Disney articles

Disney Parade Viewing Do's and Don'ts

June 5, 2011
by Aaron DelPrince (ADP on the DISboards)
DIS Contributing Columnist

Uh Oh! Now I've done it. I've decided to discuss a controversial topic. A topic of much debate where opinions and emotions go back and forth like a rocking chair. I didn't come to this decision lightly. I gnashed my teeth, tossed and turned at night, and even contemplated walking the plank, but in the end I came to the conclusion that discussing it would be in our best interest. Now, this topic isn't as controversial as the resort mug debate, but for some frequent visitors to Disney's theme parks, it's right up there with it. So forgive me as your emotions go up and down like a ride on Tower of Terror and we delve into the topic of parade viewing etiquette. As you continue through the page break don't forget to bring your punching bag and gloves in order to relieve the stress and frustration.

Disney Block Party Bash

Ok, phew! Now that we got that out of our system let's take a look at one of the best activities at a Disney theme park. Everyone who visits a Disney park expects an afternoon or evening parade. It completes your day of fun like a cherry on top of a sundae (ok, maybe the whipped cream too). However, the 60 minutes leading up to the start of the parade can be rather stressful for many reasons. As guests look at their times guide they quickly realize the parade is fast approaching. It's time to decide where to view the parade, or if we can squeeze another attraction in before the parade starts, etc, etc. Some guests choose to ignore their times guide all together. Even worse, other guests don't even know a parade exists. Yikes! This is the beginning of potential problems. It's where the planners and non-planners strike a chord of discourse. Typically, guests who plan and don't plan in the same theme park can go about their day without a problem until an hour or so before the start of a parade. It's where worlds collide (no pun intended). The planners and non-planners meet along Main St. USA, Discovery Island, or Hollywood Blvd and then suddenly…Kabooom! Worlds collide.

Boo to You Halloween Parade

In an attempt to ease some of the stress prior to a parade let's take a look at some do's and don'ts before the parade starts. Again, you may strongly agree or disagree. Remember the punching bag and gloves you brought with you. Feel free to use them as we proceed.

Do – Arrive at your parade viewing spot at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the parade. It's a simple concept. Do you want an optimal viewing spot to see Mickey, Minnie and their pals? Arrive early and increase your chances of getting that front row seat. You'll typically have a great shot of getting the spot you want by arriving 30 minutes early, or 45 minutes early during peak season. You can pass the time before the parade by discussing your evening plans or looking at some of the park details around you.

Don't – Arrive just before the parade starts and expect to find a good viewing location. "Excuse me, pardon me. Ouch! Look out, would ya!" Nobody likes a party crasher. You can expect these kinds of reactions if you get to the parade route when it starts and try to improve your view. The guests who arrived early won't appreciate it and may have a choice word or two for you. Save yourself the embarrassment and plan accordingly.

Do – Hold spots for your party who had to leave your viewing location. It's inevitable, but when you slow down, sit down, or relax Mother Nature will call. Somebody's gonna have to go to the bathroom, especially after eating and drinking throughout the day. Simply stepping away for a bathroom break, or to grab a snack, or purchase a parade souvenir is bound to pull you away from your spot. Just don't take advantage of this and hold spots for 4 or 5 guests or be gone for 30 minutes.

Don't – Hold spots for your party who've never arrived at your viewing location. "Hmmm? So, you're saying I can't claim space along the parade route for my family and friends?" Nope. The proper parade etiquette would be to arrive at your preferred viewing location with your entire party and claim your space. If you need to step away after you've arrived to use the bathroom or purchase a snack, that's understandable. Just remember other guests will trust your party was already there after they've arrived. Keep a halo over your head and be honest.

Do – allow your child or members of your party to move in front of you to get a better view of the parade. You've claimed your spot so why not let your child or friend's children get in front of you so they can get a better view of the parade. After all, you arrived early, planned ahead, and have a right to the space you've claimed. You can use it how you see fit. As long as you don't invade anyone else's space you have every right to switch spots with your children.

Don't – Ask another adult or stranger if your child can stand in front of them so they can see the parade. This is a tough situation. I know, I know, the parade should be for all children to enjoy. Most adults who are asked will say "It's okay, go ahead." But deep down inside they may feel obligated to oblige in order to not look like a selfish individual. If possible, don't put an adult in the uneasy situation of making a choice for your child's benefit. Get to your spot early so you can enjoy the parade next to your child.

Jammin Jungle Parade

Do – Sit or stand in the space you claimed to view the parade. Depending on your height or where you are adjacent to the curb you may decide to sit or stand to view the parade. Inevitably, you are going to do what is most comfortable for you and your companions. The choice should be yours. If another adult behind you asks you to please sit down so they can see it should ultimately be your decision based on you and your family's comfort.   Just remember, the parade floats and their passengers are elevated for a reason.

