Tokyo Disneyland sports fantastic attractions, beautiful lands, and interesting restaurants. Of course other theme parks have those things too. What other theme parks don’t have is the best parade that I’ve ever seen – Dreamlights. Tokyo Disneyland’s electrical parade is full of jaw-dropping floats and incredible music, making the nighttime parade a sight to behold. This post will include our extended thoughts on the parade and tips for the best experience watching it.
When planning our trip to Tokyo Disney Resort I read a number of posts and articles about the best things to do at Tokyo Disneyland. Dreamlights always topped the list so my expectations were high. Even with lofty expectations the nighttime parade left me speechless, immediately becoming my favorite parade after my very first watch.
To be fair, my parade experience is pretty limited. The U.S. parks have cut down on parades recently, making the Main Street Electrical Parade and Paint the Night the only nighttime parades I’ve ever seen. Paint the night is fun but doesn’t wow and MSEP, as nostalgic as it is, certainly showed its age. Daytime parades are still regulars on both coasts, and at Tokyo Disneyland, but they don’t strike my fancy as much as light parades. Tokyo Disneyland currently has the best two parades I’ve ever seen, with Dreamlights being a clear winner.
Dreamlights starts simply enough with the classic Disney Electrical Parade introduction followed by the familiar Baroque Hoedown. While the floats and actual parade don’t pay much homage to the Main Street Electrical Parade, the music takes the best parts of that soundtrack and repeats it. The music makes the experience energetic and memorable. We loved it so much that we bought the CD soundtrack at the store later than night. Oh yeah, Tokyo Disneyland readily sells music from the parks in their gift shops and they have a good selection. I wish this would happen in the U.S. parks.
What follows the music introduction is some of the most astounding floats and brightest lights ever seen. The parade begins with a train that Goofy rides on, maybe the only MSEP style float. The train is carrying a huge drum with Mickey and Minnie on board.
I love this opening float as it’s a nice mix of past meets present. The scale of the floats will get larger but this is impressive nonetheless.
The Cheshire Cat showcases how impressive the lights in the parade are. There are at least four different shades of purple/pink in the cat and each are clear. A beautiful float with Alice perched on top, seemingly riding freely.
Melissa’s favorite movie is Tangled so this float was a personal favorite of ours. The lighting is deliberately dimmer on the float, making the lanterns stand out. Rapunzel’s tower is very sharp in this float, with multiple colors coming through brightly.
The pirate ship is another float with so many colors that it was hard for my eyes to focus on what to look at. With Hook and Peter on board it reminded me of the old Fantasmic! in Disneyland with those two fighting it out on the S.S. Columbia.
The Beauty and the Beast float is gorgeous with its striking chandelier and trees perched all over it. It doesn’t hurt that Beauty and Beast are ballroom dancing while it passes by.
Lumiere follows the Beauty and the Beast float and is a nice transition. All of the floats are worth writing about but I’m going to skip ahead to some of my favorites so it may leave some surprise if you are lucky enough to ever see this.
Pete and his dragon are an obvious replica from Main Street Electrical Parade. The difference is that this parade was made in the last decade while the other shows how old it is. The float has a brilliant green contrasted by the purple and yellow. The smoke feature looks really good, as well.
Genie is an obvious choice as a favorite as it receives the most “oohs and aahs” from the crowd. The scale of the float rises higher than any other and genie turns into a chameleon, changing his colors often. Genie on his own would be enough to make for a remarkable float but the base is beautiful, adding Arabian architecture for Genie to float over.
The finale floats are my very favorite of the parade, invoking it’s a small world. Adding in the thought of that attraction gives the parade a sense of togetherness and peace. Attaching the end of the parade to an attraction feels very Tokyo Disney Resort, as they seem to care more about their parks than the movies attached to the company.
It may be strange to describe a parade as hopeful but that’s exactly where the end of the parade leaves park guests. Between the stunning lights and upbeat music, it’s hard to watch Dreamlights and come away without a smile on your face. While parades don’t have coherent plots, this one makes it feel like you have been through a beautiful journey that ends in a hopeful resolution.
Viewing Tips for Dreamlights
Dreamlights shows every night at Tokyo Disneyland, barring a special event of some kind. Check the daily times guide to find what time the parade is showing when you are there. Here is the parade route:
The parade, at least both times we saw it, started in Fantasyland and ends in Toontown. We saw it in front of the castle once and in Frontierland the other time. In front of the castle is definitely the preferred option as the view of the floats is breathtaking with the castle as the background. Our view in Frontierland was fine but definitely did not measure up to the castle view. The trade-off is that you have to line up quite early for in front of the castle.
At Tokyo Disney Resort sitting for parades and shows is the custom. If you want a front row seat then lining up hours in advance is advisable if you want the castle in view. We lined up roughly an hour in advance of the show and were a few rows back but on somewhat slanted ground, making our view great.
You could line up at the same time in other areas of the park and get a front row seat pretty easily. It just depends how much of a priority Dreamlights is to you and how much time you have in the park. If you are there on the weekend or during a busy season then finding a spot at least an hour in advance is probably smart.
As far as saving spots, I’ve read that custom is to have at least half the amount of people in your group should be there to save your spot. So if you have a group of four, two people should be there to save the spot. I’m not sure how accurate that is but it seemed like there weren’t many abandoned blankets where we were.
If you do lose track of time and can’t find a place to sit, there will be room for people to stand at the back of the group sitting. This isn’t a bad option if you don’t want to devote much time to finding a spot but want a decent view. These spots shouldn’t be hard to find even if you don’t speak Japanese, just look for the people standing.
My last tip is simply to not miss this parade. I’m not much of a parade person but this is definitely one of my favorite aspects of Tokyo Disneyland. Seeing this makes me even more disappointed that we don’t have an exceptional nighttime parade stateside. Dreamlights is the best parade I’ve ever seen.
Do you have any thoughts or questions about Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights, or the resort in general? Let us know in the comments! Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney. If you enjoy what you’re reading please subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email and like our social media pages. You can do both of those things on the right side of this page. Have a great day!
Categories: Attraction Reviews
I can’t sit on the ground.. (I’m OLD) Where would be a good place to Stand? I’m SHORT, so I would need to be in the FRONT of the Standing Area
Great question! Behind the seating areas for any Tokyo Disneyland Parade will be standing areas. For Dreamlights we like to view the parade with the castle in view, so I’d recommend getting to a spot anywhere between Crystal Palace and the Tomorrowland entrance. Arrive roughly 20-30 minutes ahead of showtime and find a spot to stand behind groups that are sitting. They will generally have spots taped off for the sitting and standing sections. If you don’t care about having the castle in view then try to catch the parade closer to Toontown and you won’t need to arrive quite as early.
Thanks So Much!! HAPPY NEW YEARS!! (From Hawaii)
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To you as well!