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Planning a visit to Walt Disney World just to check out its attractions? You’ll be missing out. Sure, the thrill rides, as well as those classic WDW ones (think “it’s a small world”), are definitely not to be missed, but have you considered the parades and shows in all four theme parks and included them in your plans? Here are the 12 best Walt Disney World parades and shows at the Disney parks.
Note: Parades are temporarily unavailable at Disney. They did announce the return of one parade, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, that will take place during the Very Merriest After Hours Event.
We love Walt Disney World, that’s a given. It’s our favorite theme park! When we’re not visiting the parks, we’re thinking about and planning our next vacation. Because of this love, we make it a point to check out every ride, attraction, parade, and show at least once. Most times, they become such favorites that they’re put on our must-do list on every trip.
These 12 are always on the top of our list. From the gorgeous colors and themes to the jaw-dropping way that only Disney can make magic, these parades and shows make the grade.
Best Walt Disney World Parades
1. Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade
Location: Magic Kingdom
Duration: 12 minutes
Parade Route: Frontierland (close to Splash Mountain) down to the end of Main Street, U.S.A.
Details: There’s only one Festival of Fantasyland Parade per day so, if you really want a decent view, you’re going to have to score a spot along the parade route at least 30 minutes prior. The route tends to be less crowded in Frontierland which is an option if you’re running late. Fastpass+ Selections offered for the Festival of Fantasy Parade.
2. Rainy Day Character Cavalcade
Location: Magic Kingdom
Parade Route: From Frontierland to Main Street, U.S.A.
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Time: In place of regular parades during inclement weather
Details: When it’s a rainy day in Magic Kingdom, most folks head for the exit turnstiles. Not us! We love watching the Rainy Day Cavalcade! The parade isn’t one that you’ll have the opportunity to see every day. Not only is the music fun, but the characters are all piled up into Main Street, U.S.A. vehicles.
3. Move it! Shake it! Dance & Play it!
Location: Magic Kingdom, Sunset Boulevard
Duration: 35 minutes
Parade Route: From Town Square to The Hub at Cinderella Castle, stops for the show, and then back to Town Square
Time: 12:30pm, 5:45pm
Details: The Move it! Shake it! Dance & Play it! is a fun Disney parade/show for younger kids (I have to admit, I always have a good time watching!) and uses the power of social media to get visitors engaged. Use the hashtag #MoveitShakeitPics on Twitter during the parade and your pic might end up on the side of a float! Zootopia characters have recently been added to the party, too.
Read More: The Ultimate Disney World Packing List
Best Walt Disney World Shows
Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios,
Duration: 30 minutes long
Time: Once nightly (showtime is dependent on season and date)
Details: Mickey Mouse is the Sorcerer’s Apprentice fighting evil in this colorful show. Filled with Disney Princesses, Villains, fireworks, music, and eye-popping scenes, it’s our favorite show at Hollywood Studios. Fastpass+ Selections offered for Fantasmic! and dinner packages including premium seating are available as well.
5. Rivers of Light
Location: Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Duration: 15 minutes
Time: At least once nightly
Details: Rivers of Light has an underlying theme, as does all of Disney’s Animal Kingdom: protect, conserve, and be aware. Using water as a backdrop, the show favors state-of-the-art lighting concepts and touching music.
6. Festival of the Lion King
Location: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Africa
Duration: 30 minutes
Time: The top of each hour beginning at 10am
Details: Festival of the Lion King gets all visitors involved and singing. Each area of the indoor stadium has its own character to root for and the acrobatics and costuming is worth a watch at least once. Fastpass+ selections offered.
7. Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire
Location: Magic Kingdom, Cinderella Castle
Duration: 22 minutes
Time: At least six times a day. Check the visitor guide for exact times.
Details: This is a great show to see some of your favorite Disney characters; Tiana and Nasreen, Rapunzel and Flynn, and Elsa and Anna sing and dance on the Castle Stage along with Sir Mickey, Lady Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and even Olaf join in on the sing-along.
8. Finding Nemo – The Musical
Location: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Dinoland, U.S.A.
Duration: 40 minutes
Time: Up to six times a day. Check Visitor’s Guide for exact showtimes.
Details: Based on the movie, Finding Nemo, the show uses puppets to bring to life the fun Disney characters including Nemo and Dory. The show includes 14 original songs composed by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, along with advanced lighting concepts and a beautiful backdrop. Fastpass+ Selections offered.
9. Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage
Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios, located in Sunset Boulevard
Duration: 25 minutes
Time: Up to five times a day. Check Visitor’s Guide for exact showtimes. This is an outdoor show and is subject to cancellation due to weather.
Details: This is a Broadway-style version of the classic Beauty and the Beast movie. Listen to your favorite songs from the movie while watching the performers bring this classic to life! The costumes and stage props alone make this is a must-see show.
Location: Epcot World Showcase, Japan Pavilion
Duration: 10 minutes
Time: At least once an hour until around dinner time. Check Visitor’s Guide for exact times.
Details: Japanese Taiko Drumming sounds fill the air (and your chest. What a boom!) surrounding the Japan Pavilion, and the quick show highlights the drummer’s skills. We’re always impressed with their energy and skill.
11. Main Street U.S.A. Trolley Show
Location: Main Street U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom
Duration: 20 minutes
Time: Throughout the morning. Showtimes often change, so please check the Times Guide when you hit the park.
Details: The Main Street Citizen Dancers have a way of making you dance right along with them with their Trolley Show. The costumes change four times a year to match the theme and feel of the park. They’ve definitely danced their way into this fan’s heart! This is one street party that you cannot miss!
Hopefully we’ve answered your frequently asked questions about when and where you can find all these parades. The Disney website has the most up-to-date showtimes.
Where To Get Discounted Theme Park Tickets
You can buy discounted Disney tickets from someplace other than the Disney site! Traveling Mom recommends Get Away Today for discounted Disney tickets and vacation packages. Not only does the company have the lowest prices, it offers a best price guarantee. If you ever find park tickets or resort hotels cheaper, Get Away Today won’t just match the price, the company will beat it.
After purchasing your tickets from Get Away Today someone will reach out to you to answer any of your Disney vacation questions or help you create an itinerary for your visit. Don’t forget that they can assist you with your Disney World Resort and Magical Express reservations!