Don't – Put your child on your shoulders so they have the ultimate view of the parade. Although the space where you are standing is yours for the parade, adding another 3 or 4 feet above you with a child really isn't fair to the people behind you. Their expectation when they arrived was they'd only have to see above or around you. Adding a child onto your shoulders wasn't supposed to be part of the equation. Also keep in mind this is a very dangerous practice, especially with other guests around you and at your feet. You wouldn't want to trip and fall with your child on your shoulders.

Do – Listen to Cast Members and be aware of your surroundings. A Cast Member's number 1 priority is your safety. If they ask you to move back, view the parade from inside the ropes or barriers, or even move to a different location make sure you cooperate. They are asking you to do this for safety reasons and traffic flow. Prohibited viewing areas are typically well defined with tape, rope, and poles so guests know where to stand and walk. If you have a front row spot make sure you are sitting on the curb and not on the street. Parade floats and characters do not have 360 degree vision.

Don't – Use the viewing boundaries as a way to get a great spot for the parade. I've seen it and you probably have too. Guests who walk by parade viewing locations and see the tiniest bit of space just inside a roped or taped area and think they can tip toe inside of it. Let me grab my buzzer…..EHHHHHH! If you can't fit inside of the space comfortably or you are straddling the line you won't be able to pull off the Houdini act of the century. A Cast Member will probably come by and ask you to move, or the guest you pushed aside with your hips or shoulders may take issue with your maneuver.

Celebrate a Dream

As you can see there's a lot to consider when preparing to view a parade. Some of it may seem like common sense, but what I've learned over time is what you consider to be common sense may not be common sense to someone else. You may be left to tell another guest the obvious, but disappointing news, "You can't stand there. Excuse me that's our spot, or Sir…You just stepped on my FOOT!!" Parade viewing etiquette is a simple equation of courtesy and common sense. These are life long lessons and should apply to your parade viewing experience.

Do you have a parade viewing story to share or a "do and don't" to pass along to other readers? Feel free to add yours in the comments section below or on DISboards.com. We'd love to hear your stories and tips.

Okay…Let's recap. Let's see; "arrive early, don't stand in front of other guests, listen to Cast Members, check, check, check." That about covers it. Parade viewing etiquette can vary greatly between guests. Just try and keep these do's and don'ts in mind. Hey!  You made it through this article and controversial topic without breaking your computer. Great job! Now, what about your gloves and punching bag? Did they survive?

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You have really interesting blog, keep up posting such informative posts!

Great article! We have annual passes and are always there. Most of the time we bypass the parade because of rude people we encounter everytime. The one time I did get there an hour early, sit on the ground faceing the Castle with my son, legs hurting and very uncomfortable with sitting on the ground. People came up behind us and slowly pushed their way in. People sent their kids up to sit in FRONT of MY kid and they kept pushing us over. I just don't understand how people can be so rude. If I see people with kids and they are behind us, I try to stand behind my kids and let their kids up front so they can see. I feel like printing out these do's and don'ts and handing them out to people at the parade if they try one one of the don'ts. LOL :P

Great advice. When aked to move (after claiming a spot 1 hour ahead of time) I simply say no speak english in my best accent.

Great Article. Another thing is please do not allow your child to pull on the ropes or fling them like a sling shot. This is not annoying but can hurt. Many times we have had a rope dug into our necks when sitting on the ground because some clueless parent allows their child to pull back on the ropes with his her full body weight. Come on... use a little common sense!

This article has great points and everyone of these Don'ts has been done to my wife and myself. It's a shame that Disney cast members can't be more stern in enforcing parade route etiquette. Thanks for writing this article.

Aren't we ALL kids at Disney? None of us are ever too old to enjoy the magic. We are all children at heart at Disney and therefore, should not be asked to give up our spots just because we're a much bigger child. Just my opinion. I've seen too many parents feel entitled because they have small children when in reality, they're not doing it for their child, but for themselves. They want to see the parade just as badly, if not more so, than the child.

I use a wheelchair and my husband and I parked me on a curb in MK facing the castle so I could watch the lights change on the castle while we waited instead of in the handicapped place that looked as though it was secluded and not facing the castle. We arrived an hour early because we knew it would be tricky finding a place for me with the wheelchair. We put my wheelchair next to a trashcan which was on my right so that I would not be in the way or stick in the sidewalk traffic. My husband sat on the curb on my left. Three older women came up after many people were seated around me. They thought they would squeeze on the curb in between me and the trash can! At first one of the women wanted to sit between the legs of my foot rests! Talk about personal space and rudeness! If I were not in the wheelchair I'd doubt she would've asked to sit between my legs. In the end, she was pushed up next to me and I had a a sweaty stranger's arm/shoulder/back pushed up against my leg because she and her friends tried to squish into a spot that wasn't really there. I may be in a wheelchair, but that doesn't mean you can push me around (pun intended). Right as the parade started, I happily granted a mom's offer to let her two young children sit in front of my wheelchair. She asked kindly and respectfully and I appreciated that. They behaved so well!

