Magic Kingdom

parades

 

Photos of the day and night parades that take place at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

It's been said that everybody loves a parade, whether you're taking part of one or just lining a street and enjoying the show.

Parades have been an important part of the entertainment in the Magic Kingdom since the earliest days of the theme park.  Basically a moving show, the Disney parades are famous for having intricate and highly festive floats, a fantastic musical score (complete with separate music tracks for each float or segment), and, of course, the wide variety of the Disney characters.

Just because this is a parade doesn't mean that this still isn't a high-tech experience.  Remember that this is a Disney theme park.  Parades here aren't merely shows meant to entertain the kiddies.  These parades are musical masterpieces that have a smooth flow from start to finish.  They're all controlled by computers, from the special effects to the hundreds of speakers that play the correct music at just the right time.  On top of that you have the Disney cast members wearing the famous costumes and acting out the role of their character.

The first regular daytime parade to take place in the Magic Kingdom was America on Parade, and it ran from 1975 until 1976.  From that point, nearly every year has had some sort of daytime parade to entertain the guests.  In addition to the regular parades, the Magic Kingdom had parades for special holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Halloween.

For the park's first thirty or so years of operation, the Magic Kingdom's daytime parade was changed about every one or two years, depending on its theme.  From 2001 through today, the daytime parade has been lasting for about five years before being changed to a new theme.

When does the daytime parade take place?  3 pm.

When time is the 3 o'clock parade?  3 pm.

Yes, people really have asked that second question.  <insert a joke about clueless people and/or tourists>

Anyway, one of the turning points in the world of parades occurred in 1972 when the Main Street Electrical Parade began operating at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.  When combined with fireworks, the night parade provided a fantastic way to end your day at the theme park.  The Main Street Electrical Parade was a hit with the crowds, and in 1977 it began operating in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  The Main Street Electrical Parade would leave the Magic Kingdom in 1991, but return again in 1999 and yet again in 2010.  As of right now, the Main Street Electrical Parade is still the night parade in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

From 1991 to 1999, and 2001 to 2010, the Magic Kingdom's night parade was SpectroMagic.  SpectroMagic was a more modern take on the night parade.  It featured fancier floats and (at that time) newer characters from the Disney animated films.  Personally, I really enjoyed SpectroMagic and was sad to hear of its demise.

normal Magic Kingdom parade route

Parades in the Magic Kingdom normally start by the fire station on Main Street, USA.  The parade route loops around the town square before heading up Main Street towards Cinderella Castle.  The route then goes around the Hub and crosses the bridge into Liberty Square.  After that the parade route marches down the streets of Frontierland before finishing by Splash Mountain.  Depending on the parade, this route may be reversed with the parade beginning in Frontierland and ending at the fire station on Main Street, USA.

If in doubt, just ask a cast member which direction the parade is going that day.  Then pick your viewing place and then enjoy the parade.  Be cautioned that the busiest places to watch the parade are in Frontierland and throughout Main Street, USA.

TIP If the Main Street Electrical Parade is being run twice at night, try to see the SECOND parade if possible.  The viewing areas will be significantly quieter, and you should be able to secure a great view at the last second, allowing you more time to go on the rides.

 

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Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - parade -  Celebrate A Dream Come True Parade (2009-2014) (EXTINCT!):

Magic Kingdom - parade - Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party (2009-2014) (EXTINCT!):

Magic Kingdom - parade - Share A Dream Come True Parade (2001-2006) (EXTINCT!):

Magic Kingdom - parade - SpectroMagic (1991-1999) (2001-2010) (EXTINCT!):

SpectroMagic - OPENING segment (Trumpeters; Spectro-Men; title sign; and Mickey Mouse with his magical cape):

SpectroMagic - MUSIC segment (musical instruments; Genie conducting the parade; and Chip & Dale playing a piano):

SpectroMagic - SLEEPING BEAUTY segment (a peacock and the three good fairies in a garden):

SpectroMagic - The Little Mermaid segment (fish; Ursula; a sunken ship with Flounder and Princess Ariel; Sebastian conducting a fish orchestra; King Triton; and more fish):

SpectroMagic - FANTASIA segment ("Dance of the House" with alligators and spinning hippos; "The Pastoral Symphony" with Bacchus, the god of wine; ostriches from "Dance of the Hours;" Artemis and flying horses from "The Pastoral Symphony;" and the Chernabog from "Night On Bald Mountain"):

SpectroMagic - GRAND FINALE (The 3 Little Pigs; Cinderella and Prince Charming; Alice in Wonderland; a carousel; a pirate ship with Maleficent and Captain Hook; Peter Pan; Pinocchio and Geppetto; a final unit with Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse and Jiminy Cricket; and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs walking behind the parade):