Disney Enhances Festival of Fantasy Parade, But Some Performers Are Still Missing

Disney's Festival of Fantasy Parade dragon
Credit: Brittany DiCologero

Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade is a must-do for many Guests visiting the Magic Kingdom, but things have not quite been the same since the Park reopened during the pandemic. As the Park continues to return to normal, we have the latest update on the iconic parade.

Like nearly all areas of operations at Walt Disney World (and most businesses and industries) many of the missing pieces of the Disney experience since the pandemic have come down to staffing challenges. In terms of the Festival of Fantasy Parade, this has largely impacted the units in the parade that have been missing altogether.

Disney's Festival of Fantasy Parade

Credit: Brittany DiCologero / Disney Tips

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Earlier this year, we reported that the missing elements in the parade included:

  • Swan Court dancers that have traditionally opened the parade
  • Bubble dancers from The Little Mermaid sequence
  • Circus dancers
  • Most floral maiden dancers alongside the Tangled float (there were two last time we saw them)
  • Brave unit, which featured Merida and the Highland Dancers
  • Additional thorns near the Maleficent float
  • Monstro/Pinocchio float

In addition, the first float of the parade typically features Belle and the Beast; however, the Beast seems to still only be appearing in the parade on occasion as of this writing.

festival of fantasy parade

Credit: Disney

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Along with these changes, Disney modified the Festival of Fantasy parade to remove the fire effects from the event’s steampunk-style Maleficent dragon following the recent incident with a similar dragon Animatronic that caught fire during Fantasmic! at Disneyland Park.

Changes to Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade

This week, fire-breathing effects returned to the Maleficent dragon in the Festival of Fantasy parade, but no other changes in the way of bringing back missing dancers and characters have been made so far.

While the Maleficent dragon effects are back in the parade at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Park has not yet announced a return date for Fantasmic! Currently, the official Disneyland website notes:

Performances of Fantasmic! are currently paused. We know our Guests love and miss Fantasmic!, and Disneyland Resort teams are working hard to assess when we can bring back an adjusted show as quickly and safely as possible.


Credit: Disney

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Along with the return of the dragon feature, Disney Tips has been informed by Guests in the Park this week that the Cast Members who carry the banners ahead of the Grand Marshal car (which runs a few minutes prior to the start of the parade) have also returned. Grand Marshals have been back in the Park for some time now, but the Cast Members walking with the banner ahead of the car are a new addition.

We hope to see the full version of Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade return soon, but especially while several elements are still missing, we recommend seeing both the parade and the Disney Adventure Friends Character Cavalcade as the two together provide a solid alternative to the original parade alone.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."