One of the most magical parts of a visit to Disneyland is watching an energetic Disneyland parade! Disneyland is known for its amazing entertaining live parades filled with Disney characters, themed floats, amazing music, and talented performers.
Here’s everything you need to know about watching parades at Disneyland, including times, best viewing locations, and more.
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Disneyland Parade Times and Info
To start, while you are planning your upcoming visit to Disneyland, visit this link on the Disneyland website to check when the parade will run as the Disneyland performance schedule can change because of special events or other park happenings.
The current parade running right now at Disneyland is Magic Happens! This parade experienced a limited run for just two weeks in 2020 before the pandemic impacted the parks. It has now returned for the first time since to Disneyland!
Best Disneyland Parade Viewing Locations
There are many spots throughout Disneyland to view the fireworks that run along the parade route. The 8:45 PM parade route will run from the “it’s a small world” ride down to Main Street and the 10:45 PM parade will start near the Main Street train station and return back to the “it’s a small world” ride.
All along the parade route you can grab a spot, it’s on a first come first served basis.
Let’s go over each main location:
Watching Parades on Main Street
Nothing beats watching a parade with the castle in the background! Main Street is my favorite spot to catch a parade, especially if you are trying to catch the fireworks or projections show which will follow after the first showing of the Main Street Electrical Parade.
I also prefer this location because of its proximity to multiple dining locations where you can mobile order, or purchase, a treat or a meal to snack on while waiting for the parade. Also, this area is very close to the bathrooms on Main Street, especially helpful for parents with little ones.
Curb spots are snagged on Main Street early and are considered a “seating only” spot once the parade begins. These spots have the longest wait time, sometimes 2+ hours or more. There is a second row behind the curb spots which you can also grab closer to show time, in between someone sitting on the curb and the rope Cast Members will put up before the parade begins. Guests behind the curb row will need to stand once the performance begins.
There is stroller parking nearby Main Street but we have also kept our stroller with us while our little one sat in the stroller waiting for the show.
Watching Parades near “it’s a small world”
If you don’t want to wait a long time for a parade spot, your best bet is near the “it’s a small world” ride. This viewing location is typically less crowded and easier to find a good last-minute spot. There is a raised area in between the ride and the Matterhorn, which provides a good view of the parade above the crowd.
This area also has bathrooms nearby and snack carts.
Watching Parades along the Parade Route
Finding a viewing spot along the parade route and near Sleeping Beauty Castle, across from Pixie Hollow is also a bit easier than Main Street. Cast Members will set up a roped off area where seating will be available about an hour before showtime.
Watching Parades in other areas in Disneyland
Another good last-minute spot is the railing in front of the Main Street train station. It is a raised area that will give you an unobstructed view. This spot is perfect for a quick park exit after the parade is over!
Parade Viewing Areas for Guests with Disabilities
Guests using a wheelchair can watch the parade from any viewing location, but there are also some parade viewing areas for guests with disabilities. Check with City Hall early in the day to learn more about reserving a spot for parade viewing.
Plaza Inn Dining Package
Disneyland has brought back the Main Street Electrical Parade Dining Package, which is a super tasty way to get a reserved viewing spot for this dazzling show.
Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance starting April 14th on the Disneyland app and Disneyland website. Walk-up same-day reservations can also be made at the Plaza Inn, per availability.
Each Plaza Inn Dining Package includes one lunch entree and one drink per person, and pricing is $40 per adult, $25 per child ages 3 to 9, tax and gratuity not included.
Guests will receive a viewing voucher during the meal for the day’s first performance of the Main Street Electrical Parade. The voucher will list the location of your viewing area and the time you should arrive.
Parade Viewing Tips
- When choosing a parade viewing spot, make sure not to sit directly behind a pedestrian crossing point. People crossing can obstruct your view, photos, videos and be a distraction.
