Festival of Fantasy Parade Review, Tips, and Lousy Pictures

by josh on March 11, 2014

We’ll take a brief look at Magic Kingdom’s new Festival of Fantasy parade, which debuted on March 9th, 2k14.

For more up-to-the-moment updates, you’re welcome to try following the website on the Twitter via http://www.twitter.com/easywdw. The day’s pictures, in addition to some of its most dimwitted commentary, usually go up there long before a post is ready(?) to go.

Unlike Celebrate A Dream Come True, Festival of Fantasy usually runs from Frontierland to Main Street, beginning to the left of Splash Mountain.

This is good news because Frontierland is typically less crowded than Main Street, where guests start staking out spots on the curb 90 minutes to three hours before the parade steps off at 3pm. I like to see the parade in Frontierland near Pecos Bill, which typically fills in 30 to 45 minutes before the parade steps off, particularly when crowds are heavy as they are here in the midst of spring break. Expect more interest with the newness of the parade. Arriving at your desired parade viewing location early will only result in a greater chance that you’ll be belly-up to the rope.

The FastPass+ viewing area for the parade is the same as Main Street Electrical Parade pictured above. At some point in the future, it will return as an excellent place to watch the parade.

At the moment, the waterways are completely drained, there are four cranes up all around Cinderella Castle, and walls cover much of the rest of the area as Disney ramps up Hub refurbishment work. Unlike the Electrical Parade, when FastPass+ offers a great view of not only the parade, but also the Celebrate the Magic projection show, FP+ only buys you a view of the parade. FP+ at Festival of Fantasy has a return time of 2:40pm – 3:05pm and it’s going to be necessary to arrive by 2:25pm to guarantee a first row spot on the curb. From there, the parade isn’t going to arrive in the area until about 3:20pm. That’s an entire hour of waiting with FP+, which is about as long as you’d wait in Frontierland if you were to arrive at 2pm. Like the Electrical Parade, it also looks like FP+ for Festival of Fantasy won’t open up until about a month before a given date. At the moment, Festival of Fantasy FP+ is only available through March 31st.

The size and scope of the parade otherwise obliterates its predecessor.

The axes on the Rapunzel unit swing from side to side while performers interact with the audience and other characters on the float.

This video from The DIS shows better examples of the kinetic energy radiating from the performers and the floats they’re riding, in addition to the music which isn’t captured particularly well in stills.

A few more pix:


Anna and Elsa pretty clearly replaced Aurora at the last moment, but it’s fun to see them and Olaf.


The mime from Tangled is one of the creepier and more obscure characters present.






One other thing the video better illustrates is the number of performers walking the route in intricate, unique costumes.

Just look at how high Peter Pan and Wendy are as Hook (theoretically) swings back and forth on the anchor below.

The pirate ship cannons fire.


Watch the backs of the floats as they glide by or you might miss characters like Tinker Bell, who just found out Magic Kingdom is not a recommended park.







One of the more intense performers, this guy looked like he had about four minutes to make an it’s a small world FP+. Bro, there is a 15-minute automatic cushion built in. Relax.




The fire breathing dragon steals the show.







Dumbo turns his head and points his trunk.



Overall, the parade is a lot of fun and fits a ton of characters into the 16-minute, six-float procession. I am not exactly the target demographic for a daytime parade, but I thoroughly enjoyed what I saw and was impressed by many of the floats, the performers, and the attention to detail. It’s worth seeing if you can fit it in, whether your group includes youngsters or not.

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

RazIsland March 11, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Any idea when the moats will be refilled?

Sarah S. March 11, 2014 at 2:19 pm

I had used our third FP+ for the parade on 3/18. But, based on this post, I am thinking that I should switch the FP+ to something else (especially in view of the previous post about secondary rides having longer lines) and just go watch in Frontierland.

josh March 11, 2014 at 2:32 pm

I haven’t seen a schedule for when the various hub things are happening.

Scott March 11, 2014 at 3:00 pm

So, does Anna and Elsa on the float explain why Aurora was not in the parade at all? Just wondering since Prince Phillip was “fighting” the dragon.

josh March 11, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Yeah Aurora was slated to be where Anna/Elsa ended up.

