Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Pixar Fest 2024

by Mommy Frog on December 1, 2023 Los Angeles   Video

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Buzz and Woody, Mike and Sulley, Marlin and Dory, Lightning McQueen and Mater, Joy and Sadness … Pixar films brought us some of our favorite, and sometimes most unlikely, friendship duos. And now you can add Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure to the buddies list, as the Pixar Fest brings together these two theme parks in one big happy celebration. The very first Pixar Fest launched on April 13, 2018, to celebrate the opening of Pixar Pier. Disneyland Pixar Fest 2024 introduces a new parade and a revamped fireworks show shortly after the opening of the Pixar Place Hotel (formerly Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel)!

Disneyland Pixar Fest - Sulley and Mike at past Pixar Fest

Disneyland Pixar Fest Overview, Dates and Planning

With so much happening during Disneyland Pixar Fest, you’re going to need to grab a friend or family member to experience it all together. But how does one see everything??? Luckily, you’ve got a friend in me (well, us frogs) to help you out! Also, more details will be announced as Pixar Fest draws near, so keep hopping back for updates.

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Pixar Fest 2024 -Joy holds hands up when greeting guests

Disneyland Pixar Fest 2024 takes place in spring and summer. The event kicks off April 26 and runs through Aug. 4, 2024. You can expect special Pixar character meet and greets, Pixar-themed entertainment, themed food and more!

Pixar Fest - Up Balloons

But that is not all that is hoppening during Pixar Fest, which is why you'll want to time your visit just right. Here are a few considerations to help you plan your visit during Pixar Fest to make the most of your time at Disneyland.

  • If you also have Star Wars fans in your party, Season of the Force overlaps a bit with Pixar Fest. This Star Wars celebration takes place April 5 through June 2, 2024. Be aware of Star Wars Nite After Dark parties, which close Disneyland Park early on select nights (which means no "Together Forever" show). You may want to join in the fun (purchase tickets as soon as they go on sale) or plan to avoid those nights.
  • If you live in Southern California and want to take advantage of the incredibly good Southern California Resident 3-day deal, those tickets are good for visits through June 2, 2024. Buy now and reserve your dates in advance because they will fill up quickly in May and early June.
  • If you have Magic Key passes that are blocked out for summer, you are going to want to visit in May to catch Pixar Fest before summer blackouts kick in.
  • If you are as excited as we are for Fantasmic! to return, the nighttime spectacular in Disneyland Park is back as of May 24, 2024.
  • The Together Forever — A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular is a projection and laser show that only includes fireworks on select nights (until summer). So if you plan to visit before June, be sure to reserve a Friday, Saturday or Sunday in Disneyland Park if you want to experience the full pyrotechnics show.

Disneyland Pixar Fest Decorations and Merchandise

Disneyland Pixar Fest - Disney California Adventure entrance

Pixar Fest is a celebration of friendship and beyond. Enjoy colorful décor in Pixar red, blue and yellow. Take home commemorative merchandise as souvenirs. The whole Disneyland Resort from theme parks to hotels to Downtown Disney District will have a Pixar twist of friendly fun. Pixar Place Hotel is open as of Jan. 30, 2024, so we expect that to be ready to celebrate Pixar Fest.

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Pixar Fest 2024 - Pixar Ball sipper

You can likely expect Pixar-themed balloons and other merchandise, such as the Pixar ball sipper in the parks.

Disneyland Pixar Fest Entertainment

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Pixar Fest - Better Together Parade

Pixar Fest introduces a new daytime parade to Disney California Adventure and brings back a fun fireworks show to Disneyland!

“Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration!”

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Pixar Fest - Better Together art of float with Turning Red characters.This all-new parade debuts during the Pixar Fest celebration. The parade concept art shows Panda Mei and friends as well as the boy band 4*Town (all from "Turning Red") on a float. We can expect a range of our favorite Pixar characters along with colorful floats, costumed dancers and of course Luxo Jr. the Pixar lamp.

“Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular”

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Pixar Fest-Coco on Castle

To friendship … and beyond! This projection show returns to Disneyland with some all-new scenes. Until summer, the show only includes pyrotechnics Friday through Sunday nights. The other nights it's just music, lasers and projection. The show lifts off with Buzz Lightyear soaring over Sleeping Beauty’s castle during the “Together Forever — A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular“ show. The show is choreographed with music and projection on Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and three other viewing locations in the park. Enjoy scenes from timeless Pixar tales and hits such as "Coco" and "The Incredibles 2." Plus, some recent characters may be represented in the added scenes.

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Pixar Fest - Up Ball behind castle

You’ll see the “Up” house, lifted by balloons, sail over the castle. The show will take you on an emotional journey of friendship with your favorite Pixar pals.

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Pixar Fest - Lightning McQueen on Castle

But viewing this show does take some planning. Watching near the castle means getting in place hours early. Watching on Main Street U.S.A., which is a great alternative to the castle and still has a castle view (along with projections all around you), takes less time out of your night.

