9 Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Walt Disney World’s Parades

Parades at Walt Disney World are spectacular. Most of the year, Magic Kingdom has a monopoly on the parades with Festival of Fantasy, and the seasonal Boo to You and Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. Parades amp up the excitement and energy in the park, and are all around really fun. Here are nine tips to help you get the most out of Walt Disney World’s parades.

9. Wave to the Grand Marshals: One family is picked before the Festival of Fantasy parade to be the Grand Marshals. Wave to them. Say hello to them. Wish them a magical day. What an incredible experience they are having! Help make it magical for them, and you’ll be making the park a happier place.

8. Sing Along: I’m not the only nerd in love with the Festival of Fantasy soundtrack right? It’s so catchy, and I find myself singing it in my house, in the car, and in the parks. During the parade is the perfect time to sing along!

7. Interact With Characters: I’ve had some really cool experiences with characters during Magic Kingdom parades. A lost boy used my phone to take a (failed) selfie. Snow White complimented me on my tiara, and my grandma on her Snow White themed hair bow. And Gus and Jaq came over for a big hug. The characters want to interact with you. You’ll all have way more fun.

6. Find it on Youtube: This tip is only for those folks who want to snap amazing pictures, but haven’t seen the parade yet. I always think you should experience an attraction in the moment before you try to photograph it. But, for example, if you haven’t seen Festival of Fantasy yet, and will have only one opportunity to experience it during your vacation, find a video on YouTube so you know what kind of elements to expect. Don’t miss out on an awesome picture of Maleficent because you weren’t prepared!

5. Have the Camera Ready: While you wait is also a good time to make sure your camera has enough battery power, and to adjust the settings if needed. The parades are so much fun, and I love to capture them on camera! Photos from the parades are usually my favorites from the whole trip!

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4. Bring Water/ Snacks: If you found your place early, send one member of your party to fetch drinks or snacks. Or, pull some out of your park bag if you came prepared. Personally, waiting for a parade is my favorite time to enjoy a Mickey ice cream bar, or a sundae from Plaza Ice Cream Parlour.

3. Don’t Stand in the Sun: You may have found a perfect, empty area to watch the parade. But if you’re sweltering under the sun, maybe there’s a reason no one else chose to stay there! Frontierland is usually shadier, and often less crowded. If you are in the sun, make sure to reapply sunscreen, and put on your hat!

2. Arrive Early: If you don’t go the Fastpass route, you’ll need to pick viewing spots early. This tip is especially important during busy times like Spring Break, Summer, and Christmas season. Claim your spot about an hour or so before step off (maybe more if the park is crowded, use your judgement!) to have the best view. If you don’t mind having a head or two in your way, get there around twenty minutes early.

1. Fastpass: With the new Fastpass+, guests can now choose parades as a Fastpass attraction. Whether your family should choose this option is up to you. It means that you can show up two minutes before the parade starts and have an unobstructed view, but it also means possibly forgoing an attraction that has a long wait. Many folks on the blog-oshpere will discourage you from booking a parade fastpass, but it just depends on your family’s needs. When I travel with extended family, we make parade Fastpasses, because it’s an experience my whole family can enjoy, versus a ride that some don’t like.

Bonus Tip: Listen to the Cast Members when they give you directions like “stay within the tap lines” or “keep moving, no standing here.” They are not giving you these instructions to infringe on your fun! Cast Members are concerned about the safety of guests and performers. Be mindful and courteous!

Those are my tips to make the most out of the Walt Disney World parades. What do you think are the most important things? Let me know what I missed!

About D.W. Noonan

D.W. Noonan was blindsided by the magical universe of Walt Disney when he married a dedicated Disneyphile in 1994. His wonderful wife dragged him into countless days of binge-watching great Disney films. As children began showing up in the Noonan home, D.W.'s growing passion for all things Disney led him to vacationing with his family in Walt Disney World each year and taking a journey to visit Disneyland. He is especially proud of his two teenage daughters, who danced for Disney Performing Arts at Walt Disney World in 2015. Though D.W. lives in Maryland, he longs to hear these familiar words when he returns to the resort: "Welcome home."