The Magic Kingdom's Festival of Fantasy Parade

Over the years I haven't been known to be much of a parade fan. However, on my last trip to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom I was absolutely blown away by my first viewing of the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade. Just a little over a year old (it debuted February 10th, 2014) this is a production on a grand scale and kicks off in the afternoon to continue the Disney tradition of classic parades in the Magic Kingdom. More than 100 elaborately costumed cast members, spin, twirl, and promenade their way through down the Parade route, which runs from Frontierland to Main Street USA. The high energy show includes Disney characters from more than a dozen classic stories and includes nine dramatic parade floats.

Disney's Festival of Fantasy ParadeDisney's Festival of Fantasy Parade

Lead through the Park by a two sets of swan dancers the lead float of the Princess Garden features Beauty and the Beast on the front a float that stretches more than 50 feet. Cinderella and Prince Charming are featured on the opposite side of a spinning representation of Cinderella's pink gown being made by her animal friends. The flowery setting gives way to ice and snow where fans can see the most recent of Disney's royalty, Princess Ana and Queen Elsa.

Belle and Beast Grace The Lead FloatBelle and Beast Grace The Lead Float
Spinning Cinderella Gown Reveals The Princess and Her PrinceSpinning Cinderella Gown Reveals The Princess and Her Prince

Next come the springtime dancing girls and an ambitious mime that brings the fun Rapunzel float into view. Flynn Rider and his Roustabout friends hang from a viking ship bedecked with swinging hammers and axes as it rides intricately carved waves - before we dive under the sea.

The elaborate costumes worn during the production were crafted by 10 different costume houses, in eight cities, and two countries. They include 27 custom designed fabrics, 3D printing headpieces that were digitally sculpted and then grown on a 3D printer. According to Disney Parks Blog, the coral pieces for the Coral Twin dancers were "hand poured in three separate colors by the artisans of the Creative Costuming Craft Team, and then baked for 16 hours each in an oven." The result is a stunning explosion of colorful sea life that is brought to life by the performer gracefully dancing along.

Rapunzel's Braid Stretches 36 Feet Across The Viking SHipRapunzel's Braid Stretches 36 Feet Across The Viking SHip
Vibrant Coral Dances Along The Parade RouteVibrant Coral Dances Along The Parade Route
Ariel Holds Court Above a Symphony Of Aquatic LifeAriel Holds Court Above a Symphony Of Aquatic Life

After Ariel's party under the sea, the Lost Boys played along the parade route ahead of my favorite float in the show. The Jolly Roger flies above a rainbow atop the Peter Pan float to a height of feet above the parade route. Peter and Wendy wave from the ship that navigates the sky over Never Land. Skull Rock and Pixie Hollow are beautifully represented on this spectacular float, with everyone's favorite fairy playfully waving from the back.

The height of this Parade is one of its finest points, giving a great view even to guests that aren't able to snag a spot on the curb. Even through the constraints of a parade, the Disney Characters strive to offer Guests personal attention. My daughter Katie (who was Disney-bounding as Peter Pan that day) was spotted by the leader of the Lost Boys from high atop the parade float and made a connection with his twin even in a sea of people.

Neverland Offers Sparkling Kinetic FunNeverland Offers Sparkling Kinetic Fun
Everyone's Favorite Fairy Hams It UpEveryone's Favorite Fairy Hams It Up

Merida's pink and green bag pipe float was adorable, from the high energy dancers and Scottish Highland music, to the fun animatronic brothers in their baby bear form. This spunky Princess continues to steal my heart.

Next came the tribute to Sleeping Beauty, that thrilled my girls with flittering fairies, and a sword wielding Prince Phillip preparing to fight what has become the real star of this show. A giant steampunk-inspired Maleficent Dragon that stretches 53 feet from snout to tail and reaches 26 feet in the air before letting our a mighty roar and breathing fire. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment team members partnered with the Tony Award-winning designer Michael Curry on development of the truly magnificent Maleficent.

Spunky Merida Celebrates In Highland StyleSpunky Merida Celebrates In Highland Style
Prince Phillip Prepares For BattlePrince Phillip Prepares For Battle
The Magnificent Maleficent DragonThe Magnificent Maleficent Dragon

The next group of Character to parade by were classic favorites from Alice in Wonderland, along with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Once again showing how much care these cast members put into their performance, the Mad Hatter stuck around by us to play around a bit with Katie and a guy across the street that was also wearing a Peter Pan hat.

Characters from Snow White and Alice In WonderlandCharacters from Snow White and Alice In Wonderland
The Mad Hatter Stayed To Play A Bit With GuestsThe Mad Hatter Stayed To Play A Bit With Guests

Pleasure Island is up next leading a trio of finale floats that span more than 90 feet along the parade route with a cacophony of characters from Pinocchio, Fantasia, and the Fab 5. Spinning and twirling performers in vivid candy colors, aerialists flying above the crowds, all leading to the finale.

Paradise Island Lives On In A Trio of Parade FloatsParadise Island Lives On In A Trio of Parade Floats
Aerialist Swing High Above the CrowdAerialist Swing High Above the Crowd

Mickey's Airship finale float is the tallest of them all topping out at 32 feet high. He and Minnie Mouse wave to their Guests from a colorful balloon, that honestly reminds me of the Minnie Mouse's Dress and Hat sports no less than 95 gold lame "blinged out dots. She's ever the fashionable mouse.

Mickey's Airship Creates A Grand FinaleMickey's Airship Creates A Grand Finale
See You Real Soon!See You Real Soon!

I was impressed with the completeness of this production, so much more than just a parade, it's a rolling show which spins the story of Disney tales using a sparkling kaleidoscope of sensory excitement. Even if you're not a big parade fan, the Festival of Fantasy is worth your time.

Have you seen this recent addition to the Magic Kingdom? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought!

alicemouse wrote on Wed, 03/18/2015 - 18:33:

alicemouse's picture

I love this parade! Your pictures are great, Kristen, but friends you've really got to see this one in person. Even the YouTube videos don't do it justice. It's beautiful live!

Spook wrote on Thu, 03/19/2015 - 00:42:

Spook's picture

This is my favourite parade ever!

Debbie wrote on Fri, 03/20/2015 - 01:42:

Debbie's picture

Saw this parade in November at the end of the Backstage Magic Tour. It was fabulous! So good we went back to see it again the next day. Best parades every!

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