The Wonderful World of Disney Parade was a parade at Disneyland Park (Paris) that ran from 1998 to 1999, and from 2001 to 2007.
More than 60 Years of animated classics come to life before your eyes in a magnificent timeline of Disney heroes and heroines. Featuring a mix of classic and brand new floats and introducing the song “Dancin’ (A Catchy Rhythm)” to the world, the parade became a Disney phenomenon – the real archetype of an all-round classic, quintessential, Disneyland parade.
The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade had a long and interesting history, since it was created in March 1998 from a combination of existing and brand new floats and was around for over eight years, with many minor (and some major) changes along the way. The parade began with 13 floats in early 1998 as one of the main attractions of The Year of Disney Classics. The parade aimed to show a 3D timeline of Disney’s greatest films, and by featuring classics ranging from Mickey Mouse’s Steamboat Willie to Hercules via Cinderella and Aladdin, it did just that. The parade became hugely popular thanks to the wide range of characters, and the brand new theme song worked a treat as well. Dancin’ (A Catchy Rhythm) was produced by Jay Smith and Vasile Sirli exclusively for the parade, and with its immediate success and insanely catchy nature it became one of the first CD singles the be released by the resort that very same year.
The same parade line-up of 13 floats and the old-timer character car pre-parade ran for two years until 31st December 1999, when a new parade began to celebrate the Millennium. Disney’s ImagiNations Parade blended Disney characters with themes from every continent in gigantic, breathtaking floats. Unfortunately, whilst the colorful and creative designs and the towering floats of the parade were spectacular to look at, the parade was simply not very practical in the unpredictable Parisian weather and audiences missed the large amount of characters seen in The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade. And so, after some tough decision-making it was decided to scrap this parade (which had originally been scheduled to run for the whole of 2001) and return the more popular Wonderful World Of Disney to the parade route. However, the return of the parade brought some major changes – almost all for the worse. The interactive parade stops which featured some excellent soundtrack mixes for each float were removed, along the Peter Pan, The Lion King, The Jungle Book, Pinocchio and Hercules units. The Princesses Staircase float was replaced by two separate floats for Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, both of which were recognized by fans as two floats from the park’s old Disney Classics Parade.
In late March 2002, a more positive change was made to the parade. For the 10th Anniversary of Disneyland Park, a special Giant Birthday Cake float was added at the start of the parade. On this float, dancers in chef costumes handed out sweets to the crowds and joined the rest of the characters in a new parade stop which featured the exclusive 10 Years Of Magic song written for the celebrations. In September 2002, the parade lost the Giant Birthday Cake float but retained the 10 Years Of Magic parade stop. By early 2003 both had been removed.
May 2003 brought the parade to an end after four and a half years of magic, to be replaced by The Princess Parade as part of the Princess Weeks event. Fans of the old parade had little reason to be upset, however, since this “new” parade simply featured the previous parade’s line-up with the addition of a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs float and minus the Steamboat Willie, Mary Poppins and Dumbo floats. The Princess Parade also used Dancin’ (A Catchy Rhythm) as its theme song. Over the Summer, The Princess Parade regained the Steamboat Willie and Dumbo floats and in 2005 the name was reverted to The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade and the Mary Poppins float was also reinserted, creating a lengthy parade of 9 major units.
From the 2006 Summer Magic season until its end in 2007, the parade was renamed as Disney Princess Parade drawing on the large number of princess units in the parade to create a single parade theme. The Dumbo unit was removed, but a far greater number of characters joined the celebration each day. On 20th August 2006, the order in which the floats are presented was altered, moving Cinderella to the front and the “un-princess” float, Steamboat Willie, to the back as an extra “encore”. The parade officially ended its epic run in late March 2007, to make way for Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, a parade celebrating the 15th Anniversary of Disneyland Resort Paris.