25 January 2021


Disney’s Hollywood Studios has always colored outside of the lines when it comes parades. Today’s cavalcades are almost a throwback to the park’s very first parade, Dinosaurs Live!, that has been mashed up with one of its most beloved, Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade. The Studios featured one of first parades in Walt Disney World that included show stops for guest interaction with both Block Party Bash and Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! What the park is most remembered for, however, are its film specific parades.
The heyday for these parades came in the 1990s, beginning Christmas week in 1992 with Aladdin’s Royal Caravan, continuing on with Toy Story Parade and Hercules “Zero to Hero” Victory Parade, and concluding in early 2001 with the last run of the Mulan Parade. Each has their charm, but you can definitely tell where some of the naming got a little more of a boost, while also tempting the imagination. With that in mind, let’s go ahead and take a closer glimpse of Aladdin’s Royal Caravan and Hercules “Zero to Hero” Victory Parade.
Aladdin’s Royal Caravan ran from December 1992 through August 1995 and highlighted Aladdin, in his Prince Ali guise, Jasmine, Jafar, and multiple iterations of the Genie, including a 32 feet tall inflatable Genie that towered over the spectacle. Like all beloved Disney pageantry, there were some pieces that would be reused later. The inflatable Genie meandered over to the Magic Kingdom for Disney’s Magical Moments Parade, and the spitting camels became landmarks of Adventureland’s Magic Carpets of Aladdin. It is worth noting that this parade was featured on the Full House episode, The House Meets the Mouse (Part 2), where DJ mistakes the parade’s Aladdin for Steve. This clever nod goes even deeper considering that Steve is portrayed by Scott Weinger, the voice of Aladdin in the animated feature.
Hercules “Zero to Hero” Victory Parade began its run in June 1997, concluding its run less than a year later in April of 1998. As the name suggests, this is a victory celebration/rally/parade for Hercules. It featured Phil, Zeus, Pegasus, Pain, Panic, the Muses, Hades, Megara, and Hercules, along with other characters and creatures, such as the Cyclops, Miss Greece, Dionysus, the hydra, Ridges Philbinylus and Apollonia Airheadenese. The cyclops character was a large inflatable, a technique utilized by many of the Studios’ parades. One of the more unique touches to the parade was the inclusion of the “Theban Family of the Day.” Like the Family of the Day seen throughout Walt Disney World in parades or park openings, this group of guests were selected earlier in the day, given togas and laurels to wear, and then marshalled the parade in style, being pulled by bicycling Greek soldiers in their gold chariots.
In recent years, the single film or series parades feel very pared down and are more of small processionals. The two most memorable of this form of parade are the Frozen Royal Welcome Ceremony and the March of the First Order. Both created striking visuals in their own right, and garnered the attention of guests, but, Covid cavalcades aside, there’s something about the pageantry of the earlier parades that’s been missing in the recent iterations. One day, once we’re healthy and safe once more, it would be wonderful to see full parades return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as well as the other parks of Walt Disney World.