In March of 2014, Disney unveiled its newest afternoon parade at the Magic Kingdom, Festival of Fantasy. This new parade uses innovative floats, costumes and an all-new soundtrack that features songs from popular Disney films. Here are 15 amazing facts about Festival of Fantasy Parade!
1) New Floats – The floats are designed to look as if they were created by the characters they represent and truly bring each story to life as it moves down the street. We see nods to The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Tangled and Brave, as well as many others.
2) Disney Royalty – Cinderella, Tiana and Belle, accompanied by their respective princes, ride in a beautiful garden-like float, with birds and other creatures from the forest. There’s also a special appearance by Anna and Elsa from Disney’s hit animated feature, Frozen.
3) Tangled – A 36-foot float carries Flynn Rider and Rapunzel in search of adventure. Giant pendulums swing back and forth carrying dastardly thugs!
4) The Little Mermaid – Ariel and her friends ride on an oversized music box decorated like a colorful “Under the Sea” party. This Under the Sea float has conga dancing fish kicking up their fins and bubbles galore!
5) Peter Pan – Peter Pan and Wendy soar high, straight from Neverland! Tinkerbell hides among the oversized flowers and Captain Hook takes center stage on a swinging anchor!
6) Brave – A vessel shaped like an enormous bagpipe announces the arrival of Merida perched high on her majestic crown, accompanied by melodies of the Great Highlands in celebration of the popular Disney Pixar film “Brave.”
7) Sleeping Beauty – Perhaps the most impressive float is the 35-feet-long, 26-feet-high Steampunk-inspired Maleficent Dragon from Sleeping Beauty. Thorn stilt-walkers walk alongside as Prince Phillip tries to fight them away. Breathing fire, this spectacular dragon was built on an articulating chassis allowing the float to bend and flex as it moves along the parade route – a first for Disney parades.
8) The Finale – The parade culminates with a 90-foot-long magical caravan of characters featuring Pinocchio, Dumbo, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Mad Hatter, Pluto and more in a splashy carnival of color. Mickey and Minnie Mouse sit sky high in Mickey’s Airship — a giant hot air balloon that rounds out Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.
9) Parade Viewing – Festival of Fantasy is a FastPass+ attraction which means you can reserve a spot to view the parade using the My Disney Experience app or website. *Bonus tip: The FastPass+ viewing area for this parade is around the flagpole on the far end of Main Street, nearest the train station and park entrance. Depending on where you’re at within this area, some of the floats may appear too close for good photographs.
10) Cast – The parade features a cast of more than 100 castmembers! 40 additional characters are presented in animated or sculptural form.
11) Big Finale – Mickey’s Airship finale float is the tallest float, topping out at 32 feet. The trio of finale floats spans more than 90 feet along the parade route!
12) Award-winning – Disney partnered with Tony Award-winning designer Michael Curry on the development of the Maleficent Dragon. Previously, he worked with Disney Parks on the Tapestry of Nations parade and Finding Nemo the Musical.
13) No Aurora? – The Festival of Fantasy parade has Maleficent-as-dragon, Prince Phillip, and Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather from Sleeping Beauty–but no Aurora. According to Disney insiders, she was supposed to be featured on this parade’s lead float, the Princess Garden. But then Frozen became a monstrous hit at the box office, and Aurora found herself out in the cold as that float was reworked to make room for Anna, Elsa, and Olaf.
14) Costuming – Some pieces, including the Seashell Girl (The Little Mermaid unit) headpiece, were digitally sculpted and then grown to size with a 3D printer. It takes 30 yards of fabric to make one Seashell Girl costume!
15) Goodbye – To make way for the new parade, the Celebrate a Dream Come True parade ended its daily run on December 20, 2013 and the final performances were January 1-4, 2014.
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Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper