Editor’s Note: This month, the WDW Radio blog team is gathering to discuss a Disney tradition: the parade! Across parks, seasons, and even time of day, parades have had a glorious and diverse history at Walt Disney World. Our blog writers have each gathered to answer the question: What was your favorite Disney parade and why? Please join the conversation and tell us which Disney parade will always hold a special place in YOUR heart!
Kendall Foreman: “For those who have experienced the excitement of watching a parade at Walt Disney World, it likely goes without saying that, from beginning to end, each one is spectacular as well as simply enchanting. Along with my family—and now my husband—I have had the great pleasure of watching several parades there over the years. While I remember each one for its remarkable showpieces and memorable music, regrettably, I have not had the opportunity to see my favorite WDW parade in person. Without a doubt, the Easter Parade at the Magic Kingdom is my clear choice. Though never having stood amidst the crowd of onlookers, it was a program I watched with my family every year. Much to my dismay, Disney stopped televising it in 2000. For me, its annual airing immediately triggered the hope of taking another trip to WDW. It was a great show that not only generated anticipation, it also captivated me. In typical Disney style, the production always included the revelation of all things imminent or new around the “World”. Best of all, the parade brought together two of my favorite things, Disney World and classic Hollywood musicals. Songs like Easter Parade, Put On Your Sunday Clothes, and Seventy-Six Trombones played as elegant women and dapper men, in turn-of-the-century fashions, danced down Main Street, USA. I vividly remember sitting in front of our TV singing along and wishing I were there in a lovely gown and stylish Easter Bonnet.”
Don Myers: “My favorite parade has to be Remember the Magic. It holds very special significance, as it was the featured parade at Magic Kingdom during our 1996 trip. This trip is extra special to me because it was our first trip to WDW as a complete Family. My brothers were born in 1991 and 1993, so our previous trips had been Mom, Dad, me, and my sister Kelly (we also had a special trip with my Gram in 1986). But for this 1996 vacation, we finally got to experience the magic of Disney as a complete Family. Several years later I went to WDW for Spring Break, and the Remember the Magic parade was still there. As soon as I heard that familiar song I instantly began to tear up. On that day I decided no matter how long it took I was gonna make sure we all got back there again for one more Family vacation. For motivation, I even created a CD of Disney songs, with the Remember the Magic theme naturally at the forefront. It took several years and a lot of saving, but on February 1st 2009 we finally walked underneath the train station and made our way out onto Main Street USA again. We were back home, and it was all thanks to the memories created years ago by the Remember the Magic parade.”
Christy Viszoki: “Hands down, my favorite Disney parade was Tapestry of Nations. I watched that parade over and over, and was so inspired by its message of positivity and its view of the future. Even thinking of the music today gives me goose bumps. I so wish a parade like that would return to Epcot!”
Caitlin Corsello:”My favorite parade in Walt Disney World has always been Spectromagic. From the sudden dimming of the lights on Main Street to the first notes of whimsical music, I am completely enthralled with the parade featuring floats displaying brilliant lights and loveable characters. My favorite part of the parade features the characters of the Little Mermaid set to ‘Under the Sea.’ To me, loving an attraction, parade, or place in Disney World has so much to do with the emotions that accompany that specific thing. Spectromagic in particular makes me remember the many times I would line up on the curb of Main Street with my parents long before the parade was scheduled to start, just to make sure that we would all have a great view. Unfortunately, Spectromagic stopped running in 2010 when the Main Street Electrical Parade was brought back, so I haven’t been able to experience my favorite parade in a few years. I do get to pretend I’m on Main Street taking in the lights and floats quite often though, as Spectromagic is probably the most heavily played CD in my car’s stereo! I hear that music, picture Mickey looking into his crystal ball, conjure up the memories of my family, and celebrate my favorite parade all the time.”
Blake Taylor: “The ‘Remember the Magic’ Parade for WDW’s 25th anniversary is by far my favorite Disney procession, partly because it recalls the first Disney trip that I actually remember. I had been once before as a really small child, but it was during the 25th anniversary that I distinctly remember experiencing the magic for the first time. And the song! It remains to this day my favorite Disney tune, in the parks or otherwise. A few years after the 25th, we visited WDW again and the same parade was still playing. By then I started to wise up on what made the magic work, and we have on tape my puzzled reaction to seeing that the parade performers were blatantly and unquestionably lip-syncing. On the tape you can hear my mom trying (unsuccessfully) to keep it together and not laugh!”
Happy Keller: “My favorite parade was/is Disneyland‘s Main Street Electrical Parade. I was fascinated by it. The first time I heard the music (“Baroque Hoedown”) I was mesmerized! When they announced that the MSEP was going away forever, I made one last special trip to go see it. As the last float in the parade – the American Bald Eagle float – passed by me for (what I thought would be) the last time, I burst into tears. As fate would have it, “forever” didn’t last very long! I’m so glad I can still see it.”
Richard Bernato: “I used to enjoy the Fourth of July parade. I looked forward to all of the televised parades. They all gave a chance to savor what we could not have at the moment, but the Fourth of July one always pushed my ‘I gotta book a summer trip to Walt Disney World’ button. In fact, one year, just at the end of the Fourth of July parade, I literally picked up the phone and booked a trip for the next Fourth of July! I certainly was stirred by its patriotic theme, but I remember always enjoying the little teaser scenes of the various attractions, especially ones I hadn’t seen yet!”
Makena Wolcott: “My favorite Disney parade has been replaced with one that is fairly similar, but it is just not the same. It hasn’t been extinct for a long time, but I still miss it dearly. Does anybody have any guesses? It is the Block Party Bash from Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which is now exchanged for Countdown to Fun. Block Party Bash was the first modern Disney parade that would literally stop in its tracks to play with the guests for a few minutes. It also wasn’t continuous like the parades were a few years back. It felt more personal and more like a party in the street. You could even be pointed out by what you were wearing or you could be asked for your name! Of course, the best part was the end of the parade. There were usually two Cast Members that would follow the last float with a rope so that nobody would get too close to the last float. This was generally the cue for guests to go about and continue their magical day. However, if you followed these Cast Members, you followed the parade. Before the floats disappeared behind the backstage gates, the dancers for the final float turned to face us and did a special dance. The characters even started waving. As the final note was played in the song, HUNDREDS of balls were shot in the air. And I mean HUNDREDS. They were different colors, but all had the Block Party Bash logo on them. We still have a few that lasted through the years. I will never forget this parade due to the personalization factor.”
Alyssa Wiseman: “I enjoy sharing these questions with my husband, Brandon, and we both immediately came up with the same two answers. Our first favorite that we miss is Spectromagic! The music was amazing and the story just swept you up. The funny part is that my father-in-law couldn’t stand the parade. If you remember the parade started with the little characters with white hair that were on the float playing the trumpets, and they would shake their heads side-to-side. Well, he thought they were the creepiest characters in the entire world. He wasn’t a fan.
Our second parade that we really miss was the afternoon parade at Magic Kingdom: Remember the Magic. We both can sing the entire song and it doesn’t seem like there are other parades that are that as memorable as that one. It also felt like the parade went on for an hour and every possible Disney character was involved. I know that this was the first Disney parade that I ever experienced, so that might be why I love this parade so much.”
What has been your favorite Disney parade? Tell us your memories in the comments below!