Pic credit: nathanb626 on Instagram
Away we go…it’s a Festival of Fantasy appreciation post! I’ve been wanting to make this post for a really long time, and now it’s finally happening. Cheers to the parade that makes you feel like you’re literally in about a dozen movies at once…movies that go as far from the path of reality as you can imagine. Shows like this one define what theme parks are all about.
Festival of Fantasy is the 3:00 pm parade at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. The parade made its debut on March 9th in 2014 to celebrate the New Fantasyland expansion. The parade’s interactive characters, unique soundtrack (see video on Facebook page), and, of course, intricate floats make this parade a highlight of any Disney vacation.
Tips and Tricks:
-If you truly want to enjoy this parade, do not get in line for a ride or meet and greet after 2:00 pm. Around 2:30 pm is the time to secure a good spot for the parade, so use this time for a late lunch or snack. This way, you will not waste any more time in your day. Cast Members will begin to block off the streets with rope, so you will know exactly where to go.
–Use your Magic Kingdom map. It has Festival of Fantasy’s exact route on it, so you will absolutely know if you’re in a good spot!
–Wheelchairs have an extreme advantage. If you or a member of your party are wheelchair bound, don’t fret! You are likely to get a prime seat!
*THIS TIP IS FOR WHEELCHAIR BOUND PEOPLE ONLY.
–Stick to a good side of the street. If you think you might need to use the restroom five minutes before the parade and the restroom is on the left side of the street, stick to the left. The same thing goes for if you decide you want a candy bar a few minutes before it starts. The closer to 3:00 pm, the more of a hassle it is to cross the street.
–Don’t stand by flashy people. If you want characters to notice you, your sibling, your child, etc, you want to stand out. Try not to stand by someone who will steal your spotlight. For example, don’t stand next to the little girl with a full blown Ariel costume on while your daughter is a big Ariel fan, yet she is only wearing Ariel flip flops. This may seem like a selfish and nerdy tip, but hey, do you want to know how to enjoy this parade or not?
–Wear something with your favorite characters on it! Well, this kind of goes with the last tip.
–Be enthusiastic, but realistic. If you wave at characters, they will wave at you back. That’s how this parade works. The “be realistic” part was added, because let’s be honest. If you wave at Phillip from Sleeping Beauty, he probably won’t wave at you since he’s “fighting” a dragon. If you wave at the dragon, it probably won’t wave at you because it’s not real.
–Try not to get the music in your head. Good luck. MWAHAHAHAHA.
Princess Garden-This is the float that begins Festival of Fantasy. As you can tell, this float is comprised of Disney Princesses. Belle and the Beast, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Tiana and Naveen, and Anna and Elsa occupy the unit. At the very beginning of Festival of Fantasy’s run, Aurora was in the place of Anna and Elsa from Frozen. Due to the success of Frozen, Aurora was given the boot and Anna, Elsa, and Olaf found a home on the parade. The unit includes “swan” dancers. The soundtrack includes Beauty and The Beast, A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes, For The First Time In Forever, and Let It Go.
This float is a great starter, because it really sets the tone for the rest of the parade. It’s basically saying, “Wow, look at all of your favorite characters on floats! Look at all of the details! Isn’t this cool?” I loved each princess’ little section, because although they were small, they were packed with quite a bit. Also, I am one of those “Frozen is overrated” people. I feel like the representation they have in this parade is great, because it’s nothing too spectacular and it’s not overshadowing everything else for once. And two frozen songs?! Really?! Tiana doesn’t even have one song! However, Anna did wave at my little sister!
Tangled-This is the second float in the Festival of Fantasy parade. The float itself is a boat designed to model The Snuggly Duckling pub from the movie. Rapunzel stands at the tip of the boat (while her hair cascades across the entire unit), while Flynn Rider and two pub thugs stand on swinging axes in the center. Sculptures of Pascal, Maximus, Shorty, and Milton are also on the unit. Ulf the Mime and “Floral Maidens” accompany the float. The soundtrack includes I’ve Got a Dream and When Will My Life Begin.
I love Tangled very, very, very, very, very, very much…but really, who doesn’t? If you need to be convinced, listen here to Alan Menken’s one minute montage of Grammy award winning I See The Light’s instrumental. That clip is literally all you need for you to know that this movie is legit.
Here is another short video of Tangled’s directors talking about how ground-breaking the film is. “It’s all about the story.”
Good. Now you are acquainted with how amazing this movie is.
Annnnnnd I’m supposed to be discussing the float…not the actual movie…right. When I first saw Festival of Fantasy, I actually didn’t even know there was a Tangled unit. The first thing I saw was the mime running down the street, and it immediately registered in my brain that more Tangled was on its way. I was so excited, because Tangled is one of my favorite things ever. Then came Rapunzel! I caught this photo as she gave us a big smile! This was probably because I was wearing a shirt with her and Flynn on it.
Then, the thugs and Flynn Rider swung through. Flynn noticed my shirt with him and Rapunzel on it and pointed at me and then himself, like, “Hey, we’re on your shirt, that’s cool!” It was pretty funny and great at the same time. Remember my tip? Wear something with your favorite characters on it!
The Little Mermaid: This is the third installment in the Festival of Fantasy parade. Ariel (as a mermaid) sits on top of a large, whimsical, underwater pedestal topped with a sea shell. All of her fish friends surround her, in the form if street performers and scuptures on the float. The songs for this float on the parade’s soundtrack include Kiss the Girl, Part of that World, and Under the Sea.
