Disney parades are often the number one
attraction for guests. Hundreds of families will find their spots hours
ahead of time and camp out until the show begins! While the floats and
characters move slowly down the street though, there are countless
safety precautions being taken by cast members throughout the show.
There are also some safety rules you, as guests should follow, as well,
while enjoying a Disney parade.
Don’t get in front of a float!
As beautiful as the floats featured in each Disney parade
are, they are also incredibly large, heavy, moving vehicles. They
move very slowly, usually at about 5 mph. Regardless, a float the
size of 10 elephants may not always be able to stop soon enough when
a curious guest gets too close. Neither would an elephant, I
So here’s what you should know:
should not step out in the street to catch a photo of Captain Hook or
anyone else coming at you. You never know he might do with that hook!
Keep in mind that may not be able to see very much.
You should not sit or
stand in the street. Not even all scrunched up with your knees by yours
should keep all of your bags and other belongings with you up on the
curb or behind the ropes. We wouldn’t want Snow White tripping on your
camera strap would we?
Find your spot and
stick to it!
This is almost more for your comfort and
convenience than safety.
Unfortunately some guests do get a bit
hostile when it comes time for the parade, because they want to have the
best seats and aren't concerned with the people around them. Actually,
just this past year there was an incident between two women in line for
Dumbo. My advice is that when a guests gets like that with you, ignore
it and let it roll of your back. You're at the happiest place in the
world, and if other people around you can't see that and be happy as
well, you certainly shouldn't let it ruin your fun! Try to find another
spot, or just politely try to make room for everyone. It will usually
blow over by the time the show starts! If you ever experience any actual
violence towards you, you should contact a cast member immediately.
They will then contact security and deal with it accordingly.
The location that will put
you as close as possible to the parade anywhere directly on the curb of
the street or behind the ropes set up along the perimeter of the parade
route. These ropes and stanchions are set up daily to direct guests as
to where they may view the parade, and for their own safety.
There are also designated
viewing areas for guests with disabilities. These areas are provided for
guest comfort and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so
guests should plan to arrive early, as space is limited. Cast members
will usually allow up to approximately 6 guests in your party to
accompany the disabled guest. This number varies though, based on the
size of the designated area and how full it may be. Unlike Cinderella’s
Royal Table, you may not make reservations for these seats.
If you’re in a wheelchair or
ECV, you don’t have to sit in these areas of course; only of you find
them more convenient. Most areas along the parade route are accessible
to guests with disabilities.
If you’ve chosen your viewing location and some of your party has
to use the restroom before the parade starts, just be sure to politely
let the guests around you know that they will be coming back, and that
you are holding their place. Refrain from leaving bags or other
belongings on the ground in their absence, because (a) someone may trip
on them and (b) we wouldn’t want Robin Hood to come steal what you’ve
left on the ground to give to the poor!
End of parade
procedures. Each parade is different, but here are a few general
tips. First, if you want to grab a few extra shots of the final float,
guests are more than welcome to follow the banner or rope that signifies
the end of the show. In fact, guests are often invited to help hold it
up as the floats continue down the street. Just remember not to pass in
front of it.
Second, before the show
begins, it’s always a good idea to find out the direction of the parade.
This can help you choose a good viewing spot with your future plans in
mind. You can check your map for the route, usually signified by a red
dotted line. A rule of thumb for the direction is that the parade will
usually begin at the parks entrance, with the exception of Disney’s
Dream Come True Parade at the Magic Kingdom, which ends at the park’s
So for example if you want to
leave the park after Spectromagic ends at the Magic Kingdom, if you know
that it begins at the parks entrance/exit, you can snag a viewing
location next to the exit. Then after Pluto and Briar Bear (the last two
characters in the parade) pass, you’ll be able to walk behind them and
leave the park.
The nighttime spectacular at the Magic Kingdom is a signature event,
perfect for ending a thrilling day at the park. Nearly everyone makes
time to see the light parade before heading to bed or the Wishes
fireworks show. If you’ve never seen the parade, it is similar to the
Main Street Electrical Parade. All of the street lights go off and the
parade itself illuminates the area with sparkling color!
With this lighting situation,
safety is extra important because it is difficult to see while the
parade is moving. Parade Audience Controllers set up ropes and
stanchions a few hours prior to the parade, so that guests may find and
hold their viewing locations. They also will set up certain crossing
points, most of which will be closed during the parade. One crossing
point that stays open during the parade is just next to City Hall on
Main Street. During the parade, between very specific, preplanned
breaks, the cast members will move the ropes into the street for
anywhere from 20 to 60 seconds. This allows guests who wish to exit the
park during the show to cross the street in the middle of the parade,
instead of having to wait until it is finished.
Guests may only cross at this
specific location, and only when the ropes are moved into the street and
the cast members allow guests to cross. This is very important for
safety reasons, because there a reduction in visibility during this
parade. You do not want to cross a float that is not expecting you.
One potential side effect of
this maneuver that has caused some guests grief is that parties may be
separated. Cast members have a very limited time to get guests across
the street before the next float comes through. If some of the party is
faster or slower than the rest and someone gets left behind because the
crossing time is up, the party will be separated temporarily. Once
again, it is always for your safety!
On one occasion, a parent was
quite upset that their five-year-old child was the only one of their
party that was left back on the other side when the crossing was cut.
The thing to keep in mind with this is that the time between crossings
is only a few minutes. The child was on the other side with a reliable
cast member, and if she had been allowed to cross at the last second,
she may not have gotten across safely or quickly enough. Say it with me
this time! It is always for your safety!
may not bring lawn chairs or benches or use any kind of seat while
viewing the parade. Of course the exception is the use of an ECV or
wheelchair. Again this is for the guests’ safety. There are
possibilities that could be problematic such as if there were some type
of evacuation or even if a little kid ran by a chair and tripped on it.
If you need to sit properly
for the show, you may be able to request a wheelchair. I have actually
gotten a wheelchair for guests in the past. On one hand, guests
shouldn't expect to be given a wheelchair just for the parade, but if
you asked for one for that purpose of watching the parade, you would
either be given one, or at the very least directed to the wheelchair
There are benches at the hub
of the park in front of Cinderella Castle, near the Partners statue of
Walt and Mickey Mouse that you may sit on and have a decent view of the
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