The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade is one of the most popular attractions at Magic Kingdom Park in Walt Disney World. This lively and colorful parade celebrates the stories and characters of classic Disney films with elaborate floats, costumes, music, and choreography. In this review, we will cover everything you need to know about the Festival of Fantasy Parade, including:
Parade Length & Schedule
Parade Route & Viewing Areas
Characters & Floats
Music & Choreography
Tips for Attending
Whether you’re planning your first or fiftieth visit to see this magnificent parade, this guide will help you make the most of your Festival of Fantasy Parade experience. Let’s dive in!
The Festival of Fantasy Parade lasts approximately 12 minutes from start to finish. It steps off daily from Frontierland at both 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM. During peak attendance seasons like summer and holidays, additional performances may be added at Magic Kingdom‘s discretion. And on especially crowded days, FastPass+ reservations may be required to access certain prime viewing areas along the route. The parade is subject to cancellation due to inclement weather, but light rain typically does not affect the performance schedule. Check theMy Disney Experience app during your visit for the most up-to-date parade times and any weather-related cancellations.
Parade Route & Viewing Areas
The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade begins in Frontierland, winds through Liberty Square, circles around Cinderella Castle, and concludes proceeding down Main Street USA. There are fantastic views to be had anywhere along the route, but three key areas stand out as the best places to watch the parade unfold.
Main Street USA
Watching the parade with the iconic Cinderella Castle as the backdrop is what Disney dreams are made of. The sidewalks along Main Street provide perfect postcard views of the floats and performers. The best spot is where Main Street opens into the circular Town Square, offering a head-on vantage point as the parade exits the park. This area fills up at least 60–90 minutes prior to parade time, so arrive early to stake out an unobstructed curbside view.
As the parade crosses a small bridge entering Liberty Square, guests watching from waterside positions along the Rivers of America get magical views. The float choreography is specifically designed for these “middle of the parade” viewing spots. And because it’s a less popular area, you can likely find an excellent spot just 30 minutes before showtime.
Watching the parade from the start in Frontierland ensures you’ll have prime views of the opening act. The Frontierland viewing area extends from Splash Mountain toward Country Bear Jamboree on the parkside, and along the Rivers of America across the way. This area is generally less crowded, especially on the Country Bear Jamboree side. You can likely score a front row spot 15–20 minutes prior to parade start. Arriving early also means easy access to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and Big Thunder Mountain once the parade passes.
Characters & Floats
The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade features over 100 performers and a dozen floats celebrating Disney royalty, swashbuckling adventures, and classic tales. Let’s explore the magical floats and characters showcased in this spectacle:
Serving as the parade’s opening act, this 50-foot floral float features Cinderella, Tiana, Belle and their respective princes promenading through a royal garden. Princess fans will delight at the spinning turntable showcasing Cinderella’s twirling gown.
Rapunzel and Flynn Rider from the hit movie Tangled sail down the parade route aboard a longship float topped with vibrant floating lanterns. The lanterns actually swing back and forth, creating a truly magical sight.
Perched atop a colorful seashell float, Ariel waves to the crowd with an animatronic Flounder and Sebastian by her side. This is currently the only place you can spot Ariel in her mermaid form for a meet-and-greet at Walt Disney World, making it an extra special treat.
Peter Pan & Pirates
Everyone’s favorite Neverland characters set sail aboard Captain Hook’s pirate ship float. Peter Pan flies overhead as Wendy looks on, surrounded by the Lost Boys, Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, Tinker Bell and more. At 28 feet tall, it’s one of the tallest floats in the parade.
Inspired by the film Brave, Scottish princess Merida rides a majestic float surrounded by will o’ the wisps and a giant bear. Keep an eye out for the flickering magical wisps and thorny forest creatures accompanying her float.
The highlight of the parade is the fantastical 53-foot long float featuring Maleficent in ferocious dragon form. With glowing eyes, fluid movements, and real fire-breathing effects, this float is an incredible sight to behold. Prince Phillip battles the 40-foot tall float as dramatic raven dancers and thorn creatures surround the scene.
In a burst of circus-style celebration, the iconic Dumbo float takes flight down the parade route. Accompanying Dumbo in all his ear-flapping glory are dazzling bubble floats with dancers sporting vibrant candy-colored wigs.