This float is extremely colorful and fun to look at. Since Ariel is the only real person on the float, all attention is usually directed toward her. You can try to get her to wave at you if you wish, but don’t miss all of the details of the float! It’s gorgeous!
Pic credit: damouse.com
Peter Pan: This unit is the fourth float in the Festival of Fantasy parade. It features four characters from the classic film: Peter Pan, Wendy Darling, Captain Hook, and Tinker Bell. This unit includes a ship on top of a rainbow, where Peter Pan and Wendy are perched. Captain Hook is below the rainbow, standing on an anchor. Tinker Bell sits on a sunflower on the back of the float. The float is preceded by the Lost Boys, and is followed by The crocodile and Mr. Smee. The soundtrack for this float includes A Pirate’s Life, You Can Fly, The Elegant Captain Hook, The Second Star to the Right, and Following the Leader.
Here’s another float where there are so many cool things to look at that you don’t know where to look. Here’s another tip: While Peter Pan and Wendy are probably your favorite characters from Peter Pan, don’t focus all of your attention on them, since they are more likely to interact with each other than the crowd. Take a look at the beautifully crafted ship. Also, see if you’ll get a nod from Tinker Bell or Captain Hook…they have no one to interact with so they are more likely to reach out to the audience. Mr. Smee is most likely to interact with the guests since he walks freely. He even gave my sister a hug! This is one of the more colorful floats, and Tinker Bell is a bit of a surprise since she was placed on the back of the unit.
Brave: This unit is the fifth installment in the parade. It features Merida on top of a float inspired by Brave, which includes a bagpipe, a crown, and her triplet brothers as bears. The float is surrounded by Scottish dancers. The soundtrack to this float includes Remember to Smile, Fate & Destiny, and Touch the Sky.
In my opinion, Brave is such an underrated movie, and I’m so glad that this float was included. It may not be as extravagant as the others, but it is still Festival of Fantasy worthy. The soundtrack adds to the float, and for a brief moment, you feel as if you are in the midst of a festival on Scottish terrain. A main reason I am a Brave fan is that I had such an awesome experience with the Merida face character in Magic Kingdom. Actually, that’s my current profile picture on this blog…Merida and me! The movie’s not to shabby, also. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it.
Sleeping Beauty: This unit is the parade’s sixth installment based on the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty. Although Aurora herself is not featured in this unit, Prince Phillip, Maleficent as a dragon, the Three Good Fairies, ravens, and performers in thorny costumes are present. Prince Phillip battles the evil Maleficent in the form of an animatronic dragon as she spews fire over the Magic Kingdom streets. Flora, Fauna, and Merrywhether flutter by to assist Phillip, while the ravens and performers covered in thorns surround them. The soundtrack includes A Cottage in the Woods, Battle with the Forces of Evil, Hail to the Princess Aurora, and Once Upon a Dream.
This is my second favorite float in the entire parade, behind Tangled, of course. The main reason it’s so awesome is because of the Dragon. It’s 26 feet tall and it breathes fire. You seriously can’t get much cooler than that. Also, children won’t be scared, because you can see the people operating the Dragon. It’s not made to be life-like. It’s just meant to be cool…and like I said, did a great job.
Also, congratulations to the Disney team for making the battle between Phillip and the Dragon seem somewhat legit and not lame.
Pic credit: unknown user on flickr.com
But the question is…why is there no Aurora? Like I said earlier, Aurora once stood where Anna and Elsa are now in the parade during the Princess Garden sequence. That being said, I do not believe that it wouldn’t have been hard to craft a rolling bed, stick a sleeping Aurora face character on it, and have her follow the Dragon animatronic. It would add to the story and make it seem more like Sleeping Beauty. This way, she would still be included, and actually in her own unit this time. If you include the fairies, you have to include Aurora.
Now, I will stand by my phone and wait for the call that I’m hired on Disney’s Creative Team. 👍
Finale: This unit is the seventh and final installment in Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade. It features many of Walt Disney’s classic movies, such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, Fantasia, and characters in the Mickey Mouse franchise. The float itself holds a carnival with all of the characters represented on it. Snow White, the Dwarfs, Alice, Mad Hatter, The White Rabbit, Pluto, Goofy, and Bubble Girls from Storybook Circus walk the streets while Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Pinocchio, and swinging performers are stationed on the float. The soundtrack includes Mickey Mouse Club March, Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, When You Wish Upon a Star, I’ve Got No Strings, Whistle While You Work, and When I See an Elephant Fly.
What better way is there to end a Disney parade than with Mickey and Minnie in a hot air balloon? With movies like Tangled, Brave, and Frozen stealing this Disney spotlight lately, it’s great to see that Disney will always capitalize on the movies that started it all…with a carnival! You have to truly admire Disney’s creativity sometimes. There’s a carnival in Pinocchio, a circus in Dumbo, and a crazy amount of color in Fantasia, so why not put it all together? That’s exactly what Disney did for its Festival of Fantasy Finale, and the result is spectacular.
If you are making a trip to Magic Kingdom in the near future, go see this parade. It’s completely worth it…even if you aren’t an avid Disney movie watcher.
You can experience Festival of Fantasy here!