As part of "Year of a Million Dreams", one lucky family was chosen to be part of the "Grand Marshal Pre-Parade Cavalcade" and to stay one night in the Mickey Mouse Funhouse located in the Disneyland Hotel or the Disneyland Dream Suite in New Orleans Square. The family journeyed along the parade route with the Mayor of Main Street and other Disney characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Mary Poppins, Bert, Woody, Jessie, Aladdin, and Jasmine. The "Grand Marshal Pre-Parade Cavalcade" featured two banner holders, six dancers, and two rope carriers as well. The song played was "The Happiest Place on Earth". On August 17, 2008, this pre-parade was cut back to only include the Mayor and the lucky family.
Parade units and characters
Happiest Homecoming on Earth Introduction: "Fifty years ago a magical place was born; a place of Enchantment and Adventure, Laughter, and Imagination, where new worlds of joy and wonder just waited to be discovered and in this marvelous kingdom there lived many delightful friends who made our dreams come true. Today we invite you to celebrate fifty years of magical memories with your Disney family as we proudly present Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams, we dedicate it to dreamers around the world and to that special dream that first began when Walt Disney proclaimed To All Who Come to This Happy Place, Welcome " (Voice-over by Julie Andrews)
Year of a Million Dreams introduction: Once upon a time, a marvelous dreamer found the power to transform wishes into reality, and with just a sprinkle of pixie dust, a magical kingdom came alive for dreamers of all ages to enjoy. Soon the young at heart gathered from around the world, following their dreams to the place where anything is possible. The magic place where dreams come true. Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams is dedicated to children of all ages, and to that special dream that first began when Walt Disney proclaimed "To all who come to this happy place, welcome."
Dream of Laughter: Based on the 1940 animated film Pinocchio. Pinocchio and toys from Geppetto's workshop dance around a giant Geppetto who is controlling the Can-Can and in the background music playing "An actor's life for me" and Dutch dancing puppets from the movie. Hanging behind the unit are Russian puppets on bungee cords. The part of the unit that they hang on rises up during the show stop to allow the Russian puppets to perform bungee tricks. Other toys include two bell ringers, two ballroom dancers attached to female doll counterparts, a toy drummer, and Bo Peep. Other characters include Honest John and Gideon, Jiminy Cricket sitting atop a toy block and Cleo swimming around in her fish bowl (as of September 28, 2008, Jiminy Cricket will no long be part of the Parade).
Dream of Another World: Based on the 1989 animated film The Little Mermaid. Ariel sits on top of a giant fountain made of clam shells, with Part of Your World and Under the Sea playing in the background. Bubbles float around Ariel. This unit also features Audio-Animatronics Sebastian and Flounder. Before the unit are dancers decorated like stylized waves, blue and white pearl dancers, and light-colored 'fish kites' (No Longer a part of the Parade). When the Parade returned in 2007 the water fountains on Ariel's shell was replaced by clear plastic tubing. For the parade's 2008 run, the fountains returned. A giant Ursula puppet makes potions and cackles to "Poor Unfortunate Souls" while Flotsam and Jetsam lurk around. Black Pearl dancers perform for the audience as well. A soft, dark instrumental version of "Under the Sea" can also be heard during this sequence.
Dream of Adventure: Based on the 1994 animated film The Lion King. Simba atop Pride Rock with Nala and Zazu, Pumbaa sleeping in a hammock, and a live-action Timon and Rafiki. Various costumed animal dancers surround the unit, such as a lioness, tiger, cheetah, leopard, panther, monkey, baboon, antelope (4 of the following appear in each parade at a time), along with a life-sized rhinoceros and walking stilt performers dressed as a stylized zebra and giraffe. On the back of the unit are two Bird performers. During the show stop, the "tree" part of the unit raises up and the Birds perform an amazing Spanish Web routine.