"What time is the 3 o'clock parade?" Cast members and Walt Disney World regulars chuckle about this supposedly common question from first-time guests to the Magic Kingdom. This year, however, the question may not be about when the parade takes place rather what it is all about.
The Magic Kingdom's "Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade" wrapped up a five-year run on Saturday, making way for a brand-new daytime parade to come this year. (Take a look back at Jack Spence's blog from the previous parade's opening day.) The "Festival of Fantasy Parade" is expected to debut in the spring, and Walt Disney World so far has released only a brief description and some of the concept artwork. You can take a peek here.
Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Tye Arnold, one of the 2013-2014 Walt Disney World ambassadors, about the new parade. "There are a lot of new floats that have been designed after New Fantasyland opened [in 2012]," he said. "So a lot of the stories that have come alive there will come alive on the floats throughout the Magic Kingdom."
Specifically, expect to see floats and characters from "The Little Mermaid," "Sleeping Beauty," "Dumbo," "Pinocchio," "Peter Pan," "Tangled" and "Brave." Of course, there will be a signature float for Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, as well.
Clearly, the Disney Princesses will be out in full force in this parade. "Rapunzel is a big part of this parade," Arnold said. "It's kind of neat to see a newer character, a recent princess in our line-up of Disney Princesses."
What about Disney's newest unofficial addition to the royal family -- the Ice Queen, Elsa, from "Frozen"?
"We haven't heard if any of the 'Frozen' characters will be in the parade. 'Frozen' just came out, and this parade has been in the works for quite some time," Arnold said. "I don't think, at this time, 'Frozen' will be a part of it."
Although guests might not see the ice spells of Elsa or hear the wacky humor of Olaf the Snowman, they nonetheless will see some amazing feats on the floats.
"We have some of the largest floats we've ever had in one of our parades. One really interesting one will be Captain Hook's pirate ship. Wendy and Peter will be 28 feet above the buildings on Main Street. It's going to be really impressive," he said. "It's cool enough just to look up and see the buildings on Main Street, but then to have them [the characters] even higher?"
The Walt Disney Co. has a history of moving its parades and shows among its parks worldwide to keep vacations memories fresh for repeat visitors. The "Festival of Fantasy Parade," however, has been created as a new experience with new costumes and music to go with the floats.
"It's a brand-new parade, but it does have some incorporated pieces so some of the floats are coming from our Tokyo park. … Part of a train set is coming from Tokyo. We like to bring in some of the older pieces to add character, but it's also nice to have something fresh," Arnold said.
The "Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade" is not moving to another Disney theme park at this time, he said.
"Festival of Fantasy Parade" is planned to begin at the same time the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction in New Fantasyland opens this spring.
The previous post in this blog was Tips for visiting Walt Disney World and SeaWorld when it's cold outside.
The next post in this blog is A Disney fan's first impressions of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando.