Magic Kingdom Experience Turns Dangerous When a Horse is “Attacked” Mid-Parade

Merida and horse spooked at festival of fantasy parade
Credit: Trinidad James via Facebook/Canva

An exciting afternoon parade at Magic Kingdom turned dangerous after a horse in the parade was attacked by a Guest-favorite Disney World souvenir.

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magic kingdom disney world

Credit: Becky Burkett

Disney World fans visit the Most Magical Place on Earth 365 days a year–and for more than 365 different magical reasons. For some Guests, it’s the thrill of the theme park attractions like the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. For some, it’s the excitement of the parks’ world-class entertainment offerings, like the Festival of the Lion King stage show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. And for others, the draw of the parks is simply the chance to step back into the innocence of a childhood decorated with Disney fairytales, princes, princesses, and dreams coming true.

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But regardless of the reasons they visit, most Guests at Disney World love the idea and the visage of the theme parks’ parades. Over the years, there have been countless parades at the Central Florida Disney Parks. Shortly after the parks reopened following a nearly four-month-long closure in response to the global pandemic in 2020, some of Disney World’s theme parks presented character cavalcades, during which various Disney and PIXAR characters appeared as part of short pop-up-style parades as a substitute for meet-and-greet experiences with characters.

parade at disney's hollywood studios

Buzz Lightyear at the PIXAR Characters Cavalcade at Disney’s Hollywood Studios/Credit: Becky Burkett

During the Christmas holiday season at Disney World, which is celebrated from early November to late December across most of the Resort, Magic Kingdom hosts Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and a very special Christmas Day Parade as part of the magical festivities.

christmas parade at disney world's magic kingdom

Christmas-themed daytime parade at Magic Kingdom/Credit: Becky Burkett

But among the most famous, most magical, and most beloved parades at the Walt Disney World Resort is the Festival of Fantasy Parade at Magic Kingdom. The exciting parade takes place twice daily at Disney World’s first theme park–at noon and 3:00 p.m. The magical event features princes, princesses, and other characters from some of Disney and PIXAR’s most beloved films like Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Frozen, Sleeping Beauty, and more.

It’s truly a fantastical experience, but occasionally, the fantasy can quickly turn into a nightmare, as it did for Guests and Cast Members who witnessed a horse in the parade become frightened by a Mickey Mouse balloon that ended up becoming wrapped around his back leg and hoof.

merida and horse at festival of fantasy parade

Credit: Becky Burkett

In an online video posted by Trinidad James, a Cast Member playing the role of Merida can be seen riding along the parade route atop her faithful steed, Angus. It’s a regal trot Angus has, even at the hands of the PIXAR Princess, who’d rather hone in on her archery skills than select a suitor. But moments later, the horse is spooked and becomes impossible to tame–all while Merida is on his back.

Cast Members accompanying Merida quickly spring into action in an attempt to calm the terrified animal. When they are unsuccessful, the Cast Member playing the role of Merida dismounts the horse, calmly walking away, before being startled as he rears, lifting his front legs up, showing his fear, and attempting to get away from the thing that initially scared him. Merida narrowly escapes injury as she bolts from the horse immediately. Guests can be seen running back from the scene playing out in front of them along Main Street, U. S. A.

merida at festival of fantasy parade at magic kingdom

Credit: Trinidad James/Facebook screenshot

The two Cast Members who accompanied Merida and Angus continue to try to calm the frightened steed, and a third Cast Member appears from the left of the screen, approaches the horse, and slowly reaches to remove the fearsome instigator–a Mickey Mouse balloon that had become wrapped around the horse’s back leg and hoof.

This isn’t the first time the Festival of Fantasy Parade took a dangerous turn. On May 11, 2018, the Maleficent dragon float in the parade suddenly burst into flames. Thankfully, the fire was extinguished, and no Guests or Cast Members were injured. The float was missing from the daytime parade for several months while it was repaired.

Dragon float catches on fire during Disney World parade - ABC News

Credit: ABC News

No word on whether Merida’s faithful steed thought the balloon was a wisp. We’re just glad there were no Guest, Cast Member, or equine injuries to report.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!