If you’re planning a visit to Walt Disney World just to check out its attractions, you’d be missing out. Yes, the thrill rides and classic ones as well are definitely not to be missed, but have you considered the parades and shows in all four theme parks and scheduled them into your plans? We’ve got 13 must see Walt Disney World parades and shows on our short list- and you should put them on yours as well!
Walt Disney World Parades
1. Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade
Location: Magic Kingdom
Duration: 12 minutes
Parade Route: Frontierland (close to Splash Mountain) down to the end of Main Street, U.S.A.
Details: There’s only one Festival of Fantasy Parade per day so, if you really want a decent view, you’re going to have to score a spot along the parade route at least 30 minutes prior. The route tends to be less crowded in Frontierland which is an option if you’re running late. Fastpass+ Selections offered.
2. Rainy Day Calvacade
Location: Magic Kingdom
Parade Route: From Frontierland to Main Street, U.S.A.
Time: In place of regular parades during inclement weather
Details: When it’s a rainy day in Magic Kingdom, most folks head for the exit turnstiles but not us: we love watching the Rainy Day Cavalcade! The parade isn’t one that you’ll have the opportunity to see everyday and, not only is the music fun, but the characters are all piled up into Main Street, U.S.A. vehicles.
3. Move it! Shake it! Dance & Play it!
Location: Magic Kingdom, Sunset Boulevard
Duration: 35 minutes
Parade Route: From Town Square to The Hub at Cinderella Castle, stops for the show, and then back to Town Square
Time: 12:30pm, 5:45pm
Details: Move it! Shake it! Dance & Play it! is a fun parade/show for younger kids (I have to admit, I always have a good time watching!) and uses the power of social media to get visitors engaged. Use the hashtag #MoveitShakeitPics on Twitter during the parade and your pic might end up on the side of a float! Zootopia characters have recently been added to the party, too.
Walt Disney World Shows
4. Swotu Wayä Na’vi Drum Ceremony
Location – the Valley of Mo’ara at Pandora – The World of Avatar in Animal Kingdom
Duration – Around 10 minutes
Time – Several times throughout the day. Check the Park Guide for exact times as they vary.
Details – Three local musicians perform a traditional Na’vi Drum Ceremony. The air is filled with drumming and rhythm and guests are encouraged to drum along. Definitely worth catching at least once.
Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Duration: 30 minutes long
Time: Once nightly (show time is dependent on season and date)
Details: Mickey Mouse is the Sorcerer’s Apprentice fighting evil in this colorful show. Filled with Disney Princesses, Villains, fireworks, music, and eye-popping scenes, it’s our favorite show at DHS. Fastpass+ Selections offered for Fantasmic! and dinner packages including premium seating is as well.
6. Festival of the Lion King
Location: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Africa
Duration: 30 minutes
Time: On the top of each hour beginning at 10:00am
Details: Festival of the Lion King gets all visitors involved and singing. Each area of the indoor stadium has its own character to root for and the acrobatics and costuming is worth a watch at least once. Fastpass+ Selections offered.
7. Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire
Location: Magic Kingdom, Cinderella Castle
Duration: 22 minutes
Time: At least six times a day. Check visitor guide for exact times.
Details: Tiana and Nasreen, Rapunzel and Flynn, and Elsa and Anna sing and dance on the Castle Stage along with Sir Mickey, Lady Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and even Olaf join in on the sing-along. Tip: if you visit during different seasons, the costumes and song will be different.
8. Finding Nemo- The Musical
Location: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Dinoland, U.S.A.
Duration: 40 minutes
Time: Up to six times a day. Check Visitor’s Guide for exact show times when you enter the park.
Details: Based on the movie, Finding Nemo, the show brings to life with puppets the fun characters including Nemo and Dory. 14 original songs composed by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, along with advanced lighting concepts and a beautiful backdrop. Fastpass+ Selections offered.
9. Royal Majesty Makers
Location: Fantasyland between Cinderella Castle and Prince Charming Regal Carousel
Duration: 10 minutes
Time: Throughout the day. Check the Times guide in the park for exact show times.
Details: Only those worthy are capable of pulling the sword from the stone (usually a young child!) but the fun is watching the others (usually big, strong men) give it a go. The Royal Majesty Makers put on a fun, quick show and we always love the magic behind Excalibur.
10. Rivers of Light
Location: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Discovery Island
Duration: 15 minutes
Time: At least once per night
Details: Floating set pieces, all inspired by nature, make this 15-minute show worth every second. The soundtrack is just as lovely. Super popular, so if you don’t have a FastPass+ for it, queue up early.
Location: Epcot World Showcase, Japan Pavilion
Duration: 10 minutes
Time: At least once an hour until around dinner time. Please check Visitor’s Guide for exact times when you arrive.
Details: Japanese Taiko Drumming sounds fill the air (and your chest. What a boom!) surrounding the Japan Pavilion, and the quick show highlights the drummer’s skills. We’re always impressed with the energy and skill.
12. Jeweled Dragon Acrobats
Location: Epcot World Showcase, China Pavilion
Duration: 20 minutes
Time: Multiple daily shows. Please check Visitor’s Guide for exact times when you arrive.
Details: Chinese acrobats show off their balancing skills and feats of strength and agility. The acrobats range from young children to adults and it’s so worthwhile to catch a show at least once.
13. Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial
Location: Magic Kingdom, Adventureland
Duration: 25 minutes
Time: Generally once an hour through dinner. Please check Visitor’s Guide for exact times when you arrive.
Details: Captain Jack and his crew give a fun pirate tutorial to recruit wannabe pirates. Visitors that are picked get an official scroll (what a souvenir!) Definitely worth it to catch the show at least once.