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The Magical Christmas Fantasy Parade at Disneyland

The Christmas Fantasy Parade is a beloved Disneyland tradition that ushers in the holiday season each year with joy and magic. First debuting in November 1995, this festive parade has delighted guests for over 25 years with its cheerful music, dazzling floats, and beloved Disney characters dressed in their holiday best.

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History and Overview

The Christmas Fantasy Parade made its debut during the 1995 holiday season at Disneyland, replacing the park’s previous Christmas parade called “A Very Merry Christmas Parade.” It was designed to be a bright, musical celebration of the spirit of Christmas. Some of the key features of the parade over its history include:

  • Festive floats themed around Christmas motifs like Santa’s workshop, gingerbread houses, and winter wonderlands
  • Disney characters dressed up in seasonal attire, like Mickey and Minnie in winter clothes and the Toy Soldiers from Babes in Toyland
  • Appearances by popular characters like Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Buzz Lightyear, and more
  • The grand finale float featuring Santa Claus and his reindeer

The music and lyrics for the Christmas Fantasy parade capture the joy and magic of Christmas at Disneyland. The iconic theme song invites guests to “Come share a dream with me this Christmas Fantasy” and promises “we’ll make the season bright.” Other musical highlights include upbeat instrumental versions of classic Christmas carols like “Deck the Halls” and “Jingle Bells.”

Over the years, the parade has evolved with the addition of new floats and characters. For example, in recent years the parade has included characters from popular Disney films like Frozen, with Anna, Elsa, and Olaf making appearances. But the heart of the parade and its message of Christmas cheer and magic has remained the same.

Disneyland Resort Christmas Fantasy Parade At Night - Full POV

Parade Viewing: Best Spots and Tips

The Christmas Fantasy parade travels down Main Street USA before making its way towards the Small World area of Fantasyland. There are many excellent spots to watch the parade, but here are some of the most popular:

Main Street USA: Any spot along Main Street provides gorgeous views of the parade against the backdrop of Sleeping Beauty Castle. For the best experience, find a curbside spot near the partner statue or train station.

“it’s a small world” area: The parade route narrows as it passes by “it’s a small world,” allowing for close-up views of the floats and characters. Arrive early to grab a good spot.

Pixie Hollow area: The brick alcove by Pixie Hollow curves inward, so the floats come very close. You can sit on the brick perimeter or use the standing area just behind.

Parade dining packages: Several Disneyland restaurants, like Plaza Inn, offer parade dining packages that include a meal plus reserved seating for the parade. This ensures you get an excellent view without waiting. Some tips for getting a good view:

  • Arrive at your chosen viewing spot 60–90 minutes before parade start time
  • Bring small chairs or blankets to sit on while you wait
  • If sitting on the ground, bring a mat or towel for comfort
  • Politely save space for family/friends joining you later
  • Watch for Cast Members setting up reserved viewing areas and avoid those spots
  • Consider a dining package on busier nights

Check out the Disneyland app or entertainment schedules for the exact parade times on your visit dates. The parade typically runs twice per evening, at approximately 3:30pm and 6:30pm.

Dining Packages

  • Plaza Inn Dining Package: This includes a meal at the Plaza Inn restaurant from 1-3:30pm and access to a reserved viewing area for the second Christmas Fantasy parade. The cost is $40 for adults and $25 for kids ages 3-9.
  • Holiday Time Tour Package: This guided tour includes lunch at Red Rose Taverne and reserved seating for the Christmas Fantasy parade. Pricing starts at $99 for adults and $89 for kids ages 3-9.

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Floats and Characters

The Christmas Fantasy parade features over a dozen festive floats bringing the magic of the holidays to life through music, lights, and motion. Some of the highlights include:

Santa’s Mailroom: Santa’s elves sort through Christmas wish lists and packages in this colorful float.

Santa’s Toy Factory: Massive toy soldiers, jack-in-the-boxes, and teddy bears tower over the float as toys are made.

Gingerbread Treats: A giant gingerbread house where cookies are baking is surrounded by dancing gingerbread men.

Winter Wonderland: Glittering snowflakes hang over woodland creatures getting ready for an ice skating party.

Enchanted Christmas Ball: Princesses including Cinderella and Snow White dance at a shimmering Christmas ball.

Christmas Homecoming: The final float features Santa himself, along with his reindeer and a sack full of presents.

In addition to the floats, many beloved Disney characters appear dressed up for the holidays. Guests can spot Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale, and many more throughout the parade. Several Disney princesses also make appearances on individual floats or dancing along the route.

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Merchandise

Disneyland offers lots of festive Christmas Fantasy parade merchandise, so guests can commemorate the experience. Some items available for purchase include:

  • Ornament sets featuring parade floats and characters
  • Snow globes with parade scenes inside
  • Photo frames and holiday décor inspired by the parade
  • Apparel like sweatshirts, hats, and Christmas Fantasy ear headbands
  • Music boxes that play the parade theme song

The best places to shop for parade merchandise are the Emporium on Main Street, Elias & Co. in California Adventure, and World of Disney in Downtown Disney. Items are available throughout the holiday season while supplies last.

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Tips for Enjoying the Parade

To make the most out of your Christmas Fantasy parade viewing, keep these tips in mind:

  • Plan ahead: Choose your viewing spot early and work your evening plans around parade times.
  • Arrive early: At least 60–90 minutes ahead to get a good seat, especially for Main Street views.
  • Check the weather: Bring jackets, umbrellas, or ponchos if rain is expected so you stay cozy.
  • Pack snacks: Having some snacks handy makes the wait more enjoyable.
  • Use PhotoPass: Take advantage of PhotoPass photographers along the route to get great parade shots.
  • Save your spot carefully: Politely ask other guests to refrain from standing directly in front of you.
  • Soak in the magic: Sing and dance along to the cheerful music! It’s all part of the Christmas Fantasy.

With a little planning and holiday spirit, you’re sure to have a magical time watching the Christmas Fantasy parade create cherished Disney memories this season!

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Conclusion

For over 25 years, the Christmas Fantasy parade has been a highlight of the holiday season at Disneyland. With its joyful music, dazzling floats, and beloved Disney characters, this festive parade perfectly captures the magic and spirit of Christmas. Finding a good viewing spot, taking part in the cheerful celebration as the parade passes by, and even taking home a commemorative souvenir are all part of this beloved Disneyland tradition. So come share the dream of Christmas Fantasy this year at The Happiest Place on Earth!