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Disneyland Park » Entertainment » The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade » Parade & Floats

Seventeen floats, two different names and hundreds of costumes all add up to create a parade with more than a few interesting back-stories.  The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade was a true mélange of Disney classics, experiencing more changes than almost any other Disney parade over its 9 year life.

The stories of many of the floats began well before the 30th March 1998 premiere of the parade, however.  Some of the more classic designs date from the opening of the park itself, and the very first daytime parade - Disney Classics Parade.  Others were created in the years between 1992 and 1998 for mini-festivals and events celebrating the cinema release of their films.

This page celebrates the ever-changing face of the parade and its long list of long-serving floats...

 

Floats

Hear those opening drum beats of "Dancin' (A Catchy Rhythm)" in your head?  The parade is on its way!  Watch in wonder as every float of this timeline of Disney Classics passes before your eyes, from the first floats to the final additions...

Pre-Parade: Toon Time Van

30th March 1998 to Late December 1999

Created 1998 for The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade

A brightly-coloured red, blue and yellow van opened the parade in its early years, travelling along the parade route a few minutes before show time featuring  Donald, Goofy, Chip n Dale and Pluto, who helped to announce that the parade was about to begin.

The van later reappeared at Walt Disney Studios Park in 2003, with new black and silver colours and a movie-themed overlay, serving as the introduction to Disney Cinema Parade and carrying the latest Disney film stars.

Steamboat Willie

30th March 1998 to 11th May 2003; August 2003 onwards

Created 1998 for The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade

The key icon of the whole parade, and perhaps the only time a Walt Disney short cartoon has been honoured with its own float in a modern Disney parade, Steamboat Willie has become a legendary and unmistakable piece of Disneyland Resort Paris history.  Riding high up on the ship, Mickey and Minnie wore special black and white costumes inspired by their old-fashioned character designs of 1928, whilst after the loss of the Toon Time Van (above), the ship was often joined by the rest of the Disney VIPs either on the ground or on-deck.

The huge ship rocked back and forth as it travelling along the parade route, and the float is perhaps also unique since the designers were required to transfer the original, black and white animated Steamboat Willie to a full-colour design.

Since the original theme of the parade was that guests were being invited to step into a timeline of Disney Classics and take part in the scenes, a 1920s/30s cameraman and film crew preceded Steamboat Willie and filmed the action.  This disappeared from the parade for its early 2000s return, likely due to the impending inauguration of Walt Disney Studios Park.  The band of sailor dancers were also cut from around 2003, though this influence could be seen right to the parade's finale with the unusual exposed float driver, sitting in a life ring in the waves at the front of the ship.

Princesses Staircase

30th March 1998 to Late 1999

Created 1998 for The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade

One of the most fabled and commonly discussed parade floats of all time, the Princesses Staircase was a simply huge creation, measuring over twenty metres end-to-end and spread over three articulated sections.  For the very first time, the three classic Disney princesses were featured on the same float - Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, with ornate gold decorations covering the staircases and elaborate portraits adorning the sides.  Golden, flowering arches and glistening candelabras and chandeliers added to the decorations.

The dancers later seen in front of Cinderella's float actually danced on-board the staircase, with the three princesses together at the very end.  The float was created especially for The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade, though unfortunately its life was shorter than expected.  According to common belief and/or rumour, the size of the float caused an accident with a dancer backstage, causing it to be cut immediately from the parade in late 1999 and replaced with the Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty floats from the old Disney Classics Parade.

Pinocchio

30th March 1998 to Late December 1999

Created 1992 for Disney Classics Parade

A float retained from the Disney Classics Parade, this featured Pinocchio dancing on strings with Gepetto standing over him.  A collection of other marionettes and toys were featured around the edges of this very classical "wooden" float, which featured its own puppet theatre at the front and several mechanical toy props.

Dumbo

30th March 1998 to 11th May 2003; January 2004 to 13th July 2006

Created 1998 for The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade

Dumbo's Casey Jr float is perhaps the second key icon to be remembered from the parade after Steamboat Willie.  Also designed exclusively for The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade in 1998, the float consists of five separate, articulated sections forming Casey Jr's train, with Dumbo perched on the roof of the driver's cab.  Since no actual characters from the film could be featured, a large group of clowns in bright yellow raincoats travelled with the float.  This lack of any real characters accompanying the float was likely its downfall though, and the float later served to simply close the parade.

The float was lost with the May 2003 relaunch of the parade as "The Princess Parade", only to reappear again in January 2004 to provide a much-needed eighth float.  It was finally retired in mid-July 2006, when the parade was once again rebranded as "Disney Princess Parade".  In early 2007, the reason for this became clear - Casey Jr lives on!  The float has been remodelled and repainted to form the train of Disney Characters' Express for the 15th Anniversary Celebration.

Peter Pan

30th March 1998 to Late December 1999

Created 1998 for The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade

Peter Pan's unit was created especially for The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade, despite a pirate ship float already existing since the Disney Classics Parade of 1992 onwards.  The new unit was more articulate and interactive, however, with Captain Hook standing on a small row boat being crunched up by his Crocodile foe and Peter Pan instead running (or "flying") around it.  Accompanying this were a fleet of small, miniaturised pirate ships, replacing dancers for this float.

