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Festival of Fantasy parade debuts at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

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Published: March 9, 2014 at 3:59 PM

The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade made it's debut today at Walt Disney World. It is the first new daytime parade to come to the Magic Kingdom in more than ten years. It is nothing short of amazing to observe this grand gala, which includes spectacular, state-of-the-art floats starring characters from favorite Disney stories, plus colorfully costumed performers on stilts, pendulums and swings. The supporting cast of performers dance along in elaborate outfits and give out high-fives while Disney’s most famous characters wave from high atop the elaborate floats. The original musical score is dreamy and upbeat.

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A family and a newlywed couple were picked to be Grand Marshals - and they kicked off the parade in a beautiful convertible antique looking car. Then the first float goes by to celebrate the "tale as old as time".

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Belle and the Beast share this float with Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen.

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Whatever you do, don't take your eyes off of this one as it goes by. Tiana and her Prince rotate on a "lazy Susan" type of a platform with none other then Anna and Elsa on the other side! I almost missed getting a shot of them - but aren't they beautiful? This is Anna's coronation dress - and today was the first time we have ever seen it in a Disney Park. Her meet and greet in Epcot has her in her classic dress.

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Next comes a huge mime, who draws some laughs ahead of the Snuggly Duckling - "Tangled" float.

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Flynn Rider and Rapunzel from Tangled sail in an ornate longship in search of another “best day ever.” Watch for easter eggs hidden throughout this giant float.

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An under-the-sea jubilee starring Ariel, Sebastian and an enchanted ocean ensemble from The Little Mermaid atop a sparkling music box is up next!

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Much to the delight of the crowd, Ariel pulled out a "dinglehopper" and showed it off proudly!

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She (of course!) combed her hair with it as well.

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Not far behind, there are spinning seahorses!

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Peter and Wendy from Peter Pan come next, soaring through the sky aboard a pirate galleon .

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Yes that is Captain Hook SWINGING on a giant anchor!

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The rainbow sparkling in the sun was an amazing sight.

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Always in hot persuit of the Capatin - Tick-Tock the Crocodile follows close!

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Next up is a troupe of Scottish dancers preceding Princess Merida herself, who is atop a giant bagpipe.

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Her triplet "bear" brothers turn their heads and pop in and out as they go by!

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Flora, Fauna and Merryweather (face characters) wave their wands...and have concerned looks on their faces.

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The music gets a bit "darker" and the crowd cheers as Maleficent as a clockwork dragon is wrapped in battle with Prince Phillip and his mighty Sword of Truth! (The kids around me got a little bit frightened.)

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Maleficent is surrounded by eerie henchmen on stilts.

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The dragon breathes fire and the crowd cheers even louder. This is an amazing sight to see!

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The raven is close as well - and  he stuns you with his 12 foot wing span!

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The giant tail waves as it goes by.

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Things become happy and bright again as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs come along.

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Bubble girls pave the way for Pinocchio.

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This float is like a 2 for 1 - because the circus is right behind Pinocchio with Donald, Daisy, Dumbo and more in tow!

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There is so much movement and merriment that you can't get it all in one photo!

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The grand finale comes with high-flying fun as Mickey and Minnie approach in a giant hot-air balloon.

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Plan ahead for this parade and login to My Disney Experience. There, you will want to reserve access to the FastPass+ section. You may want to see this parade more than once on your next trip. (I know I can't wait to go back and see it again!) You will celebrate the stories you know and love in a whole new way as this parade winds its way through the streets of Magic Kingdom park every afternoon at 3pm. The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade is a thrilling sight-and-sound spectacular. You won't want to miss it!

Readers' Opinions

From TH Creative on March 9, 2014 at 4:41 PM
OUTSTANDING!
From James Rao on March 9, 2014 at 5:29 PM
I am anxious to hear more about the parade music, but the still photos are impressive to say the least.
From Emily Jones on March 9, 2014 at 6:04 PM
Saw the parade. As someone who does not enjoy parades in general, I didn't hate it. That being said I wouldn't rush to see it again. The floats were a little underwhelming, while the costumes of dancers were a little over the top. Also, the dragon didn't breathe any fire when I saw it (all down Main Street), so that was a bummer...
From James Rao on March 9, 2014 at 6:56 PM
^Were the floats in the pictures not part of the parade? They certainly don't seem underwhelming.

