Disney Must Do’s: Shows & Parades at Walt Disney World

I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but let me say it a million and one: There is so much to do at Walt Disney World, you will never see everything in one trip.

That being said, I figured I’d throw together a quick infographic for you so that you don’t miss some of the best Disney has to offer: The Shows.

So many people believe Disney is all about rollercoasters. While that’s true, some of the BEST there is to see is the shows that Disney puts together. Disney World is full of music, arts, and excellent performers, so you’ll certainly want to add some of these to your itinerary when you’re planning out your trip. Check out the infographics, and then see my “DONT MISS IT” list below!

Looking for more help like this? Check out the infographics page.

My recommendations for “DON’T MISS” entertainment:

Animal Kingdom:

Starting with Animal Kingdom first, because it’s our FAVORITE of the parks to visit. Can’t tell you why, you’ll have to check it out yourself. We just LOVE Animal Kingdom.

Winged Encounters happens right in front of the Tree of Life!

We absolutely adore the Winged Encounters show. You can see the Macaws flying and swooping overhead, and then when the show starts, get your camera ready, they’ll fly in right above you… and there’s a LOT of them. It’s not a “timed” show… the Times Guide will say “intermittently 9am-4pm”. If you see someone with a Disney tag on, just ask them. They’ll tell you when the shows are, and make sure you’re around!! It only lasts about 10 minutes. We loved it so much we’ve tried to catch it twice a day when we’re there.

Keep your eyes in the sky! You can see the Macaws flying HIGH in the air just about all day!
You can find the Swotu-Waya drummers in Pandora Land!

The Panda Drummers-Swotu Waya are another one of our favorite shows. The show lasts maybe 10 to 15 minutes, but a HUGE crowd will gather and it’s an awesome, funny, high energy show. The beat is excellent, there’s “THAT GUY”, and they even get all the kids involved at the end. Great entertainment and fun to watch.

The drummers usually perform every hour on the hour: 9am, 10am, 11am… until 8pm! Can’t wait to catch this show at night!
Be sure to watch the Festival of the Lion King. I would actually recommend a Fast Pass for this one. Otherwise, line up EARLY. If you’re not in line early enough, you’ll spend time waiting, and then miss the show. Really annoying!

Lastly, don’t miss the Tree of Life. The Tree comes to life in the evenings, and projections happen on the tree every few minutes. They are AWESOME and it’s incredible how they bring such beauty to the tree at night. Each projection is different, so if you stay through one “story”, just know the next story is different! Sorry to not post pics of the actual projections, but I like staying 100% spoiler free.

Magic Kingdom:

Here’s a few of my favorites at the Magic Kingdom:

The Festival of Fantasy is at 3pm each day.

Be sure not to miss the Festival of Fantasy parade. In being totally transparent, I don’t think this parade was as good as the Soundsational Parade in Disneyland, but I still love it. Great floats, lots of “WOW” moments! One thing that’s different from Disneyland: The parades only happen ONCE A DAY at 3pm. Don’t miss it!

In Magic Kingdom, the parade starts in Frontierland and works its way down Main Street. Pro Tip: Watch the parade from Frontierland at 3:15 (and then hit the rides), so that you’re not waiting on Main Street for the parade to show up around 3:45!


Be sure to catch the Voices of Liberty inside The American Adventure. They’re incredible a cappella singers! There’s a “movie” that you can watch afterwards, or you can skip it and walk out the front doors when their show is over. They perform for about 20 minutes!

Night Entertainment:

If you only had ONE night to pick a show, I’d pick Magic Kingdom! They have fireworks each night, but the best part of the show is the music with the projections on the castle. The “Happily Ever After” show is absolutely the best show we’ve ever seen, and is the greatest mashup of the best Disney music from the movies that there has ever been.

About 30 minutes after the fireworks show ends (and the majority of the people in the park have headed for the exits, the “Once Upon a Time” show is a projection show (with a few fireworks) on the Castle. It’s lovely with great music. Don’t miss it.

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