As part of "Year of a Million Dreams", one lucky family was chosen to be part of the "Grand Marshal Pre-Parade Cavalcade" and to stay one night in the Mickey Mouse Funhouse located in the Disneyland Hotel or the Disneyland Dream Suite in New Orleans Square. The family journeyed along the parade route with the Mayor of Main Street and other Disney characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Mary Poppins, Bert, Woody, Jessie, Aladdin, and Jasmine. The "Grand Marshal Pre-Parade Cavalcade" featured two banner holders, six dancers, and two rope carriers as well. The song played was "The Happiest Place on Earth". On August 17, 2008, this pre-parade was cut back to only include the Mayor and the lucky family.
Parade units and characters
Happiest Homecoming on Earth Introduction: "Fifty years ago a magical place was born; a place of Enchantment and Adventure, Laughter and Imagination, where new worlds of joy and wonder just waited to be discovered and in this marvelous kingdom there lived many delightful friends who made our dreams come true. Today we invite you to celebrate fifty years of magical memories with your Disney family as we proudly present Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams, we dedicate it to dreamers around the world and to that special dream that first began when Walt Disney proclaimed To All Who Come to This Happy Place, Welcome "
Year of a Million Dreams introduction: Once upon a time, a marvelous dreamer found the power to transform wishes into reality, and with just a sprinkle of pixie dust, a magical kingdom came alive for dreamers of all ages to enjoy. Soon the young at heart gathered from around the world, following their dreams to the place where anything is possible. The magic place where dreams come true. Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams is dedicated to children of all ages, and to that special dream that first began when Walt Disney proclaimed "To all who come to this happy place, welcome."
- Gateway to Dreams: Peter Pan from Peter Pan is inside a golden train with Tinkerbell sitting on top of it with the Main Street train station as the backdrop of the unit. Fairy Godmother from Cinderella, the Blue Fairy from Pinocchio and Flora, Fauna and Merryweather from Sleeping Beauty dance around this unit. (Occasionally Merlin from The Sword in the Stone may fill in for any Opening Unit characters which may have been cut from the performance, except Tinkerbell, and the 3 fairies).
- Dream of Enchantment: Based on the 1970 animated film Beauty and the Beast. Belle and Beast dance and an Audio-Animatronic Lumiere sings. Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, and Chip entertain the crowd as well while spoons, forks, knives, salt & pepper shakers, a feather duster, and plate dancers perform around the unit. This was Jerry Orbach's last time supplying the voice of Lumiere. Orbach died in December 2004 after he recorded the dialogue for the parade.
- Dream of Laughter: Based on the 1940 animated film Pinocchio. Pinocchio and toys from Geppetto's workshop dance around a giant Geppetto who is controlling the Can-Can and in the background music playing "An actors life for me" and Dutch dancing puppets from the movie. Hanging behind the unit are Russian puppets on bungee cords. The part of the unit that they hang on rises up during the show stop to allow the Russian puppets to perform bungee tricks. Other toys include two bell ringers, two ballroom dancers attached to female doll counterparts, a toy drummer, and Bo Peep. Other characters include Honest John and Gideon, Jiminy Cricket sitting atop a toy block and Cleo swimming around in her fish bowl (as of September 28, 2008, Jiminy Cricket will no long be part of the Parade).
- Dream of Another World: Based on the 1989 animated film The Little Mermaid. Ariel sits on top of a giant fountain made of clam shells, with Part of Your World and Under the Sea playing in the background. Bubbles float around Ariel. This unit also features Audio-Animatronics Sebastian and Flounder. Before the unit are dancers decorated like stylized waves, blue and white pearl dancers, and light-colored 'fish kites' (No Longer a part of the Parade). When the Parade returned in 2007 the water fountains on Ariel's shell was replaced by clear plastic tubing. For the parade's 2008 run, the fountains returned. A giant Ursula puppet makes potions and cackles to "Poor Unfortunate Souls" while Flotsam and Jetsam lurk around. Black Pearl dancers perform for the audience as well. A soft, dark instrumental version of "Under the Sea" can also be heard during this sequence.
- Dream of Imagination: Based on the 1951 animated film Alice in Wonderland. It carries a live-action Mad Hatter and Alice. A giant animatronic Caterpillar sits on the back of the unit atop a mushroom, and music from the masterpiece itself: "Unbirthday song and joyful Mad tea Party music too!" Queen of Hearts and White Rabbit entertain the crowd, while Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are pushing stylized tea cups, a pair of Royal Marching Cards, and four 'jumping' flowers entertain the crowd. The Cards climb atop the trampoline during the show stop to perform incredible acrobatics.
