Magic Kingdom Parade Viewing Tips from a Disney Insider
When I look back on my experience as a Walt Disney World Cast Member, I have to say that one of my favorite positions was on Main Street U.S.A. as a member of the Parade Audience Control Cast. Being a part of the Main Street family, I got to be involved with almost every single Magic Kingdom parade, every holiday party, and every special event and got to interact with thousands of guests as they planned their day around these magical performances.
I may have left that role, but I still love helping future guests plan for these highly anticipated events in the most stress-free manner possible. Here are my Top 6 Tips for viewing Magical Kingdom’s most enchanting spectacles.
1. Don’t be “that guy” who just wings it!
Without a doubt, you know that Disney is known for their exceptional service and phenomenal pageantry. In my experience, tensions have always run high between those who plan for Disney and those who don’t. DON’T be the person who stumbles on to the parade route at 2:55 pm for a 3:00 pm parade and butt your way in with those who have been there for an hour. Plan ahead. Read up about the parades offered at your time of travel, determine which work best with your schedule and for your family, and plan to arrive early for a good spot.
2. Utilize your Fast Passes!
Hand-in-hand with planning, Fast Pass+ allows you to redeem one of your daily Fast Passes for some prime viewing locations hassle-free using My Disney Experience. If you book your tickets in advance and can select these opportunities for your travel party – take advantage! It will not only provide prime viewing spots but will save you from the time and stress of extending waiting.
3. Pick up a park map and entertainment guide at the park entrance.
If you weren’t lucky enough to secure a Fast Pass spot or your visit is a bit more impromptu, then heed this tip! This rule applies to ALL Walt Disney World parks. Everyone’s day starts at the main entrance, and every single entrance has a plethora of park maps in a multitude of languages to help you plan your day. DON’T just select your park map. Remember to pick up a white one-page entertainment times guide as well. This will be an invaluable tool in recalling “what time the 3 o’clock parade” occurs and any additional special events that may have been added to the schedule. Don’t see one of these handy dandy guides? Stop into guest relations and ask for a copy.
4. Determine the parade route.
Not only can your map help guide you around the park, but it can also share with you the route which all parades will take. Look for small red dots along Main Street and into Frontierland. That is the route which all parades follow and along which you can plan to find great viewing opportunities. BONUS: Ask a Cast Member which direction the parade “steps off.” Depending on the time of day (and sometimes even the weather!) certain parades start in Frontierland and end at Main Street, while others are the opposite. A great rule of thumb is that the afternoon display typically begins in Frontierland, while evening events run the reverse direction. This will help in determining the approximate time the parade will actually reach your viewing location.
5. Use Cast Members!
As always, Cast Members are there to help make your experience as magical as possible. Aside from asking about the parade direction, seek assistance in making sure that your selected viewing area is not a walkway or an emergency exit. Also, please remember to be kind if they ask that your child not sit atop a fence or trash can. It is for your safety and those around you that they make these requests.
6. Enjoy later show times.
Unfortunately not all Magic Kingdom or other park’s performances occur multiple times a day but when they do – take advantage! Magic Kingdom’s evening parade almost always has two show times, the second of which is always less attended. Little ones in your travel party? Take a break mid-day to return to the resort for a quick nap so they have the energy to make it through a 10:00 PM show time. You’ll be thanking me when your viewing is unobstructed and your access to the monorail afterwards is MUCH less crowded!
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