Inspired by similar miniature floats from a Magic Kingdom Florida Peter Pan unit, each was driven by its own pirate and chased after Pan for the duration of the parade.  Peter Pan was therefore constantly on the move between this fleet of pirate ships, interacting with the audience as he "flew" away..

Mary Poppins

30th March 1998 to 11th May 2003; January 2005 onwards

Created 1998 for The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade

The only live-action film to be featured in the line-up, Mary Poppins' popular rooftop float was a new creation for the parade, carrying Mary amongst its smoking chimneys and twirling weathervanes, with the driver disguised as Admiral Boom.  A merry band of male and female chimneysweeps preceded the float.

The Jungle Book

30th March 1998 to Late December 1999

Created 1992 for Disney Classics Parade

A remnant from the Disney Classics Parade, The Jungle Book float luckily slotted perfectly into The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade's original line-up, themed to the crumbling temple ruins of King Louie.  Baloo and King Louie took turns on the throne, whilst several other generic monkeys hung around on the float and scampered ahead to interact with guests.  Kaa the snake was featured in statue form at the front of the float, whilst all of the characters wore special necklaces of bananas and leaves.  During show stops, children were invited to wear similar necklaces and dance with the characters.

The Little Mermaid

Entire run

Created 1992 for Disney Classics Parade

One of only three floats which lived through the entire run of the parade, The Little Mermaid's colourful "under the sea" unit featured evil Ursula being tied down by a large collection of undersea life, whilst a statue King Triton sat on his throne next to Ariel in a clamshell.  The shark and other creatures moved side-to-side, and bubbles often spurted out of crevices in the float.  It was originally preceded by not only its iconic seashell dancers but also a couple of large clamshell props, similar to the fleet of Peter Pan pirate ships.

At its inauguration with the Disney Classics Parade in 1992, the float featured a different design to its Wonderful World Of Disney Parade years.  Instead of a large clamshell, a small rowing boat floated high up in the air to depict the "Kiss the Girl" scene of the film, with the undersea life therefore hiding below an invisible water line.  The boat moved side-to-side as the clamshell later did, and featured Ariel in human form with Prince Eric by her side.  The modifications allowed Ariel to be seen in her more popular mermaid form.

Beauty and the Beast

Entire run

Created 1992 for Disney Classics Parade

Another piece retained from the Disney Classics Parade, the "Be Our Guest" musical number was the theme for Beauty and the Beast's float.  Belle stood high on a giant cake, with forks and teapots dancing around her.  The Beast was featured in a massively increased size, holding his rose in one hand and reaching out to Belle with the other.  Mrs Potts, Chip, Babette, Lumière and Cogsworth were all featured below the Beast on a beautiful base decorated with stained glass-effect designs.

The float was usually preceded with dancers dressed as chefs in candy-coloured white, gold and pink costumes.  During the early years of The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade, these also pushed along stoves and other large props.  At the show stops, children were dressed in matching aprons and chefs hats.

Aladdin

Entire run

Created 1993 for La Parade d'Aladdin

This float was produced in 1993 as the basis of the 1993/94 La Parade d'Aladdin, with extra Arabian dancers and props surrounding it.  It then joined the Disney Classics parade before becoming a part of The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade at its launch.

The scene depicted Aladdin and Jasmine flying on their magic carpet above the rooftops of Agrabah, with a slithering serpent sliding over the moon behind them, and Jafar featured at the front of the float in a similar style to Ursula for The Little Mermaid.  The serpent breathed fire at select moments, and the magic carpet turned from side to side and moved up and down.  Some of the domes of Agrabah's skyline even rotated!

The Lion King

30th March 1998 to Late December 1999

Created 1994 for The Lion King Festival

Created for The Lion King Festival in 1994, the Lion King float featured no live characters from the film and instead was simply a large decorative sculpt of animals, roughly based on a cross between the "Circle of Life" and "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" scenes.  Amongst the animals was Timon holding a bug (right at the front), Pumbaa (at the centre) and Rafiki holding a young Simba at the top of the pile.  The float was brought to life with dancers dressed as animals such as giraffes, zebra and gazelle.  During the 1994 festival, it was joined by extra floats and props such as a fully-grown Simba atop Pride Rock.

Hercules

30th March 1998 to Late December 1999

Created 1997 for the Hercules Happening

As with the Aladdin and The Lion King floats, the Hercules unit was also originally created for a mini-parade celebrating the release of the film.  It's construction just one year before the launch of the new parade and very self-contained design perhaps shows signs that it was produced with the new parade in mind, being the most recent of the Disney Classics to be featured in the timeline.

In the Hercules Happening it was joined by a Greek temple and staircase float, gospel singers, dancers and more.

Cinderella

Late 1999 onwards

Created 1992 for Disney Classics Parade

Cinderella's pumpkin coach provides the basis for a classic parade float, with pink, purple and gold-dressed ballrooms dancers preceding its assortment of trusty steeds.  The Fairy Godmother usually stood on the clouds at the rear of the carriage, which was created in 1992 for the Disney Classics Parade.

