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Disney News (4/30) – May the 4th Treats at Disney Parks, and Walt Disney World Parades

Episode 5

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On this week’s episode, Kelli gives a rundown of all of the yummy May 4th treats hitting Disney parks this week and Chris gives an overview of Disney parades.

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All music for this episode is available through a creative commons license. The background music for the News segment was created by Kevin Macleod: Fuzzball Parade by Kevin MacLeodLink:

Show Notes:

May the 4th Star Wars Food:

  • World Showcase ©
    • The Parades of WDW
  • SO we got our latest edition of the WDW magazine recently and one of the articles focuses on the Parades of WDW. And I thought – ok then, let’s talk about Parades at WDW.
  • And if we haven’t said so recently, WDW magazine – or DLR – the DL version – are really great and would highly recommend.
  • Full disclosure: For most of my life as a Disney Parks fan, I never really cared all that much about the daytime parades. They just took time away from opportunities to ride things.
    • The nighttime parades: Main Street Electrical Parade or Spectromagic were exceptions.  That was appointment viewing.
  • That has changed for me in recent years, partly because I appreciate the effort and coordination required to pull these things off.
    • Partly because the Festival of Fantasy parade is just so great and I’ve been won over.
  • So, how did the parades start at WDW:
    • DL has been running parades since the day the park opened in 1955. That first one was simply called: The Opening Day Parade
    • And through the years prior to the opening of the Magic Kingdom in 1971, they ran 17 different parades – some for very specific moments or launches (like the Zorro Days Parade that ran in 1958 – 59)
    • But also seasonal parades: at DL the Candlelight Processional was effectively a parade.
  • At the MK, the first parade was held on opening day, Oct. 1 1971, and was just called the Character Parade
    • We didn’t have the amazing colorful floats of today, but many of the same characters we see today were there, along with talented musicians (like the Dapper Dans), and antique cars.
    • It included characters from Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, Bambi, and the Jungle Book among others
    • Mickey is usually the grand finale of the parades but he kicked off the Character Parade.
  • MK has been home to 19 different themed parades – FOF being the latest.
  • After re-opening following the pandemic Disney launched Cavalcades, or mini-parades. These run throughout the day and were effectively small parades focusing on one, usually very elaborate themed float that celebrated a number of characters related to the theme.
    • For example: The Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade featured Miguel (Coco), The Incredibles, Moana, Mirabel.
    • These evolutions of the parade were kind of ingenious at a time when the park wanted to provide entertainment but thought it best not to create a scenario in which half the park was standing in close proximity for the duration of a 20 minute parade.
    • These ran more often, so the chance of seeing it increased, smaller crowds at one viewing, and they only took up few minutes.
  • The Rainy Day Cavalcade is a treat if you can catch it. And it’s just what it sounds like: Cast members wearing rain gear lead Mickey and Minnie, who sit in a covered antique car and other fantastic characters ride some of the Omnibuses provided by the Main Street Transportation Company.
  • The Festival of Fantasy parade is currently the biggest parade running at MK.
    • It launched in 2014 to celebrate the addition of New Fantasyland
    • It (typically) includes characters and floats from over a dozen Disney films – ranging from Snow White to the Frozen movies.
    • The show stopper here though is the enormous Steampunk version of the Maleficent Dragon.
      • She is 53 feet long, and she slowly meanders through the parade route, and during normal operation only stops to literally breathe fire!
      • It’s all pretty ridiculous.
    • This parade is glorious and beautiful. The Tangled float of characters on big swinging battle axes.
  • MK also hosts seasonal parades, which can usually only be seen during the special ticketted evens (MNSSHP or MVMCP) like the:
    • Boo To You Parade or Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas Parade
    • These parades features over the top costuming and performances.
      • The grave diggers and ghostly ballroom dancers, and often even the bride from the Haunted Mansion in movie quality makeup to look zombiefield – and costumes that emit a ghostly glow
      • All I can say is google the grave diggers… the choreography of their routine is just so so creapy and cool.
      • And the Tin Soldiers in the Christmas parade are just so delightful.
    • The Once Upon a Christmastime parade can be seen in late December around the holidays without attending a ticketed event.
  • What kind of blows me away is that these parades are legit spectacles.
    • Cast members prep the streets. With tape and ropes.
    • They play traffic controllers.
    • The performers travel all the way from Frontierland, through Liberty Square, around the Hub, and down Main Street through Town Square.
    • And if you attend MK during the holidays you might witness this 4 times as FOF runs usually twice per day, and the Special Parade will often run twice at night.
  • The Parades and Cavalcades are great because they provide such proximity and interaction with the characters at the heart of the Disney experience.
    • Somehow every guest comes away feeling like they had a personal interaction with characters – without having to wait in line for a meet/greet.
    • And this is the best place to see rare characters I think.
    • It’s also fun to interact with the cast members some of whom are Photopass team members who carry props and signs that make for PERFECT vacation pictures.
  • My favorite place to watch the parades are in Town Square.
  • My favorite parade moment ever – and one of the reasons I’ve come to love the parades – one of our more recent trips post covid we were having ice cream from the plaza when a cavalcade suddenly started coming around the hub.
    • Naturally I ran to get pics – which cavalcades allow you to do without your ice cream melting.
    • This was a Princess Cavalcade and Tiana was on the float along with a bunch of the other princesses.
    • Three little girls of color were standing beside me – their reaction to seeing Tiana and being acknowledged by her – people it was rapturous. They were beside themselves. I can still hear “OMG IT’S TIANA!!!!” like it was 5 minutes ago.
      • They will never forget it. 

Transcript: Coming Soon!

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