After nearly two years of absence from the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade returned to the park today with two showtimes. While Guests were thrilled to see the return of this fan-favorite Disney parade, many noted performers and even whole floats were missing from the first showing.
At the start of the parade, Guests noticed the Swan Court dancers that typically kick off the Festival of Fantasy parade were missing altogether. These dancers while not based on any one Disney movie or character, they are a memorable part of the parade and they make Festival of Fantasy feel like the spectacle that many fans believe it is.
Following the missing Swan Court sequence, the Beast was also missing from the parade’s first float. Beast typically accompanies Belle on the float that leads the rest of the parade, however photos from Guests present, including this one from @thatdisneyboi on Twitter, only show Belle:
Honestly Swan Court is the biggest loss of FOF imo pic.twitter.com/9nzh3IT2Yq
— Ethan’s splashing in muddy puddles???️? (@ThatDisneyBoi) March 9, 2022
The Brave sequence, including the large-scale float which Merida typically stands on top of, the bears from the film, and a group of dancers, has reportedly been cut where Merida can now be seen in the Disney Adventure Friends Character Cavalcade. Guests who attended today’s return of the Festival of Fantasy parade asked Cast Members about Merida’s float, and were told that she had been moved to the cavalcade. No replacement was added to the parade to make up for the Brave float.
Here’s video of the Maleficent Dragon float making its way down the Festival of Fantasy parade route. pic.twitter.com/1rIw7jTzPc
— Ashley Carter (@AshleyLCarter1) March 9, 2022
The Maleficent sequence, which follows Brave, was also missing a number of performers including the stilt walker thorns that typically accompany the dragon. While the Maleficent dragon itself did look great, this is one portion of the parade Guests actually might have seen since the parade closed with the park in March 2020, as the dragon has been used at After Hours and Boo Bash events.
The Little Mermaid sequence had a number of dancers missing as well, along with a couple of performers throughout the event like some of the Lost Boys in the Peter Pan sequence, and some dancers from the Tangled section. A number of other very small changes were made to the parade’s performers, too, including Minnie Mouse walking along the parade route rather than at the top of the finale float alongside Mickey Mouse.
Dancers and floats were not the only elements missing from the first Festival of Fantasy Parade- Fans in attendance noticed that the volume of the finale music had been significantly lowered, and the song “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” was officially removed entirely from the parade.
Why the missing parade elements?
There are a number of possibilities we can speculate, including like Cast Members have pointed out the addition of the Disney Adventure Friends Character Cavalcade. In keeping with Disney’s focus on the importance of show, however, it would seem that if some characters were moved to the cavalcade instead, new characters should have been added to Festival of Fantasy. The lack of replacement for those missing characters in the Brave sequence understandably has some fans pointing to cost-cutting measures.
Staffing challenges are another possible reason. While Disney has not recently shared the extent by which staffing challenges are impacting live performances, other than Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s previous statements at the last company earnings call, staffing challenges in general have been prevalent across nearly all industries, and it is certainly a possibility.
We will keep an eye on the Festival of Fantasy Parade here at Disney Fanatic, and will report back as we learn more about missing (or hopefully returning!) performers, and any updates on this classic Magic Kingdom event.