Disneyland Parade Seating Guide

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Disneyland parades run almost year-round. Here’s what to expect at your Disneyland parade, where to watch, what time to arrive and more.Disneyland Parade Guide

Growing up in Southern California, I became accustomed to major parade productions. We had the Main Street Electrical Parade and The Rose Parade all within our reach. And we watched it live, not just on TV. 

 

Santa in Christmas Fantasy parade
Courtesy Disneyland Resort

 

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

Disneyland Parade Quick Details

Quick details for parade showtimes, what’s showing now and what’s coming during your visit to Disneyland Resort. 

What parade is at Disneyland today?

Disneyland parade schedule for today is listed here:

  • A Christmas Fantasy Parade runs twice daily from November 8th through January 6th, at 3:30 pm and 6:00 pm. I prefer the later show because after dark, all the floats light up a bit and it’s more magical. 
  • After the holidays wrap, we expect Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession to be the next parade in line at California Adventure Park. 

Disneyland Parade Schedule

Disneyland parades rotate throughout the year. Here’s the parade year-at-a-glance schedule to give you an idea of what might be showing during your Disneyland vacation. 

Mickey Mouse Disneyland parade

Disneyland Summer Parades

Summer Disneyland parades are in high demand and usually offers a daytime parade, along with a night parade. Schedules vary but these summer parades can’t be beat.

 

Main Street Electrical Parade Float

 

  • Main Street Electrical Parade. Ran at Disneyland Park August 2-September 30, 2019. This classic Disneyland parade debuted on June 17, 1972 at Disneyland, premiered at California Adventure 2001-2010 and returned to Disneyland Park after a 20 years in January 2017.
  • Paint the Night Parade became an instant classic when it debuted in May 2015 and returned to Disneyland Resort in 2018. The reimagining of Main Street Electrical Parade brought guests from all over the world back to The Happiest Place on Earth. 

Paint the Night Parade Monsters Inc doors

  • Magic Happens, an all-new daytime parade will debut at Disneyland park spring 2020 and is expected to become a staple of Disneyland daytime parades, showing through the summer. 
  • Mickey’s Soundsational Parade said farewell to Disneyland in 2019. It’s presence along the parade route was familiar and fun with music rockin’.

Mickeys Soundsational Parade new float

Disneyland Fall Parades

Fall is packed with Halloween Time fun all over Disneyland Resort. Parades during Fall might be limited to Oogie Boogie Bash party attendees, as was in 2019.

 

Halloween Parade Disneyland

  • Frightfully Fun Parade creeps through California Adventure Park beginning with the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow (from “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad”). Hosted on nights of Oogie Boogie Bash at 8:15 pm. 

Disneyland Winter Parades

  • A Christmas Fantasy Parade brings snowflakes, Santa and holiday cheer during the Holiday Season at Disneyland Resort. There are often two showings daily and I prefer the evening showing, when the ambient lights are aglow and parade floats have a special Christmas feeling to them!

Christmas Fantasy Parade

 

 

Viva Navidad

 

  • Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession is part show, part parade. Mulan is accompanied by a Chinese dragon puppet, warriors,  drummers and beautiful costumed dancers. The parade is performed multiple times per day has Mulan and friends traveling throughout Paradise Gardens Park, ending with an exquisite display of dance and music with Pixar Pier in the background. 

 

Mulans Lunar New Year

 

  • Mickey’s Rainy Day Cavalcade Parade. 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.

Disneyland Spring Parades

Spring is in the air at Disneyland Resort during Food & Wine Festival at California Adventure and new things at Disneyland Park, including the debut of a brand new parade. 

 

Image DLR MagicHappensSleepingBeauty

 

 

Magic Happens Disneyland Parade

 

  • Mickey’s Rainy Day Cavalcade Parade. 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.
  • Pixar Play Parade concluded its run at Disneyland Resort in 2018 after a long run at California Adventure and a shorter time at Disneyland park during Pixar Fest.

 

Disneyland Parade
Courtesy Kayla Saavedra

Disneyland Parade Route

The Disneyland parade route remains the same year-round, so you can always map out the best spots to watch before you arrive. Remember, to double check which park your parade is showing and see the maps below for details. 

Disneyland Park Parade Route

At Disneyland Park, there are 3 main go-to spots that I choose when watching a parade.