- Viewing areas fill up very early, especially during weekend performances. Plan to wait as part of your Disneyland day for a prime spot. Many guests put out blankets and have one member of the group save the spot, while the other people in the group go on rides and grab snacks.
- Depending on crowd level, start looking for a viewing spot around two to three hours before the first performance.
- If there is a scheduled fireworks show after the first parade you would like to watch, choose a parade seating area near your preferred fireworks viewing location. For information on all the Disneyland fireworks shows and tips on the best viewing spots, visit this link.
- If there is a second parade, the crowds will be much thinner. It will be easier to get a good spot for the later parade than the first parade. Once the fireworks or nightly projection show is over, you can hop onto a curb or bench and get ready for the second parade viewing.
Waiting for Disneyland Parades Tips
Before you start your Disney day, check the entertainment schedule to see when, or if, a parade will be showing. Since you will be waiting for your parade spot, it’s best to decide early if this will be part of your day to plan dinner, snacks, and Lighting Lanes ride times.
It’s a good idea to bring a blanket or picnic blanket with you on park days to sit on and also mark your space when waiting for a Disneyland parade. The ground can get hot, especially in the summer, and a blanket or towel will be essential for a long wait!
Snack to the rescue
Disney snacks always make waiting for parades more fun! Mobile ordering snacks is key. Order your snacks on the Disneyland app early and send a friend or family member to pick up the snacks while you wait in your spot. When waiting on Main Street, mobile order from Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe, Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor, or the Refreshment Corner. When waiting near the “it’s a small world” ride area, I like to mobile order from Edelweiss Snacks!
Waiting in a crowd can be tiresome for kids, especially after a long park day. I like to bring some toys for my kids to play with while we wait, like pop it fidgits, LEGOs, magic eraser pads, bubble wands, blankets to snuggle with in the stroller, and glow sticks!
Disneyland Parades Throughout the Year
Disneyland is just now returning to hosting parades since reopening. Currently, only the Main Street Electrical Parade is set to return along with A Christmas Fantasy Parade during the Disney holiday season.
A Christmas Fantasy Parade
This Merriest Parade on Earth is not to be missed! It features Disney characters, dressed in holiday costumes, toy soldiers, dancing reindeer and snowmen, and even a visit from Santa Claus!
A Christmas Fantasy Parade runs twice daily during the holiday season, in previous years, at 3:00 PM and 5:30 PM. It is about 40 minutes long and runs along the parade route from “it’s a small world” to Main Street and then in reverse for the second show.
This parade is such a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit! I prefer sitting on Main Street to watch the parade with the lit-up Christmas Tree in the background. Sitting in front of the “it’s a small world” ride is also a great spot, especially because the attraction has an official lighting ceremony right before the parade begins!
Frightfully Fun Parade at Disney California Adventure
Part of the separately ticketed Oogie Boogie Bash, the Frightfully Fun Parade is a nighttime parade at the Disney California Adventure park. It features a spectacle of spooky spirits and Disney Villains such as Jack Skellington, the Grim Grinning Ghosts from Haunted Mansion, Ursula, Dr. Facilier, the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow, and many more.
This parade runs twice in the evening during the Oogie Boogie Bash and seating for this parade is typically easier than others due to it being at DCA which has a longer parade route running from Paradise Gardens Park down to Hollywood Land.
The Frightfully Fun Parade is such a highlight of the Disney Halloweentime season. Highly recommend attending the Oogie Boogie Bash so you can see what this spooky parade is all about!
Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession at Disney California Adventure
Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession is a spirited and fun parade running at Disney California Adventure during the Lunar New Year. This procession runs throughout the day near the Paradise Gardens Park and features songs and characters from the movie Mulan, along with a Chinese Dragon, drummers, and talented dancers.
Disneyland Parade Cancelation
Checking Disneyland’s website or the Disneyland app is the best way to stay informed about cancellations or performance time changes. On windy and rainy days, the parade shows may be canceled. If there is a change in weather, ask the nearest Cast Member for a performance update.
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