As previously announced, this is “soft opening” week for Disney Magic on Parade!, when the “new” daily parade arrives in the park for public dress rehearsals — revealing its many changes and additions. Yesterday saw the first performance of the revamped parade, and the first play of new theme song “Magic Everywhere” (which we previewed here) in the park. It certainly won’t be the last — unlike under its former guise as Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, there’s no score throughout the parade, just the song played on a loop.
But what we’ve all been clamouring to see are the new floats, starting with the reworking of the original Dreams of Imagation opening float as Making Magic. Its sun, moon and hot air balloon for Mickey and Minnie were icons of the old parade, and they’ve been completely cleared off the storybook float to make way for a pink castle and three characters: the Fairy Godmother, the Blue Fairy and Merlin.
Opening the parade are the Three Good Fairies, who appear to move magically across the parade route using some kind of hands-free segway system. It’s a clever “floating” effect which, along with the nice mix of rarer characters here, might just about make up for the disappointing opening float itself, completely lacking the presence, quality and imagination of Dreams of Imagination.
Far more successful are the gorgeous, whimsical Princess Carriages, each uniquely decorated for their corresponding royalty. Though the three carriages for Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella pass by close together, it still affords a far better chance to glimpse the princesses than the previous, rather overcrowded finale float.
Following these is the smaller, renamed Magic of Romance unit, now comprising three couples: Ariel and Prince Eric, Tiana and Prince Naveen, plus new additions Rapzunel and Flynn. For the first time since they arrived in park parades, the royalty of Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast are missing.
From here, the parade consists of four relatively unchanged original floats, now renamed as Magic of Laughter & Fun, Magic of Friendship, Magic of Adventure and Magic of Fantasy. Within these we see the arrival of the White Rabbit, new puppet dancers alongside Pinocchio and Gepetto, bumblebees following Winnie the Pooh, colourful birds flying either side of Adventure and purple-clad pearly kings and queens following Mary Poppins. Each float has a hidden ’20′.
The grand finale is preceded by more dancers, floating on segways, dressed in pink, purple and orange. Repainted in similarly bright shades, Magic Everywhere is the new name for the former Dreams of Romance: Finale unit, now home to Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, Chip ‘n’ Dale, Goofy and — yes — Duffy. Mickey Mouse, in a new variation of his classic sorcerer’s outfit, ends the parade atop the blue Fantasia-inspired hillside, dotted with anthropomorphised mops holding buckets.
Hidden in the back of the float yesterday was Tinker Bell, but today her place was apparently taken by Donald Duck. More changes could continue tomorrow and Thursday. On Friday 30th, however, the parade apparently reverts back to being Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade for a special farewell performance, including the last appearance (for now) of the spectacular Dreams of Power villain float, which will be sorely missed in the new parade.
It won’t be until Saturday, 31st March that we see Disney Magic on Parade! officially premiere at the special time of 3pm. On 1st April, the first advertised performance date, this reverts to 5pm for the rest of the 20th Anniversary year. DLRP Today will be there to cover both dates, so look out for more reports and our new HD videos next week. But for now, what are your first impressions?