It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon at the Magic Kingdom. Do you know where your children are? If you’re like us, then your kids are seated in front of you along the parade route, enjoying a Mickey ice cream bar and waiting for the Big Cheese and his friends to come along, hoping to get a chance to wave to their favorites, and perhaps even get a handshake or a high-five!
It’s just one of the many Disney traditions we have that makes Walt Disney World feel like home. We even have our own special spot, can you guess where it is?
The story of “our spot” starts years ago, before my wife and I were married and before we started our own family. On that hot, August afternoon, we were enjoying rides up until the very last minute before we had to try and find a place to watch the parade.
|“Our Spot” is at the end of this white fence in Liberty Square|
We came out of Fantasyland into Liberty Square and followed the flow of the crowd down past the riverboat toward Frontierland. To the right, there’s a path that goes behind a wall and down. At the end of that path, we found our spot.
What was great about that spot the first time was the ledge. People had already taken the prime seats along the rope on the ground, and there were one or two rows of people standing behind them. But the wall has a ledge running all around it next to the white fence, which you can sit on. (The CMs didn’t like anyone sitting on the fence) From there, we could see over the crowd at the parade as it came by. And given the characters on the float were raised up, we felt that much closer to them.
The next trip we found ourselves in a similar predicament and instantly thought, “what about that spot we got last trip?” and sure enough, it was there… waiting for us. Just like that, a tradition was born.
Over the next 15 years we would use that spot more than any other, for both the afternoon and evening parades. That ledge was our little secret. Once our daughter came along, we started to get there just a little earlier to grab the spot along the rope just in front of that ledge. We have so many memories here. This is where we first watched a parade together… This is where we saw the Christmas parade… This is where that irresponsible woman left her son to wait all alone while she disappeared. I got down off our ledge to keep him company while we waited for her to come back… This is where our daughter, Bella, shook hands with Stitch… the list goes on.
Is this the best spot to view the parade at the Magic Kingdom? No. But it’s pretty darn close. We have watched the parades from many places, including on Main Street and even from the Main Street Train Station. These were all great views, but only one stands out in my mind as the best.
Once again, we were headed for our special spot. This time, we were approaching from Adventureland, cutting through the breezeway into Frontierland, when we saw that our spot was taken. But just there to our right was an opening and we took it. I didn’t realize we had discovered a better spot because I was too busy looking longingly across the way at our ledge.
But once the parade came (this time starting from Main Street) I saw just how much better this spot was…
In that spot, no matter what direction the parade is coming from, you get an unobstructed view of it coming right at you, and then get to watch it pass right by in front of you. Because of the angles, the people next to you aren’t in your way. To me, that makes it perfect. And it doesn’t hurt that a shaded porch is just behind you, restrooms are just a few steps away, and you’re on the same side of the street as the popcorn wagon! The breezeway to Adventureland also serves as your escape route from the post-parade crowd.
In our experience, for both parades you can generally get a good spot in Liberty Square or Frontierland at only 30 – 20 minutes before the parade begins, while over on Main Street the spots are taken up an hour or more before. This means you’ll spend less time waiting, which we all try to avoid if we can.
This trip, I know we’ll be watching the parades from our special spot again, this time with both our children. If the perfect spot is open for us, we’ll take it. But part of me wouldn’t mind settling for the ledge. To me, it just feels like home.
Do you have your own spot for parade watching? Please tell us about it.