Today marked the debut of Tiana’s Riverboat Party – Ice Cream Social & Viewing Party at the Magic Kingdom. This new offering takes place aboard the Liberty Square Riverboat and allows a unique viewing of the Festival of Fantasy Parade. Here’s the official description from Disney:
Treat your senses to a Liberty Square Riverboat “sundae fun-day” and reserved viewing of one of our grandest processions.
Make the most of your next visit to Magic Kingdom park, where Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen are throwing an unforgettable party… and you’re invited! The occasion begins on the dock as your royal hosts welcome you and your sweet tooth to an ice cream social, complete with ice cream and toppings, drinks, and sweet treats.
Then board the Liberty Square Riverboat and relax while enjoying the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade—all from the comfort of your special viewing location!
After the parade, Tiana and Naveen will join you to continue the party as you all cruise around the Rivers of America, circling Tom Sawyer Island.
Here are our thoughts on the party.
Guests check in and have their ice cream in the Riverboat Landing before boarding the Liberty Square Riverboat. I would like to point out that the Cast Members really made this an enjoyable experience. All of the Cast Members were extremely welcoming and went above and beyond in making sure we had a fun time. I mean, where else in Disney are you encouraged to stuff your pockets with snacks, fill your backpack with drinks, and take as many Mickey Bars as you can possibly balance on your person? That was a highlight of the event for us.
Here are some pictures of the setup.
The Liberty Belle had offerings as well which included a drink cart and snacks on the bottom two levels of the boat.
After viewing the Festival of Fantasy Parade (more on that in a bit) from aboard the riverboat, we returned to port to pick up Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen. We were sent off by some very enthusiastic and fun Cast Members with royalty on board for a lap around the Rivers of America.
The whole point of an ice cream social is, of course, ice cream and treats! Unfortunately we got through the ice cream before we could snap a photo, but it’s all pre-scooped and ready in flavors of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. There was also a wonderful toppings area that you could help yourself to (appropriately situated on a lily pad).
In addition, there was a treat trio on offer that was actually quite good, and even well themed. Left to right is a chocolate cookie sandwhich with chocolate frog on top, yellow sponge cake topped with green buttercream icing and white chocolate portrait of Tiana, and a creme filled tart with yellow buttercream icing. All were tasty and the flavor was spot on.
Festival of Fantasy Parade
One of the biggest questions I had going into the event was: what would the view of the parade be like? If you’ve been aboard the Liberty Belle, you know that there is a fair amount of tree coverage along the shores of Frontierland, and unfortunately they blocked a good amount of the parade. I think the view could be saved if two of the larger trees were completely removed, but I don’t think an improved view for what will probably be a temporary offering is worth it. Here is a look at the Mickey and Minnie float behind the two aforementioned trees.
And here is the float in the window that you’re able to view it.
In addition to the mostly blocked view, you’re pretty far away from the action. If this is your first time viewing the parade, you’re going to want to pass on this event. You just don’t feel like you’re a part of the action, like you would from being up against the parade ropes. As evidenced in the video below, the audio is pretty terrible from the boat as well. Managers did say that this would be addressed, which is great news. They also said that the issue of the trees blocking the view really couldn’t be addressed. Chopping them down isn’t an option, and trimming them wouldn’t address the issue as they would grow back at a greater rate.
That being said, the view is a unique one. It may offer some fun shots, that is, if the characters are looking your direction. I think it might take a parade or two for Anna and Elsa or Merida to notice a giant riverboat out of place and give you a wave. Peter Pan was quite observant and did notice us though!
We were situated on the very top level at the back of the boat. This is probably considered the “best” view as the parade will move right to left as you’re looking at Liberty Square. This location will offer you the most face time with the floats before they turn their backs to you and head past the Hall of Presidents and out of view.
Here are a couple of the floats going by. Note that this is a zoomed in view from my phone for the majority of the video, except for a single panning shot at 0:58.
So was the $49 per person worth it for us? This is kind of a your mileage may vary answer. If you’ve never seen the Festival of Fantasy Parade, this cruise is not for you. It’s not a great view of the parade at all, and we’d suggest staking out a spot along the parade route to experience the parade properly. If you’ve seen the parade and maybe are looking for a new experience, this could be a good way to kill some time. You can have as many drinks, snacks, and ice cream as you want, and it’s a more laid back approach to mid-afternoon at the Magic Kingdom.