As the grand finale, Mickey and Minnie wave from high atop an extravagant 32-foot tall hot air balloon float. Surrounding them in a lively carnival procession are beloved characters like Pluto, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and the Mad Hatter. It’s a vibrant, music-filled ending befitting this spectacular parade.
Music & Choreography
The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade features an original soundtrack and score written by composer Mark Hammond. It has an energetic, contemporary sound uniquely tailored for the parade. With elaborate choreography by Creative Director Steven Davison, the parade performers engage with the crowd with enthusiastic dances and character interactions.
The floats themselves seem to dance down the street, with mechanisms that create bouncing, spinning and swinging movements matching the dynamic music. From the delicate dances of the Princess Garden through the daring acrobatics of the dragon battle scene, the combination of music and movement creates an immersive entertainment experience for guests of all ages.
Tips for Attending
To make the most out of your Festival of Fantasy Parade viewing, keep these handy tips in mind:
Find a Spot Early
Stake out your ideal curbside viewing location 60–90 minutes in advance, especially for Main Street viewing. Frontierland and Liberty Square fill up quickly, too, so arrive 30–45 minutes early. Bring small snacks to enjoy while you wait.
Grab a Treat
Treat yourself to ice cream, popcorn, or another yummy snack from a nearby cart to munch on during the show. It’s all part of the parade experience!
Take advantage of Disney PhotoPass photographers stationed along the route to get memorable pics with your favorite floats. The photos taken by Disney photographers during the parade are included in your PhotoPass package.
Stay Until the End
Don’t leave too early! The final floats in the parade like the Dumbo bubble floats and Mickey’s hot air balloon are something to see. Stay put to appreciate every fun-filled moment.
If you have Genie+ access, use it to secure a spot in the Main Street viewing area for easy, stress-free parade watching.
Prepare for Weather
Bring compact rain gear or umbrellas just in case. Light ponchos are a parade-viewing essential in unpredictable Florida weather.
Watch Multiple Times
Find a different parade spot each time to see the choreography from all angles. Frontierland, Liberty Square and Main Street offer very different experiences.
The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade accommodates guests with disabilities to enjoy the parade. Here is some key accessibility information:
Wheelchair and ECV Viewing
Guests using wheelchairs and ECV mobility vehicles can access several reserved viewing areas along the route on a first-come basis. These areas are clearly marked with signage.
American Sign Language interpretation is available at the Flag Retreat viewing area on Main Street. Check with a parade attendant upon arrival.
Blind or low vision guests can request audio description headsets to enjoy narration about the parade floats and choreography. Ask a parade attendant about availability. Additionally, Braille and large print parade guides are available at Guest Relations kiosks.
Differences from other parades
The Festival of Fantasy Parade stands out from other Disney parades in several ways:
It has one of the largest number of floats, with 12 incredibly detailed floats that are much bigger and more elaborate than typical parade floats.
The floats feature advanced mechanics like spinning, bouncing, and swinging movements to bring extra energy and choreography.
The 53-foot long, fire-breathing Maleficent dragon is the longest and most complex float in Disney history.
With over 100 performers, it has one of the largest casts of dancers, characters and musicians.
The soundtrack featuring original music was written exclusively for this parade.
Parade schedule and availability
The Festival of Fantasy Parade steps off daily from Frontierland at 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM. During peak seasons, additional showtimes may be added.The parade typically runs year-round but was temporarily suspended from March 2020 through March 2022 due to the pandemic. As of now, the parade has resumed its regular schedule.On especially crowded days, Disney may require guests to have a Genie+ reservation to access certain viewing areas. Check the My Disney Experience app for the most up-to-date times.
The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade brings the stories of classic Disney films to life through stunning floats, lovable characters, music, and more. With tips on timing, viewing spots, photography, Genie+ access, and weather preparation, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable experience at this not-to-be-missed daytime parade. Watch in wonder as Peter Pan soars through the sky, Ariel and Rapunzel wave from fantastical floats, and Maleficent the dragon breathes fire down the street. Share the joy, magic, and dreams at Disney’s Festival of Fantasy – it’s sure to delight guests of all ages!