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Disney World Is Finally Bringing Back Parades But Like FastPasses, It’s Gonna Cost You

Maleficent Dragon in Disney World parade at Magic Kingdom

When Walt Disney World reopened just over a year ago after being closed for several months. It did so without many of the elements that people love most. There were no meet and greet opportunities with characters, there were no fireworks, and there were no parades. Slowly, these elements have been added back to the parks, or introduced in modified formats. But one big item that has continued to go missing has been parades. If you've been waiting for the return of parades, you won't have to wait too much longer, as Disney has announced that a parade will be back for the Christmas season. However, it will only be available to guests who buy tickets to the Disney Very Merriest After Hours event.

Tickets are now on sale for the Disney Very Merriest After Hours event, which will run on select evenings in November and December. As with other after hours events, it will see Magic Kingdom close early to general guests, allowing only those with tickets to the event itself in the park. This will reduce capacity and make getting on attractions easier, but it will also include special holiday events, including a fireworks show. And for the first time in nearly two years, a full parade, Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade.

Disney World is an expensive proposition under normal circumstances but the fact that parades are currently locked behind paywalls and the replacement for the free FastPass+ system is now also a paid option, is increasing frustration among fans. There's a feeling that guest experience was more important once upon a time, but that's no longer the case.

While it's certainly frustrating to see the first parade in a domestic Disney park only available to those who spend the money for a special event, the fact that it is happening at all is almost certainly a good sign for the future of parades at Disney World-- and hopefully Disneyland too. If the park is willing to do a parade at all, then it means that parades during normal operating hours are likely not too far away.

There have been rumors that the classic Main Street Electrical Parade might actually return to Disneyland some time in the near future. Certainly, if the most popular parade in the history of Disney Parks becomes the first parade to return to the park, it's going to get a lot of people excited, which is certainly the goal.

Disneyland debuted a brand new parade, Magic Happens, only a few weeks before the park shutdown, but there's been no work on when, or even if, it will return. With Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary celebration set to begin in October, it's a foregone conclusion that, under normal circumstances there would have been some sort of new parade to go with that. At this point nothing has been announced.

Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.