Sep 012016
 

By Tim Rogers

 

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A big part of any day in the Magic Kingdom is the parades. For some, parade time is a great chance to get to the more popular attractions with less of a wait, but for many guests, the parades are a must-do for their trip.

However, even if you have seen a Disney parade before, a great way to get a new experience is to change your viewing location. In the Magic Kingdom, all of the parades use the same route, and most go in the same direction, from Frontierland, through Liberty Square, to Main Street (the Main Street Electrical Parade, while it is still running, begins on Main Street and goes through this route backwards).

While you are thinking of where you want to be, or trying to get a good spot, watch about an hour or so before the start of the parade, when Cast Members begin taping walkways and putting up rope lines – this will tell you exactly where you can be.

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But for picking a spot, let’s start where every Magic Kingdom day begins – Main Street U.S.A. Main Street is probably the most obvious place to want to see one of the Disney parades, if for no other reason than you get the castle in the background. However, some of the spots on Main Street also fill up the earliest, so having a slightly different plan can give you a new experience.

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The first time I was able to see the Festival of Fantasy parade we tried to position ourselves near the end of the parade route. Start by hanging out near the park entrance next to the Emporium and Harmony Barber shop. If you are in this area, watch for a Cast Member to put a post up in the middle of the street and start running a line toward the exit to back stage.

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As the parade comes around the circle it will turn to wards the gate between the fire station and the barber shop. If you can get a spot on or near that post you will get some great straight on views of the whole parade, and some wonderful interaction with the characters on foot.

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The second spot on Main Street I wanted to mention is the upper level of the train station. Sometimes the front of this can fill up early, but the sides often have some space. Especially with the height of some of the newer floats, watching them from the same level can be really fun and let you see details you missed before.

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Outside of Main Street, the next place I have had a great experience is near the border of Liberty Square and Frontierland along the storefronts between the Frontier Trading Post and Diamond Horsehoe.

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This area is good for a few reasons. First, for parades beginning in Frontierland you get to see them at a slight angle so you can see them from the front as they approach and the side as they pass.

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Second, the porches here give multiple levels of viewing, so more good spots are available for longer. A hidden benefit of this area is that you are right next to the passage to Adventureland, so you have an easy escape when the parade ends.

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We started near the backstage gate on Main Street, and we will end at the backstage gate in Frontierland. I’ve seen parades here from both sides, first by Pecos Bill’s and also on top of the hill by Splash Mountain. Especially for parades ending in this location, you can get some nice views with the added benefit of jumping into Pecos Bill’s for a restroom or delicious cuisine.

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Viewing parades in the Magic Kingdom can be a lot of fun, but branching out across lands can make each viewing a brand new experience – so go check out your own!

Dec 312014
 

A Walt Disney World Year In Review - 2014 Month By Month

By Rikki Niblett

Wow…2014 has come and gone…how did it happen so fast? One day we’re waiting on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to open, the next day, it’s got hour plus waits all day, every day. It truly has been a fantastic year in the Walt Disney World community, so let’s take a look, month by month at some of the highlights.

Spice Road Table

January

  • Avatarland broke ground: Was Avatarland going to happen? We got our answer when ground officially broke, with many Disney dignitaries and a Na’vi posing with the shovels. Looks like we really are moving forward with this new land. Now, we wait until 2017 until the area opens.
  • Spice Road Table opens: This new restaurant, located in the Morocco Pavilion at Epcot opened with tepid reviews. Recently, Disney revamped the menu and began allowing for Advanced Dining Reservations, so we’ll see if that helps to increase the number of patrons at this restaurant.

February

  • Bye PUSH: It was a strange removal. One second, we heard the rumors that PUSH the talking trash can would be leaving, the next Disney said he was staying, then a few days later, the interactive character was pulled. We’ll miss you PUSH. Thanks for the fun memories and conversations.

Festival of Fantasy Parade Maleficent

March

  • The debut of the Festival of Fantasy Parade: Wow! That’s really all you can say about this parade. (And this comes from someone who’s not a parade person.) This parade brought so much to the table. It brought multiple princesses, swinging ruffians, colorful floats, lots of dancing, and of course, a fire-breathing dragon. How does it get much better? This was a cool parade.