As an adult without children I always try to be courteous to those with children when I visit WDW. If I really want to see a parade, I will always try to find a spot where it would be difficult for somebody to get in front of me. For instance, by standing by a wall during Illuminations in EPCOT. I will always stake out this spot early and will always make an effort to make room for a child (not an adult, they can stand behind the child!) You do unfortunately get those who think that you SHOULD make room for them because they have a hoard of children in tow. On a recent visit to MK, one mother bashed into me purposefuly with a pushchair (stroller) because I could not make room for her and her hoard. This was disappointing and when I remonstrated, she promptly left. Luckily, I was wearing substantial footwear, so wasn't too bothered! On my next visit, I think I will stick to the rear of the parade crowds (like a latecomer should) just to save any hassle!

Fantastic article! I do have to say though, I agree with PJ about people staking out spots then standing at the last minute. I am one who will pick our spot an hour before parade time and sit and play cards with my husband, and I believe it is common courtesy to remain seated so that the people (sometimes several rows behind you) can see as well. After all, sometimes, they have also been waiting 20 minutes and think they have found a great spot behind you, only to have it ruined when the parade starts. I will say we volunteered to let 2 little boys sit in front of us who had been waiting behind us last time and had no problem. The people next to and behind us though were furious that we didn't let their (12 year old) child have the spot in front of us. I guess you can't even be nice anymore without making someone mad!

Thanks for the great article! We have visited DW several times, both as a young couple and last year for the first time with a toddler. I am totally a rule follower and was surprised by some of the behavior that I saw going on at parade time. We visited the 1st week of Dec, so it wasn't very crowded and we sat down (ah!!!) in our spot about 20 minutes before the parade. Sure enough at parade time 3 teens with some PDA issues cam and sat right beside/ on top of my 2 year old. I am very uncomfortable correcting other people's children, so we just scrunched a little closer and made the best of it. Other families were so kind and made room so that our little fella could see the parade. I find that most people at any Disney function are very respectful of young ones. Although I pay just like everyone else, I think a parade is more magical for kids and would not hesitate to let them in front of me. It's all in how you ask.

The best parade tip I can pass on is to take an old blanket with you and stake out your spot early. I'm a 70 years old grandmother and it's my job in the family to hold a spot for everyone. (I always bring a good book with me.) On the days we plan to watch the parades, we take a blanket with us and put it in a locker until close to parade time. We pick out a bench two hours before the parade begins and place the blanket on the ground in front of our chosen bench. We usually add a stroller or two along with diaper bags and/or packages to let other know the space is ours. This has worked more times than I can count at both Disnyland & Walt Disney World. Most people won't step on a family's blanket but if they do, no harm is done. There's usually a few folks who show up at parade time hoping for good view but knowing I've invested two hours for my family, it doesn't bother me in the least and they love me for it.

My daughter and I went to the Magic Kingdom for the Electrical Parade and got in the handicapped section about 45 minutes before the parade (showed my handicapped card to CM). Starting about 20 minutes before the parade, extremely large groups of families kept entering this section and pushing in around us. We moved over numerous times, but finally had nowhere to go. Several different families complained to the CMs to have us move and the CMs kept questioning me to leave the area. They were trying to push us to the back after waiting 45 minutes. I finally had to get angry and say something to the cast members and people around me. This ruined the parade for me after this long wait. We were stuffed in this roped area like cattle. I was very upset that there was not a capacity limit and these people were not told "sorry, we're full" and reminded that they need to arrive early, and that this section is not designed for you to bring 10 to 15 people with you. This was the first time I used the handicapped section and it sure left a terrible taste in my mouth. Some people feel they are more deserving than others apparently. Additionally, people need to understand that handicapped does not mean that you have to be in a wheelchair. WOW! This got me all worked up again thinking about it.

Here's a DO - if there are two night parades, go to the later showing. Also, DO ask a Crowd Control CM for advice as to less-crowded areas to watch the parade. Often they can give you a good tip. Also, if you are unsure whether an area is appropriate for parade viewing, do no hesitate to ask. For the MK - the least-crowded place to watch is in Liberty Square (but not near the bridge to the Hub). Keep walking towards Frontierland for the best seats.

