More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

Making a Grand Entrance at Magic Kingdom Park

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

Did you know that each day, two lucky families visiting Magic Kingdom Park randomly are chosen to serve as grand marshals for the afternoon’s Celebrate A Dream Come True Parade?

Grand Marshals at the Celebrate A Dream Come True Parade at Magic Kingdom Park

These lucky guests kick off the procession by riding in a specially designed vehicle, modeled after a 1912 touring car, that serves as the first float in the parade. The car features a few special Disney touches, including Mickey Mouse-shaped silhouettes on the tread of each tire.

The grand marshal vehicles are fitted in Disney “a-tire” from top to bottom.

Over the years, a variety of families with great stories to tell have served in this honored role, including a 103-year-old guest enjoying her first Disney vacation, Special Olympics gold medalists, military heroes, and a couple celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary. A few famous faces, such as boxing champion Muhammad Ali, comedian Bob Hope and Walt Disney’s nephew, filmmaker Roy E. Disney, also have served as grand marshals.

If you were picked to be a grand marshal and could invite a Disney character to ride with you, which character would you choose?


  • I would pick Alice or the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland for my daughter. She is turning 16 and we are going to celebrate at the Magic Kingdom for her birthday coming up in February. She loves Disney and actually wants to follow in the footsteps of her heroes, Walt Disney and John Lassiter and become an animator. I am delighted that she chose to go to Disney World over anywhere else to celebrate her birthday! Being Grand Marshall would make it seem that her future dreams really can come true!

  • That is really neat. I had no idea that the families were random. That gives me hope that one day ours will be chosen. As far as the special character to ride with us, well that is a tough one since we all like so many of them – mine woul definitely be DOPEY!! he has been my favorite for a long time now, and even though i am about to be 36 on the 18th (Jan), I still get excited like a kid when I see him wondering around the MK. My husband would probably pick Goofy or Mickey. As for the rest of my family, it would range from princesses to Buzz Lightyear and back. See ya in December, 2011 and maybe even on the parade route :>

  • Well, we named our daughter Isabelle.. her nick name is “belle” intentionally for the disney princess. So we should pick Belle, but Snow white is a very close second, disney classic! What an oppertunity for a lucky family!!

  • Snow White!!! Of course!! The first princess!!

  • I would pick Tinker Bell. I am 47 years old and my entire life I have been called Tinker. On of my sisters named me that when I came home from the hospital and the name stuck! Some people don’t even know my “real” name.

  • Well most of the characters represent people in my family. Minnie Mouse for my daughter, Donald Duck for my husband, Mickey Mouse for my older sister and Winnie the Pooh for me.

  • I don’t know if I could pick just one character. Is there anyway all of them can pile into the car :o).

    I do know though that I want those tires for my car! 🙂

  • My husband and I were the Grand Marshals in Feb. 2009! We had a great time! I cried as we made the turn down Main Street USA. My grandparents took me to Disney World when I was growing up and have turned me into a Disney fan! It was my husbands first trip down there. We were on our honeymoon!

    If I got to choose a character to sit with us, it would have to be Mickey! No one better! 🙂

  • Well we are going To WDW over the February Winter Break and would love nothing more than to experience this with our two wonderful boys aged 7 and 5. They each have their favorites but what would the experience of Grand Marshall be in WDW without MICKEY and MINNIE Mouse? However, we would be honored to ride with anyone! See you in February and hope we are picked!

  • I’m tempted to say Scrooge McDuck, as he’s my favorite character, but I can already see him during the Christmas season. So… I would invite Darkwing Duck, who is another favorite but never seen in the parks anymore! In fact, I have never seen him in the parks – ever! With his new successful comic book, I think it’s time for a return of the Terror that Flaps in the Night.

    Ricky B
    Inside the Magic

  • Is there anyway to nominate a family that is headed to Disney this month? Its a military family who deserve it more than you can imagine. He’s finally back from Afghanstan and is making his girls dreams come true by taking his wife and 2 daughters to Disney for the very first time!!! It would be amazing to have them chosen!!!

  • On New Years Day of 1998 I was one of the co Grand Marshalls it was so great.

  • Fairy Godmother for me and Jiminy Cricket for my husband Steve. Love it!

  • Well for me it would be PLUTO i just love him to bits ,hopefully i will get picked for my 40th birthday in march

  • For my wife and me it must be Belle because we still remember a very romantic weekend seeing Disney’s Beauty and the beast musical production. For our kids definitifly Donald Duck! Let’s hope we are chosen on our first WDW trip which will also be our 11th anniversay!!

  • Hands down my choice would be Duffy!!! Duffy the Disney Bear!

    Oh – and Stitch!! I super LOVE Stitch!!! ( I collect all his pins!) My darling little Duffy LOVES Stitch too! But he collects Mickey and MInnie pins.

    OMG! Then we’d have to bring LILO along! and Duffy loves to travel with Mickey. He’s also quite fond of – well, super Loves Minnie, his mommy! That must be why he collect Mickey and Minnie pins.

    I would also take along any one of the super gorgeous Princes!

    Shoot…. I would just be so thrilled to be picked!! My mom (we have annual passes together) – it would be the super thrill of a life time for her to be chosen to be in the parade!!!! She adores TinkerBell!

  • we would go with mickey’s nephews.

  • Mickey!

  • Any of the characters in the 5’9″ category, and be the character performer.

