The first-ever Pixar Fest (the biggest Pixar celebration ever to come to Disney Parks) just kicked off at the Disneyland Resort (running now through September 3, 2018) and I was invited to check out all the fun on opening day thanks to our partnership with Disneyland. With a new nighttime fireworks spectacular, the return of two favorite parades with fresh Pixar surprises, new décor, musical entertainment, creatively themed food & merchandise, there is special Pixar-themed fun to be had at Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park and throughout the resort. We’ve already shared a post full of Pixar Fest Fun Facts (+ a FUN giveaway) – so you might want to check that out too. And now, I’m super excited to share our Pixar Fest Travel Guide with you, complete with details on 10+ must-do activities while you’re there! Aren’t all the signs SO cute?! I loved seeing the fun colors and characters at so many places throughout the resort. And there is SO much to see & do! But before we get to specifics, let’s go over the basics!
Pixar Fest Important Info
- When is it? April 13, 2018 – September 3, 2018
- Where is it? At the Disneyland Resort! That means you’ll find fun things at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, along with some fun at the resort hotels and Downtown Disney!
- What is it? Celebrating friendship and beyond, you’ll see beloved stories from Pixar Animation Studios come to life in new ways with fun characters and experiences from films like “Toy Story,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Finding Nemo”, “Inside Out, “Coco”, “The Incredibles” and “Up.”
It is important to note though that Pixar Fest right now is NOT the same as the opening of Pixar Pier. The re-imagining of the pier and transformation into Pixar Pier will be complete in June with Pixar Pier slated to open on June 23, 2018. Pixar Fest will still be running during the time of that opening. So our focus right now is Pixar Fest and we’ll have more info for you about the whole Pixar Pier area for you this summer!
Pixar Fest 10+ Must-Do Activities
Now, let’s chat about the fun things you are going to want to make sure you do while you’re there! I’m starting with the big 3 first (the parades and fireworks spectacular), but there are other things you’re not going to want to miss! So, here’s the must-see list:
Pixar Play Parade. The parade itself is not new (you might remember it from Disney California Adventure for many years). But it’s got a new location (Disneyland) and some ADORABLE new floats! Not only does the parade look great coming down Main Street U.S.A. with the castle in the background, but also new for Pixar Fest is the famed Pixar lamp and Luxo ball leading the parade – just like the start of all your favorite Pixar films! Love! New additions to the parade include an “Inside Out” float with Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong. Sadness may be the saddest, cutest thing ever! And there is also an “UP” float that I LOVED. The whole gang – Russell, Kevin, Carl Fredricksen, and Dug – is all there. But Kevin really is a highlight! The kids went nuts for her! So this is definitely going to be an afternoon highlight at Disneyland. It’s worth finding a chunk of curb and waiting a little for! Paint the Night Parade! This parade debuted for Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration and VERY quickly became a fan favorite! Most everyone was sad to see it go, so I’m thrilled to say that the parade is BACK…but in a new location. It’s moved over to Disney California Adventure Park. For those not familiar, Paint the Night is an incredible night-time parade and is definitely worth seeing (you can read more details from the debut of the Paint the Night Parade here). Though it’s not fully Pixar themed, there are a number of fun Pixar characters throughout the parade. And starting in June (timed around the release of the new Incredibles 2 movie this summer), there will be a new Incredibles addition to the parade that I cannot wait to see! “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular” Fireworks. What a show!!!! If you love fireworks shows and/or Pixar movies, you will NOT want to miss this! The show celebrates the heart of Pixar as it lights up the sky over Disneyland Park, connecting guests with the films they’ve come to know and love. In fact, if you pay close attention, you’ll be able to find all 19 Pixar films represented!
