Are you heading to Disney World soon and wondering “What time does the parade start at Magic Kingdom?” As a travel advisor specializing in Disney and Universal, I hear this question from many clients! Here are my best tips on when to watch the parade, what to expect, and the best viewing spots! Be sure to sign up for my free Disney packing list below and enjoy your magical vacation.
What Time Does the Parade Start at Magic Kingdom?
For the most up-to-date information on when the parade starts in Magic Kingdom, you have a couple of options. Once you are in the park, you can always ask cast members for the day’s events and information. As of December 2023, the Disney Festival of Fantasy parade will run at 3 PM each day. This is the main Magic Kingdom park parade of the day. This is a daily parade, running each weekday and weekend, unless inclement weather exists. Disney World recently announced that the parade will be returning at noon each day as well in early 2024!
You can also check the My Disney Experience app or the Disney website for the latest times. If this is your first time in Disney parks, this app is an essential part of planning for park guests. In the app, you find park hours, ride wait times, Walt Disney World dining availability, mobile dining, mobile checkout, and much more! If you book with an agent specializing in Disney, we are happy to help you walk through the app before your Walt Disney World vacation.
When should I line up for the Magic Kingdom parade?
With most Disney parades, you want to plan to line up at least 30 minutes in advance of the parade time. If you want the best view in front of Cinderella Castle, plan to stake your spot at least an hour in advance on Main Street USA. If you are planning to leave Magic Kingdom for a mid-day break after the parade, one of the best places to stand is towards the end of Main Street, closer to the Emporium, and the train station. You can see the parade and then head out fairly quickly.
If you want to spend time in Adventureland or Frontierland after the parade, consider finding a good spot near Liberty Square. It is one of our favorite locations, as we usually grab a snack and find a spot in the shade of the buildings while we wait in that area.
Where can I check the time for the Magic Kingdom parade?
You can check the times of parades with cast members or in the My Disney Experience app. If there is inclement weather, an announcement will be given over the loudspeakers that the parade is delayed or canceled.
The three o’clock parade can get especially warm in the afternoons. Consider finding your favorite spot in the shade or under an umbrella if it is too warm. Also, remember to stay hydrated with plenty of water. Cups of ice water are available for free at any quick-service dining location. Be sure to wear a hat, sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreen while in Central Florida. Preventing a sunburn is important to ensure you have a great time at Disney World!
Where is the route for the parade in Magic Kingdom?
The Festival of Fantasy Parade route in Magic Kingdom Park enters the park from backstage in the Frontierland area, near Pecos Bill. It winds around through Liberty Square and then down Main Street in front of Cinderella Castle and down towards the flag pole at the front of the park. It does not come through Fantasyland or Tomorrowland.
If you plan to ride Space Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, or It’s a Small World in those areas, be sure to make your way there, in advance of the parade starting. You can also check out the parade route in the app under the park map section.
How long is the Festival of Fantasy Parade?
The parade is about 30 minutes in length. It is such a fun parade, so be sure to see it while in Magic Kingdom.
Is there a way to reserve a spot for the parade?
If you want to reserve a spot for the parade, your best bet is to use one of your Genie+ passes to access those spots. It is a perfect way to get a good view of the parade, especially if you have small kids who want to spot the most popular Disney characters.
Just see a cast member at the entrance to the Genie+ access area near the courtyard near Cinderella Castle. There is a large section behind the Partners statue that is reserved for Genie+ guests. Guests using Genie+ can begin to access the area 30 minutes prior to the parade.
Can I bring snacks and drinks while I wait for the parade?
Yes! You are welcome to bring snacks and drinks into Magic Kingdom Park. If you want to read more about what is allowed, be sure to hop here for the latest info on what is permitted. You can always grab a drink or a snack from a quick service location or kiosk and enjoy it while you wait.
We love grabbing a Dole Whip or Mickey Mouse ice cream bar for our afternoon treat. Just a word to the wise, ice cream melts quickly in the afternoon sun. If your four-year-old’s Mickey Bar falls off the stick before her favorite Disney friends appear in the parade, ask for a replacement (I speak from experience!).
What should I bring for my kids while we wait for the parade?
If it is hard for your little ones to wait a long time for their favorite characters to appear in the parade, come prepared. I like to pack portable fans and kid-friendly snacks in my bag, along with a cup of iced water. Some parents pack small gifts from “Tinker Bell” to have on hand to help distract little ones.
Some of our favorite small treats include stickers, bubbles, and glow sticks (for night events.) If your kids are old enough, try lollipops or gum. If you have older kids, you can also play fun family games on your phone like Heads Up to help the time pass faster at your viewing location.
Can I film the parade and take pictures?
Yes! Feel free to take pictures and videos of your favorite Disney characters. Just be mindful of those behind you and around you as you film. Be reminded that selfie sticks are among the prohibited items in the parks.
Which characters appear in the Festival of Fantasy Parade at Magic Kingdom?
Most of your favorite Disney princesses appear during the Festival of Fantasy Parade at Magic Kingdom Park. Our girls love spotting Ariel (the Little Mermaid), Elsa and Anna, Snow White, and Rapunzel as they glide down in front of Cinderella Castle.
Other favorite characters include Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, and of course, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. You can even spot some of the well-known men of the Disney royalty, including Prince Charming and Prince Phillip.
Be sure to stay tuned for the fire-breathing dragon Maleficent near the end of the parade!
What is a cavalcade at Disney World?
Cavalcades first appeared at Disney World after the shutdown in 2020. The cavalcades are short, mini parades that occur throughout the day. The “Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade” comes through the Magic Kingdom, announced by fun music that precedes them. Characters include your favorite princesses, the Incredibles, Bruno from Encanto, and even Miguel from Coco.
The Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade comes from Frontierland through Liberty Square and down through Main Street. Current performance times are listed at 10:30 and 11:45 AM, but be sure to check the app for the latest performance times!
What is the Electrical Water Pageant parade?
The Electrical Water Pageant is a fun, short “parade” occurring nightly at Disney World. Sweet sea creatures illuminated in lights pass through the Seven Seas Lagoon for a quick 15-minute floating parade. Your favorite Walt Disney World tunes accompany the floats.
The best place to catch the Electrical Water Pageant is on the shore of the “beaches” at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The parade occurs nightly but varies between 8:25 and 10:30 PM, depending on the sunset time.
Are there special parades during ticketed events?
Yes! Be sure to catch the special parades during ticketed events throughout the year. In the Magic Kingdom, you can catch the Mickey’s Boo To You Halloween Parade during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This parade takes place after the park closes down to day guests and comes alive with your favorite characters in their Halloween costumes. You can even catch the Sanderson Sisters and friends from the Haunted Mansion!
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is another great ticketed event to catch during the holiday season! In addition to the fantastic fireworks and shows, you can watch Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. Mickey, Minnie, and all of their friends come decked out in their best holiday attire! Be sure to catch the Christmastime parade the next time you are at Disney in December.
I hope this post helps you better understand what time the parade starts at Magic Kingdom?! It’s such a fantastic addition to a great day in the parks and offers your family a chance to relax and celebrate the day at the Walt Disney World resort. Sign up below for my free packing newsletter and keep reading for more great travel tips!