Review by Kevin Klose
Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade is the holiday version of the Jammin' Jungle Parade. As expected, Disney does a terrific job with the holidays. Animal Kingdom’s tree is up and the park is beautifully decorated. Because we were entering later in the day, we had the time to take notice of the less obvious decorations, such as the wreaths on the ticket booths. The holiday theming has an organic feel. It evokes the feelings of the holidays but with unexpected materials.
The Jingle Jungle parade will have its fans as well as its detractors. If you are looking for the typical gingerbread and reindeer….go to the other Kingdom. (I mean the Magic Kingdom…pay attention.) This parade takes a different approach. If I can describe it…it’s a cross between Broadway’s version of the Lion King and Finding Nemo: The Musical. There are many motorized floats carrying the Fab Five. Minnie’s Christmas “candy and cookies” even emits its own cinnamon sweet aroma, and there is lively holiday music. But it’s the other things in the parade that attract your attention.
There are these wonderful moving sculptures, portraying various exotic animals. They are created from the most unexpected materials and are human powered, but as with the Lion King and Tapestry of Nations….you only notice the humans momentarily. After your initial look, the humans become secondary and the animal sculptures becomes the focus. (I didn’t believe it either, when the director of the Lion King told how “we won't notice the people under the masks"….but, she was right….you eventually get wrapped up in the story and don’t see the humans.) These huge sculptures move and can interact with the parade viewers. They are truly wonderful. They too have been “decorated” for the holidays. To round out the parade, there are stilt walkers dressed as animals and dancers shimmying and twirling along the parade route. The parade runs approximately 17 minutes and there are many shady spots to sit along the route. (A word of advice….sit on the shady side…..folks on the other side were shading their eyes to get a good look.)
I found this to be a more intimate experience than other Disney parades. Maybe it’s the location, ….but, I like to believe that it’s the old Disney Magic, even for jaded grown-ups. This is the season for believing …right?