Photo credit: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort
Here’s a little glimpse…
In addition to the awesome fireworks and memorable music, there are fun projections on iconic park locations (like Sleeping Beauty Castle, the Rivers of America, “It’s a Small World” and Main Street U.S.A.). But I think two of the most exciting things include Buzz Lightyear and Carl Fredricksen’s House from the film “Up” flying over Sleeping Beauty Castle!! It’s SO cool! And, during the Coco segment be sure to look up on top of the buildings on Main Street! Pixar Character Meet & Greet. Seeing them in parades and shows is one thing, but of course you might want to meet your favorite Pixar characters too! And you can do that during Pixar Fest back in the “Pixar Pals” area located in the Paradise Garden. There is an adorable backdrop for the photos! So be sure to check this area out if you want to snap some photos with your favorite Pixar Pals! (Tip: If you love photos like this and want to maximize your time in the parks, consider adding MaxPass to your tickets. I got to use it for the first time on this trip and I have to say that it is pretty amazing. Not only does it make securing FastPasses SO easy, but you get your Disney PhotoPass photos as well…which is perfect for taking advantage of the new Pixar photo opps! You can get a comprehensive guide to using MaxPass here). And while you’re in the Paradise Garden area, you can also check out our favorite new band…
TripleDent Gum presents The Pixarmonic Orchestra! If you need a break to sit during the day and want to enjoy some great music, be sure to see theThe Pixarmonic Orchestra (presented by TripleDent Gum). It’s a new 7-piece band that is not only VERY talented, but hilarious! I had the pleasure of interviewing the show’s director (and sat behind him during the orchestra’s debut performance). It’s clear that a lot of heart & fun details went in to putting this show together. As a former clarinet and pit percussion player for many years, I absolutely LOVED the show. It’s the perfect entertainment to enjoy over a lunch, dinner, or snack break in the park. You’ll find them performing throughout the day in Paradise Garden at California Adventure (check park map & guide for daily show times). And if you love music at Disneyland, be sure to keep an eye & ear out for the Disneyland Band, Straw Hatters, Dapper Dans, Main Street Piano Player, Royal Street Bachelors, and Jambalaya Jazz Band who have some new costumes and Pixar music to enjoy during Pixar Fest! I caught the Dapper Dans singing “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” on Main Street and it was fantastic!
Pixar Short Film Festival. For another relaxing break in your day, you can catch some of our favorite Pixar shorts at the Sunset Showcase Theater! Sometimes having a seat in a dark, cool theater with a cute show is a perfect pick-me-up at Disney!
Eat at Alien Pizza Planet. The little green aliens from “Toy Story” have taken over Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port and turned it into “Alien Pizza Planet”. They’ve deemed it “A Better Place” and I wholeheartedly agree with them. The new theming is SO much fun and I think the new menu changes are good as well! So, I’m REALLY hoping will see this restaurant change go to infinity & beyond! 😉 This is also where you’ll find the adorable green alien macarons! Isn’t it cute?! There is SO much other new, fun themed food to enjoy throughout the resort as well! But we’re going to give all that it’s own post since this is already SUPER long! So, stay tuned for that. But here are some video highlights if you just can’t wait! 😉
Shop at Knick’s Knacks! With all the fun you’ve been having, you’re likely going to want a souvenir (or two or three) from the trip! There is fun new merchandise to be had ALL throughout the resort. But the BEST place for ALL things Pixar is the new store “Knick’s Knacks” located on the pier in California Adventure (which is now open even during construction). I found a LOT of items that I loved there! And came home with green alien sippers for the boys. They are SO cute!
And, in anticipation of Pixar Pier opening June 23rd, you can go get a sneak peek at the Pixar Pier Preview at the Blue Sky Cellar in DCA. All the new theming is going to be Soooo fun and you can check out the scale model of the area inside! I’m pretty excited for all the themed food stands! 🙂 We canNOT wait to come back in the summer to check it out. But, in the meantime, you can see that there is SO much fun to be had at Pixar Fest (and I just hit you with the major things. There are SOOOoo many other fun, new things throughout the parks)!
Save money on your Pixar Fest trip…
To save money on your Pixar Fest vacation, you recommend booking through our favorite affiliate partner Get Away Today! We’ve used them to book our trips and so we’re thrilled to partner with them as an affiliate! Not only do they genuinely love Disney (they were there at the press event just like I was), but they really make the whole process so easy and try to get you the best deal. Use our exclusive Get Away Today coupon code: MOMENDEAVORS to save even more. You can book online or call their agents at 855-GET-AWAY (just be sure to mention “MOMENDEAVORS” for the extra savings on your 2-night or longer Southern California vacation package)!
So, are you excited for a trip to Disneyland for Pixar Fest?!?! Be sure to leave your comments and questions in the comment section below!
Like it? Pin it!
Disclosure: Disneyland hosted me at the Pixar Fest opening for the purposes of this coverage. As always, all opinions, experiences, and love of Disney are entirely my own! I loved Disneyland LONG before I had the pleasure to work with them!