Jenn March 11, 2014 at 3:20 pm

4 cranes around the castle :( this makes me really sad- bringing my parents for the first time in May.

Wonderful parade pics. Makes me almost want to stop and watch a parade.

Erin Elizabeth March 11, 2014 at 3:28 pm

I’m not a parade person, but I will take a moment to see this one. Secretly I use the parade time (especially Electrical Parade) to get on rides while everyone is watching. Shorter waits.

Jack March 11, 2014 at 5:22 pm

hmm. Looks like they utilized a few floats (like the opening Princess float) from Tokyo’s Jubilation parade that conveniently ended in 2013. I’m glad they’re being recycled here.

The dragon is indeed something that’s exciting and new but I’m not sure about its execution of the aesthetics. Impressive, nonetheless. And the rainbow on the Peter Pan float is just tacky. The musical composition is also rather bland… Unlike some of the overseas parks’ soundtracks that are hummable, they seemed to focus on rearranging each respective movies’ soundtracks.

Dawn H March 11, 2014 at 6:14 pm

you actually had me looking for the darn hot dog roaster!! LOL

Steve March 11, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Given the height of the floats, what do people think they will do during Christmas with the garland that is usually strung across Main Street? I suspect the garland will be going away, which is a shame as it added a lot to the Main Street holiday decor.

jenn March 11, 2014 at 6:30 pm

wow! i am looking forward to this now! Can you tell me the best spots for standing in the heat in JULY to see this? Any shade in Frontierland??

Julie G. March 11, 2014 at 6:45 pm

I am trying to understand why they did not omit Tiana and Naveen rather than Aurora. Ditching Cinderella would be sacrilege and Beauty and the Beast are the lead and now have their own area so I see why they had to stay. It is just a bit strange that the one who the dragon is after got the cut! Do we assume the dragon got to her before Prince Phillip could fight him off?

Lisa March 11, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Julie G. – how dare you.

josh March 11, 2014 at 6:54 pm

I bet she voted for Wolf of Wall Street over 12 Years A Slave.

Lisa March 11, 2014 at 6:56 pm

PROBABLY

Julie G. March 11, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Thanks for the laugh! Since I am asking the difficult questions, was there even a rainbow in Peter Pan? I know it wasn’t a focal point.

josh March 11, 2014 at 7:00 pm

No, but this YouTube video is pretty cool: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvSBWcNcnEI

RebeccaMcK March 11, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Maybe clouds would have been better than a rainbow there. Looks like a great parade; haven’t watched the video yet but will soon.

Julie G. March 11, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Okay, I think I get the analogy of Neverland being equivalent to a place over the rainbow. I don’t know why I am critiquing the parade anyway. The last parade I saw at the Magic Kingdom was the “Rainy Day Cavalcade” a couple of years ago. Have you ever managed to catch that when the parade is cancelled? When you’ve seen the characters driven down the street in the Main Street vehicles, anything is an improvement! :)

Lacey March 11, 2014 at 8:05 pm

We just watched the video and my daughter kept saying “Where is Aurora? We have to find her.” Maybe she can walk in the parade like Snow White and Alice. And out of curiosity, how/when/where do they practice for a new parade like this? After hours when the park is closed?

josh March 11, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Yeah they’ve been running it after hours for the last three weeks. There are already a lot of identifiable problems. Perhaps the biggest is that the floats bottom out as they cross the bridge from Liberty Square to Main Street, causing visible streaks on the pavement.

Stacey March 12, 2014 at 4:53 am

Clearly, Aurora is still sleeping at the castle if Prince Philip is fighting the dragon. :-)

Kelsey March 12, 2014 at 5:48 am

Good point, Stacey! And he’s got a long way to go to get her, since her castle is in California!

Kelly720 March 12, 2014 at 6:25 am

My kids will love this. They loved the AK parade, and since that is no more – this will fill that void for them!

Mary Ann March 12, 2014 at 7:58 am

Thanks for the photos Josh. Looks like a great parade. Maybe Aurora is taking a nap somewhere. But I agree that maybe she should be walking/running with Prince Phillip. And I’m surprised that bottoming out at the bridge is still a problem. Hasn’t it been a problem for years now?

