She’s back, and better than ever! After some really bad heartburn (too soon?), the Maleficent dragon returns to the Festival of Fantasy parade. On January 25th, Disney Parks announced the Magic Kingdom afternoon parade would welcome the Maleficent dragon back starting immediately. A great surprise for all, as it has only been ~8.5 months since her malfunction. We couldn’t think of a better time to share our top 3 parade locations. Let’s make a deal, you grab the snacks and we’ll find a spot!
Main Street USA
The quintessential location to watch any Walt Disney World parade is Main Street USA. Our words can’t do it justice. Viewing the parade coming down Main Street with the castle in the background is something to experience. It instantly makes you feel like a kid again, and all you want to do is wave to the characters. Hi Eeyore! Hi Tigger
There is no bad spot along Main Street, but there is a preferred location. When facing the castle, you’ll have two options – the right side or left side. Depending on the time year it could get very hot waiting for the parade. If it’s one of those hot Florida days you’ll want to be on the left side. By the time 3 pm rolls around, the majority of the viewing area is either shaded or partially shaded.
If you’re looking to view Maleficent and the parade from Main Street we would recommend finding a spot around an hour before the parade begins (depending on crowd levels).
Passholder Insight: The uber insider tip is to watch from the left side near one of the shop doors. Nothing better than a cool breeze on your back from the A/C!
Frontierland – Diamond Horseshoe
An underrated viewing area is Frontierland. While the majority of people head towards Main Street USA and hub area in front of the castle, we like to head to Frontierland. Not just anywhere in Frontierland, but directly in front of the Diamond Horseshoe.
We love this area for a couple of reasons, the first is the tiered viewing area, or what you may call stairs. In the front of the Diamond Horse is a set of stairs you can stand on to view the Maleficent dragon in all her glory. No blocked views here. The other reason we enjoy this area is once again the shade. It definitely gets warm waiting for parade on those humid days.
If you’re looking to view the parade from this area we usually get there around 30 to 45 minutes early, depending on the crowd levels.
Passholder Insight: When the parade is finished you’ll have easy access to 2 of our Top 3 Magic Kingdom rides!
Last, but definitely not least, is Liberty Square, which is one of the few areas of the parade route where guests can get close to the action. What makes Liberty Square enjoyable is it gives you a feeling that you’re part of the action. Just don’t get too close to Maleficent, she is a dragon after all!
Our favorite spot is near the bridge that goes between Liberty Square and the Castle area (the hub). It tends to have partial shade from the overhanging trees. It also holds fewer people, so it can feel a little less crowded. If you’re lucky you may be able to catch a performance of The Muppets Present Great Moments in American History while you wait. Say it with us – winning!
With the limited capacity you’ll want to find a spot at least an hour before the parade. We would recommend finding a spot and grabbing a treat from Sleepy Hollow, they have delicious waffle treats. Yum!
Passholder Insights: One of the best Christmas shops in Walt Disney World is located in Liberty Square, Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe. It’s open all year and is a great place to find a unique ornament.
We can’t wait to see Maleficent as part of Festival of Fantasy parade again. She is definitely the star of the show. Shhh, don’t tell Mickey. Overall there is no bad spot for the parade, but if you’re looking for a unique experience check out these locations. You never know, you may run into a couple Disney bloggers. Just remember the snacks!