Disney Stock – Welcomed Changes During The Reopening of Walt Disney World – Cavalcades and Flotillas
I don’t think I need to state that 2020 was a challenging year on a number of fronts, nor do I want to list the myriad of reasons why. Alternatively, I want to talk about some welcomed changes during the reopening of Walt Disney World, as a result of the global pandemic, which changed the way we experience the parks at Walt Disney World Resort.
Disney Parades are a huge part of the Guest experiences. The large parades, such as Festival of Fantasy, which had run at 2:00PM (and sometimes 3:00 PM) everyday since premiering on March 9, 2014, were a huge crowd gatherer all along parade’s route. This parade along with many of the other, including after hours events also require Cast Members to tape off areas to identify where Guest can and cannot stand. As a result of the high level of crowds these parades attract, Walt Disney World needed to make some changes given the current environment.
While parades at Walt Disney World bring much joy and excitement to Guests of all ages and is also a great way to see all of your favorite characters at once, there are a couple things that I do not enjoy.
Not So Magical Effects of Disney Parades
First off, Many guests choose to stake out their spot well in advance to the start of the parade, in order to get the best view possible. Typically you will see Guest start to do this an hour or so in advance. While this can be used as some well-needed downtime to sit and relax, and even enjoy a snack or two, this alone is not a pain point for me.
The major thing I do not enjoy with waiting a prime spot is inevitably after staking out your spot for an hour, someone will try and sneak in front of you at the last possible moment. I have personally seen this bring out the worst in people. Hear me out. These parades typically begin at 2:00 PM which can be 6 hours or more into someone’s day. At this point in the day, some Guests can get a bit stressed or even a bit “hangry.” The lack of taking it slow while scheduling every minute of your day and not having eaten anything in a few hours can result in heated arguments about how long you’ve been there and really puts a damper on the experience. This is one of the main things I don’t enjoy about the one big parade each day.
Secondly, for guests who are not viewing the parade, it can have a huge impact for them while trying to navigate the parks. For those who are not prepared, you can essentially be cut off and not able to navigate easily around the park. For example, if you are in Tomorrowland, getting off of Space Mountain and you have a late lunch at Skipper’s Canteen, you’ll have a hard time trying to cut across the hub if the parade is on its way. As a result, you may have to walk around through Fantasyland, Liberty Square and hopefully be able to cut through into Adventureland, as long as the parade had passed already. While it is not the end of the world, at the moment, this can place an unpleasant hindrance on the experience, especially for the the reasons above about being tired and hangry.
Welcomed Changes – Cavalcades and Flotillas
While not directly a result of the above challenges, welcomed changes were introduced beginning in July 2020 when Walt Disney World reopened. In 2020, Walt Disney World introduced Cavalcades and Flotillas, as a way to continue to provide Guest with character interactions as a result of needing to social distance. Specifically at Magic Kingdom, these Cavalcades are more frequent, shortened parades throughout the day. There are no specific times and they happen spontaneously which creates a lot of surprise and delight. These cavalcades don’t require Guests to stake out a spot to wait for an hour and also don’t impact on the park flow as much. It’s a quick pass by with plenty of downtime between the sections of the cavalcades.
At EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, both parks didn’t have traditional parades for some time. Hollywood Studios had the March of the First Order, which ended in July 2019, leading up to the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Now, both of these two parks have similar cavalcades, throughout the day, creating a similar feeling of spontaneity and surprise & delight.
Similarly, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there hasn’t been a traditional parade since June 2014. Using the underutilized Discover River, surrounding Discovery Island, Walt Disney World introduced Flotillas. These Flotillas consist of pontoon boats with Disney Characters and Animal Kingdom Performers. While navigating the river they playing music and entertaining guests as they pass by.
Hope for Cavalcades and Flotillas to Stay
Personally, I hope that the Cavalcades and Flotillas are here to stay. While they are not a single extravagant parade, as stated, they provide a feeling of spontaneity and surprise & delight. There is something magical about rounding the corner, hearing the music build and seeing something you weren’t expecting.
I want to know what you think! Let us know how you feel about the Cavalcades and Flotillas in the comments below.
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Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer’s point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.