Great article. Can you write one about stroller etiquette? My ankles would be appreciative!!! :)

Last time at Disney, I did allow a child to come in front that couldn't see...of course the parent came also and my kids were squeezed out of the way. It not only annoyed us but the people next to us too...I was the bad guy letting the kid in front since they waited 45 minutes before parade time also. The next day, different park/different parade when a parent asked if their child could come up in front of us I said "sorry, we are watching this parade together as a family. We got here over 30 minutes ago and it wouldn't be fair to the others next to us the got here then also". They weren't happy but I didn't hear any rude comments... I think CM should have to tell parents that kids can't be on their shoulders. It's not safe and if the child fell the park would be held responsible.

As an Early Educator, I have always wanted the children to enjoy the parades. However, on our last visit, a family pushed their 5 year old in front of us at the last minute. Instead of enjoying the parade, he misbehaved and the cast member had to keep telling him to stop. His behavior was very unsafe. The parents were several feet behind us and were oblivious to what was going on. We were unable to enjoy the parade for worrying about him.

Rhonda D
I agree with this Parade ettiquette 100%. My family went in 2007. We wanted to watch the parade at AK, so almost 1 hour before parade time, we staked out our spot so that our two little kids could see the parade my kids were 8 and 5 at the time. It was August and very hot, but we stayed in place to get to see the parade. Once the parade started, this group of really rude adults stepped on my little daughter and knocked my son out of the way so that they could get in front of us and take pictures. I just can't believe that people would act like that. Fortunately, my kids weren't hurt. I scolded the rude people! People shouldn't act like that anywhere let alone the "Happiest Place on Earth!"

great tips! but the most important one is TO LISTEN TO THE CAST MEMBERS. as a CM, I can tell you how hard it is for us to make people understand that a certain area needs to be clear for traffic of for safety reasons. people just dont understand that you are doing those things for them and go around calling you names and being rude to you. guys, please, be as nice to the CMs as they are to you. everything we do is to make your stay magical. ;-)

When waiting for Spectromagic, my daughter feel asleep on the curb. A few adults came close to stepping on her, even though it wasn't crowded (in January). We had a nice group of young couples who sat around her to protect her. They couldn't believe that adult would walk right through a crowd and not look down.

There are a lot of reasons I will not let kids in front of me, first of all people think kids not only means their five year old, but also the twelve year old that is as tall or taller than me, secondly mom and dad will worm their way up their too, third it's not my child and I have no control over them if they should decide to do something dangerous such as run out into the parade route, also I get there an hour early so I have some breathing room.

Bonnie Lock
What a grerat article. My issue was not with a parade, but fireworks. I was standing in front of the castle to watch fireworks. Behind me was a woman who only wanted to sit behind me. She asked me to sit down. I said no. Why do you have to sit for fireworks I asked myself. Well, after the fireworks started she got up, stood right in front of me and started taking pictures. She was very rude and made an idiot of herself. I could still see the fireworks fine since they are in the sky. Just for the record I was 56 years old and it's hard for me to get up. I hope she reads this.

Davis Disney Mom
Good Article. One more tip. People who have a stroller should make sure that their child sits in it or at least that the stroller is in front of them and not taking up an extra space (or two or three) along the parade route. This can be frustrating whether you are late or not. Another good blog topic might be people who use their strollers as weapons. :)

Please parents do not put your phone up to tape the show or put your kids on your shoulders. Like James, I just came back from Star Wars Weekends and my fiance and I arrived 25 minutes before the Hoopla, but because of the crowds we had to stand way in the back, which we were fine with and we could see really well. However after the show started, I could not see becaues of all the parents with their kids on their shoulders. It was really annoying.

My pet peeve is people who cut from one side of the street to the other and then climb over us instead of using the desiginated crossing areas. I have often asked these people if I look like a crosswalk. Of course I get rude comments back!

great article, we got a front line view of the spectromagic a couple years ago, something we had never seen in the visits we had amde before, after a few minutes i noticed a child behind me who came late with his dad and no view so i let him in to sit by my son, the parent said thanks and promtly followed him and squeezed in also, i could'nt believe the cheek, lucky that everyone else around us saw this and complained bitterly to the parent who sheepishly had to return to back, complaining like he had a right to, pity this article could'nt be given out on entering

Gillian Boler
Oh what a brilliant article-you have said what most of us are thinking!!It should be printed off and handed out to everyone entering the parks although the inconsiderate visitors will probably still think it doesn't apply to them!!!!

Great blog!! Most of the kids are just wanting to get a handshake from one of the characters so I do let small children in front of me. I just returned from Disney and one of the biggest problems I had with parade viewing and shows were people in large hats.

Good Advice!! Thank you for the list.

I completely agree with the "Don't - Ask an adult or stranger if your child can stand in front of them." I don't know how many times I've said "no" and inevitably, the parent(s) get mad and start making rude comments about me. I don't think it's my responsibility to make sure that the kids have a good time and see everything at Disney. I'm sorry that they have to "suffer" because there parents didn't plan ahead but it's not my problem.

