Grab a seat along Main Street, U.S.A. – today, we’re stepping back in time and remembering the grand debut of the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade at Walt Disney World!
On January 23, 2009, a brand-new daytime spectacle hit the streets inside the Magic Kingdom. The Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade marched through this theme park for the first time, and it became a beloved parade that lasted for nearly five years, eventually ending to make room for the Festival of Fantasy.
Here’s how Celebrate a Dream Come True came to be, and what it was like to witness this parade firsthand.
Celebrate a Dream Come True Was the Last Parade of Its Kind
The Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade wasn’t the first of its kind; in fact, it was actually the last in a pretty lengthy series. When it premiered in 2009, it became the final iteration of the Magic Kingdom’s Dream Come True Parades, which ran for several years.
The first in the series, Share a Dream Come True, made its way through the theme park from 2001 to 2006. It was ultimately replaced by Disney Dreams Come True, which ran until 2009. The Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade debuted on January 23, 2009 as the third and last of these. It saw the longest run of all of the Dream Come True Parades, sticking around until 2014. This third iteration shared several similarities with its predecessors, while also bringing new magical experiences unique to its final run in the Magic Kingdom.
The Dream Come True parades got their start during Disney’s 100 Years of Magic Celebration. That’s when the Share a Dream Come True Parade replaced the previous Disney’s Magical Moments Parade (the second version of the Remember the Magic Parade, an exclusive event for the 25th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort). The parade was a grand spectacle that brought together over 100 performers across 10 floats and choreography sequences. Music for the parades featured the same soundtrack from Disney’s Dreams on Parade: Moving On in Tokyo Disneyland.
One notable feature of the original Share a Dream Come True Parade was a snow globe that encased many of the iconic characters who stood on top of floats to greet Guests. The snow globe was removed in later versions of the parade, but many of the floats stayed in the Magic Kingdom until 2014.
What It Was Like to Watch Celebrate a Dream Come True
As its name suggests, the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade was launched during the “What Will You Celebrate” marketing campaign that ran at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
Previous versions of the parade featured “show stops,” in which the floats in the parade would stop and Guests would be invited to join the characters on the streets along the route. The show stops continued during the opening of Celebrate a Dream Come True but were discontinued shortly after.
Some floats remained similar to past versions of the parade (with the snow globes removed) while others – most notably Mickey and Minnie’s – received total makeovers to better fit the celebration theme.
If it was characters you wanted to spot, this was the parade to catch! It featured lots of favorite Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse (who was joined by Minnie on his float for the first time in comparison to the previous versions of the parade), Donald, Goofy, Lilo, Stitch, Woody, Jessie, Foulfellow, Gideon, Geppetto, Aladdin, Jafar, Genie, Bert, Mary Poppins, Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, Br’er Fox, Br’er Bear, Rafiki, Baloo, Meeko, Alice, The Mad Hatter, White Rabbit, Queen of Hearts, Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum, Peter Pan, Wendy, Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, Belle and Beast, Cinderella, Lady Tremaine, and more.
The Parade’s Final Performance
In 2013, Disney announced that a new parade was in the works for the Magic Kingdom, with the Festival of Fantasy Parade set to open the following year. The then-new parade would be the first in nearly 14 years to feature an entirely new set of soundtracks and floats. And, as you may know from your own trips to Walt Disney World, the parade is still running to this day.
Celebrate a Dream Come True made its final move from Frontierland down Main Street, U.S.A. on January 4, 2014, where the parade was sent off into Disney history by a packed crowd of fans who visited the Magic Kingdom just for the occasion. Though it’s gone, the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade certainly hasn’t been forgotten by fans!