There’s one thing at Disney parks that I just can never get enough of —- PARADES!!!
The level of detail in the parades is just on another level. The floats themselves are actual works of art, the costumes are beautiful, and the music is always perfect. It’s perfect to the point that no matter how many times I’ve seen some of the parades (I’m looking at you Festival of Fantasy) I still get emotional and may or may not still cry when the Festival of Fantasy music starts.
There’s nothing like a Disney parade. Whether it’s the day time 3 o’clock parade or one of the electrical parades…you should always make parade viewing a priority on any Disney park trip.
If you’re wanting to be up close and personal for the parade you definitely need to arrive early. Depending on the time of year, I’d say arrive anywhere from 30 minutes – 1 1/2 hours to get a perfect spot! Obviously if you’re there on holidays and during the peak seasons there’s going to be more people watching the parade so you’ll need to get your spot early. I recommend bringing a blanket or towel and getting some snacks/drinks if you’re planning on waiting for the parade. There’s a few ledges you can sit on, but there aren’t many.
The floats are all very tall so you can see them from pretty much anywhere, but tons of characters are walking along the parade route engaging with guests so if you’re wanting character interaction — try to get as close to the front as you can! Especially if you have little ones with you!
You may also get to see school marching bands or dance groups prior to the parade stepping off. The Grand Marshall car steps off a little before the parade departs so I recommend arriving early to see that. It’s very magical!
There are tons of viewing spots for the parades but I’m listing a few of my favorites below, specifically for Festival of Fantasy viewing in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
— FRONTIERLAND —
Most of the parades at Walt Disney World step off from Frontierland. This is a great location for parade viewing if you want to watch the parade and then head to your next destination (unless you’re like me and watch the parade from Frontierland and then run to the front of the park to watch it from Town Square for a second time). For this location, the parade will actually start a 3 o’clock. There’s some great shaded spots in front of the Frontierland Trading Post & Country Bear Jamboree, but get there early! You can also usually come in and grab a spot close to the front just before step off from Frontierland. Most guests will watch the parade from the Castle hub, Main Street, or Town Square.
— CASTLE HUB —
This is the location right in front of the castle. If you’re wanting to watch the parade and get those majestic castle views, this is the location for you! There’s no better backdrop for the Disney princess or Mickey & Minnie floats than Cinderella’s castle in the background. There’s tons of spots around the hub, and in the hub grass, where you can sit and watch the parade. This is one of the first locations to fill up with guests because it leads to every other area of the park. Personally, if I’m watching the parade from this area, I like to be facing the castle where I can see the parade crossing over from Liberty Square to the Castle Hub.
— MAIN STREET U.S.A & TOWN SQUARE —
I’m looping these two locations together because they’re just my favorites. I love watching the parade in front of the castle, but for me…there’s such an incredible feeling watching the parade from Main Street and Town Square. It’s the first piece of Magic Kingdom you see when you enter the park and it just sets the tone for a magical day.
Depending on where the sun is shining during the day, you may be able to get a shaded spot on Main Street. I love watching the parade on the side of Main Street with Uptown Jewelers and the Confectionery.
Any of the locations around Town Square are incredible. If you’re able to get in, I highly recommend watching from the train station.
My FAVORITE spot out of the whole parade route is in front of the Emporium and the barber shop. This is the last spot of the parade before the parade finishes and ends backstage. I love getting that final interaction with the characters before they go back to their adventures.
If you haven’t seen one of the Disney parades, get to the parks and watch one! They’re all on another level and just keep getting better! If you’re in Disneyland — the Pixar Play Parade and Paint the Night are incredible! You can never go wrong with a Disney parade!
**I would like to point out that the Maleficent dragon float is not in the parade at the moment due to an incident a couple weeks ago. She has been (hopefully temporarily) replaced by the gazebo float with Aurora and Prince Philip. I haven’t been to the parks yet to see the updated float.
If you have any questions about the parades…please let me know! I’m happy to help in any way that I can!!
See ya real soon,
XOXO Cannon and the Castle