Tips for Magic Kingdom Parade Watching

What time is the 3 o'clock parade is a popular question cast members at the Magic Kingdom are asked over and over again. In fact, they've even made a t-shirt with the question on it. But, if you want to be a little savvier than that, here are a few tips for Magic Kingdom parade viewing.

Alice in Wonderland Parade FloatAlice in Wonderland Parade Float
Know Your Times: At Town Square, near the entrance, pick up a Guide Map and the Times Guide, which lists show times, character greeting times, the parade schedule and any special hours for attractions and restaurants. Just in case you were wondering, that 3 o'clock parade, it's held at 3:00 p.m.

Cinderella's Pumpkin FloatCinderella's Pumpkin Float

Curbside Viewing: Though you can see the parade floats and characters on them easily from a few rows of people back, you miss the fun curbside interaction with the walking characters. If you want your parade watching experience to be even more magical, be sure to find a curbside spot 30 minutes to an hour early and stake your claim!

Fairy Godmother Taken w/ Zoom from Three Rows BackFairy Godmother Taken w/ Zoom from Three Rows Back
Location Location Location: Grab a spot in Frontierland near the Shooting Gallery for a great parade view with fewer crowds to fight. Be sure to stake out your spot at least 30 minutes before the parade is scheduled to begin.

The Main Street Train station balcony is usually crowded but definitely an awesome spot. Arrive early though, as there are only a handful of seats and even standing space is at a bit of a premium.

Mary Poppins and BurtMary Poppins and Burt
Refresh: Even through you're moving in and out of the sun while touring, when waiting for a parade you will often have direct exposure. Take this time waiting for the parade to reapply sunscreen and rehydrate; it's a great chance to refresh before heading off to tour again.

Not A Parade Fan: If you don't mind missing the parade, queues for even the most popular rides are usually significantly shorter during parade times, especially in areas that the parade doesn't go through such as Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, and Adventureland.

Don't Forget the Nighttime Parades Too!Don't Forget the Nighttime Parades Too!
Be Aware: Parades are sometimes canceled due to bad weather. When I was 19 I spent two hours sitting on a Main Street curb in the pouring rain waiting for the Easter Parade. No matter what you see on Disney TV Parades, it's not always sunny in Florida and they can be canceled due to inclement weather.

What are your Parade Viewing secrets? Leave a comment and share with us your best-laid parade plans.

Phil wrote on Wed, 11/14/2012 - 20:54:

Phil's picture

We love sitting at the Train Station. We will get some snacks and drinks before we sit there. It helps pass the time. Also, in the fall, with the time change, if you wait at the Train Station after the 3 o'clock parade you can watch the retirement of the American Flag ceremony.

Kristen K. wrote on Sat, 11/17/2012 - 15:41:

Kristen K.'s picture

Great tip about the Flag ceremony Phil! Thanks so much for sharing it!

jackson wrote on Mon, 02/01/2016 - 17:51:

jackson's picture

I've heard that right after the 3:00 parade if you head AGAINST traffic to Adventureland, it will be deserted.... I don't know if that's true though. I'm going in April and I'll test this out!

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 02/01/2016 - 19:12:

Kristen K.'s picture

I also find Adventureland is often slow during (and thus right after) the Parade. Let us know how it goes in April for you. :-)

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