I love this article! I wish I had read it before our last trip! In my 20+ visits to Disney I had my one and only less than magical experience with a cast member. My family and I arrived about 30 minutes prior to the parade to try to get a good spot. We found a perfect spot along Mainstreet between the rope and the tape which was what Disney rules state. We were promptly told that we could not stand there by a cast member. I protested of course b/c I know the rules. Without any explaination this old lady (cast member) pushed me out of the area and screamed like I was a disobedient child "You can not stand here!!!" then she said it was an emergency area. It was not marked as such and this lady was insanely mean infront of my young child. Some of these old bats need to just retire or look for a job as a Wal-Mart greeter.

What got us on our last trip was when we were later than usual finding a spot for the parade so we picked a spot behind a family of four who was sitting at the rope. This was fine as we left our daughter in the stroller and sat behind them allowing others to be behind us and still see the parade. This family had been sitting for a good 20 minutes before the parade but then chose to stand up for when the parade started. I understand it is within their right as they got there first, but common courtesy would be that they could see just fine sitting and now that they had several rows of people behind them, just keep sitting and enjoy the parade instead of standing up to block the kids behind them (or at least mention to those behind them that they plan to stand up so we can find a different spot).

This is why we don't watch parades. If we can find a spot out of the way that you can see a bit of it over everyone else, then that is fine for a few minutes. After that though, it is time to move on.

John R
What a great topic. It's hard for those who have never been to WDW to understand that there are those who "wait" for a parade. Too bad for those who don't read the DIS this will never help. Thanks for posting.

Wow, thanks for bringing up a subject that obviously speaks to a problem that troubles so many parade and firework watchers. Why is it that 1 hour before a parade starts on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom do people feel entitled to lay towels on the curb to hold their spot while they are nowhere to be found? What would happen if we moved that towel and took their place? I can only imagine. In observing this practice I notice that people look at these towel covered spots and move on, why does management allow this? We're all there to have a wonderful time, this has touched upon a subject that is upsetting to many people, Walt Disney World should address it.

People who do not plan, plan to fail and deserve to fail. I really dispise people who blame Disney or that there is no magic when they do not plan. I totally agree with this list. ANd also don't try to make your way, across the park during the parade through the parade route. It just cause undo stress on the cast members who are try to make it all magical. LAst word-plan!

I am a Disney lovin' adult and if I use my time to find a good parade viewing spot I shouldn't have to surrender it to anyone else. These people with children should have done what I always do and COME EARLY for the parade. Plus, I am only 5' 2" and some of the children are as tall or taller than me!

Wow - this is a lot of comments. I am seeing a lot of disagreement about asking if children can stand in front of other guests. I have personally had people ask me this before in WDW. I disagree with the practice, not because I necessarily want a great view of the parade, but because its unsafe. I don't want to be held responsible if someone else's children get hurt or worse! And personally I would not want my own children standing apart from me in a busy place like at a WDW parade.

I totally agree with this list!! My MIL and I staked out a spot at the MNSSHP one year about 45 minutes before the parade. Then, about 5 minutes before the parade (which was packed) someone asked if their ENTIRE group of kids (not all short) could go in front of us. My MIL promptly said no, and they complained about it the ENTIRE parade behind us, "I hope you are getting good pictures/video, blah blah blah". I wanted to turn around and say, what is wrong with YOU that you couldn't get here earlier so that your kids could have a good seat, if it is that important, but just ignored them...the biggest problem is that if you let in even just ONE child, it does seem to open up the floodgates and turn into every single child around, which makes for a very uncomfortable experience -- I agree that children should be able to see, but then WHY can their parents not get there early enough to get them a good seat? It isn't really convenient for anyone to get there 45 minutes early, and everyone has something else that they can be doing -- so suck it up and get there early if you want a good spot!!

I completely agree with this article!! I wish Disney gave this out with their "welcome package" It would defintiely make vacations more enjoyable! We love visting Disney and the only problems we've ever had were with rude people during the parade! We are always planners so we always try to pick our spot 30 min or so before the parade/fireworks start and it never fails that SOMEONE arrives .2 seconds before it starts and expects the perfect view. We had two experiences when we went in February. We all picked our spot and then my boyfriend and I went to the bathroom. When we came back, my parents had been pushed from their spot by the obnoxious, rude family who couldn't speak English. We knew they were talking about us even though we didn't know exactly what they were saying. Well my boyfriend's 6'4" and he wasn't going to stand with us but we definitely made him then! After the parade, the family stood in front of us for the fireworks. We are guessing it was suppose to be "payback" but it was a crappy spot for Wishes and we had already picked out a better viewing location! Then at another parade, my parents were saving my and my boyfriend's seats again when this family literally asked my parents to move their stuff so they could sit down. They politely told them their children were sitting there and then they asked again! I can't believe the audacity of some people!

