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Magic Kingdom debuts new ‘Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade’

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On March 9, Walt Disney World debuted its new Magic Kingdom parade. Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade takes its inspiration from the stories of New Fantasyland, featuring classic animated Disney and Pixar stories.

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Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade presents these stories through a spectacle of nearly 100 performers, plus 40 additional parade characters, and fantastical floats. The parade reflects the hard, creative work of Parade Designer Richard Improta, Creative Director Steven Davison and Managing Producer Kris Bunner.

“The parade celebrates and pays homage to what the Magic Kingdom is all about,” said Randy Wojcik, senior show director Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Creative Entertainment. “It has the most beautiful floats, enchanting characters, vibrant costumes that come to life; and the choreography is just glorious. Yet, it is also very kinetic, relevant and powerful on a scale never seen before at Walt Disney World.”

Of course, many others have contributed to the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade. Mark Hammond, whose previous work includes Disney California Adventure’s World of Color and Hong Kong Disneyland’s Flights of Fantasy, designed the musical score. Mirena Rada, who has previously worked on projects for Disneyland Resort, Tokyo Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, designed the costumes.

And Disney worked with Tony Award-winner Michael Curry to develop the 35-foot long, 26-foot high steampunk-inspired Maleficent Dragon.

Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade includes nine floats, seven of them unique to Magic Kingdom, that will travel a parade route that includes Main Street, U.S.A. Each float has its own theme song.

The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade replaces the series of Dream parades – the lasts of which was Dreams Come True – that ran in Magic Kingdom between 2001 and 2014.

Walt Disney World offers these descriptions of the floats.

The Princess Garden: This pageantry of princesses celebrates Disney royalty. Cinderella, Tiana and Belle accompanied by their respective princes, ride in a garden of topiaries with woodland creatures, birds and more. Cinderella’s dress playfully twirls like a turntable, while Swan Court couples lead the 50-foot-long majestic float, capped off with a special appearance by Anna and Elsa from Disney’s hit animated feature, “Frozen.”

Tangled: A massive long ship on the high seas showcases Flynn Rider and Rapunzel in search of adventure and another Best. Day. Ever! Rapunzel’s iconic tresses weave throughout this 36-foot-long float decked out with swaying pendulums carrying dastardly thugs.

Little Mermaid: Ariel and her friends sit atop a colorfully kinetic seashell music box that boasts an enchanting musical jubilee. There’s no shortage of whimsy on this Under the Sea float with conga dancing fish kicking up their fins and bubbles galore. Shimmering fabrics and intricately designed costumes for the Lion Fish, Coral Fish, Seashell and Sea Horse performers are runway-inspired.

Peter Pan: Straight from Never Land come Peter Pan and Wendy soaring high aboard the famous Jolly Roger pirate ship complete with smoke effects and special surprises. A rainbow arch shines over Skull Rock and Tinker Bell nestled among giant flowers, while Captain Hook takes center stage on a swinging anchor. “Newsies-inspired” Lost Boys kick up their heels to high-energy choreography.

Brave: Celtic couples and a vessel shaped like an enormous bagpipe announce the arrival of Merida perched high on her majestic crown. Scottish dancers step to melodies of the Great Highlands in celebration of the popular Disney*Pixar film, “Brave.”

Sleeping Beauty: The heroic Prince Phillip battles a Steampunk-inspired Dragon as the wicked Maleficent. This float stretches 53 feet in length and 26 feet tall with a prickly spinning wheel dead center of the float. With fiery eyes and glowing effects the spectacular dragon was built on an articulating chassis allowing the float to bend and flex as it moves along the parade route – a first for Disney parades. This float was designed in a partnership with Tony Award-winner Michael Curry. There’s Prince Phillip, thorn-inspired stilt performers, dramatic raven dancers, plus the three good fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather glide along the parade route.

Finale and Mickey’s Airship: The parade culminates with a 90-foot-long magical caravan of characters featuring Pinocchio, Dumbo, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Mad Hatter, Pluto and more in a splashy carnival of color. There’s Pegasus horses, dancing hippos and sassy Bubble Girls with cotton-candy-like hair celebrating Storybook Circus in New Fantasyland. Sporting zany new costumes Mickey and Minnie Mouse sit sky high in Mickey’s Airship — a giant hot air balloon that rounds out Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.

Kungaloosh! Put on your set of ears and join me in stalking the Mouse. Read more of my Disney Travel Examiner articles or sign up for a free subscription.

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