We lined up to see the return of the Festival of Fantasy parade on its first day back at Magic Kingdom. Scroll on to get our review, as well as viewing tips and showtimes.
On March 9, 2022, the full-length Festival of Fantasy parade returned to Magic Kingdom. Below, you’ll find tips on where to watch the parade, what to expect, and what we think of it.
Avid Disney-goers have been waiting a long time for the return of the familiar—and we have felt the vacancy of a full-size parade from the streets of Magic Kingdom.
The return of the Festival of Fantasy parade was highly anticipated, but did it live up to the hype?
Festival of Fantasy Parade Showtimes
So when is the Festival of Fantasy parade at Magic Kingdom?
This question has a somewhat complicated answer. Pre-COVID, the 3 PM parade would run once per day at (can you guess when?) 3 PM. But Disney absolutely understood the assignment when scheduling the return of Festival of Fantasy because now you can view the parade twice per day!
On the first few days, the parade was running at 11:30 AM and 2:30 PM, but those times seem to be a bit fluid. If you look at the Festival of Fantasy schedule now online, it is always slated for 12 PM and the ever-familiar 3 PM.
I encourage you to plan ahead and check the My Disney Experience app for the particulars on starting times the day of your trip to Magic Kingdom.
Festival of Fantasy Parade Route
Of course, the Festival of Fantasy parade showtimes simply indicate the time it will kick off on the normal parade route, so the time is a little flexible based on where you want to catch it.
The parade route begins at Splash Mountain, making its way through Frontierland, through Liberty Square, turning by the Hall of Presidents, making a tour in front of Cinderella’s Castle, and then down Main Street, before disappearing by the ever missed Harmony Barber Shop (no word yet on when that is reopening).
Viewing Tips for Festival of Fantasy
Where’s the best place to watch the Festival of Fantasy parade in Magic Kingdom? That’s up to you!
Here’s my hot take: I prefer viewing the parade with Cinderella Castle as the backdrop.
My top viewing spots include closer to the castle itself, around the hub, and again down Main Street with the castle in the distance. The locations I’ve mentioned on Main Street allow for seated viewing.
Cast Members seem to be allowing guests to sit on the curb on Main Street with their legs on the street itself for this parade. Note: They have not historically allowed this with cavalcades and made guests cross their legs up on the curb, which sounds every bit as uncomfortable as it was).
Having a seat makes a difference when the parade is a lengthy one, so keep that in mind when choosing a viewing spot.
Characters in the Festival of Fantasy Parade
Wondering which characters you’ll see in the parade? You’ll get to see many of your favorites—that’s for sure!
The Festival of Fantasy parade boasts many Disney Princesses, as well as several other characters, with some riding atop themed floats and others walking along the route.
Here are the floats and characters you will see:
The parade’s opening float has Belle on the front, along with Cinderella, Tiana, and Elsa. Pre-COVID, that float also had each of their love interests, but sadly, they have all been removed (Beast, Prince Charming, Prince Naveen, and a sibling love, Anna).
The next float is the Snuggly Duckling boat featuring Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, and various ruffians swinging about the rocking pendulums.
Then we have Ariel, sitting atop a clam shell, which in my opinion is the most colorful and beautiful float. She is preceded by dancers dressed in Under the Sea garb, which is equally as colorful.
Next up we have Peter Pan as the captain of a floating ship atop a rainbow. Beneath the rainbow, you have Captain Hook riding on an anchor, grimacing away at all of the guests. Yo ho!
At the back of that float, you’ll see Tinker Bell. And if you don’t know she is there, you may actually miss her, since she’s facing backwards.
Maleficent of Sleeping Beauty makes her dramatic entrance next. For those who haven’t seen her, Maleficent is a giant fire-breathing dragon, and yes, she is definitely still breathing fire!
Next, we see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Alice and the Mad Hatter, who do not have a float, but instead walk the entirety of the parade.
The characters on foot will have the most opportunity to interact with guests as they move about freely!
The next float is Pinocchio riding on a giant whale, with Pluto in the rear. This float is colorful and playful and features a bubble maker!
The last section of the parade features Minnie, Daisy, Goofy, and Chip ‘n’ Dale all dancing on foot in front and Mickey taking a ride on a hot air balloon! All of their parade attire is special for this parade and 100% worth the view!
Review: Festival of Fantasy Parade at Magic Kingdom
The Festival of Fantasy parade is absolutely worthy of including in your Magic Kingdom day!
We loved the return of the familiar, even if it included a few tweaks, and omitted some of our favorites. The parade includes entertainment that was sorely missed and will absolutely bring on tears of joy.
Parades make Disney days special because they weave your favorite characters into your day, without having to hunt them down at various locations. I am extremely happy that this parade has finally returned. I’m so excited about the return of these beloved floats and familiar music being pumped through the park, which then lives rent-free in my head for the remainder of my day.
Cheers to the return of the familiar and beloved.
Not sure if you’re going? You can just get more information about a potential Disney vacation.