The float, particularly its pumpkin carriage, is arguably one of the most detailed and intricate floats seen in Paris or perhaps any resort.  Amongst its ornate sculpting (particularly its beautiful large green wheels) and leafy finish it features gold leaf colouring and a sumptuous red fabric interior, truly creating a real-life version of the Fairy Godmother's famous creation.  The float has been confirmed to be one of the few kept in working condition after the parade's finale.

Sleeping Beauty

Late 1999 onwards

Created 1992 for Disney Classics Parade

The final float to be taken from the old Disney Classics Parade line-up, Sleeping Beauty was seen with her Prince on the edge of a rocky outcrop, with a moving (and steaming) Maleficent Dragon behind them.  The float was drafted back into service at the same time as Cinderella above, to provide new homes for these two princesses after their Princesses Staircase float was pulled from service.

10th Birthday Cake

14th March to 29th September 2002

Created 2002 for The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade 10th Anniversary Edition

Especially for the 10th Anniversary of the park, The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade enjoyed a special "10th Anniversary Edition", with an added show stop using the song "10 Years of Magic" and a brand new float leading the parade.  This giant birthday cake, featuring ten candles and Mickey Mouse symbols showing the number, featured a gang of chef dancers who handed out sweets to children.  Several honoured children also got the chance to ride on the float itself, similar to the final scene of the 10th Anniversary show "Minnie's Birthday Surprise".

The 10th Anniversary was a very muted affair, with attention being given instead to the newly-opened Walt Disney Studios Park.  The scroll showing the number "10" on the Castle lasted little more than a month.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

From 12th May 2003 onwards

Created ???? for Christmas Carollers and other uses, transformed in 2003 to form Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs float

Originally used as a float to carry Christmas Carollers on rotating turntables during the park's seasonal celebrations, this float was remodelled in 2003 to finally allow Snow White to rejoin the parade.  A wishing well was added as the centrepiece, with flowers, woodland creatures and an apple covering the unique wood-effect finish of the float, which always stood out from the rest of the line-up.  Not least because it served several purposes - during Halloween, it first became a home for the Pumpkinmen and their orange painting, before hosting Stitch and the Disney VIPs in a similar orange overlay.  For Christmas, it featured glittering Christmas Trees and all of the Disney VIPs in festive red and green costumes.

It has been confirmed that this float is being kept in a working condition after the parade's finale, since it can be interchanged for special events so easily.

 

Parade Line-Ups

The parade was originally envisaged as a "3D Timeline" of Disney Classics, from Steamboat Willie (1928) right up the newest Disney feature of the time, Hercules (1997).  The show stops allowed guests to be selected to "step into the magic" and become a part of the scene with the Disney characters.

Each and every major revision of the parade, listed in chronological order...

30th March 1998

The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade

Pre-Parade: Toon Time Van

Steamboat Willie

Princesses Staircase (Until Mid-1999)

Pinocchio

Dumbo

Peter Pan

Mary Poppins

The Jungle Book

The Little Mermaid

Beauty and the Beast

Aladdin

The Lion King

Hercules

with instrumental show stops

Early 2001

The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade

Steamboat Willie

Cinderella

Sleeping Beauty

Mary Poppins

The Little Mermaid

Beauty and the Beast

Aladdin

Dumbo

Mid-March 2002

The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade 10th Anniversary Edition

10th Birthday Cake

Steamboat Willie

Cinderella

Sleeping Beauty

Mary Poppins

The Little Mermaid

Beauty and the Beast

Aladdin

Dumbo

with "10 Years of Magic" show stop

September 2002

The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade

Steamboat Willie

Cinderella

Sleeping Beauty

Mary Poppins

The Little Mermaid

Beauty and the Beast

Aladdin

Dumbo

with "10 Years of Magic" show stop

January 2003

The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade

Steamboat Willie

Cinderella

Sleeping Beauty

Mary Poppins

The Little Mermaid

Beauty and the Beast

Aladdin

Dumbo

May 2003

The Princess Parade

Mickey & Minnie Carriage

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Cinderella

Sleeping Beauty

The Little Mermaid

Beauty and the Beast

Aladdin

with instrumental show stops


Line-ups show the floats used since each change in the parade's composition, not necessarily in the order given above.  It is possible some floats may have taken breaks or been absent for short periods.  The parade was never performed during Christmas season, and no longer during Halloween from 2003 onwards.  Some of the floats were used during Christmas for Mickey's Nutcracker Parade, whilst during Halloween and Christmas seasons from 2003 onwards, most of the line-up was reused to form Disney Villain Parade and The Christmas Parade.

For the full story of the parade's ever-changing line-up, see our History Timeline.

 

Introduction

Floats

Parade Line-Ups

Grand Farewell (Home)

A Catchy Rhythm

Concepts & Creation

Press Archives

History Timeline

Disney Princess Parade

Disney Villain Parade

The Christmas Parade

© DLRP Magic!

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