This past weekend, Disneyland debuted the only special form of ‘summer entertainment’ for 2014 with the Frozen pre-parade. The one float, which departs from “it’s a small world” down the parade route approximately 10 minutes before the first showing of Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, carries Anna, Elsa and Olaf. The float is a redressing of the Mickey and Minnie ice skating float from the Holiday parade, A Christmas Fantasy Parade.
Currently the float is only seen once a day, which came as a surprise to most guests as Disneyland management hyped the event as a “pre-parade”. While still technically a pre-parade, Mickey’s Soundsational Parade is currently showing twice daily through the summer months and it was assumed by many that the Frozen float would appear before each showing. Over the debut weekend, guests lining up for the 6:30 p.m. performance were disappointed when the characters from Disney’s most popular animated movie of all time didn’t show. It’s not clear why the float only appears once, but the most popular theory has to do with the impact to the Royal Reception meet and greet. Guests complained after waiting in two-hour lines only to either be told to wait longer or were greeted by only one of the two characters.
The Frozen pre-parade leaves much to be desired for most Disneyland fans and it was a smart move, whether intentional or not, to keep it far away from the highly themed Mickey’s Soundsational Parade floats. The arrival of Anna and Elsa is accompanied by a wordless soundtrack of the award winning Frozen song, Let it Go, which plays similar to a karaoke version. Olaf is the most disappointing aspect. The cute, lovable character is static in expression and swivels back-and-forth while some tag line phrases are played from the float itself. The animatronic version of Olaf seen atop the Royal Reception meet and greet in Fantasyland is far superior and quite impressive. (see a video here).
Despite the thrown together feeling the Frozen pre-parade has, the appearance of Anna and Elsa along the parade route is giving thousands of Disneyland guests the ability to see, photograph and have a limited interaction with these highly sought after characters. This was the first time I had seen Anna and Elsa myself (there’s no way I’m waiting in that line) and without this opportunity I wouldn’t have been able to photograph them either.
As I watched the Frozen float go by, kids, young and old, were cheering, laughing and excited to see Anna, Elsa and Olaf. If their parents are not willing to wait in a two, or three hour-long line, this may be the only way they’ll get to see them.
The Frozen pre-parade is currently running prior to the first showing of Mickey’s Soundsational Parade this summer at Disneyland.