A day at a theme park is enough to leave anyone’s heart brimming with excitement and joy, but Disney takes it up a notch for young ones with the Magic Kingdom shows and cavalcades. Imagine strolling through the park as your favorite animated characters pass by and wave!
Add to that a night sky, spectacular fireworks, enchanting music, and dazzling choreographies and you’ve got innumerable unforgettable moments to go with your thrilling adventures.
There’s a lot to love about the Magic Kingdom shows and cavalcades. They’re really where the magic comes to life! Keep reading to learn all about them before your next visit.
What Are Cavalcades?
Character cavalcades are essentially pop-up parades around Magic Kingdom, featuring some of your favorite and most popular Disney characters. Say goodbye to waiting long hours and struggling for a good view of character parades.
These new mini-processions pass you by in less than a minute and happen at least a couple of times throughout the day, giving you a taste of magic before you make way for the next one!
Following the post-pandemic reopening, Disney World replaced its parades with these quick cavalcades that zip by in minutes. Those who had waited in the sweltering Florida heat for the famous parades in the past were relieved and welcomed this change of pace.
While not as extravagant as Disney’s typical parades, they are just as magical. In some ways, they even add to the Disney joy by creating a more intimate experience without grand motorcades and big crowds. With far fewer crowds, cavalcades allow you and your bunch the unique opportunity to get up-close views, make eye contact, and even greet your favorite princesses and heroes, all from a safe distance!
Many Disney-lovers were wondering if the end of cavalcades was in sight after this year’s parades came back. Lucky for us, that is not the case! You’ll still be able to catch cavalcades with characters riding atop single floats, walking, or on horses.
Best Spots To View Magic Kingdom Cavalcades
Character cavalcades follow the standard routes that were used by the old character parades. Cavalcades routinely commence near Splash Mountain, then make their way through Frontierland and straight ahead, up to Liberty Square.
From there, the mini-parade heads toward the grand Cinderella’s Castle and circles the castle hub. The cavalcade then makes its way to its exit near Walt Disney World Railroad after passing through the very picturesque Main Street USA.
This means that you could be along any point of the standard cavalcade route and catch a glimpse of the procession when it passes. That being said, if you feel you would enjoy the opening of the gates and seeing the parade before everyone else, you will want to make sure you spend some time in the Frontierland area. Head down to Main Street USA for beautiful photo ops to capture your characters in the most stunning backdrops and settings.
If you don’t have a preference, we recommend finding an outdoor table seating area along the route where you can relax, unwind, and grab a bite to eat as you wait for the cavalcade to start. Casey’s Corner and Plaza Ice Cream Parlor are famous on Main Street USA. If you are visiting Disney over August, a shaded spot is highly recommended!
Country Bears Jamboree in Frontierland is another spot that has some shaded seating areas beside it if you want a break from the heat without missing out on a cavalcade.
How To Check When Magic Kingdom Character Cavalcades Are On
Cavalcades maintain a routine timing schedule on the days that they make appearances. Disney has kept the timings confidential for more than a year, but now, you can find them on the My Disney Experience App.
On the day of your visit, open the app and tap on the location button. Go to Wait Times, and then choose Entertainment in the dropdown list. Set your filters to just Magic Kingdom Park, and you’ll find a list of all the entertainment events for the day, and underneath each, you will find times for each cavalcade.
A cavalcade runs every 15 to 20 minutes, so if you are spending some time along the standard parade route, you can be sure to catch quite a few of them. And if you miss one, don’t worry. The same cavalcade is set to run quite a few times during the day, so you can check out the timings on the My Disney Experience app and find a good spot before it arrives again.
Another highlight of these pop-up parades is that you don’t necessarily need to wait for one of them to pass by. You’ll most likely end up bumping into a cavalcade or two going about their routes when you’re on your way to your next ride or attraction.
Just keep your eyes and ears open and stop whenever you hear some excitement approaching. With a cavalcade on the way, the music will soon change and get louder. Make sure you have your camera and autograph book ready, as these are memories you will want to remember forever!
What Are Disney World’s Outdoor Magic Kingdom Shows?
Disney World’s shows are the pinnacle of a visual spectacle. With dancers, acrobats, and artists putting on the most colorful feats, complemented by lights, sounds, and props, shows at Magic Kingdom truly bring the magic alive and will leave you awe-inspired.
Shows are staged in all the parks in Disney World, but Magic Kingdom has a set of extravaganzas that make it stand out. Catch Mickey and his pals in their all-new 50th-anniversary outfits, dancing and singing on stage at Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire.
The Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular is another popular choice, especially around Halloween. This spooky display features some of Disney’s most iconic villains, such as the Evil Queen from Snow White and Maleficent.
You’ll never be bored with all the fantastic sights, from the colorful Festival of Fantasy Parade to Disney’s Enchantment, which illuminates the night sky with spectacular light displays. Keep reading for a more detailed run-through of each of these shows.
How To Check Magic Kingdom Show Timings
With the exception of grand displays such as Enchantment’s fireworks, you won’t hear a Magic Kingdom show unless you’re physically present at the venue, as opposed to cavalcades that arrive with loud and boisterous music. So if you want to see a show, be sure you get there early.
Magic Kingdom shows follow a routine schedule that can be viewed on the My Disney Experience App. Another option is to check out the Tip Boards found in all the parks, which provide up-to-the-minute details of wait times and show timings.
