Vote of the week: Do you do theme park parades?

May 2, 2013, 11:29 PM · Disney's cooking up a new parade for the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World -- but will theme park visitors make this new parade a hit?

Celebrate a Dream Come True parade

Theme park parades can start heated arguments among some fans, who will debate the Electrical Parade vs. Spectromagic vs. Light Magic for hours on discussion boards. (Okay, everyone will pretty much agree that Light Magic was a disaster. But why was it so bad? Oh, now we're going again!) Yet many, many other theme park fans couldn't care less about parades. They're the ones running to the other side of the park to ride as much as they can while the parade draws visitors away from those rides and toward the parade route.

Theme parks don't need for a majority of their visitors to watch parades to make the shows worthwhile. If only a small percentage of park visitors choose to sit down and watch a parade, that still can mean a reduced load of thousands of visitors to a park's overwhelmed attractions, making wait times manageable for others at the busiest time of the day. The parades can represent the elusive "win/win" scenario for park managers -- a great show for people who love such things, and lesser wait times for people who'd prefer that.

But only if parade fans actually like the parade. Throw a bad show out there, and everyone's skipping the parade for the park's other attractions, keeping wait times long and all the money spent on the parade wasted.

What do you do about parades when you visit a theme park? Are they something you include in your day at the park, or something you try to avoid? That's our vote of the week.

Please tell us in the comments about your all-time most memorable parade moments, whether they be from a great parade, a terrible one, or one that allowed you to bag a record number of attractions with little or no wait.

Replies (26)

May 3, 2013 at 1:04 AM · I'm excited for the new Disney Parade coming out because I for one think it is going to be fantastic from the looks of things! But a parade is never really something I go for unless it's been a while or it's new.

Once I see a parade, I'm never really one to go back to it. I'll do the parades at Disney's Halloween and Christmas parties mainly because they only happen once a year and they're usually a big step up from their normal parades. But as for going out and waiting for the night time or 3 o'clock parades on an average day, maybe I'll sit down and watch once or twice a year just to see if something has changed.

I think the parades could benefit from a constant change up, something to keep repeat visitors coming back to sit again and again. And I'm not talking a big change, maybe just throw a different character in every now and again. Keep everything a bit fresh.

Overall I'd say, I'm a parade by passer, but if you surprise me or give me a reason to go watch then yep, my butt will be planted on the curb.

May 3, 2013 at 1:05 AM · I love to watch the parades and having two young children gives them a chance to sit down for a bit and relax before setting off again. Also the interaction that they get when certain characters make an effort to walk over to them and give them a high five makes it all worth while.
May 3, 2013 at 5:39 AM · I've avoided parades like the plague for my entire life, with two notable exceptions -- the original Main Street Electrical Parade and the Universal HHN parade that they haven't held since 2004. That's one parade I'd love to see come back.
May 3, 2013 at 6:30 AM · The only two parades I actually care to watch are the Main Street Electrical Parade and Boo Too You, so I just avoid the parade crowds. I will say that this new parade looks FANTASTIC from the concept art.
May 3, 2013 at 8:39 AM · A parade can be 20 to 30 minutes of enjoyment while a ride is 30 minutes of wait for 3 minutes of ride. That's why I don't skip a parade if I haven't seen it. Most parades are very good. Sometimes a good parade is worth several viewings. In an uncrowded day, I can easily see it without waiting.
May 3, 2013 at 8:53 AM · I don't mind them now and then but usually try to steer clear. However, my wife and kids enjoy them so we catch at least one each visit.
May 3, 2013 at 9:19 AM · When I was younger, I liked seeing the parades. My wife and I live close by now, so we are at the parks a lot and the parades just don't do it anymore.
May 3, 2013 at 9:28 AM · Always steer clear and ride some rides... unless of course it's the Main Street Electrical Parade or the Boo-to-You Halloween Parade. Otherwise, steer clear!
May 3, 2013 at 9:29 AM · I enjoy the Christmas Parade, and the Soundsational Parade, but other than that I steer clear! I prefer attractions even if it's just hanging out in the Animation Studio or on Tom Sawyer's Island.
May 3, 2013 at 9:33 AM · I have to admit, I usually skip parades, but on those rare occasions when I don't, I end up enjoying the parade and asking myself why I don't make time to watch them more often.

And then I go back to skipping them. The lesson is, as always, that I make no sense whatsoever.

May 3, 2013 at 9:49 AM · Parade? Whazzat?

Actually, my Mom was into that kinda stuff, so on my first coupla visits in the mid and late 70's, we did view the parades at Disney. My interest now is below zero..but then again, the parks I go to nowadays are not exactly known for their parades.

May 3, 2013 at 4:57 PM · If there's one universal truth, it's that kids love a parade. I wouldn't dream of making my niece miss the parade when she was under 10 years old, but personally I could care less about the parade. When unencumered with kids, I've actually put a lot of strategy into being in the right part of a park at the right time in order to ride the rides I love while the parade is going on.

