Parades and Disney go together like Chip and Dale or Ariel and Eric.
Disney Parks are renowned for their magical entertainment offerings, with popular shows Fantasmic!, Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, the beloved Happily Ever After fireworks, and more all bringing smiles to Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks.
Walt Disney World Guests are entertained daily with Disney’s parades at Magic Kingdom, with Disney’s beloved Festival of Fantasy Parade returning to Main Street, U.S.A. after a long pandemic pause back on March 9, 2022.
It can be difficult finding the best place to watch a famous Walt Disney World parade without the worry of crowds, so here’s our top tip on where to stand to catch that magical glimpse of Mickey Mouse.
The Festival of Fantasy Parade celebrates Disney’s classic stories in a series of beautiful floats and amazing costumes. Disney Guests can wave to their favorite characters including Disney princesses Cinderella, Tiana, and Belle; Anna and Else from Frozen (2013); Flynn Rider and Rapunzel; Ariel from The Little Mermaid (1989); Peter Pan, Wendy, and Tinker Bell; Merida from Pixar’s Brave (2012), and characters from the classic 1959 movie Sleeping Beauty.
This Sleeping Beauty float is one of the most iconic floats in the Disney Park parade, with Prince Phillip battling a fiery dragon version of Maleficent. This float stretches 53 feet in length and 26 feet tall.
The parade happens at 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. daily and has proven to attract big crowds, but there is a special spot in the Park that you should head to for the best parade viewing.
Most Walt Disney World visitors head directly to Main Street for the parade to get shots of the floats with Cinderella Castle. This area, particularly around the hub, gets very busy and many Guests save their spot for nearly an hour before the parade begins.
The parade, however, starts on the other side of the Park by Pecos Bill’s restaurant and Splash Mountain. This means that by the time the parade gets to Main Street, U.S.A., it’s well past the stated start time.
If you head to Frontierland to watch the parade – especially close to Splash Mountain – it is quieter. Plus, the parade will finish sooner on your side so you can try to ride something while the Main Street spectators are still waiting for it to start.
It’s much less crowded in Frontierland, so you’re more likely to get a front-row spot without having to wait for an hour and miss out on prime attraction riding time.
We showed up outside Peco Bill’s at 11:45 a.m. and got great front-row viewing of the Festival of Fantasy parade. The Disney characters were highly interactive too. As the performers are at the beginning of the parade route, they’re fresher, less tired, and less affected by the extreme Florida heat.
Once the parade ends, you can quickly head to a Disney ride close by like Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad before the crowds disperse from Main Street, U.S.A.
It’s certainly a wonderful little spot to watch the parade and a tip that we’re sure you’ll want to follow the next time you take a Disney vacation to the Magic Kingdom theme park!
Experiences that created crowds, like parades and fireworks, were stopped in the Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, Disneyland Paris, Shanghai Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Tokyo Disneyland when each theme park Resort reopened during the pandemic.
When Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary began, Guests were treated to Disney Enchantment fireworks at Magic Kingdom and Harmonious at EPCOT, but Disney Guests were still missing the magic of seeing floats go down Main Street, U.S.A.
Back in March last year when the Magic Kingdom parade returned, the floats and characters (including Mickey, Minnie, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Belle) were met with big crowds, big cheers, and even some tears.
Over in Disneyland Park in California, the beloved Magic Happens parade featuring music and choreography from Todrick Hall returned on February 24, 2023, as part of the 100 Years of Wonder celebration. Disneyland Guests can watch Moana ride a wave in her voyager canoe, followed by Coco’s guitar-strumming Miguel and the enchanted forest from Frozen 2 as Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven pass by.