In recent months, we have seen entertainment make its way back into the parks; it may be slower than we’d like to see, but it’s still making its way back. It’s so exciting to see a parade make its way back into the parks because Magic Kingdom has been feeling a little empty without a parade, even though I love the cavalcades. Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade, in my opinion, has a special magical feeling and it fills my heart with so much joy.
As we have seen with the return of entertainment, many shows have experienced changes like cutting out sections to make the show shorter and removing partner work for safety reasons. Also important to note is that the parade will have two showtimes. For the first week of the parade’s return, the showtimes will be 11:30 am and 2:30 pm. Starting March 13th, the showtimes will be noon, and its original start time 3:00 pm. As of writing this, I have not seen anything indicating that it will go back to once-a-day showings.
Let’s start with all the changes they made to the parade. Initially, they had dancers at the start of the parade that did partner work before the parade’s first float. Now there are no dancers, meaning the parade immediately starts with the main float, which brings me to the next change. On the first few floats, typically, the princesses showcased would have their prince or, in Elsa’s case, their sister beside them. Now the parade starts with just Belle at the front without Beast. On the same float, we’d typically see Cinderella and Prince Charming, but now it’s just Cinderella. On that same float, the characters showcased used to be Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen, Elsa, and Anna. Now on that float, it’s only Tiana and Elsa.
Another noticeable change is that the number of dancers in each parade section has been cut in half, which was sad to see because it made it feel like there was less choreography. A change that I was not a fan of was that the Brave section of the parade had been cut from this version, so we didn’t get to see Merida. Some characters were taken off floats and put on the ground.
For example, Wendy used to be up on the ship with Peter Pan, but now she is on the ground dancing with the Lost Boys.
The same thing happened with Minnie Mouse; she is no longer on the float with Mickey at the end. She is now dancing with Daisy in front of the float. I am not a fan that they separated Mickey and Minnie.
Another noticeable change was that Maleficent did not breathe fire, which was a bummer. I was excited to see the breathing fire section of the parade because it’s just so cool to see happen in the middle of Magic Kingdom. Even with all these changes, the parade was still fun and I am just thankful that Magic Kingdom has a parade again.
Since the day Disney announced that Festival of Fantasy would be returning, I have felt nothing but excitement when thinking about March 9th, 2022. While I was driving to Magic Kingdom to see the parade, I turned on the soundtrack of the Festival of Fantasy, and I had tears in my eyes. As it got closer to parade time, I kept smiling because this is something I’ve been waiting for since the parks reopened. Watching the guests around me find their spots for the parade with smiles on their faces gave me a sense of normalcy and that everything is okay in the world, even though things aren’t. Disney is the one place where I can leave my worries at the door, so seeing others do the same just made me so happy. Disney entertainment is something that brings people together no matter where you are from or what language you speak; it’s beautiful. I was swaying and singing throughout the entire parade while waving at all of my favorite characters. It truly felt magical.
I am happy to see a parade back at Magic Kingdom, but I’m sad to see that there were a lot more changes that I thought there would be. On the bright side, to hear that soundtrack for the Festival of Fantasy parade brought major happiness to my heart and I can’t wait to see more entertainment come back to the parks. Next stop: meet and greets, please!
What is your favorite float from the Festival of Fantasy? Let us know in the comments.
Hi, I'm Erica, and I write about all things Disney. Before working for The DIS, I was a theme park performer at SeaWorld, but I also performed at Disney. I have such an immense love for theme parks to the point I studied them in college.