Disneyland Cuts Parade Performers in Unpopular Change

in Disneyland Resort

Mickey mouse leading the "Magic Happens" parade at Disneyland Park

Credit: Disney

There’s nothing like sitting down with a churro and a Main Street, U.S.A., Starbucks for a Disneyland parade. Over the years, Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park have hosted more than your typical afternoon parade, from nighttime spectaculars like the Main Street Electrical Parade and Paint the Night to holiday processions like the Frightfully Fun Parade and A Christmas Fantasy Parade.

Disneyland Park is performing the Magic Happens Parade daily as part of the Disney100 Celebration at Disneyland Resort. The parade was instantly controversial upon its February return. Guests were outraged by Moana’s choreography, which many felt was culturally insensitive. Social media users called on the Southern California Disney Park to change the dance but were unsuccessful.

Mickey in Magic Happens at night
Credit: Disney

And that wasn’t all. Multiple floats suffered breakdowns during the first month of performances, leading to delays and cancelations. But as Disneyland Resort tries to improve Magic Happens, they can’t seem to please Guests.

TikToker @sometimescastles recently shared this video of a Pepita puppet inspired by Encanto (2021). The puppet recently returned to Magic Happens after mysteriously disappearing, with a notable change:


Pepita is back in the Magic Happens parade at Disneyland! She was gone for quite a while to get a refurbishment, and now we see why. Previously, Pepita was controlled by 6 castmembers and required a lot of lifting. Now, she is slightly elevated on a platform with automatic legs and a driver! What do you think of this change? #disney #disneyland #disneyparks #magichappens #disneyparade #coco

♬ original sound – Sometimes Castles

Instead of being operated by six puppeteers, Pepita is driven down the parade route on a large black platform. Three puppeteers still control her head and wings.

As the creator points out, the change likely lessens the load for Disney Cast Members, who previously had to wear belts to support the puppet’s weight. But many Disney Parks fans felt taking performers away from the parade was wrong.

“Disney is so freaking bogus these days,” @itsjustlyle said. “This is sad.”

Princess Aurora, Prince Phillip, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather on the Sleeping Beauty parade float during the "Magic Happens" Disney parade
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Others felt seeing Pepita’s driver lessened the magic.

“They couldn’t put a black drape over the driver?” @mindyourshut asked.

Still, some trusted that Disneyland Resort was doing what was best for Cast Members.

“The puppeteers looked to be struggling before,” @maclua wrote. “Glad a change was made.”

Is this Disneyland parade change an improvement or a downgrade? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments.

Please note that the story outlined in this article is based on personal Disney Parks Guest experiences. No two Guest experiences are alike, and this article does not necessarily align with Inside the Magic’s personal views on Disney Park operations.

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