The Magic Kingdom Parade is a rite of passage for every Walt Disney World guest, and with a little planning, you can save time by dining and watching the parade at the same time!
Here are a few of my favorite ways to combine two “must-do” activities — eating and parade viewing — in the Magic Kingdom:
Grab a Hot Dog at Casey’s
The location of Casey’s Corner, a counter-service restaurant specializing in hot dogs, is just about perfect for parade viewing. Situated on the end of Main Street right next to the hub and the Castle, the main outdoor dining area of Casey’s will provide a fantastic view of the parade floats going by.
You’ll need to snag a spot early, so head over to Casey’s about 15-30 minutes before the parade is scheduled to begin, order your food, and commandeer your red-and-white striped umbrella table. The closer you are to Main Street, the better. While crowds of people might block your view of some of the characters on the street, this is nice, shaded spot from which to see the floats. I especially like this spot for watching SpectroMagic (or the Main Street Electrical Parade). Keep your spot to watch Wishes.
If you don’t like the idea of holding a table, grab your dogs and dine while holding your spot on the curb!
Get an Outdoor Table at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe
…but it has the be one of the correct outdoor tables! This counter-service eatery located in Frontierland has several outdoor dining areas, but the one you want will be closest to the front door. This dining area butts up against a slatted fence, which you’ll be able to look through to view the parade. Another option, of course, is to get your grub from Pecos Bill’s and have a seat on the curb — chow down while you wait for the parade!
Snag a Seat at Sleepy Hollow
Sleepy Hollow counter-service is a great spot to order up some snacks and wait for the parade. This is a prime location for viewing (no obstructions, really), and you’re right next to the castle!
My suggestion would be to grab a spot close to the parade route and fence about an hour prior to the parade’s start time. Bring a book, have a snack (I recommend the ice cream cookie sandwiches or chicken and rice soup), and enjoy the show!
Bogart a Table at the Main Street Bakery or outside The Plaza Restaurant
If possible, order up some goodies at the Main Street Bakery and commandeer one of the tables right outside the front door. While you’ll have crowds lined up in front of you, you’ll still be able to see the floats.
But even better might be one of the several yellow-and-white-striped umbrella tables just outside the Plaza Restaurant. This is overflow seating for the bakery and the Ice Cream Parlor and can also provide some nice, relaxing, shaded parade viewing.
Sit on the Porch at Tony’s Town Square
You’ve heard me gush about the porch at Tony’s Town Square before when discussing the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party’s Boo to You Parade, but it’s also a great place to catch other Magic Kingdom parades. In fact, I might go as far as to say it’s the best place to catch these parades!
Book your advanced dining reservation about 30 minutes before the parade begins when it starts in Frontierland, and about an hour before the parade begins when it starts on Main Street USA. When you check in at the podium, request a table on the patio and let them know you’ll wait until one is available. They still can’t guarantee it, but it’s well worth the shot.
While some folks may say that you can see the parades from Liberty Tree Tavern, Crystal Palace, and the Plaza Restaurant (proper), I’d argue that those window seats are too few and far between for more than one or two families to be lucky enough to see the parade while dining. Also, the vantage points can be a bit skewed from these restaurants.
What’s Your Experience?
This is one of those topics that tends to be very controversial — many families have had wonderful experiences viewing the parades from the locations suggested, but others have had very negative experiences when it comes to crowds and not being able to see the whole parade. Let me know what you think — where have you had a great dining + parade viewing experience? We’d love to hear your suggestions!