Disneyland Parade Route

  1. Let’s start with the option at the top of the map, located near “it’s a small world”. This area is a great space parade viewing. You’re close to bathrooms and snacks, you have access to shade, some benches and tiered locations if you show up last-minute.
  2. The middle of the route top spot is 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.
  3. Last, near the Main Street, U.S.A. hub is a great last-minute spot. There’s multiple tiered options closer to the Disneyland Railroad station 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.

More Tips for saving your parade viewing space.

Bring a small blanket, sheet or a sarong to mark off your space. If you have a stroller, use that on one side as well.

People will get in every nook and cranny near you. Block off your space! Don’t expect your body alone to serve as a barrier.

Front row will sit, everyone else behind will need to stand during the parade.

Hold you space with your blanket or sheet and one other adult from your party. Then bring them a yummy treat as a thank you. Eat snacks and blow bubble while you wait for the parade.

 

 

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California Adventure Park Parade Route

California Adventure Park was built much later than Disneyland Park and has a much longe and expansive parade route. It’s a lot easier to get spots for any parade at California Adventure.

Disney California Adventure parade route

My favorite places to watch parade include the following:

  1. In front of The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. One main reason I like this spot is because it’s close to the beginning of the parade route. You can sit in front of a wall to lean up against and the restrooms are pretty close by. Plus, this is the perfect spot if you want to try and hop back over to Disneyland Park to catch the fireworks or need to leave for any other reason. Just sneak out through Grizzly Peak and you should beat the parade as you walk by Carthay Circle on your way out.
  2. My second best spot is near the Animation Building in Hollywood Land. This is along the end of the parade route, so expect it to arrive about 30 minutes after the parade begins. There’s plenty of seating here, along with food and bathrooms nearby.
  3. My third pick is the middle star, near Carthay Circle. This is more of a last minute spot area for me, if I am just coming in from Disneyland and don’t have time to find another location. There’s a few options for standing room last minute here. It’s also very easy to exit California Adventure from this spot. Expect the parade to arrive about 15-20 minutes after the official start time.

More Tips for saving your parade viewing space. These tips are worth repeating, even though I already mentioned them in the Disneyland section:

  • Bring a small blanket, sheet or a sarong to mark off your space. If you have a stroller, use that on one side as well. 
  • People will get in every nook and cranny near you. Block off your space! Don’t expect your body alone to serve as a barrier.
  • Front row will sit, everyone else behind will need to stand during the parade.
  • Hold you space with your blanket or sheet and one other adult from your party. Then bring them a yummy treat as a thank you. Eat snacks and blow bubble while you wait for the parade.

Disneyland Parade Reserved Spots

Now that you’ve read all of my parade seating strategies, you may be worried about securing your spot for Disneyland parade. Or maybe you’re just not into the hassle of camping out and waiting for the show to arrive.

Disneyland parade spots

 

Disneyland parade reserved spots are the best thing to happen to Disneyland since Disney MaxPass. Or maybe reserved spots were here before MaxPass? Too much Disneyland info in my brain. 

Disneyland parade reserved viewing

A few important things to know about reserved spots for parades:

  • Reserve your spot and dining package online or call (714) 781-3463 up to 60 days in advance. 
  • You will need a credit card to hold your reservation. Some reserved areas require immediate payment.
  • Prices vary from $25 and up to $100 or more per person. 
  • Reserved spots does not mean you will get an actual seat to sit on. Most reserved areas are just that, a reserved area with standing room or ground seating only. 

Disneyland Park Reserved Viewing is typically offered at Plaza Inn. You will eat your meal at your reservation time at Plaza Inn. You parade viewing spot will not be at Plaza Inn. During your meal you’ll be given a voucher/credential with details on the time and place to watch the parade. Make your reservation for Plaza Inn’s parade viewing at Disneyland here

 

Carthay Circle parade seating

 

California Adventure Park Reserved Viewing is typically offered at Wine Country Trattoria, Sonoma Terrace and/or Carthay Circle. You will eat your meal at your reservation time at your chosen restaurant. You parade viewing spot will vary: sometimes it is at the restaurant patio in the case of Sonoma Terrace, sometimes it is outside the restaurant. During your meal you’ll be given a voucher/credential with details on the time and place to watch the parade. Carthay Circle and Sonoma Terrace did offer actual seats during Paint the Night Parade

Sonoma Terrace Paint the Night seating

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

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