Disney and the Rose Parade: A 75-Year Tradition Continues

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios

We’ve been showing you updates on the construction of the “Destination: Cars Land” float which will appear in the 124th Rose Parade on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, Calif., here on the Disney Parks Blog. We’re really excited about this year’s Disneyland Resort float – not only is it a tribute to the all-new Cars Land, but it also continues a 75-year tradition of Disney involvement with the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena. Disney’s relationship with the Tournament of Roses began in 1938 when characters from the newly premiered “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” were prominently featured in the parade. And of course, the Rose Queen and her Court, along with the competing Rose Bowl football teams, have visited Disneyland Resort each year since 1960 (be sure to check back here on December 26 for photos from this year’s visit).
Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse at the Tournament of Roses Parade

In 1966, Walt Disney served as Grand Marshall of the Rose Parade. Later, Roy E. Disney, Walt’s nephew and the head of Disney Animation, would serve as Grand Marshall in 2000. Members of the creative teams at Walt Disney Imagineering and Disney Entertainment have served as float judges numerous times throughout the years.

In 2004, Disneyland Resort presented “A Sudden Drop in Pitch,” the tallest float in Rose Parade history at 110 feet, featuring live performers dangling in a elevator attached to the top. The float’s title played off that year’s theme of “Music, Music, Music,” and the float was inspired by The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction, which opened in Disney California Adventure park that spring.

The 50th Anniversary of Disneyland was celebrated in 2005 with both a dazzling Rose Parade Opening Show and a spectacular castle float titled “The Happiest Celebration on Earth.” That year’s Rose Parade also featured Mickey Mouse as Grand Marshall.

Disney broke another Rose Parade record In 2006, with the longest float (150 feet) at the time in Rose Parade history. Titled “The Most Magical Celebration on Earth,” the float celebrated Disney Parks around the world.

Be sure to tune in for the 124th Rose Parade on January 1, 2013, on ABC-TV to see the latest in a long line of Disney-inspired floats!


  • The floats are definitely amazing…but the photo of “A Sudden Drop in Pitch” is incredible. The color is perfect. What a nice shot!!

  • i never forget roy e. disney in 2000 as fantasia 2000 opens in IMAX and Mickey Mouse in 2005 on Disneyland’s 50th anniversary as grand marshals. they truly have walt’s spirit in the tournament of roses events! hope disney will have the grand marshal role in the future.

  • I saw all three of those floats in person! I used to live three blocks from the Rose Parade route in Pasadena. They were quite spectacular in person. I’ll never forget the 2006 parade. It rained like crazy. Can’t wait to see the Cars Land float. The facility that’s building it is close to where I live now.

  • These floats are amazing! Thank you so much for sharing these photos. I cant wait to see what this year looks like!

  • I can’t wait to see what floats will be presented this year! New Fantasyland floats maybe? 🙂

  • Wow, these floats are truly amazing! So neat to see them. Thanks for sharing.

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