When Walt Disney World announced the Festival of Fantasy Parade last fall, I was excited. I am a huge fan of Disney parades. While I have had my favorites over the years, I felt it was more than time for a new parade at the Magic Kingdom.
The Festival of Fantasy Parade debuted on March 9, 2014. As much as I wanted to drive right over to see the parade, I waited patiently knowing I would see the parade while I was at Walt Disney World for the Type-A WDW Conference at the end of the month. I couldn’t help but see pictures of the beautiful floats in my social media streams before I saw the parade in person but I refrained from watching videos of the parade because I wanted to experience it for myself first. I am so glad I waited! We were able to catch the parade twice while we were at the parks surrounding the conference. This parade is magnificent, beautiful, magical and whimsical. I can’t wait to see it again.
About the Festival of Fantasy Parade
Disney Festival of Fantasy parade is the first of a new generation of parades for Disney Parks featuring never-before-used technology on eye-popping floats adorned with Disney characters from more than a dozen fairytales. Set to an all-new musical score, the dazzling parade floats will soar up to three stories tall with spirited performers donning dramatic costumes crafted at ten different design houses across the country.
“The parade celebrates and pays homage to what the Magic Kingdom is all about,” said Randy Wojcik, senior show director Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Creative Entertainment. “It has the most beautiful floats, enchanting characters, vibrant costumes that come to life; and the choreography is just glorious. Yet, it is also very kinetic, relevant and powerful on a scale never seen before at Walt Disney World.”
Seven unique units comprised of nine spectacular floats march down Main Street, U.S.A to the beat of an original soundtrack inspired by favorite Disney films, composed by Mark Hammond, known for his work on World of Color at Disney California Adventure and the Flights of Fantasy parade at Hong Kong Disneyland. The parade has its own voice with a theme song customized for each float followed by a medley of songs woven throughout the cavalcade.
The Floats of the Festival of Fantasy Parade
The Princess Garden
This pageantry of princesses celebrates Disney royalty. Cinderella, Tiana and Belle accompanied by their respective princes, ride in a garden of topiaries with woodland creatures, birds and more. Cinderella’s dress playfully twirls like a turntable, while Swan Court couples lead the 50-foot-long majestic float, capped off with a special appearance by Anna and Elsa from Disney’s hit animated feature, “Frozen.”
A massive long ship on the high seas showcases Flynn Rider and Rapunzel in search of adventure and another Best. Day. Ever! Rapunzel’s iconic tresses weave throughout this 36-foot-long float decked out with swaying pendulums carrying dastardly thugs.
The Little Mermaid
Ariel and her friends sit atop a colorfully kinetic seashell music box that boasts an enchanting musical jubilee. There’s no shortage of whimsy on this Under the Sea float with conga dancing fish kicking up their fins and bubbles galore. Shimmering fabrics and intricately designed costumes for the Lion Fish, Coral Fish, Seashell and Sea Horse performers are runway-inspired.
Straight from Never Land come Peter Pan and Wendy soaring high aboard the famous Jolly Roger pirate ship complete with smoke effects and special surprises. A rainbow arch shines over Skull Rock and Tinker Bell nestled among giant flowers, while Captain Hook takes center stage on a swinging anchor. “Newsies-inspired” Lost Boys kick up their heels to high-energy choreography.
Celtic couples and a vessel shaped like an enormous bagpipe announce the arrival of Merida perched high on her majestic crown. Scottish dancers step to melodies of the Great Highlands in celebration of the popular Disney*Pixar film, “Brave.”
The heroic Prince Phillip battles a Steampunk-inspired Dragon as the wicked Maleficent. This float stretches 53 feet in length and 26 feet tall with a prickly spinning wheel dead center of the float. With fiery eyes and glowing effects the spectacular dragon was built on an articulating chassis allowing the float to bend and flex as it moves along the parade route – a first for Disney parades. This float was designed in a partnership with Tony Award-winner Michael Curry. There’s Prince Phillip, thorn-inspired stilt performers, dramatic raven dancers, plus the three good fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather glide along the parade route.
The parade culminates with a 90-foot-long magical caravan of characters featuring Pinocchio, Dumbo, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Mad Hatter, Pluto and more in a splashy carnival of color. There’s Pegasus horses, dancing hippos and sassy Bubble Girls with cotton-candy-like hair celebrating Storybook Circus in New Fantasyland. Sporting zany new costumes Mickey and Minnie Mouse sit sky high in Mickey’s Airship — a giant hot air balloon that rounds out Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.
The Mom Maven’s Thoughts
If you are planning a Walt Disney World vacation, plan to see this parade more than once! The first time you watch it don’t use your phone or camera, just enjoy the parade. Let the music wash over you as the joy of the parade envelopes you. The second time you watch it, go ahead and take photos and capture the memories, not just of the beautiful parade but of the smiles on your kids’ faces as they watch the parade.
If you don’t have a vacation planned in the next few years, or if you just aren’t patient enough to wait, here is a compilation video by my friend John at BigFatPanda.com. He took videos of the parade on 3 different days from 3 different vantage points and compiled them into one awesome video. Enjoy!
What are your thoughts on the Festival of Fantasy Parade? Have you seen it in person? Did you watch the video or did you just look at the pictures? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.