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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.

Development[]

The Wonderful World of Disney Parade debuted in March 1998 as one of the main attractions of Disneyland Paris' The Year of Disney Classics event. 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, made out of new floats built for the parade as well as floats taken from other parades at the park, set to a catchy new parade tune: "Dancin' (A Catchy Rhythm)" which was produced by Jay Smith and Vasile Sirli exclusively for the parade, which itself became such a hit that it was one of the first CD singles to be released by the resort that very same year. The parade also featured a pre-parade "Toon-Time" truck, as well as show-stops featuring soundtrack remixes.

The 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 replaced this one. However in March 2001, that parade had ended due to various troubles (including the lack of characters and the float designs not being suitable for the unpredictable persian weather) and so The Wonderful World of Disney Parade was brought back. However, the return of the parade brought some major changes - The interactive parade stops which featured some excellent soundtrack mixes for each float were removed, alongside many of the floats. One of these removed floats - The Princesses Staircase, was replaced by the Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty floats from the Disney Classics Parade.

For the 10th Anniversary of Disneyland Park, a special Giant Birthday Cake float was added at the start of the parade in Late March 2002. 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 park's Princess Weeks event. Fans of the old parade had little reason to be upset, however, since this "new" parade was merely the Wonderful World of Disney Parade 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 March 2007, the parade was renamed as the 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 as the lead unit while the "un-princess" float, Steamboat Willie, was moved to close the parade 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.

Parade Units (Original)[]

Pre-Parade[]

During the 1998-1999 run of the parade, a brightly-coloured red, blue, and yellow van nicknamed the Toon Time Van, opened the parade in its early years, travelling along the parade route a few minutes before show time featuring Donald, Goofy, Chip and Dale, and Pluto, who helped to announce that the parade was about to begin.

After being removed, the van was reused as a pre-parade unit for the then-opened Walt Disney Studios Park's Disney Cinema Parade in 2002, where it was re-painted with new black and silver colours and was given a movie-themed overlay, where it carried the latest Disney film stars.

Steamboat Willie Unit[]

Based on the 1928 animated short Steamboat Willie. 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 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. 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. Unusually for parade floats, the driver of the float is exposed, where he/she sits in a life ring in the waves at the front of the ship.

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.

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 float was removed from the parade for a short time between May 11, 2003 to August 2003, due to the parade's transformation as "The Princess Parade". however, it returned shortly after, although the band of sailor dancers were removed.

By August 2006, the float was moved from being the lead to being used simply to close the parade after the rebranding of the parade to the Disney Princess Parade.

Princesses Staircase Unit[]

The Princesses Staircase was a large twenty metre end-to-end float spread over three articulated sections. The three classic Disney princesses were featured on the same float - Snow White, Cinderella, and Aurora, 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 for this parade, though unfortunately, its life was shorter than expected. According to common belief and/or rumor, the size of the float caused an accident with a dancer backstage, and by the time of the parade's return in 2001, it had been ditched in favour of the Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty floats from the Disney Classics Parade. Snow White would eventually rejoin the parade in May of 2003.

Pinocchio Unit[]

Based on the 1940 animated film and a float reused from the Disney Classics Parade. This float featured Pinocchio dancing on strings with Geppetto 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.

It was one of the many floats not to return when the parade returned in 2001. This float was also retained from the Disney Classics Parade.

Dumbo Unit[]

File:Disneyland paris Dumbo parade.jpg

Dumbo unit

Based on the 1941 animated film. Dumbo's Casey Junior was another popular icon to be remembered from the parade alongside Steamboat Willie.

This newly-built float consisted 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.

Since the float didn't properly contain any walk-around characters, this float simply served to close the parade by 2001 onwards.

The float was lost with the May 2003 relaunch of the parade as "The Princess Parade", however it was brought back by January 2001. It was finally retired in mid-July 2006, when the parade was rebranded as the Disney Princess Parade.

In early 2007 the float was remodeled and repainted to form the train in various mini parades.

Peter Pan Unit[]

Based on the 1953 animated film. It was a newly-built float although the Disney Classics Parade already used an existing pirate ship float. This new float was more articulate and interactive, however, with Captain Hook standing on a small row boat being crunched up by Tick-Tock the Crocodile foe and Peter Pan instead running (or "flying") around it.

Accompanying this were a fleet of small, miniaturized pirate ships, replacing dancers for this float. Inspired by similar miniature floats from Magic Kingdom 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

It was one of the many floats not to return when the parade returned in 2001.

