There’s so much to see and do at Magic Kingdom but how can you fit it all into a single day? If you can’t extend your trip to include multiple days at Magic Kingdom, knowing the little tricks to maximize what you can experience with minimal wait is key to checking off your must-do list. For many families, Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade is a top priority attraction that they want to experience. After all, where else can you see all of your favorite characters in one place within a 12-minute attraction?

The Festival of Fantasy parade starts in Frontierland and makes its way towards Liberty Square before turning and going past Cinderella’s Castle and down Main Street USA. There are many ideas as to where the best spot for watching the parade really is. For many years, my family would camp out in Liberty Square outside the Diamond Horseshoe, watching from the steps of the restaurant to try to watch the parade over the heads of those in front of us. We also loved being on Main Street USA, sitting on the curb, enjoying a treat from the Main Street Confectionary while waiting for the parade to pass us with Cinderella’s Castle in the background. The problem with all of these locations is that you need to start reserving your spot hours in advance of the parade’s start time. I’ve heard of families choosing their spot as early as 3 hours in advance for their prime location! The reality is that most families don’t have that much time to dedicate to watching the parade. But no worries, I’m here to tell you how to get a prime viewing area with minimal wait!

My newest trick to getting the best viewing for the Festival of Fantasy parade is using Genie+. While I’ve been hesitant in the past to use a coveted Genie+ selection for this parade, it’s in fact a very smart use of time. The Genie+ return time for this parade starts 30 minutes before the parade begins in Frontierland. To optimize your selections of Genie+, you want to time the selection of the parade as your next Genie+ no earlier than an hour before the viewing area opens. You can select it as late as when the parade is about to start but if you want front row viewing, make your Genie+ selection no later than 25 minutes before the start of the parade. If you aren’t sure what to do while waiting to make your selection and don’t have time for another ride, grab a snack, watch PhilharMagic, or visit a shop to cool off in the Florida heat.

Once the Genie+ return time has opened up, head to the circle in front of the castle and redeem your Genie+ selection. As soon as you have entered the reserved viewing area, you can find your favorite place to watch the parade. My top choice is to head to the far left of the viewing area so you can see the parade approach the castle area from Liberty Square. You can get front row seats, sit on the ground during the parade if you wish, and watch the parade head right towards you so you can call out to or snap amazing pictures of your favorite characters. Now it’s just a matter of minutes before the parade starts and you’ll get VIP viewing to enjoy the show.

Once you’ve entered the viewing area and have chosen your seats, be sure to select your next Genie+ attraction. You’ll be able to get to most locations quite quickly after the parade as you are in the middle of the park with easy access to all of the lands. And yes, be sure to grab a snack before you enter the viewing area and enjoy a treat while you wait, knowing the magic of the Festival of Fantasy parade is about to begin!