Lisa B.
I totally agree with your assessment of the Do's and Don'ts of parade watching. My husband and I have been coming to Disney World for 20+ years and have encountered more people practicing the Don'ts. We have had to endure children crying/screaming through the parades, parents hoisting them up on their shoulders so no can see because only THEIR child matters, people trying to squeeze into the spot we showed up an hour before to view the parade and etc. My personal favorite is when they save an entire block for the relatives that haven't shown up yet. Hopefully, some of these people will read this article. Thanks.

"I agree with everything except the "Don't ask an adult if a child can stand in front of them". What does that hurt? " We were watching the Stars N Cars parade in Paris. Our first time seeing it. We didn't notice that someone told an about 4 year old boy to squeeze through to the front. There was a family besides us with 4 kids, so lot of movement and we didn't pay much attention. We only noticed when the boy started jumping up and down and hit his head on my boyfriend's camera. Large zoom lens and child head do not mix very well. Cue wailing kid and also cue parents yelling at us from the very end of the crowd (they were 4 or 5 people behind us) because somehow that was our fault. We weren't even moving at that point as we were behind the stage where the characters are signing and had our books out. If someone wants to pretty much take over responsibility for a stranger's child be my guest, but I refuse to do so.

Love this article! Don't know if the rules also apply to fireworks but we had an experience at IllumiNations last May. My mom rented a wheelchair for the day and so we chose to take advantage of the handicapped seating area. We arrived there around 7:30pm for the 9pm fireworks (it's our favorite show!). Just before 9, all the wheelchair spots were full and I was immediately behind them with all the other families sitting behind me. I stood up for the show and no one else did, apparently. They yelled at me to sit. Then I couldn't see anything really, and I don't know how they could either. I was very frustrated but I don't think I was wrong in standing as I was in front of people who probably could stand but chose not to.

Great advice. We follow the rule that if someone has to go use the facilities 2 people have to stay behind, that way it's not one person saving 5 people's spots. It helps that we're all adults. I'm sure you would have to adjust that rule some for the kidlets. My horror store happened at Disneyland a few years ago. My sister and I got a great spot for the parade way in advance, they were just setting up the ropes and we needed a rest so we sat down. Once it started filling in the family behind us literally pounded our backs with thier stroller trying to get closer and were very vocal and rude about us being there. When a cast member walked by my feet were stretched infront of me and he asked me to pull my feet back...no problem I did as he requested right away. The jerks behind us started yelling at the cast member that he should make us leave and continued to beat on my back and yell at us. We just ignored them...but it has been an example of terrible people trying to destroy a great time in my memory for years.

The most annoying latecomer I have encountered was at Illuminations. My boys and I had planned the day so we would be on the bridge between France and England about an hour before the show. Others filled in around us as show time got closer. At the last minute a middle-aged woman and grade school aged boy decided to push their way in. Then she spent the entire show screaming about how everything was going wrong and they'd never be able to do the show again because everything was going to burn down. I reallly wanted to tell her to shut-up, but figured she was the type who would argue, further ruining the show for everyone around her, so I just put up with it. She completely ruined the show for me.

I took my son to Disney World last year and we saw several of the parades. Only one did we actually stake out a spot 30 min before and that was at Epcot. Even then it was a wonderful experience. I would never expect another family to allow my son and I to move in front them. However I only found the night time parade at the Magic Kingdom to be a cluster to see. All the others we happened upon by accident and had a perfect view! No asking for anyone to move or not being able to see. I do agree with the Do's and Don'ts of this article, however Disney shows several parades every day and some even twice to try and ease the clusters. If you are not happy with your spot then watch what you can of it and try to get a better spot at the next one. It is not the end of world to not get a perfect spot at a parade.

Perhaps the one should read "You can ask if your child can stand in front of an adult- but DON'T assume because you asked the answer will be yes." Adults have just as much reason to enjoy the parade as the children, so if they want to say "no," it doesn't mean they are impolite. Also, don't assume that asking, "can my child stand in front of you" means, "can my child stand in front of you as well as me." I can see over your kid's head. I can't see over yours.

Great Article!!! I wish it was mandatory for every wdw guest to read before being allowed in the park! One other thing...hold onto your children! Near catastrophe last year when a toddler was being allowed to roam the street in front of his parents....right as the headless horseman was coming down the street. Thankfully they grabbed before he got there but....that could've been very bad.

Excellent article. Please also remember to be safe when going TO the parade. A couple of months ago my mom and I were walking on the Tomorrowland Bridge toward the Hub to watch the Move it Shake it Parade that was just beginning. Out of nowhere, a woman with a stroller came running by and ran over my mom's foot! She was so preoccupied with getting a "place" to see the parade, she didn't care who she ran over or what she bumped into. It won't be the end of the world if you miss the first few minutes of the parade or if you don't have front row seats. It will ruin your trip if you end up in the hospital from an accident. Safety first!

