Over the last ten years, Pixar’s presence across Disney Parks has grown considerably. Without a doubt, the best example of a Pixar addition to the Parks is Cars Land, a gorgeous area of Disneyland’s California Adventure. Cars Land was Disney’s response to Universal Studios’ Wizarding World phenomenon, and Disneyland knocked it out of the park (no pun intended). Visitors were transported to Radiator Springs through a jaw-droppingly faithful recreation of the fictional town seen in the Cars films. Anchored by the Radiator Springs Racers attraction, the immersive land has become a shining example of how to give guests an experience they will never forget.
Next month, the Disneyland resort is set to take their celebration of Pixar to the next level. Entitled Pixar Fest, the limited-time event will have the resort’s two theme parks’ love of Pixar on full display. When you look at seasonal celebrations at Disney Parks, you tend to not only get appropriately themed decor and merchandise, but also snacks and fireworks. Pixar Fest will have all of that and more. With the opening of California Adventure’s Pixar Pier on the horizon (it is set to debut shortly after the start of Pixar Fest, in June), Disneyland is getting a head start on its big year of Pixar.
There are many moving pieces to Pixar Fest, so I want to highlight a few experiences that I believe will be must-dos.
This fireworks show at Disneyland park will likely be the highlight for many. If you visited Disneyland during its 60th Anniversary celebration, you may have encountered the innovative fireworks display, which was notable for its use of incredible projections on Sleeping Beauty Castle, buildings throughout Main Street, the facade of “it’s a small world,” and other locations in the park. Together Forever will be similar to that, just with a focus on Pixar. Plus, instead of Tinkerbell flying high above the crowds, Buzz Lightyear will be seen “falling with style.” You will also get a glimpse of the house from Up gliding up near the castle during the show. Think back 10 years ago and imagine having the chance to see that iconic house drifting in the sky at a Disney park. This is bonkers and should not be missed.
For the first time ever, the Pixar Play Parade will make its way across the esplanade into Disneyland park. For years, it has been a mainstay of the California Adventure park. With its debut in Disneyland, the parade brings not only its original floats – there will be a number of new additions: Pixar’s mascot, the Luxo, Jr. lamp, will headline the parade and will be accompanied by the famed yellow and red ball seen in most of the studio’s films; characters from Up will be joined by Kevin “the snipe” and Dug the adorable talking dog; Joy and Sadness from Inside Out will be seen alongside Bing Bong. It will be great to see characters from some of Pixar’s more recent films. Also, having a chance to see that lamp up close is sure to be wondrous.
The Paint the Night parade is finally making its return, but this time it will roll through California Adventure. Paint the Night made its U.S. debut during the resort’s 60th Anniversary, but it was last seen in 2016. It will now be making its grand return but it, too, will have an addition. Starting in June, there will be a new Incredibles float. It joins a large collection of Disney and Pixar floats that already dazzle crowds at night with their bright lights and catchy music. Paint the Night is a modern day re-imagining of the classic Main Street Electrical Parade.1 If you have never seen Paint the Night, it is a can’t-miss event. If you have already seen it, it’s worth a re-watch (and another).
The Themed Snacks
One area in which, in my opinion, Disneyland has Walt Disney World beat, is the selection and quality of the snacks.2 There are sure to be a zany selection of snacks themed to Pixar for the limited-time celebration. Already, a number of snacks and foods have been announced, including an Alien Macaroon, a Root Beer Float (in a container shaped like Woody’s boot), a Strawberry Churro, and a Berry Funnel Cake (with strawberries and blueberries to give it the colors of the red, blue, and yellow-colored Pixar ball). This is the same resort that makes the Matterhorn Macaroon, the dill pickle-flavored popcorn, and Tigger Tails – they know what they are doing with their snacks. The last few times that I have gone to Disneyland, I made a checklist of all the snacks I wanted to get. I throughly enjoyed most of them, and even the ones I didn’t, I appreciated the ambition of the cast members responsible for dreaming up the ideas. It seems like the snacks department is consistently working to impress.
If You Can, Go
Pixar Fest is scheduled to run from April 13th through September 3rd. There is no extending this limited-time event. The resort will be decked out in Halloween-themed decor soon after the end of Pixar Fest. If you are a Pixar fan and Disneyland is doable for your budget and time, the resort is a must-visit during this event. There is plenty more Pixar coming to the Parks over the next few years, but we don’t know the next time we’ll see a Pixar-themed event of this scope.
- In 2017, the MSEP finished a limited-time run at Disneyland, the park that first debuted the parade in 1972. ↩
- I grew up on the east coast, and spent most of my life there. For that reason alone, I visited Disney World first, and it holds a special place in my heart. ↩