Maleficent Return Festival of Fantasy Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World

RUMOR: Maleficent Dragon Float, Most Dancers May Not Return to Festival of Fantasy Parade at Magic Kingdom

As we recently reported, Disney used the Destination D23 event to announce the return of the Festival of Fantasy parade. The parade is set to return to the Magic Kingdom in 2022. However, the parade that returns may not be what it once was.

The most impressive float in the Festival of Fantasy parade may not return. The Maleficent dragon float is rumored to be relegated to after hours events. If that is true, guests will need to pay for a hard ticket event to see the fire breathing dragon in action.

Also, the number of dancers in each parade unit may be reduced to two. The reduction in dancers would align with a similar reduction for the Christmas parade.

What do you think of these rumored changes to Festival of Fantasy? If the dragon float and numerous dancers are eliminated, does the parade still interest you? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. So it is a Parade or a mini cavalcade again they need to keep all the dancers that’s what makes the parade so special

  2. How cheap is cheap? I ask because there’s parks right up the street that really are offering more bang for my buck.

    2 dancers? Dragon relegated to after hours? And we’re paying record high prices for our tickets!

  3. Regarding my level of passion for the Disney Parks, nothing gums up the works more than stuff like this. I just don’t know if any of these types of changes are due to staffing limits from regulation or abundance of care for consumer safety… or if Disney is just giving me the big fat one.
    The excuses don’t even come anymore… they just let things silently slip away, like we wont notice or aren’t worth the price.
    I love Disney, I love the parades and other atmospheric actors/performers. If these rumors are true I will not be as inclined to stop and watch the parade other than to remark how underwhelming it is or if I am just looking for a reason to be grumpy.

  4. For a blog that claimed the CEO of Disney ditched his appearance at D23 to avoid public criticism, it’s ironic that you refuse to post any comments that dare criticize your “reporting.” There is no offered sourcing, even on background, as the source of this supposed “rumor.” No factual basis for it offered at all. For all we, the readers, can tell it’s just wild WDWNT speculation like that time a month ago you claimed the Frontierland Shooting Arcade was being removed when it turned out there was just a website glitch that didn’t show it.

    Pieces like this, with no sourcing or any stated factual basis to support their claims is irresponsible. Do better.

    1. We did not say the Shootin’ Gallery was being ripped out, you have us confused with the website that actually posts rumors that never come to fruition (i.e. Paint the Night coming to WDW). The problem with all of you is you see a headline for 3 seconds on social media and make assumptions, you never actually read anything and then you listen to people who make stuff up about us for various reasons. You need to do better.

  5. Don’t even bring it back. I truly dislike management & its ways of creating plus $$ for things that make the Disney parks & experience.

  6. If true, this sounds like yet another cost cutting (or dare I say profit improving) exercise, as I am sure such cuts will not be matched by any reduction in admission prices!

  7. This is a bit concerning. The website description no longer has any indication of the dragon, and the runtime appears to have been shortened. I really hope this is not true, as this was always my favorite float to marvel at. Moreover, it is truly sad that the number of performers may be reduced, because no matter what impressive floats or new ride systems are being developed, it cannot ever compete with the actors and cast members who are and always have been the true heart and soul of Disney Parks.

    1. Unfortunately current leadership have removed (or are removing) the heart and soul of the parks.

      As someone who pre-pandemic visited from the U.K. every couple of years (we’ve stayed on site 5 times in the last 10 years) we won’t be back any time soon. It was expensive enough before Chapek came along but you accepted the cost as it was so special and delivered something different. It offered, in a strange way, it’s own Disney version of value for money.

      We noticed in our last trip in Dec 2019 (Chapek was in charge of parks at that time) that things seemed a little different. It was hard to put my finger on what it was but there was something. The special vibe seemed to have gone. We put it down to staying at a new resort (Caribbean Beach) when previously we had stayed at SSR, AKL and FQ. Now I’m not so sure – thinking back I can’t remember the same level of “happy CMs” who engaged in conversation “where you from?” etc. They seemed more robotic which could have been due to management changes or simply overwork (that last one wouldn’t surprise me). The one thing that sticks out to me was the withdrawal of the talking Mickey in MK. That seems to have started a snowball of reducing “value” and “specialness”.

      Disney have, like many other companies, used CV-19 to make cuts/changes to their business model which I suspect they’d wanted to do for a number of years but knew they’d see a backlash. CV-19 have given them a convenient excuse to hide behind.

      There are a number of things that need to change before we are back. Some things need to revert back to how they worked pre-pandemic (and I accept CV-19 needs to be manageable before this can happen) but it’s clear that some things will never go back to how they were. Genie/LL will add hugely to the cost of visits from the U.K. given we generally come for 14/21 days and spend 90% of that time on property. I accept it’s a discretionary cost but as a frequent visitor used to FP+ (in my view the best thing Disney ever did) not purchasing Genie will reduce my experience and when you are paying £5,000+ to get there you want the best experience possible.

      So, and apologies for ranting, until things chance we won’t be back anytime soon. And bigger fans you’ll struggle to find. Our house is full of Disney memorabilia, soft toys, pictures etc. We are in the fortunate position that we could afford the prices charged however we want a certain level of value and the aforementioned “specialness”. We spent over £7,000 on our last trip – our next with price increases would likely be £10,000. I hate to say this, as this doesn’t sit well with me, but we may consider Universal next time and visit MK for just one day (and pay for Genie and LL). We will spend more in a the day than we are used to but a lot less overall.

      If anyone from Disney is reading this (which I doubt) I’d be happy be to discuss further.

      1. I couldn’t agree more. My family has always been Disney fans to the core, but it absolutely pains me to see the corporation raise the prices while also lowering the parks’ quality and magic. They certainly have used the pandemic as an excuse for these changes, and it is plainly obvious that they’ve always wanted to switch to paid fastpasses. The corporation is so out of touch with their fans right now, and until something changes, things will, unfortunately, become even worse.

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