April

  • Anna and Elsa move to the Magic Kingdom: And thousands and thousands of guests lined up to meet them. This meet and greet quickly saw wait times of a few hours. The opening of the park quickly became an orderly walk back to Fantasyland, as all guests wanted to do was meet Anna and Elsa and ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (more on that.) Moving these two to Princess Fairytale Hall was a slam dunk idea. And little girls everywhere are super happy when they get the chance to meet their favorite Disney sisters.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

May

  • New announcements: We had quite a few new things announced this month, including Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Trader Sam’s Grotto Grog at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Now we wait for the future when those both appear.
  • Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade ends: This was a sad day; the end of the parade for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The reason behind the removal was due to construction taking place at the park (understandable), but we still miss getting to see an afternoon parade here.
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train debuts: Yay! This was the one we were all waiting for…for months and months…and months. Finally, the day came at the end of May. The attraction is super cute and features some incredibly impressive AudioAnamatronics. I expected the swaying motion to make the attraction more intense, but it really just helps the whole thing to glide better. It’s rollicking fun for the whole family.

Festival of the Lion King

June

  • Festival of the Lion King debuts in new theater: The show had been down for refurb for the majority of the year to this point, but I have to say that this new area is simply gorgeous! Disney got the theming perfect. It really feels like the building has been there forever. And what’s great is that the show didn’t change too terribly much, so that’s good too. A better experience and the same show we know and love? Again, how do you get much better.

Frozen Summer Fun Live

July

  • Introduction of the Frozen Summer Fun Live events: The smash hit of Frozen brought this smash summer success. (Rumor is this event was throw together in just a few weeks.) The event brought us a fun parade, a stage show called “For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration”, a dance party, and a merchandise location themed after Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post from the movie. This event was so popular it was extended and then some pieces continue on to this day. (The sing along and Wandering Oaken’s.) It really was good Frozen fun.

August

  • American Idol Experience Closes: That was a quick closure. It had been said originally that the attraction would be closing in January, but then it was announced that it would be closing a full six months earlier. Many rejoiced as the attraction closed, given that most wondered why the attraction was introduced in the first place.

Backlot Tour

September

  • Backlot Tour Closes: Another surprise closure! One that really came out of the blue. The Backlot Tour closed with minimal lead time. While the attraction had been cut down multiple times throughout the years, it was still sort of sad to see an opening day attraction close down, no matter how sad of shape it was in.

Canadian Lumberjack Show

October

  • Maelstrom Closes to make way for a Frozen attraction: The rumors had been swirling for about a year, but it seemed as though the rumors were true. Maelstrom in Norway closed at the beginning of the month as fans went to say their final goodbyes.
  • World Showcase Acts removed and new acts introduced: This year we said goodbye to Mo’Rockin, the World Showcase Players, the Fife and Drum Corps, and Off Kilter. We also got to welcome the new Moroccan female group, B’net al Houwariyate; a flag waving troupe,  Sbandieratori di Sansepolcro; celtic group, The Paul McKenna Band, and Canadian Lumberjack Show.

November

  • Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow closes: Another closure for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s clear something is afoot. This time is was the lackluster Pirates themed show. I don’t think many will miss it.
  • Turner Classic Movies make deal with Disney: This was a match made in heaven. Turner Classic Movies will sponsor The Great Movie Ride and will include a new pre-show and updated movie clips. In addition, Disney weekends will occur periodically on Turner Classic Movies.

December

  • Trattoria al Forno opens: Opening in the place of Cat Cora’s Kouzzina, this new BoardWalk Inn restaurant features Italian dishes.

It’s hard to believe that so much happened this year! And 2015 is sure to be an exciting year with the debut of Disney Springs and the updated Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort opening with a new pool, new DVC villas, and most important, Trader Sam’s! What is your favorite Walt Disney World news piece from 2014 and what are you looking forward to for 2015?