The only time I've been completely defeated by a parade was during Universal's Horror Halloween Nights. The first time they had the parade, I watched with glee, but I was staying a couple of nights and didn't need to see it again. When the parade hits, everyone in the park is stuck in a small, one block radius for nearly and hour and half. You can't go ANYWHERE, and that seriously cuts back on your limited time when you're trying to visit as many haunted houses as possible in just a few hours. If I had more experience with Halloween Nights, I might have been able to be in a a haunted house or a line during the parade, but both nights it caught me unaware and I was stuck twiddling my thumbs for an hour and half, unable to reach any house or attraction during the parade.

May 3, 2013 at 10:04 AM · It depends.
I love the whole Mardi Grass Parade, trow some beads!
And actualy every night time parade.
The other parades I always want to see once.
The last one I saw was the Macey's parade. I was very much surpriced by that parade and love to see the floats in person after seeing it on tv when it was in New York.
May 3, 2013 at 10:05 AM · The parade at Animal Kingdom is like TORTURE. I swear they haven't changed it in at least 10 years. It never fails that my son and I are trying to leave the park right around when the parade starts and we find ourselves scrambling to find a way around it so we don't get stuck.
May 3, 2013 at 10:08 AM · 2008 Walt Disney World "Dreams Come True" Parade. It was so memorable, I watch the new ones on you tube trying to feel the same way. Sometimes I watch it on you tube from '08 just to feel that way again. The villains float was awesome, Malificent was so EVIL. Ursula talked to us! We were poor unfortunate souls for 10 seconds. Aladdin winked at me. Walt Disney was drawing. All the while I had a smile on my face and tears in my eyes. All of my "Dreams Came True".
May 3, 2013 at 10:32 AM · I would love to sit and watch the parades, if it was comfortable to do so.
Instead, you have to either stake out a nice seat well ahead of time, or be crammed into a standing position where you can't see beyond the kid on his dad's shoulders.

With theme park crowds being what they are these days, particularly at Disneyland, I just as soon escape the crowds and ride the rides. Except that the ride you want is always on the other side of the parade route.

May 3, 2013 at 11:30 AM · The parades at Tokyo Disneyland are incredible. Unique floats and costumes. Very quirky. And the holiday parades as well. Also the major difference for me is the performers. The dancers in Orlando in the parades are bored and don't care while the dancers in Tokyo give it everything they have. It's worth it just to watch them dance and smile and go crazy!
May 3, 2013 at 1:31 PM · there should be options for daytime and night time parades. Nighttime yes
Daytime no
May 3, 2013 at 5:04 PM · Someone above mentioned a fair complaint that I've always had as well. "Sitting" and "relaxing" watching the parade isn't really possible at a Disney park. You can stake out your corner position for hours if you like, but when the parade starts, everyone thrusts their kids to the front and almost every dad puts their kid on their shoulders. It's such a mob, you can barely see the parade anyway.

Yeah, I hate the parades.

May 3, 2013 at 5:37 PM · I have to watch a parade at least once......after that, I prefer hitting the rides. On a parade note, I have a friend that works in the Disneyland parade and one of the OSHA problems affects them. They can no longer use an A frame ladder to replace lights or other items on the tops of the floats. They are required to use a scissors lifts and be straped to the bucket.
May 3, 2013 at 6:44 PM · I would watch parades AND shows if they performed the music live: voices and instruments. I know that it presents logistical issues and would be the more expensive option, but I can't stand watching live people faking it to canned music.
May 3, 2013 at 7:48 PM · Hot California and especially Florida sun make it tough to stand for the parade during the day. Nighttime parade's for that reason are cool and I do try to catch those every now and then. It seems like a very "Disney" thing to do and the performers do a nice job.

May 5, 2013 at 8:46 AM · I'm not a fan and never will be of day parades. They're mostly for little kids and you have to fight for a good spot or wait a hour in advance to see it. The only parades I do every trip in Disney is the Electric Parade and The Pixar parade. The pixar parade is now over and I was glad to see it one last time in November that's my favorite all time day Parade. And every time we visit the magic kingdom at night we see the electric parade which is done very nicely and view the fireworks.
May 5, 2013 at 3:11 PM · The Christmas Parade at Magic Kingdom is truly magical. If you get the right spot, you're set up for the world's best fireworks, and then a fantastic parade.

The parade I miss the most is the Tapestry of Dreams/Nations at EPCOT: Massive puppets wandered the parade, moving floats of huge spinning drums were thumped in time to the music. Here's a good spot to still find it:

May 6, 2013 at 2:34 PM · I live in New Orleans - I have had my fill of parades.
May 7, 2013 at 3:13 PM · Year of a Million Dreams parade at the DLR was absolutely amazing. It would start out with the voice of Walt welcoming guests, and then kick off with a track from Brother Bear "Welcome". It was truly a magical experience and I miss the parade dearly.

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