As part of the kick-off event for the 20th Anniversary celebration of Disneyland Paris the new daytime parade of the Disneyland Park also had its official premiere after several soft-opening performances during the past weekend.
Borrowing a leaf from the concepts of Tokyo Disneyland the new “Disney Magic on Parade!” at the core could also be described as a new, updated incarnation of the popular “Once Upon a Dream Parade” that premiered as part of the resort’s 15th anniversary celebration.
The first difference that guests will notice (besides the new name certainly) is the new song of the parade. The theme titled “Magic Everywhere” is played in a continuous loop for the whole parade. In other words: there is no float specific music anymore or any instrumental pieces between the song.
Side note: at this time the song is not yet available for purchase at the resort, however, the resort is preparing a CD release that can be expected to hit the shelves soon. Unfortunately technical difficulties delayed the release which management had hoped to have available in time for the parade’s premiere.
The parade opens with the three fairies from Sleeping Beauty “floating” along the parade route in front of a new opening float featuring the highest turret of Sleeping Beauty Castle from Disneyland Paris stretching out of the turned pages of a fairy tale book. Fittingly titled “Making Magic” and featuring such magic creating characters as the Blue Fairy (from Disney’s Pinocchio), the Godmother (from Disney’s Cinderella) and Merlin (from Disney’s Sword in the Stone).
Following this large scale float are three “horse drawn carriages” with Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty with the respective princes that hold the reigns of the elegant horses. These smaller, whimsical floats are all new additions created for “Disney Magic on Parade!” and feature dedicated decorations fitting the princess that is seated in the according carriage. Also take a close look and note the subtle differences in the horses, in particular their articulated faces.
Following the “Princess Carriages” is the first float that regular guests will still remember from the “Once Upon a Dream Parade” – now called “Magic of Romance”. Still featured on the float are Ariel and Prince Eric above the waterfall. On the downward slopping section behind them (formerly unused) now Tiana and Prince Naveen are standing (which used to be one the final float of the “Once Upon a Dream Parade”, where they replaced Belle and the Beast). The spot of Jasmine on the swing has been taken over by Rapunzel with Flynn standing besides here. This also means that Aladdin and Jasmine are no longer part of the parade (as are Belle and the Beast who in the last version of Once Upon a Dream walked between this float and the final float). Going with the new set of Disney princesses on this float some redecorating has taken place here as well.
However, the next four floats are nearly unchanged from the prior parade – they are now called “Magic of Laughter & Fun” featuring Alice and Pinocchio, “Magic of Friendship” featuring Winnie the Pooh and the gang of Disney Pixar’s Toy Story, “Magic of Adventure” featuring the casts of The Lion King as well as Disney’s Jungle Book and finally “Magic of Fantasy” featuring Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Mary Poppins with Bert.
These floats are still as impressive and detail rich as when they first premiered enchanting guests with ease. They underwent some minor changes, e.g. the addition of little flags with “20″ on them designed to fit into each float’s setting. Unfortunately the aerial artists on the Pinocchio float are gone now replaced with large puppets on a string (but first time guests won’t even notice).
Also there have been some changes concerning the characters featured, e.g. Wendy has left Peter Pan alone with Captain Hook on his pirate ship (in the past she was on it with Peter Pan, while the captain had to walk in front of it) and Gepetto has now replaced Pinocchip on the float as Pinicchio has joined the dancers in front of the float – who received new costumes just as some of the dancers at the other floats as well, such as the bumblebees behind the float “Magic of Friendship”.
Before the grand finale of the parade one more change will hit many long time fans of the “Once Upon a Dream Parade” hard: the spectacular float featuring the Disney villains, titled “Dreams of Power” is no longer part of the parade. However, maybe we will see a return of the float in the future – say during a Halloween season. But again, this change will only be noticed by long time fans, not first time guests.
On to the grand finale … before the spectacular oversized float “Magic Everywhere” rolls in sight dancers in colorful costumes swoop along the parade route followed by a group of glittering magicians (or witches) that are floating along adding unique grace to their movements befitting the magical theme of the parade.
So who is still missing from the parade? Certainly Mickey and his friends – and they are the stars on the re-envisioned float that was home to the classic Disney Princesses as “Dreams of Romance: Finale” in the prior parade. The float now features a glimmering, blue paint job. In the gazebo at the front of the float (originally home of Belle and the Beast, then of Tiana and Prince Naveen) Minnie and Donald stand in their new costumes for the 20th Anniversary.
The bridge (now adorned with a big twenty at the highest point ) is now home to Chip’n'Dale, while Goofy and Duffy, the Disney Bear have taken over the place on top of what used to be the little hill in the back of the float and is now a magical rock. This is the first time that Duffy is featured in a non-seasonal parade at Disneyland Paris. His only other parade performance before was in the “Dreams of Christmas” segment added to the “Once Upon a Dream Parade” seasonally. For this occasion Duffy received a special outfit in the style of the 20th Anniversary costumes worn by Donald, Minnie, Chip’n'Dale, Goofy and Mickey.
Speaking of Mickey … behind Goofy and Duffy the rock climbs high up into the sky in a new addition to the float with brooms holding water buckets lining up on the sides. On top of this scene inspired by “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from Disney’s Fantasia stands Mickey in his astonishing 20th Anniversary Sorcerer costume waving his magical spell over the guests.
This certainly is the highlight of the parade – but there is one little extra, so guests shouldn’t leave the parade route too early. Fans might still remember the cute little baby dragon seated in the back of the float originally. Well, bad news: he is gone. Good news: in his place now Tinkerbell is seated waving toward the guests along the parade route and those following the parade (during one of the soft openings she had been replaced by Donald, but at the official premiere, she was back in her new place).
With its catch pop theme song, the already popular detail rich floats from the “Once Upon a Dream Parade”, a new opening unit, the new Princess’ Carriages and in particular the stunning “Magic Everywhere” finale featuring Mickey and his friends the parade won the audience over in a whim during its official premiere and can be expected to do so for many more performances. For the park’s fans “Disney Magic on Parade” re-envisions the prior parade making them marvel once again by adding new magic to beloved features. Fans of the Fab Five will in particular love the grand finale that places Mickey in his rightful spot – and in a visually amazing setting. True Disney magic.
Don’t forget: there are ADDITIONAL PHOTOS in our earlier post of first impressions from the parade’s premiere!