In light of the current economic issues facing the Walt Disney Company, information had already leaked out that the previously planned 50th Anniversary Parade concept had been scrapped.
However, with attendance having cratered as low as 20% of 2019 visitor numbers going into September since opening, Disney Parks may be working quickly on a fast track solution to draw people back in next year.
According to several sources – including implied information from user LiterallyNobody on the WDWMagic forums (someone who is usually correct about parade and fireworks rumors) – Disney is now working on cobbling together a 50th nighttime parade out of old parade floats, costumes, multimedia, and effects.
According to another source, this will be interspersed with new floats and costumes, though these will be greatly reduced from the all new parade that had been planned prior to the pandemic… and may in fact be modified daytime floats. A strong rumor is that head of Disney Parks, Josh D’Amaro, has already approved the “new” Greatest Hits parade, which will be marketed similarly to Epcot Forever as the new big draw for 2021.
There is one small snag to all of this, however. While the cash has reportedly been allocated for the parade, it will only be able to run if and when the Magic Kingdom is open after dark once more.
Although expectations are that vaccines and therapeutics will make that possible in 2021, nothing is a sure bet when it comes to forecasting the virus’ impact on the parks longterm. Equally important, the parade is unlikely to exist for a great period of time as other Disney Parks are likely to need some of the floats in the future.
It is almost assured this will be the briefest parade in modern Magic Kingdom history. And perhaps that’s purposeful to get those WDW aficionados returning to the park to see it while they can.
So what can we reasonably expect at this point? A safe bet based on leaked information and behind the scenes gossip is that the new parade will launch in the second quarter of 2021 with elements of Main Street Electrical Parade, Spectromagic, and Paint the Night… as well as some cleverly modified existing assets made to appear new.
The musical element is expected to reuse old parade scores, as well as new content intended to bring the various tunes into a cohesive theme. In order to draw in more super fans, it’s also been suggested (though unconfirmed) that Disney may rotate different seldom seen characters into the parade from night to night, generating a rewatch factor for guests.
As always, things can and do change often due to the nature of the business right now, but this appears to be the plan moving forward.