Sunday, August 7, 2016

4 Reasons the “Festival of Fantasy” Parade is a "Must See"

By Rebekah Coley




One of the many things that set Disney Parks apart from their amusement competitors is their enchanting entertainment. In lieu of campy “rocking to the oldies” musical revues, Disney Parks Entertainment prides itself on creating shows that thematically fit with their assigned park. Recently, the parks worldwide have been “pulling out all the stops” in terms of debuting inventive parades, firework displays, and stage productions. With all of these new options, it can be easy to forget about the incredible productions that just hit the Magic Kingdom streets a couple of years ago. Specifically, we are referring to the parade “Festival of Fantasy”. Check out today’s article for 4 reasons the “Festival of Fantasy” Parade is not to be missed...








First of all, let me say that the Magic Kingdom is undeniably my favorite WDW Park. Even if I don’t visit MK the first day of my trip, it never hits me that I’ve arrived at the happiest place on Earth until I walk through the hallowed tunnels. Several other experiences “trigger” that delightful realization, including when I finally get to watch the 3 o'clock parade. Before “Festival of Fantasy” debuted in March, 2014, MK had been recycling the same floats throughout three consecutive parades: “Share a Dream Come True” (2001), “Disney Dreams Come True” (2006), and “Celebrate a Dream Come True” (2009). (Personally, I thought that “Disney Dreams Come True” had the catchiest soundtrack, but I digress.) Granted, the snow globe-inspired floats were lovely, but audiences were hungry for brand new material. Thanks to several visionary minds, including Richard Improta (Parade Designer) and Steven Davison (Creative Director), “Festival of Fantasy” is likely to have a long and well-deserved run on Main Street, U.S.A. Here are 4 reasons the “Festival of Fantasy” Parade is a definitely a "must see"...




1) Breathtaking Floats and Costumes






Intended to showcase the characters in Fantasyland and its expansion, the parade features movies such as Peter Pan, Tangled, and Brave. More so than any other MK parade I’ve seen, “Festival of Fantasy” can boast that it has the most inventive floats. Unlike its predecessors, the floats have no coherent theme, and instead, seek to outdo one another in splendor. From the intricate Snuggly Duckling on wheels Tangled float to the Brave float (a majestic ship that resembles a giant set of bagpipes) it is clear that each piece was crafted with exceptional creativity. Also, each set of dancers wears intricate costumes that tie in with the theme of their “home” float.  For example, the dancers for Rapunzel’s section wore ruffian-inspired clothes, and the dancers surrounding the massive princess float all wore ball attire. (This is contrary to “Celebrate a Dream Come True”, where each parade dancer was clad in an identical garment.)




2) Soundtrack






Like most Disney productions, the parade melody by Mark Hammond has “ear worm” quality. Along with this new parade tune, popular Disney songs such as “Kiss the Girl”, and “You Can Fly!” are carefully woven in with ease. Snatches of Disney scores can be heard as well, such as a Celtic theme that was inserted for the Brave section. My one criticism is that only a couple of recognizable character vocals are inserted into the soundtrack. As a result, generic female and male voices sing most of the vocal solos while cast members lip sync. (Yes, I understand that this is common in parades, but usually Ariel’s specific voice comes out of Ariel’s mouth.) Despite this, I still love the overall soundtrack, and memorized it within days.




3) Blending of the Generations






Despite the popularity of the newer movies, the parade roster still spans all the way back to characters Walt oversaw himself. Conversely, this is one complaint I’ve heard regarding Disneyland’s “Paint the Night”. Although the parade looks spectacular, the style and featured character seem to really focus on the newest generation of fans. (Nonetheless, I am still dying to see this in person.) “Festival of Fantasy” maintains a nice balance of new faces and technologies, while still having that traditional Disney warmth.




4) It Has a Dragon






Seriously. This parade has a dragon that breathes actual fire. Thanks to 3-D printing technologies, this impressive float is surrounded by performers in foreboding raven costumes that each have a 12-foot wingspan. Truthfully, I am not only praising this float because dragons are insanely cool, but to illustrate that Disney can also be insanely cool when given the appropriate resources. (Take that Universal!) It would also appear that the Asian Disney Parks don’t completely own the market on groundbreaking special effects.








Per the vision of Walt Disney, the parks will never be completed as the show must always be kept fresh to allure visitors. That being said, MK has seen several enhancements in the past couple of years, and “Festival of Fantasy” further proves that while the park idealizes the past, it is not stuck there.

If you haven't had an opportunity to see this truly magical parade in person, or you would like to relive seeing it again, here now is Disney's wonderful “Festival of Fantasy” Parade for your enjoyment...

(For your viewing pleasure, please be sure to pause the Disney Avenue Music Player at the top left-hand corner of the page before playing the video below if you are on a desktop computer.)










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Rebekah Coley is a Pittsburgh native who has been obsessing over Disney films (and the corporation in general) for her entire life. Starting with a childhood of constantly dressing up in princess costumes, memorizing songs, and watching the newest Disney VHS tapes on repeat, her love and passion for Disney magic has not faded over time. In fact, she met her fiancé at an audition for the Disney College Program and although they are not annual WDW pass holders yet, the future possibility is inevitable.

In addition to loving the most popular Disney movies, Rebekah has a soft spot for underrated works that didn’t receive the same fanfare (e.g. A Goofy Movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, etc.) It is a passion of hers to remind other fans of their existence and excellence.

By day, Rebekah works in professional development and holds a Bachelors degree in Human Resources Management from Point Park University. By night, she performs in community theater musicals, reads and exercises compulsively, and strives to stay on top of any Disney-related news. As a lover of entertainment, Rebekah’s blogs focus on reviewing Disney’s theme park productions, stage adaptations, films, and books.

You can find additional examples of Rebekah’s work on her personal blog- https://toeachhisownblog.wordpress.com/.

You can find all of Rebekah's articles here.


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