Universal Orlando goes Mega with its new Movie Parade

July 9, 2024, 10:54 PM · Today Universal Orlando invited Theme Park Insider to a performance of the Mega Movie Parade at Universal Studios Florida. This parade comes over two years after the previous daytime parade, Universal’s Superstar Parade, which closed in June 2022. While the Superstar Parade was oriented toward younger guests (featuring characters from Minions, SpongeBob, and Dora the Explorer), the new Mega Movie Parade has something for movie fans of all ages.

For younger travelers in your group, the Mega Movie Parade features floats, vehicles, and characters from Sing, Kung Fu Panda, Trolls, and–of course–Minions.

But Universal also ratcheted up the nostalgia factor, both for fans of historical Universal theme park attractions and for movie fans, by featuring Back to the Future, Jaws, Ghostbusters, E.T., and the ultimate fusion of new and nostalgic, Jurassic World.

For this performance, Universal equipped us with our choice of their new bubble wands, available in Minions, Trolls, & Jurassic World themes, which feature three different modes. "Solo Play" acts as your standard-issue bubble wand: press the button to unleash bubbles with light effects. "Tag Mode" allows you to synchronize lighting effects with other bubble wand bearers by tapping your wands together. Finally, "Parade Mode" synchronizes with the Minions, Trolls, and Jurassic World floats, releasing bubbles and flashing coordinated color patterns. This is a great addition for guests to feel part of the parade and allows for effects beyond the perimeter of the parade route.

The Mega Movie Parade has been in previews since July 3, and an announcement prior to the performance indicated it’s still in technical rehearsal. While there may have been the occasional hiccup, this is still the largest daytime parade ever offered at Universal Orlando–featuring hundreds of performers and Universal’s largest parade float–and it shows.

The vehicle craftsmanship, scenic design, and character moments are all spectacularly done. The vehicles reminded me of the intricate float designs at Universal’s annual Mardi Gras event, bursting with color. The staging on the floats allows for a great view no matter where you see it–I was especially delighted by the backs of all the vehicles, which generally featured additional designs or gags. But it’s the performers that really bring the Mega Movie Parade to life, with some incredibly fun interactions. (I was especially tickled when the mayor from Jaws proudly announced the beaches were open, only for Brody to run interference.)

Some of the highlights of the parade include Kung Fu Panda, which had an impressive amount of detail, Ghostbusters, with an astounding 16-foot Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, the aforementioned Jaws with its wonderful character interactions, and Jurassic World, which featured a T-rex puppet in addition to a fun Gyrosphere.

One aspect that’s lacking is the kinetic energy of the floats. Don’t get me wrong, the design and artistry really pop in person, but I can’t help but think a moving minion or chomping Slimer would elevate the parade. This is made all the more apparent by the moving T-Rex puppet in the final Jurassic World float. The other floats could have benefited from this kind of fluid animation.

It would have been easy for Universal to sit on their hands another year while waiting for Epic Universe to open in 2025. But with the opening of DreamWorks Land, the CineSational nighttime show, and now the Mega Movie Parade, Universal Orlando is displaying a continual commitment to enhancing its offerings at the legacy parks.

Let's hope these plus-ups continue in 2025 and beyond!

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Replies (2)

July 10, 2024 at 9:20 AM

I think it looks great and I can't wait to see it in person.

July 10, 2024 at 7:25 PM

Not really a parade person, and my girls are now adults, but it looks pretty cool. Needs some tweaking, but it's brand new and will get better.

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