Festival of Fantasy Parade with Route and Photos
Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade is a once-daily performance you won’t want to miss during your Walt Disney World vacation. This article will preview the Festival of Fantasy Parade, its route, and a few photos of the floats and performers.
Since the parade has a rather long route, you’ll want to pick a viewing location that works for you. So we’ll go over those details too.
Dare I say that the Festival of Fantasy Parade might be the highlight of your Walt Disney World vacation?
As someone who spends a significant amount of time at Walt Disney World, I am constantly shocked at the number of people unaware that the Magic Kingdom has a daily parade.
This article was updated on January 23, 2023.
Over the years, I’ve met many guests on the ferry or monorail on the way to the Magic Kingdom. When I ask if they have plans to see the parade, the typical reply is, “what parade?”
Or they’ll mention the nighttime parade (Main Street Electrical Parade) and want to know when to see it. That parade hasn’t been at Walt Disney World in years!
Many guests have never even heard of the Festival of Fantasy Parade.
If you ask me, the Festival of Fantasy Parade is the #1 must-do event for everyone. From the extravagant units to the dazzling performers, this daily parade is sure to leave a smile on everyone’s face.
Festival of Fantasy Parade Times
Magic Kingdom’s Festival of Fantasy Parade steps off daily in Frontierland at 3:00 p.m. However, sometimes the parade is offered twice daily.
If so, the first parade usually begins at 12:00 p.m. and the second parade is at 3:00 p.m. For the exact time, the best thing to do is check the My Disney Experience App on the day of your visit. Or you can check the schedule here on Disney’s site.
To confirm the parade time, open the app and select the pin drop at the bottom of the screen. Then at the top, select entertainment from the dropdown menu.
You can filter Magic Kingdom on the top left-hand side to narrow your results. Then select show list (on the top right-hand side) for easier viewing. There you’ll find the Festival of Fantasy Parade listed with the time.
Most days the parade is listed at 3:00 p.m. However, during the holiday season, the parade time has been known to shift back to 2:00 p.m.
Additionally, you might find yourself at Magic Kingdom on a holiday like Easter or Independence Day and find that the parade is offered at different times.
Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade Route
If you happen to pick up a Magic Kingdom map on the day of your visit, you’ll see a dotted line showing the parade’s footprint on the map. Here is a look at the online version.
Above, the map shows a dark blue line marking the route of the Festival of Fantasy Parade. Frontierland, located on the far left-hand side, is where the parade begins.
This same route is used for all of the parades and cavalcades at Walt Disney World.
As you can see, the parade turns at Liberty Square to cross the bridge and head into the hub area. Then it circles the hub at Cinderella Castle before it continues down Main Street U.S.A.
Toward the end, the parade circles Town Square in front of the train station. Then it retreats through a gate behind the Emporium.
Guests can stand along the walkways of the parade route to get an up-close view. However, there are some benefits to specific viewing areas.
For instance, the Festival of Fantasy parade steps off in Frontierland. So, if you were to see it here from the beginning, you would be one of the first to finish viewing it.
There are two benefits to watching the parade here in Frontierland. First, several shaded areas are available on the left-hand side of the walkway if you get there early enough.
Secondly, you can head straight to Adventureland after the parade passes. There you can ride Pirates of the Caribbean or Jungle Cruise with minimal waits since the walkway has been closed off, eliminating traffic to the area during the parade.
Generally, we like to pick up a Dole Whip and find a spot in this area at least 30 minutes before the parade starts. You’ll likely want to find a spot with enough room for your children to sit on the front row and where you can stand behind them.
Often, the walking characters in the parade interact with the guests. The parade provides an excellent opportunity for children to see many of their favorite Disney characters in one location.
Plus, the interaction feels up close and personal. Trust me, they won’t forget these special moments.
Below, we have a view of the Festival of Fantasy Parade from Liberty Square. I’m standing diagonally across from the Hall of Presidents at this point in the picture.
This might be a good location if you intend to follow the parade into the hub. I have found this small strip between Cinderella Castle and Liberty Square to be one of the easiest places to walk up and get a decent last-minute spot.
However, it gets exceptionally crowded in this area when the parade passes. That’s because the walkway from Fantasyland will immediately re-open, and by that time, a large crowd will have formed.
If you end up in this crowd, I suggest waiting a few minutes for everyone to clear out after the parade passes. You won’t get anywhere faster trying to fight the traffic.
Another option for viewing the parade is around the exterior hub of Cinderella Castle. However, from time to time a portion of the interior circle around the castle hub is roped off for Disney Genie+.
Additionally, you can view the parade on Main St U.S.A. as it comes from Cinderella Castle. This is my preferred viewing area for all the parades.
One of the pros of viewing the parade from this point in the route is that you can see Cinderella Castle in the distance. It’s magical.
However, this is one of the most congested areas. Therefore, you’ll need to find a decent spot well before the parade.
If you decide to view the parade on Main Street, I recommend getting a spot on the curb at least 45 minutes to an hour before the parade starts.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much shade on either side of the street. So make sure to have ample sunscreen applied.
Lastly, you can view the Festival of Fantasy Parade from the center of Town Square. Sometimes the flag pole interior in Town Square is reserved for guests who have purchased a special dining package with parade viewing privileges.
If the interior area is roped off, you can still view the parade from the exterior parameter of Town Square. One of my preferences for this location is to find an empty rocking chair on the front porch of Town Square Theater. It won’t be the best view possible, but it will be pleasant and relaxed.
If you opt to view the parade from Town Square, you can meet the characters at Town Square Theater immediately afterward. When the parade concludes, wait times have usually dropped for Mickey Mouse.
