Disney offers Lightning Lane access for Magic Kingdom’s Festival of Fantasy parade, but is it worth it? We checked into this, and we are here to report our findings.
Festival of Fantasy Parade
Magic Kingdom’s daytime parade, Festival of Fantasy is back! It did not resume with the reopening of Disney Parks in July 2020. While cavalcades replaced the parade, it appears both will now entertain Guests visiting The Most Magical Place on Earth.
While the parade has returned, it did return with several changes. You can read about those few changes HERE. Though there are a few changes to the parade, we are all delighted to see that Maleficent the Dragon is back!
Be sure to check Character Locator for showtimes for Festival of Fantasy and other Disney World entertainment.
Lightning Lane Access
Like attractions and even a character experience, Disney offers Lightning Lane access for Festival of Fantasy. It gives you a dedicated section right in between the Partners Statue and the Castle.
As a reminder, you must wait until after you have tapped in to the current Lightning Lane or waited two hours to obtain another Lightning Lane. Depending on the season, this could mean the difference between a 1:00 pm Peter Pan’s Flight or a 7:00 pm Peter Pan’s Flight or no return time at all!
Having this bit of information, is it worth using a Lightning Lane on Festival of Fantasy? Here is what we found.
On the day of our visit, Festival of Fantasy ran at 12:00 pm. We checked in at 11:45 am by heading over to the Partners Statue. There are Cast Members checking for Lightning Lanes before allowing you to enter the roped off area.
Since the parade does not reach Main Street until roughly 12:15, we had about 30 minutes to wait. We were two rows back, so if you want a front row spot I would get there at about 45 minutes before the parade is schedule to enter Main Street. That is almost one hour of waiting.
Once the parade came, we got some wonderful photos of the floats with Cinderella Castle as the backdrop. They were stunning! Remember, though, that once the parade is done in your area it still has the rest of the parade route to go! We were heading out of the park, so by the time we made it down towards Main Street we were able to watch the parade a second time.
We had the same view of the parade, if not better! There were not nearly as many people near the train station. We were able to walk right up to the edge of the sidewalk with only one row of people in front of us.
When we recommend it
We only recommend getting a Lightning Lane for Festival of Fantasy for two reasons: pictures and crowds. If you want photos of the parade with Cinderella Castle in the background, there are only two spots to get this. One is in the roped off Lightning Lane area and the other is at the end of Main Street in front of Roy and Minnie’s statue.
Second, if you are visiting the Magic Kingdom during a very busy time (the week of Christmas/New Year or Spring Break), we recommend getting a Lightning Lane. Now, that means you will need to be more strategic in your Lightning Lane strategy because return times will be later than normal. This may mean you rope drop of using Extended Evening Hours as well.
You can continue grabbing Lightning Lanes, but if you want to use one for Festival of Fantasy it is a bit trickier. If the show runs twice a day you may have to wait until the second show. If it only runs once a day, Lightning Lanes may “sell out” with no notice. Then, you are out of luck.
When we do not recommend it
Here is why we don’t normally recommend it. We had roughly 30 minutes of waiting and still did not have a front row spot to the parade. Had we gotten there earlier for a better spot, that would have increased to about 45 minutes…those are precious park minutes you could spend doing other things.
We had the same view of the parade as we were leaving Magic Kingdom, and there was no waiting involved. You could easily wander up to Frontierland or Liberty Square a few minutes before the parade and have a decent view as well. If you watch it from the start of the parade route, you can run off to the next attraction while everyone else is waiting for the parade to reach them.
In short, if you are visiting during a less busy time and do not care about viewing the parade from a certain spot, you almost always do not need a Lightning Lane for Festival of Fantasy.
Do you ever use Lightning Lanes for Festival of Fantasy, or do you prefer not to? Let us know in the comments below and on Facebook.