You can also ask any of the Cast Members, who are always more than happy to help. Find them stationed throughout the park and at show venues, for any assistance or clarification you may need.
Magic Kingdom Shows
Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire
Welcome to Magic Kingdom’s most magical experience with Mickey Mouse stealing the spotlight along with his friends from around the magical world of Disney. Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire, the new and upgraded version of the fan-favorite Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire, is a musical stage show held at Cinderella’s Castle multiple times during the day.
Keep your eyes peeled for all your favorite characters, from Donald, Daisy, and Goofy to Mickey’s band and special guests that include Rapunzel and Flynn. Watch as Elsa, Anna, and everyone’s favorite snowman, Olaf, take the stage as they perform ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen. This Magic Kingdom castle show will send “chills” through the crowd, no matter your age, with its live music and special effects.
If you’re a fan of Disney’s contemporary classics like The Princess and the Frog and Tangled, join your tots as you sing along at this one-of-a-kind show. The show lasts for a little more than 20 minutes and leaves you wanting more.
In case of inclement weather, a smaller version of the show may be showcased, and performances may be subject to cancellations in case of extreme weather. Make sure to check the weather forecast and plan your day around the show schedule.
This show offers no Genie+ benefits unlike the Festival of Fantasy Parade; so ensure you arrive early to get a good view of the entire stage against the fantastic backdrop of the royal castle.
Disney’s Festival Of Fantasy Parade
Make way for the hippest parade in town, as you celebrate Fantasyland tales with plenty of music and dance. Disney’s Festival Of Fantasy Parade is the successor to the Magic Kingdom Parade, an attraction that has been a part of the park since its opening. The parade celebrates Disney’s films with your favorite characters riding on stunningly designed floats, wearing the most magical costumes imaginable.
With a catchy soundtrack and uniquely designed themes for each unit, the prime attraction of the Festival Of Fantasy Parade has to be the Maleficent dragon float, reaching more than 25 feet in the air, spewing real fire as it passes by! Aside from this steampunk construction, you will also find friendly faces around the corner, including Ariel, Belle, and everyone’s favourite puppet, Pinocchio!
The parade takes the usual route followed by smaller parades, but consider arriving early to find a good spot in the front row for this one. Sidewalks tend to get crowded towards the beginning of the show.
The parade offers Genie+ Lightning Lane reserved viewing areas, which are definitely the best seats in the house. Make your way to Main Street to find the reserved area that offers the best views and, if you’re lucky, the best photographs with Cinderella’s Castle as a backdrop.
If you don’t have a Lightning Lane reservation, stick around in the area for great snaps of your favorite characters, as Main Street is a beautiful setting for photo shoots regardless.
Get ready to feast your eyes on what some might call the most spectacular night sky show you will witness in your lifetime. Disney’s Enchantment is the new and improved version of the iconic Magic Kingdom’s Happily Ever After. A stunning show that involves fireworks, projection mapping, music, and dancing, with a dash of pixie dust, it never fails to leave you amazed.
Magic Kingdom’s light show is set at Cinderella’s Castle, lit up in all its glory, so keep your cameras handy because what follows will truly dazzle you. Watch as the night sky erupts into hues and sparks that perfectly sync with the celebrations on the castle grounds.
Showrunners include almost all your friends from the magical world of Disney. Age-old classics include Tiana, Peter Pan, and Cinderella, while more contemporary faces your children might love include Elsa, Moana, Judy Hopps, and even Joe Gardner from the jazz world of Soul.
And if that’s not enough, watch as iconic scenes from your favorite movies are projected onto the castle walls. Coupled with music and live-action performances in the castle courtyard, these epic sequences climb to a pinnacle as the show climaxes with the most magical sight ever. Tinkerbell takes to the skies with a shimmer of pixie dust in her wake, leaving the crowd lost in a trance beneath her.
The show is worth every minute of your visit even though you don’t have the option of making reservations for genie+. Crowds aren’t actually much of an issue with this show, since the fireworks are visible from far off. It may come as a surprise, but the farther away you are, the better perspective you will have of the castle, the celebration, and the sparkles, all in one frame.
Must-See Shows At Walt Disney World
A visit to Disney World is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most visitors, so you’ll want to make sure you make the most of it. The other parks also have some incredible outdoor shows that can’t be missed, so stop by and check them out while you can!
Make your way to Animal Kingdom at Disney World to experience a spectacular festival of kites and character balloons. Disney KiteTails is a daytime show that is a part of the park’s 50th-anniversary event.
Find a good spot at the Discovery River Amphitheater and keep your eyes glued to the skies, as 3D modeled kites of your favorite characters from the jungle soar among the clouds.
From the depths of Mowgli’s Jungle Book comes Baloo and King Louis, as well as Simba and Zazu from Pride Rock. With fingers pointed at the sky and grins all around, this one is undoubtedly a treat for the kids and everyone still young at heart.
Can’t make it in time to Magic Kingdom for Enchantment? Don’t worry. If you’re in EPCOT, you’re in just the right place for something just as impressive. Harmonious at EPCOT isn’t just a fireworks display but a celebration of Disney’s cinematic world while showcasing different voices, languages, and cultures from around the world.
Floating giant screens, synchronized moving fountains, and pyrotechnics all in a panoramic 360-degree view – could you ask for more? All of these go hand-in-hand with specially curated Disney classics, weaved together for the perfect eye-popping spectacle. Watch as your heart swells with pride at the sight of everyone coming together to celebrate diversity and inclusion.
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