Each week through the Walt Disney World 50th anniversary, we will be taking a look back at various parades, entertainment, and nighttime spectaculars throughout the history of the resort. Walt Disney World has seen so many different things come and go throughout its 50 year history. So, let’s take a look back at what people remember dearly or forgot quickly.
Last week, in our first Making Memories feature, we looked back at the very early parades of the Walt Disney World Resort at the Magic Kingdom in the 1970s. This week we move to the next decade, the 1980s. Now, this is only looking at the daytime parades at Magic Kingdom in the 1980s. Nighttime parades, and other parks will be looked at in future pieces, so stay tuned for that!
Our first parade debuting in the 1980s is Pinocchio Parade! This parade debuted in January of 1980 and ran through June of that year. The parade ran in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Disney animated feature film Pinocchio. Characters such as Pinocchio, Geppetto, Stromboli, and Jiminy Cricket made appearances throughout. Remnants of these floats still remain in some parades today.
Up next, it was time to celebrate! The Magic Kingdom was turning ten and for the 10th anniversary the Tencennial Parade debuted in October of 1981 and ran through September of the following year. The Tencennial Celebration not only brought the parade but other aspects like concerts, fireworks, and other fun surprises. This parade debuted with comedian Bob Hope serving as the grand marshal and 1,000 band members as part of the festivities.
Mickey Mouse rode on a special blue and silver anniversary float to the song “Walt Disney World Is Your World.” The Main Street Trolley, Dapper Dans, Pluto, Cinderella, the Casey Jr. train, and several others also appeared as part of this parade. Each Magic Kingdom land would be represented in some way.
The main Disney Duck celebrated his birthday in 1984 with Donald’s 50th Birthday Parade. This short lived parade ran from May 1984 to December 1984. Mickey and Minnie Mouse led the celebration riding on a Donald Duck themed float. Donald and Daisy Duck appeared on their own float along with Donald’s Grandmother, Grandma Duck. Other Duck family members such as Ludwig Von Drake, Uncle Scrooge, and Huey, Dewey, and Louie also appeared in Donald’s Birthday Parade.
Kicking off in January of 1985 was Mickey’s Street Party! This party parade lasted until November 1986 and was full of bright colors featuring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on the lead float. That was followed by the Seven Dwarfs and 40 other Disney characters including those from Alice in Wonderland, Jungle Book, and more. Cinderella had her own special float and the parade concluded with a float full of Winnie the Pooh characters.
1986 brought on another celebration with the 15th anniversary of Walt Disney World. The 15 Years of Magic Parade kicked off in October of 1986 and ran through September of the following year. The parade was let by Mickey and Minnie Mouse and also featured special 80s themed music. This year long celebration featured a bunch of guest giveaways including a car and decor throughout the park. The Fairy Godmother and Donald Duck had their own featured floats with other floats including Chip, Dale, Tigger, Br’er Bear, and Big Bad Wolf.
After the 15th celebration ended it was time to gear up for a country wide celebration in 1987 as this marked the bicentennial of the United States Constitution. The Spirit of America Parade began in September 1987 and lasted through November 1988. The parade led off with Mickey and Minnie Mouse in colonial outfits aboard a float featuring an oversized constitution. Floats featuring the Country Bears, a lighthouse, Dumbo, and Goofy in cowboy gear and more followed behind.
Mickey’s All-American Birthday Parade followed the Spirit of America running from November 1988 through November 1989. This was to celebrate Mickey’s 60th birthday and as part of the celebration, a new land called Mickey’s Birthdayland would be added. This land would be so popular it would later be permanent and turn into Mickey’s ToonTown. The new parade for this celebration took recycled floats along with a new theme song. Mickey’s All-American Birthday Parade was led with bakers creating a birthday cake for Mickey. At the end of this parade was a surprise float showcasing the upcoming film, The Little Mermaid.
The final parade of the 1980s at Magic Kingdom was the Disney Character Hit Parade. This parade may also have been known as the Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Parade. It began with a steamboat float featuring Disney characters along with the Dapper Dans singing on board. There were over 100 performers as part of this parade. The Little Mermaid had its own special float after being released earlier that year. Pooh and friends rode aboard a float featuring the Silly Old Bear’s tree. Country Bears road with Davy Crockett on a Wild Frontier float, and Mary Poppins was on the rooftops of London. Mickey and Minnie Mouse closed out the parade as the Mickey Mouse Club March played.
And that closes out the second installment of Making Memories here on the Crescent Lake Club. This is only the beginning as we continue to look back at Walt Disney World entertainment history over the past 50 years in the weeks to come. We hope you enjoyed this piece and be sure to let us know if you have any memories of these parades featured in this week’s piece.
- Step In Time: ‘Pinocchio Parade’ Steps Off in 1980 at Magic Kingdom Park
- Step In Time: A Tencennial Parade Marches at Magic Kingdom Park
- Step In Time: Donald Duck’s Birthday Parade Takes Flight at Magic Kingdom Park
- Step In Time: ‘Mickey’s Street Party’ Steps Off In 1985 at Magic Kingdom Park
- Vintage Walt Disney World: A Look Back at Magic Kingdom Park Parades
- Disney Days of Past: Constitution Day
- Step In Time: ‘The Little Mermaid’ Makes Its Parade Debut In ‘Disney Character Hit Parade’ at Magic Kingdom Park