There have been many changes as the Disney Parks reopened to Guests. One big change was the absence of Disney Parades. However, I am okay if Disney Parades never return to Walt Disney World.
Festival of Fantasy Parade
Prior to the Park closures, my (Donna) touring plan for the Magic Kingdom would always include watching the Festival of Fantasy Parade. We absolutely loved this special opportunity to see our family’s favorite characters. Each of my children had their favorites.
My teen son loved Maleficent as a fire-breathing dragon. He would simply bide his time as the many princesses would come floating down Main Street. He was overjoyed when he could spy the stilt walking vines and the villainous ravens clearing the path for Maleficent.
This was really the only aspect of this parade that he loved, but it was enough to keep him from wanting to ride other attractions.
My oldest daughter loved seeing Merida as she appeared triumphant on her bagpipe inspired float. You could even spy her brothers hiding aboard this float.
Our youngest daughter is a huge fan of Chip ‘n Dale. During one visit to the Magic Kingdom, my daughter insisted on bringing her Chip ‘n Dale stuffed animals into the Park. As we patiently waited along Main Street for the start of the parade, she set up both of the Chip ‘n Dale stuffed animals beside her.
As the grand finale of the parade commenced, Mickey and his pals greeted Guests on Main Street. Chip ‘n Dale made their way down the street and Chip spotted my youngest daughter with her favorite chipmunk stuffed animals. He left the parade route and came to get a closer look at my daughter’s favorite Chip stuffed animal. This was such a magical moment.
I share all of these special memories to state my case that I absolutely love parades. We have experienced many magical memories during the Disney parades. However, I have now come to the realization that I’m okay if the Festival of Fantasy parade does not return.
Our Last Festival of Fantasy Parade
My family had the wonderful opportunity to visit Walt Disney World in February 2020. At that time, we had no idea that our world was going to drastically change in less than a month.
My princesses and I had a dream to enjoy the Festival of Fantasy Parade near Cinderella Castle. We sat in our place for thirty minutes prior to the parade. As the time for the parade was drawing closer, a family came and sat right in front of us.
A young princess was standing behind me. I stayed seated so she could see the parade easier. Halfway through the parade, it was a bit less magical than I had hoped. I felt bubble solution from her bubble wand dripping down my back as she yelled, “Hey Turtle!” as Jiminy Cricket was passing by.
Magic Kingdom was very busy that day, and this was not the experience that we had hoped for. This less than magical moment gave me a new appreciation as Walt Disney World announced that they would offer Character Cavalcades, Motorcades, and Flotillas in place of parades upon reopening.
New Character Interactions
Throughout the day at Walt Disney World, Guests can enjoy special character cavalcades in all 4 of the Walt Disney Parks. My absolute favorite is the Magic Kingdom Cavalcade featuring Mickey Mouse and his friends.
This cavalcade featured the same great music and character outfits as the “Get Your Ears On” dance party in honor of Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday celebration. I have been able to enjoy this Cavalcade at least three times on our trips to the Magic Kingdom. Each time I embarrass my kids as I dance along with Mickey and his pals.
Why I think Cavalcades are Magical
What is awesome is that Character Cavalcades are available in three of the four the Walt Disney World Parks. Epcot no longer hosts the cavalcades. Prior to the Park closures only Magic Kingdom hosted a daytime parade. This is great news for Guests visiting Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.
What I absolutely love about these Character Cavalcades is that they appear randomly and so frequently that you can enjoy them throughout the day. Now there is no need to spend 30 minutes to an hour reserving your place for the parade later that day.
Due to the frequency of these Character Cavalcades, the crowds are substantially smaller for these cavalcades. This has led to greater interactions with characters for each of our family members.
A special holiday overlay was given to the Character Cavalcades for both Halloween and Christmas to the delight of Guests. You can use Character Locator to find updated information for all of the great Character Cavalcades and Pop-Up Characters.
What I absolutely love about these Character Cavalcades is that they appear randomly and so frequently that you can enjoy them throughout the day.
The new “Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade” began on October 1, 2021. All of the great costumes and hear the celebration song for this fun Cavalcade can be viewed HERE.
Guests can enjoy a new “Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade” for Magic Kingdom’s 50th Anniversary.
Missing Meet and Greets
All this being said, I think we can all agree that we are missing a hug from Mickey Mouse about right now. Character Cavalcades are in place of the Festival of Fantasy Parade, but they are also in place of character meet and greets as well.
We will have modified meet and greets coming in November, which you can read about HERE. While they won’t be the same, it is a small step in the right direction.
My family is trying to be patient as wait to interact with our favorite characters. As much as we love the Character Cavalcades they will never replace these character meet and greets.
I do hope that even as things continue to return to “normal” that the Character Cavalcades may be a permanent addition to our Walt Disney Park experience. These are such a fun magical “extra” that allows the Disney Parks to come to life as we rush from attraction to attraction.
I do hope that even as things continue to return to “normal” that the Character Cavalcades may be a permanent addition to our Walt Disney Park experience.
What do you think about the Character Cavalcades? Do you hope that they may stay around for years to come? Would you rather the Festival of Fantasy parade return? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook Page.