Festival of Fantasy Parade Tips & Photos

Festival of Fantasy Parade is the newest Magic Kingdom parade that debuted with New Fantasyland’s opening at Walt Disney World. This post has viewing tips plus photos of the new parade, and my quick review.

Honestly, when the Festival of Fantasy Parade was announced, I wasn’t all that excited. I thought it was a good idea to tie-in with the conclusion of the New Fantasyland expansion, but other than that, I wasn’t all that enthused. At the time, I often said I was “not a daytime parade person,” an opinion that was largely the result of not having been particularly enamored with any daytime Magic Kingdom parade since I was a kid in the mid-1990s. Also as a result of that, I didn’t make a huge effort to see the Festival of Fantasy Parade following its debut on our Memorial Day Walt Disney World trip.

With that said, I really enjoyed the Festival of Fantasy Parade. Actually, I downright loved it. Unlike almost every Magic Kingdom parade in recent memory, this parade actually feels ambitious, and large in scale and scope. The parade floats are all large, detailed and have a lot of substance to them. The float that has captured everyone’s attention is the steampunk-esque Maleficent float, and this is understandable because it breathes fire, but the Brave, Tangled, Peter Pan, and Monstro floats don’t garner nearly as much attention, despite being quite well done.

Add to this performers in costumes that have a lot of detail and are, in some cases, a bit darker and more interesting than the ‘fantasy fluff’ you’d expect to find in a Magic Kingdom parade, a catchy soundtrack, and a great energy, and you have a parade that’s a real winner. In terms of overall quality and appeal, I’d put Festival of Fantasy Parade up there with the parades I’ve seen at Tokyo Disneyland, and the park sets the gold standard for daytime parades.

With that said, I don’t think the Festival of Fantasy Parade is entirely perfect…

My only criticism of the parade, and this could just be a creative decision that was done by design, is that it is stylistically disjointed. Every float seems to have its own look, with no really aesthetic yarn or semblance of a unified style. This could have been a considered decision, given that numerous films are represented, but this is the case with virtually every parade, and most of the best ones do have a cohesive look (the best example of this done well is probably Mickey’s Soundsational Parade at Disneyland).

Still, it’s a highly enjoyable parade with some very cool-looking floats, a catchy soundtrack, and just a great vibe to it in general. Qualms about its style aside, it’s a solid, fresh parade for the Magic Kingdom, and something that I will definitely make an effort to regularly watch. Daytime parade time is normally a time for me to avoid Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, and that’s no longer the case.

Now, let’s take a look at some of my photos from the parade, plus some viewing tips on the best locations for watching the parade.

If you want the best experience and photos, there’s only one place where you should watch the Festival of Fantasy Parade, and that’s Main Street. This is because it’s a fantasy themed parade, and of the places the parade travels, only the backdrop of Cinderella Castle is fitting (ironically, the parade does not go through Fantasyland).

Locations in Liberty Square and Frontierland are less crowded than Main Street, but it’s a bit of an incongruous experience seeing a fantasy parade in the wild west or colonial America. We recommend braving the slightly larger crowds and watching from Main Street. From there, we really like two different spots for the Festival of Fantasy Parade.

The first, and the one we go for, is the FastPass+ viewing area. This is right in front of Cinderella Castle and usually isn’t too crowded. The downside to this spot isn’t in the spot itself, but the fact that you have to use a FastPass+ allocation. If you’re concerned with maximizing your attraction-count and would otherwise be able to get and use 3 FastPass+ and then go to kiosks and start booking additional FastPass+, by using this as a FastPass+ attraction, you can’t go book more FastPass+ until after this parade.

Only advanced users of the FastPass+ system are probably going to have this issue, and while we are familiar enough with the system to be able to leverage it this way if we wanted, we normally take a more leisurely pace, and would prefer to have this view of the parade. Your mileage may vary on this.

The second spot is essentially anywhere close to the Train Station end of Main Street that offers a clear view back at Cinderella Castle. I prefer skewing towards the left side of Main Street, either at the end of the street, or on the Train Station side of a trash can (to put a little space between you and the party closest to you). This type of spot allows you to look back down Main Street and again get Cinderella Castle as a backdrop.

There are a lot of different locations from which you can shoot the parade to take advantage of this perspective, so it isn’t a “spot” per se, and it should be easy to snag one of these locations so long as you show up over 30 minutes before the parade steps off (adjust that time up if the Magic Kingdom is busier than average).

That’s it in terms of my recommended locations. If you find yourself somewhere in Liberty Square or Frontierland, I’d just look for a spot that will allow you to shoot the floats on a neutral backdrop, such as trees or blue sky. To accomplish this, stand on the side of Frontierland that has buildings, shooting towards the Rivers of America. Still not the best spot, but less crowded and a good way to photographically made lemonade out of lemons.

Hopefully this Festival of Fantasy Parade Tips post has provided you with some insight as to where to view the parade (if you don’t already have a favorite spot).

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? If you’re interested in learning more about hotels, our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page is a good place to start. For where to eat, try out our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews page. If you want to save money on tickets or determine which type you should get, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at unconventional things you should take on your trip. Once you arrive at the parks, our Walt Disney World “Ride Guides” are great for determining what to do and when to do it.

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Your Thoughts…

If you’ve seen the Festival of Fantasy Parade, what did you think of it? If you haven’t, are you looking forward to this new Walt Disney World parade? Any tips of your own for best viewing locations? Share any questions or comments you have below!

32 Responses to “Festival of Fantasy Parade Tips & Photos”
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