Luckily, there are two other “friendtastic” locations to experience it. If you are seeing the 9:00 p.m. Fantasmic! show as of May 24, simply stay in place to experience the show with music and projection on water screens at Rivers of America. A less-crowded spot to view projection that is actually closer to the fireworks can be found at “it’s a small world.” Knowing all these tips can help you manage your time and crowd-coping skills. We have more Disneyland fireworks viewing tips in another post.

We have a YouTube video of Together Forever from 2018. You know Tad will be there to record the new show once it debuts! (And you'll find his video skills and recording equipment have vastly improved since the last show!) You can watch the old version of the show and then see if you can spot the differences once you see the new show.

Disneyland Pixar Fest Characters

On any normal day at Disney California Adventure and in Disneyland, you can meet various Pixar pals. Popular ones include characters from "The Incredibles," "Up," "Toy Story," "Inside Out" "Big Hero 6," "Monsters Inc.," "Cars," and "Coco," to name a few. However, some new characters will be in the parks to meet guests during Pixar Fest. Look for Ember and Wade from “Elemental,” Red Panda Mei from “Turning Red” and more. More details to come!

Disneyland Pixar Fest Food and Beverages

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Pixar Fest 2024 - Alien Macarons at Disneyland Pixar Fest

Friends don’t let friends go hungry. As with all great celebrations, there will be food! Hop back closer to the event start for our Disneyland Pixar Fest foodie guide so you can try some of the Pixar-inspired treats at some of our favorite quick-service and table-service restaurants during Pixar Fest.

The Green Alien Macaron debuted at the last Pixar Fest and has been around ever since. You can find it at Alien Pizza Planet. That quick-service restaurant in Tomorrowland also debuted at the last Pixar Fest.

We also expect some fun, themed confections at the candy shops and food novelties, such as the Pixar Ball sipper. And there are always tasty Pixar-themed foods at Pixar Pier.

Pixar Pier treats - Disneyland Pixar PierRemember the not-so-Abominable Snowman from Monster’s Inc.? He is serving up frozen treats at his Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats! The yellow is lemon Dole whip and is a must-have treat. Try it swirled with blue raspberry in the popular Pixar Pier Parfait. In the Toy Story neighborhood, you and your small fries can hop over to Poultry Palace, where you can order chicken legs and coleslaw from a stand shaped like a giant fun meal box (note they have a spicy kick). They also sell a classic Disneyland Resort favorite — turkey legs.

Did someone flip the switch to Spanish mode? Senor Buzz Churros serves one of our favorite Disneyland snacks, regular churros and Caliente! — they are red and taste like Red Hots. Anger from Inside Out is burning with rage, and the hotter his temper the hotter the hot dogs at Angry Dogs. He's dishing out spicy Angry dogs and the not-so-spicy Slightly Annoyed Dogs. You can top your dog with ketchups of every degree of angry spice. After riding the new Incredicoaster, stop at the Jack-Jack Cookie Num Nums stand for a cookie. There are so many choices! Better share with a friend or family member so you can taste it all.

Lamplight Lounge California Adventure - Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Pixar Fest

And then there is the Pixar-themed table-service restaurant on the Pier, Lamplight Lounge. The full restaurant is downstairs. Lamplight Lounge — Boardwalk Dining is upstairs with smaller bites. Both locations offer Pixar-themed drinks. You can reserve the restaurant, but you can only join the walk-up list for Boardwalk Dining.

Tips for Disneyland Pixar Fest 2024

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Pixar Fest - Edna Mode on pier

Here are some frogtastically friendly tips for mastering this “Friendtastic” Guide to Pixar Fest at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure:

  • Arrive before park opening to experience the lowest waits.
  • Plan on visiting for three to four days (You can save with discount multiday tickets)
  • Make park reservations early, especially in May.
  • Consider a Park Hopper ticket (park hopping is cheaper per day with multiday tickets)
  • Check the Entertainment Schedule for parade and show times.
  • Learn to draw Pixar characters at Animation Academy.
  • Make dining reservations 60 days in advance.
  • Use the Disneyland App to locate characters, check ride wait times, manage reservations, mobile order for food and novelties, and use Genie+.
  • Consider springing for Genie+ to skip select ride lines.
  • Utilize single-rider lines if riders are over 7 years old.
  • Plan ahead for getting a good parade or fireworks viewing location.
  • If viewing Fantasmic! watch "Together Forever" from Rivers of America.
  • Get a great hotel rate for Pixar Place Hotel through Undercover Tourist.

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Pixar Fest 2024 - Pixar Place Hotel room

Our Disneyland Pixar Fest 2024 guide should have given you a little taste of all the fun — plus a few tips! The biggest strategies involve deciding which nighttime entertainment to experience and scoring the perfect viewing location for nighttime spectaculars and the parade. You can save money with discount theme park tickets and hotel stays (at or near Disneyland) when you purchase through Undercover Tourist. Locals can save even more with SoCal resident ticket deals (must show your ID when you first enter the park).

Related: Tips to Maximize Your Time at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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