Rose March 12, 2014 at 7:58 am

Hi Josh,

We are headed to WDW in a few weeks….where exactly were you standing in frontierland? Great photos of the floats! Thanks for the great post! :o )

josh March 12, 2014 at 8:01 am

I was standing on the bridge that connects the Pecos Bill area of Frontierland with the Big Thunder Railroad entrance.

RebeccaMcK March 12, 2014 at 9:03 am

Folks, Prince Philip is the one who fights the dragon anyway, not Aurora herself. She slept through that whole scene, lol. The three good fairies helped the prince with the spell on the sword. No one else helped Philip other than his cool horse.

Joshua S. March 12, 2014 at 10:23 am

Aurora is cosplaying as Tiana. In her world, blackface isn’t taboo.

Jimmy N March 12, 2014 at 11:23 am
Kristen March 12, 2014 at 12:06 pm

What am I missing? Why is dopey on happy’so shoulders?

Dan March 12, 2014 at 12:23 pm

@Josh There are more than 6 floats: Princess Garden, Tangled, Mermaid, Peter Pan, Brave, Maleficent Dragon, Dumbo/Pinnochio, and Mickey/Minnie.

Robert March 12, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Why is that Rapunzel float picture up twice? I got deja vu.

Dopey is on Happy’s shoulders to recreate the scene where they dance with Snow White I believe.

This parade looks good!

Rose March 12, 2014 at 12:27 pm

@Jimmy N– lol, thanks! :o )

siskaren March 12, 2014 at 12:32 pm

He did that in the movie so that he could dance with Snow White and be her height, although obviously in the parade he ends up taller than her.

Ana March 12, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Love the pics and can’t wait to see it in person but the rainbow confuses me.

Kristen March 12, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Robert and siskaren – yes, now it makes sense! Thank you!

GV March 12, 2014 at 9:29 pm

So I was considering the FP for this, not so much since reading your point that we will end up standing and waiting just as long. Now thinking of viewing in Frontierland and catching the train back to Main Street to leave for naps right afterwards. Will we be battling the crowds viewing the parade on Main Street by the time we get there?

Melissa March 13, 2014 at 2:17 pm

I cants seem to get any FP+ options for parades ..week of 4/1-4/7 is therea trick to it

tammy March 14, 2014 at 8:35 am

Sometime during the second week of Feb. this year my husband and I were riding the train in MK and through the trees we could see a parking lot and several of these floats. At the time we figured they most be for the new parade and now I recognize the balloon float. Does anyone know what the large open area along the train track is that we saw through the trees? I was just curious what it is usually used for.

marta March 14, 2014 at 9:07 am

Here’s to hoping my 5 year old will buy that Aurora is still sleeping…
@GV – that seems like a good idea, I don’t have an answer about the crowds on your way out of the park but hope someone does!

Andrew March 15, 2014 at 6:18 am

The sad thing is Aurora got the shaft in the parade and she may be getting it again at the Princess Fairytale Hall. Hopefully she is one of the visiting princesses with Elsa/Anna or the one who takes over for them in the evenings. Or parents can play a game with their kids…find sleeping Aurora.

RebeccaMcK March 15, 2014 at 11:08 am

@Andrew
It’s stated (rumored?) over on the wdwnt site that the visiting princesses with Elsa and Anna (starting April 20th) will be Rapunzel and Cinderella. That princess rotation can sometimes change. At least there’s indoor waiting and FP possible. I’m hoping Anna and Elsa can stick around through October.

Brer_Matt March 19, 2014 at 10:13 am

From the pictures it looks like Anna and Elsa are only on one side of the float. Or is it the back of the float?

dusty cheatham March 22, 2014 at 7:24 am

who cares !!!! more beer & liquor reviews please

Melissa March 27, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Did someone say that they cancelled the AK parade???? When??? That was my fav, along with Celebrate a Dream Come True :( That song would get stuck in our heads for hours!

Josie April 22, 2014 at 8:00 am

I’m going to miss Celebrate a Dream Come True parade so much , disney should’ve gotten rid of the electrical parade instead of that one !

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