While we were at the Magic Kingdom during our December 2016 visit to Walt Disney World, we took some time in the afternoon to see the Festival of Fantasy parade. Even though it was less than a week until Christmas, they were still reserving the Christmas parade for the last after-hours extra-charge event that was the next night, so the regular parade was still running during the daytime. We found a pretty good spot on the north end of Main Street USA and waited for the fun to begin. Here are just a few photo highlights from the parade.
Peter Pan flies in on Captain Hook’s pirate ship, which is seemingly floating on top of a rainbow. Wendy is there as well, but you can’t see her all that well as she is behind the ship’s wheel. Captain Hook himself is hanging out underneath the rainbow, but you can’t see him here. There is almost too much to photograph in this parade, with multiple characters on most floats and many more characters walking along the street. And besides, it is difficult to get a photo without the heads of all of your parade-watching neighbors in it, especially during the busy Christmas season. I liked this one because the ship was up high enough that I could avoid all of the people around us. And besides, it is a pirate ship - who doesn’t like those?
Probably the highlight of the Festival of Fantasy parade that everyone immediately recognizes is the cool, steampunk-inspired float of Maleficent in dragon form from the movie Sleeping Beauty. This really is a cool design, and I like how they didn’t go too much out of the way to hide the fact that this is just a float. For example, you can clearly see the driver at the base of Maleficent’s neck. And if you could see her feet, you could clearly see the wheels attached to them, which make Maleficent’s legs move as the wheels roll along. It would be really neat if they had a whole parade of this kind of stuff. Maybe someday.
Of course, the most impressive thing about Maleficent is when she breathes fire. No fake fire here - this is the real deal. How cool is that? Or I guess I should say, that’s hot! Because fire is never cool, you know. In today’s times of being overly safety-conscious, I am a little surprised that they can get away with real fire blowing out above the heads of park guests, but I am all for it. As long as it doesn’t singe my hair or anything.
This next Festival of Fantasy float seems to be one of those let’s-throw-in-as-much-as-we-can moments. There is Pinocchio at the front, riding on a rather happy version of Monstro the whale. But then the top of Monstro’s head looks a lot like the Flying Carpet from Aladdin. Farther along on Monstro’s back are characters from the Dance of the Hours sequence of Fantasia. Dumbo is up there, too, just for good measure. And you can’t see them, but right behind Monstro’s tail, at the front of the second part of this float, are Donald and Daisy Duck. Sort of like a smorgasbord float, if you will. Plus, lots of bubbles fill the air, too. Is that because Pinocchio and Monstro are underwater? And if so, did they take all of these other characters with them? Whatever. Don’t get me wrong - it is still all cool to see, just a little confusing at times.
Bringing up the rear of the Festival of Fantasy parade are Mickey and Minnie Mouse flying high in a hot-air balloon. Except of course that you know there isn’t really any hot air in the balloon, and they are not really flying. Sorry to be a party-pooper there. But still, their costumes for the parade are just as colorful as the balloon, so it is a good way to end the parade. Even if they don’t breathe fire like Maleficent did.
As the end of the Festival of Fantasy parade passes us by, Mickey Mouse waves to the crowd. This was right before Mickey got a new head design, just a little cosmetic surgery to keep him looking young. And to think that I remember back in 1988 or so, which was the last time that Mickey had some work done to end up looking like this. You know how these Hollywood stars are. Gotta keep up your appearance, you know!
A good name is to be chosen over great wealth; favor is better than silver and gold. - Proverbs 22:1
About the Photos
You may not be able to tell it, but these photos were taken on a largely cloudy day. Thanks to some photo processing, I was able to make everything look a little more sunny than it actually was. But the original photos were just a bit dull. See for example this before-and-after photo of the balloon float, which shows just how dull and hazy everything was before the processing.
Instead of the fisheye lens, which I used for much of this trip, I used a standard zoom lens for these Festival of Fantasy photos. That allowed me to zoom in on the details more, and I was often able to leave out the people that were around us. That was not always the case, as you can see, but for these photos the zoom lens worked much better than the fisheye lens. That just goes to show that there is not one right lens, but rather that the correct lens depends on the situation.
Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Lens: Olympus 14-42mm IIR
Date: December 21, 2016
Location: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida