives, we surely remember wedding days, holidays, graduation days, days when we welcomed children or grandchildren into the world.  These happy, joy-filled days usually have something in common – we know they’re coming!  We plan, we work, we save money, we cook special meals – we prepare for these momentous occasions and then hold them, near and dear to our hearts, for the rest of our lives. Once in a while, though, life hands us a day unexpectedly.  A day so special for the simple, happy hours afforded by the hands of fate, that we recognize it as the gift that it is and squeeze every moment of joy we can from one, unplanned, but nonetheless perfect day.  This is the story of one such day.

It did NOT start like any other day.  It was going to be kind of a sad day.  The alarm was set to go off at 7:00 am, we were going to pack our bags, board the Magical Express, and say goodbye to a fabulous, but tiring, long (Princess Half Marathon) weekend at Disney World.  But that’s not what happened.  The phone rang at 5:00 am.  Words cannot really describe how confused and disoriented we were when the call came in that our flight home had be cancelled due to winter weather.  We’d woken up the past four mornings between 3:00 and 4:00 am and we were uncommonly worn out – it took quite a few minutes to process the news and what we might need to do about it.  What I’m trying to say is, we had no idea in the early hours of Monday, February 20th, 2015 that we were about to have one of the happiest, most fun days of our lives.RM-BLT-Dawn-on-Bay-Lake

First things first – We had to call the airline and see what could be arranged to get us home.  In fairly short order and a couple of phone calls later, we were set for a do-over the next day.  Then we realized we’d need a place to stay for the night and a re-scheduled ride to the airport.  We decided our best option was to visit one of Bay Lake Tower’s lobby counters to accomplish these tasks.  We showered, dressed, re-donned our Magic Bands and hit the elevators.  20 minutes later, Nick at the DVC counter had us set for the day and night!  We would, miraculously, be able to keep our same room – we used our DVC points to pay for another night.  We asked and Nick found us a dinner reservation at Raglan Road in Downtown Disney.  We were set!  Being annual passholders, we then bid Nick goodbye and headed out the door for the half-mile walk to the Magic Kingdom – it was 9:30 am.RM-Nick-BLT-DVC

As we were walking, I used the My Disney Experience app on my phone to check for available FastPasses and was pleasantly surprised that I could get Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, and Space Mountain fairly close together.  That’s when it hit me.  We had not a care in the world and the unexpected gift of one more Disney day before us.  It was early, the weather was perfect, and I was with my most favorite person in the world.  I suddenly realized – this was going to be amazing! With a spring in our steps and a song in our hearts, we stepped through those archways and onto Main Street U.S.A.

It’s hard to put into words exactly what emotions we experienced over the next 12 hours.  We were lighthearted, footloose and fancy free!  We did so many things yet felt as though we were taking our time and appreciating every moment.  The World was our oyster and around every corner, we discovered a pearl!

We took our time strolling up Main Street.RM-Main-Street-Horse-and-Castle

And joined the 999 ghosts in Haunted Mansion.RM-Haunted-Mansion-Shrinking-Room-PortraitThen dropped in at Grizzly Hall for a show.RM-Country-Bear-Stage2Met a sweet girl when we stopped for lunch in Columbia Harbor House.RM-Columbia-Harbor-House-CMThen we cruised waterways around the world on the Jungle Cruise with one of the best Skippers EVER!RM-Jungle-Cruise-SkipperSafely back on land we took our time enjoying the sights and sounds of Adventureland.RM-Adventureland-ShieldThe new sunglass store was doing a brisk business on such a sunny day!RM-Adventureland-Sunglass-StoreThen we got an early peek at the hub refurbishments…RM-Magic-Kingdom-New-Hub-FeaturesBefore perusing the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street shops.RM-Main-Street-ShoppingBack outside, we were treated to a song by the extraordinarily talented Dapper Dans!RM-Dapper-DansWe stopped to enjoy the beautiful warm sunny day.RM-BalloonsMoving on to Tomorrowland, we made a new friend.RM-Stitch-Meet-and-GreetAnd decided we needed a little early afternoon rest and relaxation on the PeopleMover.RM-PeopleMover-CruisingNext we opted for a little Classic Disney…RM-Carousel-of-Progress-SelfieAnd sang along with every verse…”And it’s a great big beautiful tomorrow…..”RM-Carousel-of-Progress-DadOur FastPass for Space Mountain was ready and we took a quick tour around the galaxy.  RM-Space-Mountain-Sign

Re-energized, we decided to see who could score the highest in Buzz Lightyear’s epic battle. (It was not me!)RM-Buzz-Lightyear-Space-Ranger-Spin-InteriorBefore making friends with some Main Street Cast Members…RM-Main-Street-CMsWho were kind enough to recommend an excellent spot for parade viewing!RM-Festival-of-Fantasy-Maleficent-2015Then it was off to Downtown Disney for our dinner at Raglan Road…RM-Raglan-Road-BeerWhere we, in keeping with the day, had the best seats EVER!RM-Raglan-Road-DancersAnd we enjoyed the amazingly talented performers while we ate…RM-Raglan-Road-RibsFive delicious courses!  Bread and dipping sauce, appetizer (ribs), salad, entree, and dessert (oh, that bread pudding!).  Full to the brim (haha!) we decided to check out Downtown Disney’s new hat store, Chapel Hats!RM-Hat-Shopping-Downtown-Disney RM-Chapel-Hats RM-Chapel-Black-HatDozens of hats later, final selections wrapped and ready to go, we hopped the bus back to Magic Kingdom and located the perfect spot to sit curbside on Main Street and catch Wishes.RM-Wishes-2015AND the Main Street Electrical Parade!RM-Main-Street-Electrical-Parade-Dragon

Elated but exhausted, we slowly made our way back to Bay Lake Tower.  What a day we’d had!  We could go home the next morning with the very special memories to cherish of an incredible day full of our most favorite attractions, foods, and magical Disney touches!

Little did we know that the very next day we would, once again, get one MORE Disney day which we decided to spend in a different, but no less memorable way.  I’ll save that story for another post.

Have you ever had an unexpected extra Disney day?  What did YOU do with it?

Disney’s Festival of Fantasy – One Terrific Parade

Festival of Fantasy Parade DaleI 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 Festival of Fantasy Parade Birdfirst 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 Festival of Fantasy Parade Belle and Beaston 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-Festival of Fantasy Parade Friendspocketed 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 Festival of Fantasy Parade Frozencouple 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 Festival of Fantasy Parade Pinocchioplaza.

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 Festival of Fantasy Parade Dragonme!

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?

Festival of Fantasy Parade Ostrich Festival of Fantasy Parade Costumes