Mickey Moana

Magic Happens Parade at Disneyland

The Magic Happens parade is a dazzling daytime parade at Disneyland Park that celebrates magical moments from classic and contemporary Disney stories. First debuting in February 2020 as part of Disneyland’s 65th anniversary celebration, the parade was an instant hit, but only ran for a few weeks before the parks closed due to the pandemic.

After a three-year hiatus, Magic Happens triumphantly returned in February 2023 to the delight of guests. Led by Mickey Mouse and his pals, this 14-minute parade features stunning floats, energetic music, artistic costumes, and over 90 performers including more than two dozen beloved Disney and Pixar characters. Let’s take a closer look at the history, details, and best viewing spots for Disneyland’s most whimsical parade.

‘Magic Happens’ Parade Debut - Disneyland Resort - 4K

Parade History

Disneyland has a long history of presenting entertaining parades since opening day in 1955. Over the years, fan favorites like the Main Street Electrical Parade and Paint the Night parade delighted guests. However, it had been nearly a decade since Disneyland debuted a new daytime parade. In 2020, Disneyland launched the Magic Happens parade to celebrate the park’s 65th anniversary. The parade was led by Mickey Mouse in an all-new sorcerer costume, gliding along on swirls of magic.

It featured iconic characters from Disney and Pixar films on stunning floats. However, the parade had the misfortune of debuting only a few weeks before Disneyland closed its gates due to the emerging pandemic. Magic Happens finally made its long-awaited return in February 2023 as part of Disneyland’s 100th anniversary celebration. The parade resumed its twice-daily performances to the delight of fans who had eagerly awaited its return for three years.

Mickey

Parade Details

Time and Location

The Magic Happens parade performs daily at Disneyland Park, starting in Fantasyland and traveling down Main Street USA.

Showtimes:

  • 3:30pm
  • 6:30pm

The actual parade route runs from It’s a Small World in Fantasyland, winding past the Matterhorn and Alice in Wonderland rides, before proceeding down Main Street USA to Town Square. Each performance lasts approximately 14 minutes.

Music

The parade features an upbeat musical score with two original songs:

  • “Magic Happens” – The main parade theme song, co-composed by singer-songwriter Todrick Hall
  • Grand Finale Song – A special finale number that weaves in melodies from classic Disney parade songs

The soundtrack combines contemporary pop music with classic Disney tunes for a unique sound.

Floats and Characters

Magic Happens has 9 whimsical floats themed to Disney and Pixar films:

  • Mickey Mouse float – Mickey as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice
  • Moana float
  • Coco float
  • Frozen 2 float
  • Sleeping Beauty float
  • Princess and the Frog float
  • Sword in the Stone float
  • Grand Finale float with a Cinderella/Princess vignette

Over 25 Disney and Pixar characters appear, including: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Genie, Tiana, Naveen, and more!

Costumes

The parade costumes take inspiration from avant-garde fashion. Bold colors, unique textiles, and abstract shapes create eye-catching looks. The dancers’ costumes almost seem like wearable art.

Float

Best Viewing Spots

Finding the perfect viewing spot is key to fully enjoying this spectacular parade. Here are some of my top recommendations:

Main Street USA

  • Town Square – Arrive 60–90 minutes early to sit along the Main Street curbs by Town Square. This area offers shade and proximity to refreshments.
  • Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln – Another prime viewing spot that’s close to restrooms and dining. Arrive 45 minutes early.
  • Train Station – Sit on the grassy area in front of the Disneyland Railroad.

Fantasyland

  • “it’s a small world” mall – Arrive 30 minutes early to get a curbside spot in this shady area with easy access to bathrooms and food. It also offers prime views as the parade begins its route.
  • King Arthur Carrousel – Sit on the grass with a perfect sight line down the parade route.

Plaza Inn

Reserved Viewing & Dining Package

Guests can book the “Magic Happens” Parade Dining Package at Plaza Inn on Main Street USA. This includes a meal, parade viewing voucher, and access to a reserved viewing area. The dining package costs $49 for adults and $27 for children ages 3-9. It includes a meal at the Plaza Inn on Main Street USA, served between 1pm and 3:30pm. Guests also receive a voucher to access a reserved viewing area for the first Magic Happens parade performance of the day, which starts at 3:30pm.

The viewing area is standing room only. If guests want to try to sit on the curb, they need to arrive 60–90 minutes before the parade start time. Infants under age 2 can eat off an adult’s plate and do not need a voucher or meal. They can enter the viewing area for free. The search results note that while the dining package guarantees parade viewing, the actual value depends on personal food preferences.

Since guests need to arrive so early for a good spot, it reduces the convenience of having the meal included. But for guests who enjoy the Plaza Inn menu, it can be a nice experience combined with good parade viewing. Availability can fluctuate day to day. If the initial booking date is unavailable, keep checking back for openings. Cast members are still adapting the logistics of managing the viewing sections.

Merch

Parade Merchandise

Disneyland offers a variety of themed merchandise to celebrate Magic Happens parade:

  • Sorcerer Mickey ears
  • Light-up tumblers
  • Raglan shirts
  • Ornaments
  • Pins

The most popular items feature Sorcerer Mickey, as seen on the parade’s opening float. Guests will find Magic Happens merchandise in park stores on Main Street USA and in Fantasyland.

Float

Tips for Attending

Bring a Blanket

  • Mark your territory and make sitting on the ground more comfortable

Mobile Order Food & Drinks

  • While waiting, use Mobile Order to get snacks from nearby restaurants

Avoid Sun and Crowds

  • Sit on the west side of the route in the afternoon to avoid direct sunlight
  • Less crowded spots are near “it’s a small world” and King Arthur Carrousel

Have an Exit Strategy

  • After the parade ends, head to nearby attractions with low wait times or shows

Purchase a Dining Package (If Desired)

  • Guarantees parade viewing from a reserved area after dining at Plaza Inn

Mickey Moana

Conclusion

Magic Happens brings a jubilant energy to Disneyland Park with its shimmering floats, artistic costumes, and catchy music. This dazzling daytime parade celebrates classic and contemporary Disney stories in a fresh, innovative way. Stake out a prime viewing spot along the route and get swept up in the magic!