Thursday, 12 May 2016

Disney's Festival Of Fantasy Parade

Last time I ended with us hearing the music heralding the 3:00pm Disney Parade: The Festival of Fantasy. Although we were well behind the crowds lining the parade route, most of the main characters are riding on tall float vehicles. We'll see some of the dancers and other floor-level characters in a later entry.

Mickey and Minnie actually bring up the rear of the parade, but I thought I'd add them first as the first pic is the one picked when I post links on FaceBook etc. Anyway, no one epitomises or represents Disney better than Mickey Mouse!

Giving some idea of our restricted view is this shot of the approach of the parade. The first float carries Belle and her Beast.

The The Festival of Fantasy has been running since March 2014. The parades are updated every so often but there is no hard and fast length of time that a certain parade will run and the interval can be as short as one year (where parades are themed around an anniversary event for instance) to five years.

The way that the soundtrack is handled is really rather clever. There is a general soundtrack which forms a basic rhythm and each float has it's own soundtrack that fits over the rhythm. Each float has loudspeakers and there are also speakers along the route on lamp posts etc. A special system picks up the approach of the parade and each individual float so that the music starts to build up as the parade approaches and then the appropriate music for each float "follows" it along the route. It works very seamlessly so that for instance a snippet of Be Our Guest, as Beauty and The Beast pass by, segues effortlessly into a quick blast of every young girl's favourite Let It Go! as Anna and Elsa from Frozen come by.

And so on. Ariel proves that whilst mermaids have tails instead of legs there is still some semblance of knees, and we get to sing a bit of Under The Sea!

Most of the floats have a troupe of dancers preceding them. The costumes for the dancers for The Little Mermaid float represented sea creatures and were fabulous. We'll get to see them on another day. On the ground before Peter Pan and Wendy are a few dastardly pirates with Mr Smee whilst below the ship on the float old Captain Hook himself is swinging on the anchor and keeping a wary eye on Tick-Tock Croc who is following behind the float.

Pinocchio (no thank you, AutoCorrect, I didn't mean "pincushion"...) rides atop Monstro the Whale. There is no room for the full set of Disney cartoon heroes but somehow Pinocchio has survived where Bambi, Mowgli, Duchess and her kittens and many more have fallen by the wayside.

The Sleeping Beauty element of the parade though, is devoted to Maleficent's dragon as a gloriously worked steampunk version. The driver is visible within the creature's neck and every now and then it raises its head to breath fire.

And it does breathe fire! Even several rows behind the crowd we could feel the heat from the jet of fire it breathed out. Ferocious looking attendants with masked faces and long, long legs (saying stilts would spoil it...) add to the fun. Donald and Daisy Duck followed with Mickey and Minnie bringing up the rear, draw the parade to a close. It takes about 12 minutes for the full length of it to pass you.

People start to gather by the edge of the route from about an hour beforehand and some spots, particularly the roundabout before Cinderella's Castle and from there, the full length of Main Street U.S.A. down to Times Square get particularly crowded.

We had been in the park since early morning and we decided to head back to the Caribbean Beach Resort for a cool down and a rest before it was time to eat again. The buses for resorts leave at least every 20 minutes and we found that we seldom had to wait so long. It does feel like it, in the heat, sometimes! Our bus stop (each resort has it's own buses and stopping place) was almost the furthest from the exit from the park, but it was a pleasant walk with a large pond to the side opposite the rows of bus stops.

Something large buzzed past my head and I ducked. "What was that?" Then looking up into the trees between us and the pond we saw what it was! Huge dragonflies clung to the top branches. These were four-inch (10cm) whoppers! Eew!

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