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


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


Why Watch the Parade at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom?

IMG_51972014 is bringing about lots of changes at Disney World.  One of these changes is to the afternoon parade at the Magic Kingdom – it’s out with the old and in with the new!  I, for one, am totally stoked about this.  I liked the old parade well enough – Celebrate a Dream Come True (final performance was January 4th) – we managed to catch it several times during its almost-5-year run.  Once, in 2012 we were even pixie dusted into VIP seating.  Okay – I probably could have lived without the parade’s theme song which, like the tune in It’s a Small World,  wormed its way into my brain for the rest of the day (or longer), but I love a good parade nonetheless and Magic Kingdom’s has never IMG_5216disappointed.  It’s a great way to see many different characters – some you don’t usually get to meet & greet – at one time.

Now it’s time to make way for the Festival of Fantasy Parade which will debut this spring.  This means, unfortunately, no afternoon parade for guests to enjoy between now and then, but the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! street party will still go on (3 times a day right now) as will the Main Street Electrical Parade in the evenings.  The most exciting part is that the theme of the new parade is so appropriate –  It will incorporate the characters and stories from the new Fantasyland and include completely new floats and costumes.  Rolling to both a new theme song (oh, thank goodness) and well-known songs from our favorite Disney movies, the Festival of Fantasy Parade is sure to be a spectacular addition to the 2014 excitement at Disney World.

IMG_5219TIP:  If you happen to watch the parade in the vicinity of a newly minted little princess who has visited the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  You’ll see the parade characters, princes, and other princesses acknowledge the “royalty” in the audience in many special ways – bowing, winking, waving, blowing kisses – just another way Disney makes memories for guests that last a lifetime.

Magic Kingdom VIP Parade Seating


IMG_5197Magical Memory Monday!  Just last year, we had a fantastic Disney vacation (aren’t they all?) that included an unexpected, wonderful surprise!  VIP seating for the afternoon parade at Magic Kingdom.  Can you believe it?  Pixie Dust at its best and here’s how it happened:

May 2012.  The Fam and I were headed to Disney World and thought it would be great if Megan and Joseph each brought along a friend.  Joseph’s best friend, Jason, had been on many vacations with us before and was the easy choice for Joseph as a travel buddy.  Megan brought her friend Ashley along.  Ashley was in dire need of a vacay having just graduated from nursing school.  The six of us had a perfect set up in a two bedroom suite at Bay Lake Tower, so off we went.

DWR2009 055On our Magic Kingdom day, we arrived for the opening celebration with a carefully constructed morning touring plan and a free afternoon to do as we pleased.  I was trying out a new strategy I had read about online – once into the park, immediately take the train to Frontier Land, beating all the guests on foot and putting yourself at an advantage for getting on those two very best Frontier Land rides: Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Oh, there were doubters among us.  My plan deviated from tradition and, when we reached the steps to the train, they were closed off – I stood firm (this did prove to be an excellent strategy). Shortly we found ourselves on the train platform with very few other riders, waiting to board.

I have this habit of always looking at Cast Members’ name badges.  I find it interesting to note where everyone is from – listed right below their name is their home town.  On this particular day, when I glanced at the name badge on the Cast Member nearest to me on the train platform, I thought it said the name of his hometown was the (small) city where I work.  Surely I was mistaken, certainly my eyes were playing tricks on me and the state was probably IA instead of LA – I waited for him to turn back to me.  YES!  This gentleman was from home!!! 

IMG_5171I was so excited to tell him we were basically from his “neighborhood” and he seemed genuinely happy to meet us and discuss things from home for a minute while we boarded the train.  As we got ready to steam off towards Frontier Land, he asked our names and if we would be in the park all day and when we said YES – he told us the Cast Members at VIP parade seating would be waiting for us so we could enjoy a very special parade viewing experience.

Let me tell you – of all the magical things that have happened to me over the years at Disney World,IMG_5200 this ranks among the very best.  About 30 minutes before the parade was scheduled to begin, we found the VIP seating – in a shady spot on ornate white iron benches along the bridge that passes between the hub at the top of Main Street and Liberty Square.  Before the parade began, we had time to sit and relax…some of us even enjoyed a snack.  The Cast Members making their pre-parade route inspections carried misting fans and smiled as they sprayed us on their way by.  This was an IMG_5203unbelievable, unobstructed parade view – with tons of VIP character interaction.  Because the bridge is closed to everyone not IN the parade, we were front and center to all the action. 

 I’ve always loved the Magic Kingdom parade, but on this day it was especially (indescribably) fun and we did feel like very special VIPs every minute. 


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