Related: Meet Mickey Mouse at Magic Kingdom
Festival of Fantasy Parade Floats
Disney’s Festival of Fantasy parade has some of the most eye-catching floats. Additionally, the performer’s costumes are exquisite.
Here we have the Swan dancers in full costume as they kick off the parade in Frontierland. They are ahead of the magnificent princess float!
Beauty and the Beast typically head up the first float. Festivities begin with the parade’s catchy tune exploding over the loudspeaker.
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing “It’s the Festival of Fantasy!” for the remainder of the day. Hey, I catch myself singing it daily around 3:00 p.m. even when I’m not at Magic Kingdom.
Toward the middle of this float, Cinderella’s birds and mice are busy making Cinderella’s dress for the ball. This portion of the float turns. On the opposite side, you’ll see Cinderella with Prince Charming.
Here they are.
At the back of the float, another rotating element features Frozen sisters Anna and Elsa.
On the other side, you’ll see Prince Naveen and Tiana. Prince Naveen wasn’t present the day I took this photo.
Next up are the dancers ahead of the Tangled unit. These performers and their vibrant costumes are a sight to behold.
Here is a quick video clip of the Tangled float as it passes.
This unit is hard to admire closely because it passes so quickly. But it’s an elaborate float with fun moving elements.
Ariel is not far behind in The Little Mermaid float. This parade unit consists of various dancers representing sea life. The whole thing is bright and cheerful!
You can tell how close the performers are to the front row.
Ariel rides through in a clamshell bedazzled with pearls! Sea horse performers follow her.
Look at Sebastian leading the procession.
Ariel waves to the crowd as she sails through.
Peter Pan’s unit comes next in the Festival of Fantasy Parade!
I almost forgot to mention The Lost Boys! They head up this float as they dance through, entertaining the crowd.
These guys are styled perfectly!
Peter Pan and Wendy wave from high above!
Related: Meet Peter Pan at Disney World
Of course, don’t forget the evil villain Captain Hook! There’s our love-to-hate pirate himself, swinging from the ship’s anchor.
Tinker Bell balances things out as she rides on the back of the float, sprinkling pixie dust.
Mr. Smee can usually be seen wandering along behind the Peter Pan Float.
Here is a view of the back of the float as it continues along the route.
Irish dancers representing Brave are not far behind.
They put on a fun show.
It’s challenging to say which group of performers is the best. They are all truly exceptional. I always marvel at their effort in this parade, especially during the hot temperatures combined with their costumes and performances.
Merida stands tall, waving above the crowd!
Related: Meet Merida at Magic Kingdom
Look closely, her baby bear brothers are also on the float!
Maleficent’s Dragon in the Festival of Fantasy Parade
One of the things the Festival of Fantasy Parade is most known for is the Sleeping Beauty unit featuring Maleficent’s dragon. This unit starts with the three fairy godmothers as they zoom through on motorized devices. Their movement appears flawless.
Behind them is Prince Phillip, preparing to do battle with the dragon.
Here is a video of the dragon approaching and breathing fire toward the sky! This float is one of the parade’s most unique and anticipated moments.
Maleficent’s fire-breathing dragon towers above the crowd as a dominating presence.
Her mechanisms move as her head tilts toward the sky every few moments to let out a breath of fire.
In addition to the parade units, there are a few more unique characters in the parade who do not have dedicated meet-and-greets.
For instance, if you are interested in seeing the Seven Dwarfs, this is your chance! Unfortunately, the only other time to meet with them throughout the year is during the Halloween and Christmas parties.
Related: Characters at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
They do a little dance number as they interact with the crowd.
Here is a closer look at Grumpy and the gang!
It’s also an excellent opportunity to see White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.
The last float before the finale combines the classic movies Fantasia and Pinocchio. These dancers start the party, and their outfits are among my favorite costumes.
The ruffles in their bows are full of balloon-like features. They also have flags and balloons extending from their hats!
Pinocchio is riding on the whale that swallowed him whole in the movie!
He is followed by Fantasia and Dumbo classics.
Daisy Duck even found a spot on the parade float!
You might even see some circus performers doing a balancing act on swings from an elephant’s trunk!
Pluto is waving toward the end, wearing a fabulous star medal!
Goofy is usually not far behind.
Chip and Dale tend to make an appearance. I’m not sure which one is which, but it’s something about the nose. One has a red nose and one black to differentiate.
Related: Meet Chip and Dale at Disney World
Mickey and Minnie round things out at the end by blowing kisses and waving to the crowd. The pair are tucked safely in Mickey’s Airship as they float along the route.
They are escorted by a few performers as well!
Here is a quick video of the parade headed down Disney’s World’s Main Street USA.
Final Thoughts on the Festival of Fantasy Parade
Hopefully, this photo post helped solidify your decision to make the Festival of Fantasy Parade a must-do on your Walt Disney World vacation.
If not, Ariel sent a message warning everyone not to swim with the tide but to head to the parade route at Magic Kingdom on their visit.
I hope you enjoyed the photos, picked up some tips for the route, and were able to decide on a viewing area for the Festival of Fantasy Parade.
If you’re planning a Walt Disney World vacation, you might like to check out some of our resources, like the list of Walt Disney World Resorts.
For planning dining reservations, we have a full list of Disney restaurant reviews. Usually, we recommend planning at least one Disney World character dining meal and a Disney signature dining reservation.
If you plan to meet characters in the parks, I keep an updated list of Disney World Characters. That article links to every character meet available in the four parks.
Lastly, our most popular articles include the best restaurants at Disney Springs and a timeline of Disney backpacks.
In the Comments
What is your favorite float unit in the Festival of Fantasy Parade? Where do you plan to see the parade during your visit to Magic Kingdom?