Everything You Need to Know About the Festival of Fantasy Parade
Festival of Fantasy cannot be missed. Every day, the parade steps off at 3:00pm and snakes its way through Magic Kingdom park in celebration of the most magical land of all: Fantasyland! The parade features floats packed with bright colors, gravity-defying design, fantastic costumes, and of course, beloved Disney characters. Are you a fan of pirates? You can see them in this parade! How about princesses? All of them (yes that’s right all of them) are here! Are you more of a Fab 5 purist? Well, they’re in the parade too! All in all, this parade is a can’t miss for guests of any age.
With all that said, you can imagine just how popular Festival of Fantasy is. Take into consideration that it’s currently the only parade happening anywhere at Walt Disney World Resort, and add that into the fact that it only happens once daily, and I’m sure you can imagine the hoards of people this parade attracts. Luckily, there are a few tricks you can put to good use the next time you see the parade in order to beat the crowds, heat, and maybe even have time to get a snack!
Secure Your Spot
No matter what ‘hacks’ or ‘tips’ articles you read about this parade, there is no getting around one simple fact: you have to arrive early if you want a good spot. Now, the parade steps off in Frontierland- right next to Splash Mountain- and makes its way through the park, down Main Street USA, and finishes near the Firehouse in Town Square. Although its tempting to want to sit on Main Street for the parade, I recommend securing your spot elsewhere!
The parade steps off in Frontierland and takes about 15-20 minutes to arrive on Main Street USA. If the parade starts at 3:00pm, that means it won’t arrive at Main Street until about 3:15. If you’ve done your homework and lined up an hour prior to the start time, that means you’ll have spent a total of 95 minutes of your Magic Kingdom day waiting for a parade…
Head to the Frontier
Instead, watch from Frontierland! The parade will begin promptly at 3:00 and you’ll be the first to see it pass by! You should still arrive between 30-45 minutes before the start time though, because no matter where you watch from, crowds will certainly form.
3:00pm is the hottest point of the day. And in central Florida, that means the beating sun will feel its hottest right when you’re spending 30+ minutes sitting in its direct rays on hot blacktop. If you want to avoid looking like a sweaty, sunburned mess when you wave to Mickey, I’ve got just the spot! In Frontierland, there are several awning-covered porches you can watch the parade from! Personally, I’ve watched the parade from the porches of Liberty Tree Tavern, Frontier Trading Post, and Pecos Bills, and I’ve had a fantastic (and shady) view every time! I mean, just look at all that porch space!
Beat the Heat With a No-Wait Treat
3:00pm is not only the hottest point of the day, but also that sweet spot right between lunch and dinner when everyone’s bellies are hankering for a snack. Something warm is definitely not recommended while waiting in the heat for the parade, and if you take a walk to Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street, I can almost guarantee the length of the queue line will have you running for cover. The same goes for Aloha Isle, aka the spot doling out the famous Dole Whips…but wait.
Aloha Isle is offering mobile order on the MyDisney Experience app! If you have the app- and you definitely should- you can place a mobile order while you sit and wait for the parade, take a quick walk to Adventureland, click the ‘I’m here’ button, and you will literally avoid the entire line. A quick little story: I did just that when I last visited Magic Kingdom, and I had returned with my Dole Whip 20 minutes before someone who had left at the same time I did and chose to wait in the queue line. I call that a snack hack success!
Now that you’ve got a treat to cool you down, and have secured your shady spot for the parade, the only thing to do is to wait until 3:00pm to watch it! One last tip: as soon as the parade passes you by, head to Fantasyland or Tomorrowland to beat the crowds watching on Main Street. You will find short wait times for rides, as everyone else is still sitting in the heat waiting to see Festival of Fantasy! What do you think? Will you try any of these hacks for the parade the next time you visit Magic Kingdom? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for visiting MickeyBlog.com! For a free quote on your next Disney vacation, fill out the form below!
Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer/musician thrilled to be bringing you all things Disney! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!