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  • Writer's pictureBrenda

Shows and Parades

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

The castle is the central point for multiple shows throughout the day, from the opening ceremony, to a cute midday show, and then the spectacular fireworks at the end of the night. In addition to these shows the Magic Kingdom also plays host to the main parade on property and a number of smaller cavalcades that traverse the park. Read more about these magical spectacles here.


The official park opening at the Magic Kingdom is kicked off with the Let the Magic Begin show in front of Cinderella Castle. The Magic Kingdom is the only park that has an opening show; and while it is cute, we don’t recommend stopping to see it. If you are staying on site, you should be making use of your Early Theme Park Entry, so you will miss the show as you will already be in the park enjoying attractions. If you are staying off site, you recommend you join one of the crowds of people waiting to enter one of the lands (we really recommend you get there early enough to be at the front of one of those crowds if possible). As soon as the show is over, the park officially opens and you will be best positioned to make your way to your first attraction.

At multiple points throughout the day you can catch Mickey and his friends celebrating in front of Cinderella Castle in Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire show. You’ll catch tunes, and characters, from Princess and the Frog, Tangled, and Frozen in this cute 20 minute show. Unless you have small children deeply invested in one of the princesses who makes an appearance in the show, we don’t recommend going out of your way to see the show. But if you happen to be on Main Street, USA or in the hub when the show is ongoing, it’s worth stopping to see it.


Check out the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade that takes place twice a day at noon and 3pm (double check the app or daily time guide when you are there). Here you will see some of the most beloved Disney characters on some pretty amazing floats. It’s a spectacle of color, characters, and song that is not to be missed. The parade route starts in Frontierland where Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is set to debut, routes through Liberty Square, around the hub, and up Main Street. There really isn’t a bad place to view, but we like being in Liberty Square and watching the floats go over the bridge from Liberty Square to the hub. If you want some fabulous pictures with the castle in the background, find a place to sit in the hub or at the front of Main Street. If you are planning on the later we suggest staking out your spot 30 minutes early. Otherwise you can stroll up 10 minutes or so prior to the start.

In addition to the main parade, the Magic Kingdom has a Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade. This is like a mini parade which highlights the characters and only has one or two floats. This is a fun way to see some characters you won’t see anywhere else around the park, including Moana, Mirabel, and Miguel, plus so many more. The cavalcade follows the same route as the larger parade and does not require finding a spot early if you want to check it out. In the past there have been additional cavalcades, including a princess one, but they are not currently listed on the Disney website.

Nighttime Show:

Disney does so many things on point, but one place where we think they are unrivaled is their nighttime shows. In the Magic Kingdom, Happily Ever After is a huge fan favorite. It’s a fantastical combination of fireworks, projections on Cinderella Castle and down Main Street, USA, and music. The only downside is you will never see another fireworks show the same after watching this.

We strongly recommend everyone make time to see this show at least once (and that will likely prompt you to want to see it again and again). Depending on the time of year there is either one show at the closing of the park or two shows, with one set earlier and another at closing. When there are two shows, the first will be infinitely more crowded. You can view the show from virtually anywhere you can see the castle, but for first timers in particular we recommend finding a spot in front of the castle so you can get the full effects of the show. If you are finding a spot in front of Cinderella Castle to watch from you should know it will be super crowded, like everyone is shoulder to shoulder with little room to maneuver kind of crowded.

For people who find that sort of crowd too much you can stand farther back, though your view will likely be obstructed, or you can pay for the fireworks dessert party. With the Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Party you will pay $99 per adult and $59 per child. There are two options to choose from for the dessert parties, pre-party or post-party. For the pre-party, you will go to Tomorrowland Terrace before the fireworks and enjoy a spread of bite sized desserts, fruits, and cheese that are all you can eat (no one will judge you if you want to just chow down on the chocolate covered strawberries). Also, for those of you who have been searching for it all day in vain: they offer some alcoholic beverages here included in the pricing. Then you will go to a designated location that has been reserved for these guests to view the fireworks. The post-party option is the opposite, first you will view the fireworks, then chow down on desserts.


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