- Dream of Adventure: Based on the 1994 animated film The Lion King. Simba atop Pride Rock with Zazu, Pumbaa sleeping in a hammock, a live-action Timon, Rafiki and Nala. Various costumed animal dancers surround the unit, such as a tiger, panther, antelope, chimpanzee, cheetah, leopard, and a life-sized rhinoceros along with walking stilt performers dressed as a stylized zebra and giraffe. On the back of the unit are two Bird performers. During the show stop, the "tree" part of the unit raises up and the Birds perform an amazing Spanish Web routine.
- Dreams Come True (Finale Unit): Lastly, Mickey and Minnie as King and Queen on Sleeping Beauty Castle with other Disney royalty, including Princess Aurora, Snow White, and Cinderella and their Princes. Attendants Chip 'n' Dale, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald also perform on and around this unit along with the Seven Dwarfs entertaining guests. With the "Welcome" song in the background and have a dance to end the parade. (Occasionally all of the dwarfs except Dopey will be absent, but this is rare.)
- Show length: Approximately 35 minutes with three show stops
- Show Stop Song: An upbeat version of "Welcome" from Disney's Brother Bear, composed by Phil Collins and performed by Jump5
- Other Songs Featured:
- OPENING UNIT:
- "Welcome" / "Magical House Cleaning" /"You Can Fly" / "When You Wish Upon A Star" / "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo"
- BEAUTY & THE BEAST UNIT:
- "Belle" / "Beauty and the Beast"/ "Be Our Guest"
- PINOCCHIO UNIT:
- "I've Got No Strings" / "Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee (An Actor's Life for Me)"
- THE LITTLE MERMAID UNIT:
- "Part of that World" / "Under the Sea"/ "Poor Unfortunate Souls"
- ALICE IN WONDERLAND UNIT:
- "I'm Late" / "The Unbirthday Song" / "Alice in Wonderland" / "March of the Cards" / "How Do You Do and Shake Hands" / "March of the Cards" (reprise)
- LION KING UNIT:
- "Circle of Life" / "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" / "Hakuna-Matata"
- FINALE UNIT:
- "Welcome" / "Hail to the Princess Aurora" / "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" / "Someday My Prince Will Come" / "When You Wish Upon A Star" / "Mickey Mouse Club March"
- OPENING UNIT:
- Pre-Parade/Grand Marshall Song: "The Happiest Place on Earth"
- Show Times and Information: Generally 3:30pm (Small World to Main Street) and 6:30pm (Main Street to Small World). During off seasons, there is generally only one parade at 7:00pm that will go from Small World to Main Street. On hotter days, there are times where there will be only two show stops and reduced choreography.
- Previous Parades:
Changes for 2009
- Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams came to an end in 2008 before the Holiday Season. On March 27, 2009, Disneyland premiered Celebrate! - A Street Party as a replacement for Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams to stay updated with the park's new theme. This parade was later replaced by Mickey's Soundsational Parade on May 27, 2011.
Fun Facts about the Parade
- Each float has a hidden Mickey on it.
- The original (May 2005 - October 2006) opening recording was voiced by award-winning actress Julie Andrews. It has since been replaced to coincide with the "Year of a Million Dreams."
- The parade's theme song "Welcome" from Brother Bear was written by Phil Collins. The parade version has slightly different lyrics and is performed by an ensemble. The song is featured on the "Gateway to Dreams" float and the "Dreams Come True" float as well as being used as the theme for the Show Stops.
- There was a similarly titled parade at Tokyo Disneyland called Disney's Dreams on Parade which was latter titled Disney's Dreams on Parade Movin' On and ran from 2003 to 2008. While they had similar names, both parades had a different soundtrack and theme.
- Starting in Spring 2007, the Princes (Prince from Snow White, Prince Charming, Prince Phillip) were cut from the parade.
- The original show stop was about three minutes long. It was cut down to two-and-a-half minutes for pacing.
- During the two-and-a-half minute show stop, characters from each float wave golden banners (the Beauty and the Beast unit uses golden napkins and the The Lion King unit uses bird kites). Some floats also have acrobats, including, Pinocchio float, Alice in Wonderland float and The Lion King float, that perform during the show stop. The music for the show stop begins with a recording of the opening of Walt Disney's dedication of Disneyland; "To all who come to this happy place, welcome."
- During the holiday season at Disneyland, Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams is replaced by A Christmas Fantasy Parade.