If you can, make plans to watch the Festival of Fantasy Parade during your Magic Kingdom park day. Today I am going to share with you a review of the Festival of Fantasy parade, my favorite viewing spots, tips, and fun facts. I am sure you will love this parade as much as I do.
Festival of Fantasy Parade Review
The review below was my first time seeing the parade. This parade is now my favorite and I can’t imagine another one in its’ place!
On March 13th, 2014 I spent my day at the Magic Kingdom. It is my favorite park. I had loved the Dreams Come True parade, so I had some mixed emotions as I booked my FP+ for reserved seating at the Festival of Fantasy parade. To be honest, the pictures everyone had posted didn’t really convince me I would like it better.
We got to the reserved area around 2:45 and had a somewhat perfect seat for the parade. The Main Street Band came down the street and then the specially selected family that were the Grand Marshalls. My anticipation was growing as 3:00 drew near. The announcer announced the parade start and applause went through the park as the music began.
The music is great! It is some of the traditional songs but a little more upbeat. People seemed to be dancing and enjoying the parade so much. The floats are magnificent!! Most of them are HUGE! I have to go back to the parade many more times before I can say I have truly experienced everything about this parade. I constantly missed details and other amazing things that make this parade above and beyond any other. The Imagineers thought of every little detail. The costumes are bright and exotic!
I did experience a special magical moment too! Goofy ran over and gave me the biggest bear hug! Plus, Chip & Dale came up to me and made a heart shape with their hands as I was celebrating my anniversary with my husband. I love moments like that.
Best Festival of Fantasy Parade Viewing Spots
There are a couple of different spots along the parade route that I love.
The Castle Hub. If you are seeing the parade for the first time. try to get a spot on the castle hub nearest to the curb. When you are on the curb, you can sit and watch the whole parade without people standing in front of you. Sitting at the hub will get you some beautiful shots of the parade floats with the castle as the backdrop.
Frontierland. What I love about any spot in Frontierland is that it is usually less busy. Since so many people want to see the parade from the Castle Hub or Main Street U.S.A. that means other parade viewing spots are less crowded. Another plus to this area is that when the parade is at 2:00, that means the parade starts at 2:00 in Frontierland. The parade doesn't get to Main Street until about 2:20. This is good to know for planning out your day.
Liberty Square. Again this is a less populated area. If I watch at Liberty Square I tend to stay on the side of the Liberty Tree Tavern because there is a little bit of shade. I stay right up against the building until the parade comes through.
Main Street U.S.A. Emporium. This is a nice spot because during your wait you can usually catch the Dapper Dans.
The Main Street U.S.A. Train Station. Sometimes I love watching the parade at the train station on the balcony. You may not get much character interaction but you will get a great view of the top half of the floats. It really helps you see all the details the Imagineers put into the designs.
Festival of Fantasy Parade Viewing Tips
Sun Protection. The Festival of Fantasy Parade is during the hottest part of the day. Wear sunblock and/or use an umbrella. Once the parade begins put the umbrella away to be considerate of others. If you scoped out your seat early make sure you have enough water to get you through the waiting time and the parade. I have seen several people over my time at WDW get heat sickness during the parade.
Be Considerate of Others. Do you know what the person behind you sees when you use your tablet to take a picture of the parade? Yup, that's right, they see the parade through your tablet. If they wanted to do that they could have stayed home and watched YouTube, it would have been cheaper.
If someone has been saving their spot for awhile you have no right to come up and squeeze them out of their spot OR squeeze your kid in between them. Sometimes I stake out my spot early especially if I want a spot on Main Street. If you ask politely I may let your child stand in front of me, but that is my choice. If you wanted a better spot then get there earlier. ***sorry this is one of my Disney World Pet Peeves***
Bring a Towel. If you do not want to sit on the hot pavement. Bring a towel to sit on. Towels are easy and lightweight to put inside your bag. I usually just sit on the pavement myself but I see others use a towel and/or stadium seat pad.
Disney World's Festival of Fantasy Parade Fun Facts
- The parade features a cast of more than 100 performers.
- Disney characters from more than a dozen classic stories are represented among nine parade floats.
- 40 additional characters are presented in animated or sculptural form
- Performers appear on stilts, swings, and pendulums, bringing a kinetic energy to the procession
- The Princess Garden lead float stretches more than 50 feet long
- The Jolly Roger atop the Peter Pan float flies 28 feet above the parade route
- Mickey’s Airship finale float is the tallest float topping out at 32 feet
- The trio of finale floats span more than 90 feet along the parade route
- Elaborate costumes were crafted by 10 different costume houses, in eight cities, in two countries — including Creative Costuming facilities in both Florida and California.
- Some 27 separate custom designed fabrics were designed by costume designer Mirena Rada in collaboration with Creative Costuming Graphic Artist Paul Jordan.
- Counting interfacings and trims, it takes 28 separate fabrics to make up one Swing Thug #1 Costume (Tangled unit). His vest requires vinyl to be cut into 75 separate diamond shapes and then stitched onto cool max fabric.
- Some pieces, including the Seashell Girl (The Little Mermaid unit) headpiece, were digitally sculpted and then grown to size with a 3D printer.
- It takes 30 yards of fabric to make one Seashell Girl costume which includes 12 different colors of Nitex Mesh.
- The coral pieces for the Coral Twins (The Little Mermaid unit) were custom designed. They are being hand poured in three separate colors by the artisans of the Creative Costuming Craft Team and baked and finished for 16 hours each in an oven.
- The socks worn by the Lost Boys (Peter Pan unit) are custom designs that were knitted to order in Hong Kong.
- Minnie Mouse’s Dress and Hat (finale unit) uses 95 gold lame dots that are cut out, “blinged out,” and then sewn on.
- The Bubble Girl (finale unit) headpiece is made from three separate clown wigs that are blended together by the Creative Costuming Millinery Team.
- Cha Cha Girl (finale unit) – Her wig was designed with 148 yards of horsehair in four colors, that is then rolled, pressed and curled by hand.
- The Steampunk-inspired Maleficent Dragon stretches 53 feet from snout to tail and reaches 26 feet in the air.
- Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment team members partnered with Tony Award-winning designer Michael Curry on the development of the Maleficent Dragon.
2018 Festival of Fantasy Parade Fire
Something tragic happened in May 2018. Maleficent the beautiful steampunk, fire-breathing dragon caught on fire. Since the fire, a seasonal pavilion float has ben her replacement. Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and Prince Phillip are in the float.
My hope is that Maleficent is being repaired. Disney has not made any announcements on whether she will return or not.
Festival of Fantasy Parade Journal Page
Have your kids document what they loved best about the parade with this free printable Parade Journal Page. The top of the page has a blank space where they can draw their favorite float in the parade. The bottom is a free writing space where they can write about anything else. Ideas you could guide them into writing are snacks they enjoyed during the parade, any special character interactions, where they sat, who they watched it with, etc. The page is a great memento for you to put in a scrapbook or travel journal binder.
Originally Published March 17, 2014.