This new parade is bringing an extra dose of magic to Disneyland.

By Carlye Wisel
Updated February 26, 2020

Disneyland’s new "Magic Happens" parade, debuting February 28, isn’t your standard cavalcade. The new eye-popping display honors some of Disney’s most popular animated films of recent years, bringing the stories of films like "Moana," "Coco," and "Frozen 2" to life in a permanent way within the California theme park for the first time.

Nine new floats in total will make their way down Main Street, U.S.A. when the twice-daily entertainment begins, with over twenty characters making an appearance during the show. An explosion of wildly costumed performers and inventive cosmetic looks round out the new theme park offering, a result of Disney’s collaboration with top-tier talent, including Emmy award-winning choreographer Tessandra Chavez, makeup artist David Petruschin (more popularly known as Raven from RuPaul’s Drag Race), and a soundtrack co-created by singer-songwriter Todrick Hall.

Courtesy of Disney

The bulk of the parade highlights three of Disney’s newer films with ornate, larger-than-life floats, each boasting their own special features. A "Moana" section features the warrior princess standing tall upon her canoe and surfing a wave that’s actually an LED screen; it’s said to display oceanic animations that will occasionally reveal Disney characters hidden within the waves. A second float, fashioned as a grassy island knoll, follows closely behind with the film’s lovable pet pig Pua and Maui the demigod on board. Fans of Heihei, the film’s comic relief, can relax knowing he too makes a surprise appearance; the somewhat dim-witted rooster will zoom around the parade route as show performers dance around, holding props representing the film’s Kakamora coconut warriors.

Courtesy of Disney

One of the more stunning offerings, however, is set to be the "Coco" float. The Día de Muertos marigold bridge that links Miguel to his ancestors Imelda and Hector is done up in detail, standing tall atop a facsimile of the Land of the Dead. The skeletal duo are rendered as marionettes, making for a whimsical touch, while the float also displays figurines, dancers, and Miguel’s dog Dante all as Alebrijes, perfectly encapsulating all the colorful magic from Pixar’s 2017 film.

A "Frozen 2" float highlights the most popular moments of the highest-grossing animated film of all time, with Elsa on her water horse, Nokk, Anna and Olaf in an ice canoe, trees of the enchanted forest standing tall, and an audio-animatronic Sven on the back of the float. Dressed in costumes embodying the movie’s now-iconic red-leaved trees, dancers engage in an array of captivating movements, elevating traditional parade choreography to a new art form.

Courtesy of Disney
Courtesy of Disney

The parade will also feature classic Disney films and characters throughout. Beginning with Mickey Mouse perched beside a gilded sorcerer’s hat, guests will see some of the most popular Disney pals — Pluto, Goofy, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Chip ‘n Dale among them — in inventive blue-and-purple outfits, and they'll enjoy a series of floats themed to moments from "Cinderella," "The Princess and the Frog," "The Sword in the Stone," and "Sleeping Beauty" at the parade’s end.

Melding new design and films with classic songs and stories, "Magic Happens," premiering on February 28, is poised to be a can’t-miss parade on your next Disneyland trip.