I do not understand why my husband and two little kids should stay waiting for 30 minutes while my older kids and I hang out at our spot? I just don't get the etiquette logic there. Can anyone explain?

I remember the first time I saw Spectromagic. My cousin and I had picked our spot on the curb in plenty of time and were sitting patiently waiting for it to start. Before the parade started a family with a bunch of kids came up and rooted their way in front and around us and before I knew it I was stuck sitting cross legged on the sidewalk with kids in front of me and no room to stretch my legs or even maneuver to stand up. By the time I had sat like that through the parade both of my legs were numb. When I tried to stand up after the parade, down I went. I had no feeling in either leg!

It never fails I always end up next to a person that talks to their 10 year olds like they are babies. Usually more during fireworks than parades, but it has happened during parades, as well. I have a video of Wishes where all you can hear is a mom (of an older kid) saying "ooohh,ahhhh did you see that?" over and ever an OVER again. I wanted to say to her, "He has eyes and he is looking at the sky. Pretty sure he's seein' it!" Of course, I didn't say it because I was filming and didn't want my voice on the video either! LOL! I'm all for people being surprised by something, but 15 straight minutes of vocal wonder is a bit much! LOL!

Excellent post. I would add that if itis at the end of the day and your little one becomes upset and starts to cry if you can't stop the crying Do Not expect everyone else to put up with their actions. Take the child and leave.

We offered to let a few little ones up front where we had been for about 45 minutes this May. When I had gotten to the parade line with my 3 year old son, no one was near us so we had a nice seat. My husband showed up later and there was still plenty of room, but before that a family with a double stroller tried to push their way through and about knocked my son over. I refused to make room for them because the mom was so mean. She was huffing and puffing something as she was going under the rope and all she had to do was walk a few yards down to the entry way. I would have moved over if I knew they wanted space to watch but they were just rude. Anyway, after my husband arrived, I told him there was room for some of the kids that were along the back wall now and the parade was ready to start so we asked the grandma to let them up front. The kids were shy so they said no. The grandma got brighteyed and came up in front of my husband saying the kids would come if she did, then both kids came along with the dad. All the space we had was gone and my son had to move over in front of another nice lady and we moved the stroller back. It can be frustrating to be nice sometimes.

Paul C
@Chilly What's wrong with letting a kid through? Because 99.99% of the time, it's not just the kid. The kid cries for Mom, then before you know it, the Mom's in front of you. Then the Dad starts jabbing you in the ribs, or hitting you with the 16 bags he's carrying, and next it's the uncle, the cousin ... If Mother Theresa showed up late, she wouldn't be getting in front of me. Call me all the names you want, but you're the one that was late.

I completely agree with the list you put up. One other thing I'd like to add please watch your language when waiting for that parade. There are little ears around. Even if your are angered there are better ways to go about it then with a bunch of obsenities.

When we was at MK last year my family and I waited for over an hour for the parade we had a fab spot straight in front of the castle the amount of people we saw coming at the last minute and trying to push on front of others was amazing even coming to the point of one poor bloke and his young family been threatened by a very obnoxious family trying to push in at the last minute and security had to be called!! After sitting on the ground for nearly an hour we all wanted to stretch our legs so we stood up to be immediately shouted at by people behind us to sit down and have consideration to them! My mum isn't a spring chicken any more so wouldn't of been able to sit back down even if she wanted to as her legs are bad an she had enough trouble getting down then back up on the first place. I ended up having to have an argument with 6 or 7 people saying that if we wanted to stand it was our proogative after 5 or 10 mins they finally shut up and stood 2 watch the parade. It was not a very nice experience.

I agree with everything except the "Don't ask an adult if a child can stand in front of them". What does that hurt? The adult who allows this will still be able to see the parade, and the child will also be able to see it. Otherwise, the child will miss it. I think that is selfish, even if the child's parent didn't plan as well (it wasn't the child's fault, and the child will be punished - the poor planning parent will be able to see). Some people only get to to to Disney once or twice in a lifetime. There are so many things to do, sitting with small children at a desired parade viewing spot sometimes isn't as easy as it seems.

We showed up for the Parade at Hollywood Studios 25min beforehand and I went to buy ice cream. By the time I got back another group showed up and tried to stand in front of our stoller with our twin 2 year olds in it and between my son, husband and the stroller on the other side. Thank goodness our stroller just happened to be right on the line that mark the furthest you were able to stand on the parade line. A cast member came and let the group know they had to move behind that line. Needless to say WE were not moving for them.