Mary Poppins Unit[]

Based on the 1964 animated- and live-action musical film. It was a newly-built float carrying Mary Poppins 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 float was removed from the parade in May 2003 as part of the parade's transformation as "The Princess Parade". however, it returned in January 2005, and remained until the parade's end.

The Jungle Book Unit[]

Based on the 1967 animated film and was a returning float from the Disney Classics Parade. It was themed to the crumbling temple ruins of King Louie. Mowgli, 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 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.

It was one of the many floats not to return when the parade returned in 2001. This float was also retained from the Disney Classics Parade.

The Little Mermaid Unit[]

Based on the 1989 animated film, and was one of only three floats which lived through the entire run of the parade. This float was also retained from the Disney Classics Parade.

the 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. Glut 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 Disney Classics Parade, the float featured a different design to its 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 Unit[]

Based on the 1991 animated film. This was another float retained from the Disney Classics Parade, the "Be Our Guest" musical number was the theme.

Belle stood high on a giant cake, with forks and teapots dancing around her. 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 Potts, Fifi, Lumiere, 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, these also pushed along stoves and other large props.

At the show stops, children were dressed in matching aprons and chef hats.

Aladdin Unit[]

Main article: La Parade d'Aladdin

Based on the 1992 animated film. This float was produced in 1993 as the basis of the 1993/1994 La Parade d'Aladdin, with extra Arabian dancers and props surrounding it.

The float was later added to the Disney Classics Parade and then this parade. The scene depicted Prince Ali and Jasmine flying on Magic Carpet above the rooftops of Agrabah, with a slithering serpent sliding over the moon behind them, Jafar and Iago 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 Unit[]

Main article: The Lion King Festival

Based on the 1994 animated film and was created for a mini-parade called The Lion King Festival that year.

The 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 baby Simba at the top of the pile. The float was brought to life with dancers dressed as animals such as giraffes, zebra and gazelle.

It was one of the many floats not to return when the parade returned in 2001.

Hercules Unit[]

Main article: Hercules Happening

Based on the 1997 animated film. As with the Aladdin and The Lion King floats, the unit was also originally created for a mini-parade celebrating the release of the film titled the Hercules Happening. 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. As Hercules was the most recent Disney canon film to be released at the time, it was used to end the parade.

It was one of the many floats not to return when the parade returned in 2001.

Parade Units (Later Additions)[]

Cinderella Unit[]

Based on the 1950 animated film. This float was originally used for the Disney Classics Parade and replaced the Princess Staircase float when the parade returned in 2001.

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. Fairy Godmother usually stood on the clouds at the rear of the carriage, 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 in 2007.

Sleeping Beauty Unit[]

Based on the 1959 animated film. This float was also originally used for the Disney Classics Parade and as with the Cinderella float, had replaced the Princess Staircase.

Aurora was seen with Prince Phillip on the edge of a rocky outcrop, with a moving and steaming Dragon Maleficent 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. (1999 till End)

10th Birthday Cake[]

During Disneyland Paris' 10th Anniversary in 2002, the parade received a "10th Anniversary Edition", featuring a "10 Years of Magic" show-stop and a brand new float leading the parade. This giant birthday cake shaped like a castle, 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 float itself lasted from March 14th to September 29th of that year, although the 10th Anniversary show-stops remained until January 2003.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Unit[]

Based on the 1937 animated film. This float was originally used as a float to carry Christmas Carollers on rotating turntables during the park's seasonal celebrations and was remodeled in 2003 to finally allow Snow White to rejoin the parade.

A wishing well was added as the centerpiece, 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.

The float itself has been used for other events - 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.

Trivia[]

  • It was the longest parade at Disneyland Paris ever made until the one-off The Incredible New Year’s Eve Parade.
  • The melodies of the floats in the show stop have also been used in Hong Kong Disneyland's parades and its former stage show The Golden Mickeys as the pre-show melodies.

See also[]

References[]

Template:Disneyland Paris Template:Snow White Template:Pinocchio Template:Dumbo Template:Cinderella Template:Peter Pan Template:Sleeping Beauty Template:Mary Poppins Template:The Jungle Book Template:The Little Mermaid Template:Beauty and the Beast Template:Aladdin Template:The Lion King Template:Hercules Template:Who Framed Roger Rabbit

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