  • I would pick Lilo & Stitch, favorite movie ever.

  • for me: Goofy, Max, Mickey (regular or sorcerer); my older sis: Tink or Minnie (maybe, not so sure); my mom: Eeyore, Minnie, or Tink; my dad: Genie, Tigger, or Donald.

  • Flynn Ryder and Rapunzel for sure. They are now both my official favorite characters (That or Cinderella, because that would be magical, or Mickey Mouse, but those are my top three).

  • I would pick Ariel for my granddaughter they both have red hair. for me probably Mickey Mouse himself

  • with Jack Skellington! or if i could take a ride with multiple characters it would be with Jack Skellington, Mickey Mouse, Jack Sparrow, Genie(from the Aladdin spectacular show) and the Mad Hatter. that would make my day complete ^-^

  • I would pick…..GOOFY! I always liked his character. He was sort of “everyman” in a lot of his cartoons and programs on “Disneyland”, etc., and my son likes him so much that he is 36 years old and still has the same little stuffed Goofy that I bought him in the 70’s!

  • I would love to ride with Mickey Mouse and my husband of 37 years. Walt Disney World is my favorite place for both my husband and I go vacation at. We have been to WDW at least 11 times. I hope I get picked the next time I’m there!!!!

  • I would LOVE this opportunity…We are headed to see The Mouse in June and Can.Not.Wait! 🙂

    It’d be a hard choice to pick just one…My daughter would love Rapunzel, My son would pick Buzz Lightyear, I’d pick Cinderella, and my husband would pick Jasmine….to keep everyone from fighting..we would pick the Mouse himself! 🙂

    Hope we are picked in June!!

  • Wel for me that will be lie a dream come true, because since i was 5 years old i remember going to Disney every year and sometimes twice a year because my dad, mom and I love Mickey, Minnie, Pooh, Eygore, Daisy, well almost all characters. i even pictures for the 50 anniversary of disneyland in CA, where invited for the 25th anniversary with that big pink castle cake of disneyworld and so on. Then unfortunately my dad get sick and his last trip was to disneyworld many years ago but he always remembered, he passed the way three years ago, and in all those years i went to Disney a few times with friends and family but not my mom or dad, because i also get sick and couldnt move for almost 3 years,so i didnt go as much as i used to, but love to go every time i could, and on the year 2009 i went twice that year with my mom,(fist time together again since almost 14 years) she was a little sad remebering my dad how he love to be there but happy to be there again with me, in one ocasion we saw Chip & Dale and Goofy and when i saw her dancing, huging them and laughthing it was so nice for me,i took pictures of her face, and wow what memories i have of that world called disney.
    Well for this i have to tell that i dont live in the states, i am in Lima ,Peru but for me i feel disney my second home and comming back to the question i think i will choose Mickey and Minnie because my mom would love to be between them so as I but i will let her be there and i take pictures of it, i am also a photographer and if i could send you a picture of my christmas tree, its almost all disney with ornaments since the first time i think i went there and my house decorated for christmas with his characters.
    Well i think i expand too much in this comment but i feel i need it to tell you this story and how i have been growing with the magical world of Disney World and also telling my nieces what a wonderful world it is to be there.
    Have a wonderful 2011 and many more,

  • That is so cool!!

  • Absolutely, 100 percent, Mr. Mickey Mouse!!!!

  • I would choose Meeko – my favorite character meet of all time! My cat’s name is Meeko and I love raccoons – just two more reasons I’d pick him.

  • For my daughter I would say Mulan since she met her for the first time in November. For all of us I would say Rapunzel. We can not WAIT to meet her in person!!! The newest Princess!

  • I would pick Mickey Mouse for sure! It would be such a dream!!

  • I would pick Belle for my daughter because when I was going through my cancer treatment, she although a very young age tried as hard as she could to be by my side take care of me and help me in away she could. Now that all of that is hopefully in our past it is her time to shine and be worry free and happy!

  • Without a doubt, I’d pick my favorite character of all time, Goofy.

  • Mickey for me!

  • Our family was lucky enough to be chosen last August. It was an experience we all will never forget!

  • Chip and/or Dale

  • Who else but The Mouse himself????

  • We were picked one year! It was so much fun…my kids still talk about!

  • If I could be grand marshal and could invite a Disney character it would have to be my daughters favorite

    Snow White

  • If my family was selected we would want to ride with the big mouse, himself, Mickey Mouse (and Minnie could ride on his lap).

  • I would choose Minnie Mouse. She is my 2 year old daughter’s favorite character (and my favorite too!). Since we leave on Saturday for WDW, we would love the chance to participate in something like this!!! These folks are incredibly fortunate to experience this!

  • Rapunzel and Flynn Rider! <3

  • When will we know the theme for 2011? The 40th Anniversary of Walt Disney World?

  • If i was picked I would ask Ariel to ride with me. She is my favorite Princess!
    I wanted to be her when I grew up.

  • we r returning in may for the 3rd time in 3 years and i would invite Goofy cause he is my favorite and my little boys as well.

  • Rafiki. He is my favorite character out of all the Disney ones. He had so much knowledge. To a child, his words may not mean much, but to an adult, it’s can be an eye opener.

  • I would pick Cinderella for my daughter. She used to run down the hall full of excitement when the Disney commercial where Cinderella’s coach came to pick up the kids for Disney world. She thought we could have them come to get her, too!

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