Paul C
Also, don't get mad at the person who was waiting in their spot for an hour when you just cut in front of them. I've been waiting there for a reason, so don't think your allowed to mosey, push or squeeze in front of me and not expect me to say a few words that kids shouldn't hear. You're the jerk, not me. And God help me if I hear "Disney world is for the kids" when I won't let your brat in front of me. Just because you can't plan ahead doesn't mean your precious spawn deserves a good seat.

Wheelchairs!!! We just got back from a Disney Dream Cruise and Disney World Vacation. It was my mother in laws 81st Birthday and first time. Everything and everyone was great, however trying to figure out where the spots are (and they need to be near bathrooms in our case) was tough. We were able to find a spot in the Magic Kingdom (by the Liberty Bell)for my wife, son and my mother in law at the last moment right up front because of the kindness of other people that made some space for them! I went around the crowed and took a rest! ;o) Thanks so much to those who made it possible, she has had a rough life and was crippled by her Doctor over ten years ago and we do not think she has much time left, you made her night and my wife's too! The Comer Family! ;o)

As a former cast member i loved this article. I hated working crowd control at parades because of how inconsiderate and pushy parade viewers can be. When we visit the parks not i don't even bother trying to watch parades. Another don't to add is don't set up chairs and benches along the parade route. It is prohibited by the fire marshall and the cast members are required by law to make you remove them.

We arrived early at the lagoon in EPCOT and were able to get up right next to the fence waiting for the afternoon show. My son & daughter were sitting cross-legged. When the show began a large group of teens pushed their way in, with one of them actually stepping inside my daughter's lap. I scared my daughter & upset us all.

Nicely written article! I admit it, I walked into MK at the beginning of the MSEP once. I didn't stand in front of any children, but I did get a decent shot of Tinker Bell with my iPod Touch from behind about 6 people. I only wanted to capture a minute of the beginning of the parade, as I had seen it the two days before and actually staked out a spot beforehand. Then I scooted out of the way and went shopping while the rest of the guests enjoyed the parade. It was sweet.

We just returned from Star Wars weekend which was great. Just before Hyperspace Hoopla started, adults put kids on their shoulders -- ugh! Also, a lot of people held their phones/video cameras up to tape the ENTIRE show -- ugh! Please be considerate and think of those good folks behind you. Bring your manners with you where ever you go, especially Disney activities. Thanks!

I agree with every word. And no, I am sorry. Just because you have kids doesn't make you special or mean they should have special privileges. If you want to hold them up so their head is even with yours that's perfectly fine. On your shoulders is not.

Excellent article Aaron. Wish people would all follow it :)

I think that this blog is probably preaching to the choir, but good info anyway. It always surprises me that people think they should be able to walk right up to the front to watch the parade when they happen to realize it's happening. We had a wonderful experience with a CM during the Christmas parade. We were lined up behind an area where they were allowing people to walk through until it was time for the parade to start when they would rope it off. We were hoping that we might get a chance to move forward at that time for a front row seat. I asked the CM if it would be possible and she said maybe but we would have to wait and see. When it came time to put the rope up she told us and a few others that had also been waiting to move forward. A bunch of people walking by tired to rush in front of us. She politely told them we had been waiting and made them leave so we could move up.

Julia Stewart
Don't SMOKE where people are gathering to view the parade! It always amazes me how many people think it's okay to light up when there are small children (and people like me with allergies and asthma) Be considerate!

Sylvain "Sly" Leroux
Amen ! I agree with all of this except for this one: Don't – Ask another adult or stranger if your child can stand in front of them so they can see the parade. I really don't mind...I even offer it to people...

In a different park, I once stood for 45 mins so that I would have the best spot to videotape the parade. Literally 5 minutes before the parade, a group of 4 teenagers moved directly in front of me. Without taking my eyes from my video viewfinder I said, "You know, I didn't stand here for 45 mins to have you show up at the last minute to block my view." They moved pretty quickly...LOL

Thankyou for this list. Now I hope everyone abides by it.

We once sat and waited nearly 20 minutes for a parade. At the last minute a group came along and I offered to let the kids in front with mine. The woman with the kids stepped in front of my daughter in her stroller, crouched down and spent the parade dancing with her kids... the only view my daughter had was of the woman's butt swaying back and forth less than a foot from her face! By this time we couldn't get out of the crowd either.

I always allow some little ones and shorter ones in front if there is room, and sure enough 8 times out of 10, that opens up the floodgate of everyone they are with to shove and push in front, and completely block our view and everyone behind us as well. Why can't they just appreciate the consideration given and enjoy that their kids are having an unobstructed view? I don't have to do it, I do it to be nice. The old, give an inch, take a mile I guess.

"Don't – Put your child on your shoulders so they have the ultimate view of the parade." YES. My biggest complaint. Thanks for the whole list, especially the "Don'ts."

Please note that the sit or stand being your choice does not hold true at Disneyland where there are designated sitting/standing areas.