When you think of Disneyland, there are a few things that come to mind – among them are attractions, parades, great snack selection, and fireworks. Pixar Fest, which is the limited-time celebration of Pixar and its characters, is now officially underway at the Disneyland Resort – given that it’s a special event, there are plenty of entertainment options, but the crown jewel is “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular.” It is one of the most technologically advanced fireworks shows that Disneyland has developed and it shows. I had the opportunity to watch the show on the eve of the start of Pixar Fest and, in my view, it is a serious spectacle.
Right before we watched the show, Susana Tubert, Creative Director at Disney Parks Live Entertainment, told us:
Together Forever…is an ode to the heart of Pixar, from Disneyland. This fireworks spectacular is a celebration of the journey of friendship featured in so many of Pixar’s films.
Friendship is a major theme of the show. If you think back to Pixar’s biggest franchise, Toy Story, it is the friendship between the characters that is the through-line in all three feature films. It took almost an entire film for us to see Buzz and Woody start to trust one another, but by the end of Toy Story 3, where the toys are facing death, we are completely enveloped in that scene because we care deeply about these characters and the relationships they have with each other. “Together Forever” takes that theme and highlights it using many of Pixar’s famed characters.
There we were, standing in the middle of Main Street, U.S.A., one of the great viewing spots for the fireworks.1 A few times, we heard an announcement that the fireworks had to be delayed (the winds were rough throughout the day and the resort has to be mindful of everyone’s safety). I was almost sure that we would not be able to see the show. Then, in dramatic fashion, the lights dimmed and the show’s music kicked in.
On Main Street, you are surrounded by buildings, an intimate setting, that leads to the feeling that you are fully immersed – there are projections that are displayed throughout the show. During the WALL-E section of the show, stars are projected and are shown moving past you on both sides, resulting in the feeling that you’re in outer space with WALL-E and EVE. A similar effect is carried out in the Cars portion, where cars zoom past you. And yes, this is all happening while fireworks are shooting off from behind Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Toward the beginning of the show, Buzz Lightyear takes to the sky and belts out, “To friendship and beyond!”. This is an obvious play on “To infinity and beyond,” his famous catchphrase that has become intertwined with the Pixar brand. He replaces Tinkerbell, who is frequently seen flying in the sky during Disneyland’s standard fireworks shows. No matter how far you are from the castle, you can make out his helmet and wings – seeing him “fall with style” is remarkable.
Later in the show, the iconic Up “Married Life” music kicked in and there was an audible “Awww” from so many in the audience. It was a beautiful moment, as when that familiar track started to play, it was mostly quiet. Instantly, I was reminded of that moving opening sequence from the film and I felt connected to those next to me watching the show. It is difficult to put into words but those who have watched a great film in theaters and had a shared experience with the audience, many who are likely strangers, will get what I mean. During this sequence, the house from the film flies back and forth in the sky. The house is the largest object that has ever flown through the sky during a fireworks show. Simply incredible.
Finally, we come to the main highlight (for me). At one point in the show, many orange flowers were projected onto the buildings on the street, and were flying around. Those who have seen Coco will recognize these as the marigolds that are prominent in the film. We saw Miguel strumming his guitar. Then, on top of the Main Street buildings, various figures popped up2 and looked down upon us as the song, “The World Es Mi Familia” played. “Remember Me” has become the famous song from the film and I think many would assume that it’d be the featured song during the Coco segment, so I commend the show’s creatives for going this route. It is unexpected, and although it is brief, it melted my heart. “Together Forever” took a song that is barely in the film and gave it added depth. I got goosebumps.
I Hope To Come Back For More
I am not sure whether I will be able to make it back to Disneyland for Pixar Fest, as it is running now and ends September 3rd. If there is something that makes my return to the resort happen, it will be this show, that I desperately want to experience with my family, all of us who are big fans of Coco. For those who are fans of Pixar’s films and characters, seeing “Together Forever” is a must. If you happen to be one of the few who does not feel emotionally connected to any of Pixar’s catalog of films (who are you and why do you have no heart?), you will enjoy the spectacle that this show has to offer. It sure has its moments.
Update (4/15/18): I have now posted a video interview, where we get a peek at some of the cool elements of the show, up-close.
- Just like for the 60th Anniversary Fireworks show, there are a number of locations that provide for different experiences during Together Forever. These locations include the facade of “it’s a small world” and Rivers of America. ↩
- These were not real-life people. I could not tell what they were made out of. They were not animatronic models, but they looked good enough to make the moment an emotional one. ↩