Today in Disney History: Walt Disney is Grand Marshall of Rose Parade, 1966

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios

This morning, the “Disneyland Diamond Celebration – Awaken Your Adventure” float appeared in the 2016 Rose Parade, the latest in a tradition that spans nearly eight decades. 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. Also, the Rose Queen and her Court, along with the competing Rose Bowl football teams, have visited Disneyland Resort each year since 1960.

Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse at the Tournament of Roses Parade

It was 50 years ago today that Walt Disney himself took part in the Rose Parade as Grand Marshall. On January 1, 1966, Walt rode the parade route with Mickey Mouse by his side. Decades later, Roy E. Disney, Walt’s nephew and the head of Disney Animation, would serve as Grand Marshall in 2000.

This year, in 2016, we are excited to continue this tradition as part of our Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, commemorating 60 years of magic here at the Disneyland Resort.


  • It’s my 50th birthday this year, and I like to think that some of Walt’s spirit is part of me. I’m a massive Disney fan and I’m visiting from Australia this year for a big holiday as a huge 50th birthday gift to myself. I have been planning this for five years (since my last visit) and I plan to visit both Disneyland and Walt Disney World for Halloween. I will also stay at Disney World for one the special Christmas nights before heading back to Disneyland to see all the Christmas decorations and the Christmas parade there. All up, I will be spending about a month totally absorbed in Disney fun. Sooooooooooo excited and can’t wait. Thanks Walt for making such magical places. I only wish I could visit more.

  • Sad part is Walt Disney passed away latter that year in December

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