Anyway, how was the music?

From Rob Pastor on March 9, 2014 at 8:34 PM
James: All Around Orlando blog has a 18 minute you tube video of the parade with the music. Also, the dragon breathed fire during their picture presentation. Looks better than the previous parades. I'm not much of a parade fan, but I think I'd watch this one once or twice.
From 99.185.228.198 on March 10, 2014 at 3:37 AM
Thanks Rob. Pretty cool stuff. I found the video, and Krista's article to be representative of a pretty stellar parade. Looking forward to checking it out in person...soon.
From Kelly Muggleton on March 10, 2014 at 4:26 AM
Finally finally finally! I think it's just the shot in the arm the MK needs. I look forward to seeing it.
(If only the suits let Kevin Kidney loose on the night parade too!)
From 205.158.8.98 on March 10, 2014 at 7:46 AM
Any more info on the FastPass + section for the parade? Where is it exactly and how big?
From Annette Forrest on March 10, 2014 at 11:12 AM
Oh, Krista! You are so talented at capturing the essence of things. Your pictures and descriptions made me feel like I was at the parade! You are such a vivid storyteller. Your columns are such a joy to read.
From Annette Forrest on March 10, 2014 at 11:22 AM
I'm really laughing at the comment that the parade floats looked "underwhelming". That's hilarious. These floats look better than what I've seen in the Macy's parade.

As far as parades go, these floats are gorgeous. I'm kind of jealous of the person who said they are "underwhelming" because that person must live in a magical place where everything is so much grander than I am used to, I guess.

I think the only parade floats I've ever seen that are more elaborate and more "whelming" than these are the ones for the Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA. Those floats are made of fresh flowers and it's a once a year thing to make them. They are pretty spectacular, but no theme park floats could ever be made of fresh flowers. The cost would be enormous to do that every day. The Rose Parade is one day, once a year.

People crack me up though. I can't wait until my husband comes home from work today to show him these "underwhelming" photos. He was a set designer in college theater classes and he'll get a kick out of what is "underwhelming" to some people today.

From TH Creative on March 10, 2014 at 1:08 PM
The new three o'clock parade will keep the folks in the park until late in the afternoon.

Nice!

From Emily Jones on March 10, 2014 at 8:02 PM
Annette: I am thrilled to see my opinion brought so much joy to your life. Also, thank you SO much for devoting an entire post to berating my comment. Robert asked for opinions and I gave mine. Clearly my opinion is wrong, so I do apologize for sharing it. I will refrain from contributing in the future.
From James Rao on March 11, 2014 at 3:36 AM
Ah yes, there's that spirit of community we look for in our every day lives here at TPI! Emily, don't take anyone's comments to heart on this site, else you will find yourself offended on a regular basis (*cough* TH *cough*). I am sure Annette did not mean to offend she is just a huge fan of Krista's articles (as are we all).

One word of advice, though, don't ever say anything bad about Danny (a.k.a. Harry Potter) Radcliffe to Annette, or you will never hear the end of it! ;)

BTW, anon poster 99.185.228.198 is me. First time in many moons I have posted without logging in. I feel so ashamed.

From 72.238.120.37 on March 11, 2014 at 6:38 AM
The music is awesome. Happy, bright, and then also scary and dark when the dragon gets near you! The FastPass+ area was at the Partner's Statue facing Cinderella Castle, and wrapped around to where it faced Tomorrowland. I had to look pretty hard to find the little sign, but it was there, close to where I was supposed to enter the roped off area. A little hard to explain - but I hope that makes sense. :)
From Krista Joy on March 11, 2014 at 7:15 AM
Anon poster 72.238.120.37 is me! LOL James - don't feel ashamed. I blame the iPhone. :)
From 50.88.6.162 on March 11, 2014 at 9:34 AM
Did you take these pictures from the FP+ area? If so, I must have been literally standing right next to you. Did you notice all of the Imagineers who created the parade behind us?

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