When’s the 3pm Parade?

It used to be a running joke among Cast Members: the amount of park guests who would ask when the 3pm parade was. It was 3pm. Every Day. Any day that ended in Y.

Can we take a quick moment for Cast Member Appreciation? The Castmember on the left just smiles and sings for joy in the midst of an afternoon Cavalcade. Disney Cast Members really are the greatest.

Sadly, the parades at Disney World have been tossed thanks to Covid-19. Because they can’t have large gatherings of people, they can’t have fireworks or a parade in any park. However, there is a silver lining; and if I’m being honest, I’d argue it’s even better than a 3pm parade.

Each day, starting around 10am, the Cavalcades begin in Frontierland. Quite frankly, I think they’re AWESOME.

Here’s a few reasons why I’m a fan:

  • They’re quick, short, and intimate. You still get that personal interaction thanks to awesome Characters who work hard to spot people and give them a “hello”.
  • Each Cavalcade runs multiple times per day. So, you can carry on with your plans and not worry about missing it. They run about every 15 minutes, as long as the weather is on your side.
  • Each Cavalcade is different. If a Cavalcade passes you by, there’s a good chance you have 15-20 minutes before a different Cavalcade will then come by.
  • They Cavalcades do repeat, so if you’re looking to see the princesses you probably have 4-6 opportunities to see them. This means you don’t need to sit around and wait for an hour. If you’re in the area, you’ll probably catch one!

Here’s some other “silver linings” with the Cavalcades – especially during the Holidays! At Magic Kingdom, if it was a regular pre-Covid year, the only way to see the Gingerbread Men, Reindeers, and Toy Soldiers is to purchase a $100+ ticket to the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) which runs almost every night in November and December. They run the parade two times during that party, and yet somehow you’re still left with a feeling like you missed parts of it. Since they can’t have a MVMCP this year, any park guest gets to enjoy those special appearances during the middle of the day. PLUS – Bonus! The Toy Soldiers March with the Main Street Philharmonic Band! It’s my favorite, especially when they play Babes in Toyland.

Moving on to the next “silver lining” – I have preached over and over that when you’re at WDW, time is MONEY. To be honest, I absolutely HATE that people used to line up for the afternoon parades HOURS in advance. I couldn’t stand it. You feel this unspoken pressure that if everyone else is prepping for the parade, then you should be too. So you give up the freedom to ride rides or enjoy shows, only to sit on the concrete (while your butt gets sore), and be sold things by Disney vendors as they walk Main Street. Not to mention sit in the sun and feel drenched in sweat thanks to Florida’s famous humidity. This Cavalcade idea is just WAY WAY better. You stop, pause for a few minutes, watch a quick Cavalcade, and then keep going about your plans.

So how do you catch the Cavalcade? It’s easy. Simply LISTEN. Everywhere you are in the park, there’s music. But if you’re on the Cavalcade Route, you’ll suddenly hear a quick chime, the volume will turn up, and a different sort of music will begin to play. That’s your cue! The Cavalcade is headed your way and you should stick close to where you are to see it. If you’re not on the parade route, you won’t hear the music change.

Luckily the Toy Soldiers came out during a quick rain break from Hurricane Eta. They’re my FAVORITE!

Looking for the best stop to get pictures? Simply follow my map below, and you’ll have head on pictures with the castle directly behind the Cavalcade. It’s the best spot to take pictures in Magic Kingdom, and it’s rarely crowded during the Cavalcades!

The Goofy and Max parade features Max in his own sweet car (forgive the pun)! Their gingerbread house and car are really well done.

All the Cavalcades at Magic Kingdom start just to the left of Splash Mountain, and end next to the Fire Department on Main Street. As said before, they start around 10am and run about every 15-20 minutes as long as it’s not raining. The last Cavalcade of the day is sometime between 4 and 4:30. They’re totally random. There doesn’t always seem to be any rhyme or reason to what’s coming next.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios does also have their own Cavalcades! They run a bit less frequently and only really go down Hollywood Boulevard and by Echo Lake before they finish. Be on the lookout for Buzz and other Toy Story friends, Santa Claus, and Mickey and friends!

While you’re at Animal Kingdom – keep an eye out on the river that surrounds the Tree of Life!! All Cavalcades can be seen as the characters ride pontoon boats around the river!

Let me know your thoughts on the Cavalcades! Do you think they’re better than the afternoon parade? Find me over on instagram at @leavin4disney!

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