Disneyland Parades- Free Seating Guide and More!

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Disneyland parades are one hot ticket. Growing up in Southern California, I am total parade brat. We had the Main Street Electrical Parade and The Rose Parade all within our reach.

I never saw a “hometown” type of parade until high school and I was thinking, Wait, what? This is a parade? Even though I’ve come to appreciate those down-home kinda parades and entertainment, you truly can’t beat the parades you’ll see at the Disneyland Resort.

All about Disneyland parades, plus a free seating guide.
All about Disneyland Resort parades, plus a free seating guide.

Today we are talking Disneyland parades 101. What to expect from the Disneyland parade, where to sit and more.

Updated September 2018 as Paint the Night and Pixar Play Parade are now extended with no official end date announced.  

Here’s what parades are showing now at the Disneyland Resort, entertainment offerings can change at any time so be sure to double check which parades will be showing during your visit on the official Disneyland app. Some parades listed may be off the schedule temporarily.

Main Street Electrical Parade (ended 8/20/17)

(Preston Mack, photographer)
(Preston Mack, photographer)

It is back! The night-time parade that set the standard for generations is coming back to Disneyland park from Walt Disney World for a limited run in 2017. Do you remember the Electrical Parade? Will it still be able to dazzle us now that we’ve seen Paint the Night? One thing is for sure, I can’t wait to hear the electrically synthesized music we all associate with the Electrical Parade.

This classic parade will debut at a separate ticketed event on January 19th, then perform nightly from January 20-August 20, 2017. Reserved seats with a dining package are available. I personally can vouch for these dining packages. They are worth the money and the huge amount of time they save. Read my complete review of the dining packages here.

Christmas Fantasy Parade (Returns 11/9/18)

Disneyland Parades, The Happiest Blog on Earth.

This parade is set to run down Main Street and more during the holidays usually at 1:30 pm and 4:15 pm. See Santa Claus, marching toy soldiers and your favorite Disney character during the holidays at Disneyland.

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Reserved seating for Christmas Fantasy Parade is now available in 2018.

Frightfully Fun Parade (Select nights 9/19-10/31)Halloween Parade Disneyland

Available only for guests of Mickey’s Halloween Party during select nights in September and October complete with the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.

Mickey’s Soundsational Parade (returning 2019?)

Mickey's Soundsational Parade (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)
Mickey’s Soundsational Parade (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

This daytime Disneyland parade is typically shown daily every afternoon at Disneyland Park.

The sun is shining and the music is rockin’ during this upbeat performance with Mickey and friends, plus Disney princesses and familiar iconic characters.

You can usually grab any seat you’d like an hour before the parade. Less popular spots can even be found up to 15 minutes before the parade during slower park days.

I recommend grabbing a seat on the shady side between the top two stars on our seating guide below which is basically somewhere along the parade route in between Sleeping Beauty Castle and “it’s a small world”.

Mickey’s Rainy Day Cavalcade Parade

El Nino Rain Hits Disneyland
Rain Hits Disneyland. Photo credit: Castles, Capes & Clones via Foter.com / CC BY-ND

If you happen to be at Disneyland during a drizzle, you might get the rare chance to see Mickey’s Rainy Day Cavalcade with some of your favorite Disney characters. Check out our rainy day guide here.

Paint the Night Parade (ends 11/7/18)

Paint the Night
Disneyland’s Paint the Night Parade tips and seating guide. HarshLight / Foter / CC BY

Paint the Night Parade debuted to packed crowds during Disneyland’s Diamond Celebration and ended its inaugural run in September 2016. Paint the Night is now showing at California Adventure in 2018 during Pixar Fest and will end its limited run November 7, 2018.

Pixar Play Parade (ends 11/4/18)

Pixar Play Parade Disneyland Park, Jessie, Woody and Ham
Photo courtesy of Kayla Saavedra‎

This daytime parade (3:30 and 6pm most days) will be showing for the first time at Disneyland Park beginning April 13, 2018 during Pixar Fest and wrapping up just before the holidays on November 4, 2018.

New Up Float in Pixar Play Parade at Disneyland Park
Photo courtesy of Kayla Saavedra‎

You can usually grab any seat you’d like an hour before the parade. Less popular spots can even be found up to 15 minutes before the parade during slower park days. Reader, Kayla Saavedra‎ snapped these pictures for us of her view she scored just minutes before the parade began!

New Inside Out float Pixar Play Parade Disneyland Park
Photo courtesy of Kayla Saavedra‎

I recommend grabbing a seat on the shady side between the top two stars on our seating guide below which is basically somewhere along the parade route in between Sleeping Beauty Castle and “it’s a small world”. You can also choose a reserved seating option here.

The Incredibles on Main Street, U.S.A. Disneyland
Photo courtesy of Kayla Saavedra‎
More Pixar pals at Pixar Play Parade Disneyland
Photo courtesy of Kayla Saavedra‎

Disneyland Parades: Seating Guide

My favorite Disneyland parade viewing spots.
My favorite Disneyland parade viewing spots.

I’ve pin-pointed three great spots for parade viewing at Disneyland. Let’s start with the star closest to the top near “it’s a small world”. This area is a great hub for parade seating. You’re close to bathrooms and snacks, you have access to shade, some benches and tiered locations if you show up last-minute.

The middle star is in between Sleeping Beauty Castle and Pixie Hollow. I love this area because there are multiple built-in benches and a narrow area to sit on the floor. This is great because it’s easy to block off your space without people squeezing behind you at the last-minute.

The star on the bottom, near the Main Street, U.S.A. hub is a great last-minute spot. There’s multiple tiered options to get a distant view of parade floats, plus this gives you an easy escape if you’re heading home right after night-time shows.

Disneyland Parades: Bonus Tips

Will you be watching a Disneyland parade during your vacation? What are your favorite Disneyland parades?

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