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Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Resort's Pixar Fest 2024

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Buzz and Woody, Mike and Sulley, Marlin and Dory, Lightning McQueen and Mater, Joy and Sadness … Pixar films bring 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 for one big happy celebration. The very first Pixar Fest launched in April 2018 to celebrate the opening of Pixar Pier. Disneyland Pixar Fest 2024 has a new parade and a revamped fireworks show. The celebration falls shortly after the opening of the Pixar Place Hotel (formerly Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel). With so much happening during Pixar Fest at Disneyland Resort, 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!

Disneyland Pixar Fest - Ian and Barley in front of van

Disneyland Resort Pixar Fest Overview, Dates and Planning

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!

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

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Resort's Pixar Fest 2024 - DecorKeep an eye out for Pixar Fest décor. All throughout Downtown Disney and the Esplanade, you'll see signage for Pixar Fest. In between the two parks sits a Pixar Fest sculpture. It plays tribute to Imagineer Rolly Crump's 'Tower of the Four Winds," which served as a visual marquee for the Small World attraction for the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. A smaller structure sits on Main Street U.S.A. In both theme parks, you'll see Pixar character medallions atop Pixar fabric of primary colors on Main Street and Buena Vista Street. How many different Pixar characters can you find?

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 have Magic Key passes that are blocked out for summer, you will want to visit in May to catch Pixar Fest before summer blackouts kick in.
  • If you are as excited as we are for Fantasmic!, 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.

We've created a Pixar Fest cheat sheet that you can download and use to reference in the parks so you don't miss a thing during this special event!

Disneyland Pixar Fest Decorations and Merchandise

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Resort's Pixar Fest 2024 - Sculpture in Esplanade

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 entire Disneyland Resort — from theme parks to hotels to Downtown Disney District — has a Pixar twist of friendly fun. Pixar Place Hotel is open as of Jan. 30, 2024, so you may even want to hop over to check out the new lobby and restaurant options, such as Great Maple. Don't miss colorful banners and sculptures with images of your favorite Pixar characters. In the Esplanade, you can't miss the 25-foot-tall sculpture celebrating friendship and highlighting the Pixar Ball. In Disney California Adventure, interact with a special Pixar-themed installation with your MagicBand+. Pose for photos in front of the sculpture on Main Street U.S.A.

Pixar Fest Merchandise

 

Choose Pixar Fest merch from several different collections.

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Resort's Pixar Fest 2024 - Pixar Fest collection

The Pixar Fest collection includes some must-have items, including:

  • Pixar Fest spirit jerseys
  • Hoodies
  • Baseball and bucket hats
  • Mugs, water bottles and tumblers
  • Collectible medallions

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Resort's Pixar Fest 2024 - Wilderness Explorers hat

The Wilderness Explorer collection includes:

  • Hoodies
  • T-shirts
  • Bucket hat
  • Bandana
  • Gear for when exploring the outdoors such as a blanket, water bottles, a pet jacket and a Wilderness Explorer patch set.

The Pixar Painted Collection is available now and features the following:

  • Mike Wazowski painted pullover hoodie
  • Button-up shirt
  • Tumbler
  • T-shirt

Toy Story Collection merch is also available now:

  • Toy Story Family jersey
  • Adult zip-up hoodie
  • Backpack
  • Themed bag

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Resort's Pixar Fest 2024 - Pizza Planet merchandise

Pizza Planet collection includes:

  • Pizza Planet backpack
  • Tumbler
  • Jersey
  • Hat
  • A few special shirts
  • A Pizza Planet truck popcorn bucket

There is also an "Up" collection and a "Ratatouille" collection.

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Resort's Pixar Fest 2024 - Panda Mei and friend

Disneyland Pixar Fest Entertainment

Pixar Fest introduces a new daytime parade to Disney California Adventure and brings back a fun fireworks show to Disneyland! Here's what you can find at each park!

Disney California Adventure Park

“Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration" Parade

This all-new parade debuts during the Pixar Fest celebration — it makes its way through Disney California Adventure Park twice a day at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The first parade starts by Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission Breakout and the second parade travels in the opposite direction.

Wave to Panda Mei and friends as well as the boy band 4*Town (all from "Turning Red") on a float. More than two dozen other Pixar characters join them, including Joe Gardner and 22 from "Soul," Luca, Alberto and Giulia from "Luca," and a grand finale that features Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, Miguel from "Coco," Mike and Sulley from "Monsters, Inc." and Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear. Find out more and view photos in our Better Together parade post.

Our YouTube video shows the parade coming through Hollywood Land from Pixar Pier toward Guardians of the Galaxy.

You can find your own spot to watch the parade or reserve a parade dessert party package to have a seat and some treats. Our Disneyland dining packages post discusses the pros and cons of it. For $69 (ages 3 and up) you get:

  • A selection of Pixar-inspired foods, desserts and cheeses
  • Unlimited soft drinks and bottled water, plus coffee and a specialty tropical mocktail
  • Reserved seating for parade viewing at Sonoma Terrace

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Resort's Pixar Fest 2024 - Parade Dessert Party Package

The package is available for each parade and starts about 45 minutes before each parade starts. Arrive early for the best seat selection. Small parties may be seated with others. The front row (at low tables) is in the sun, but the back row (at high tops) has shade coverings.

Pixar Fun at the Hollywood Backlot 

Snap photos in front of Pixar-themed backdrops and maybe even pose with a character, like the Incredibles in their retro suits! Enjoy themed food and beverages. Once the day cools down, play games, and watch Pixar Shorts from the seat of a classic Cadillac.

Disneyland Park

“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 at 9:30 p.m. 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, the new scenes will include moments from "Onward," "Soul," "Luca," "Turning Red" and "Elemental." If you have a MagicBand+, it will come to life with synchronized lights and vibrations.

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.

 

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. We prefer Main Street due to the ease of viewing and less time commitment. It's a little hard to see the low projections on the castle, but you can see them on the buildings on either side of the street.

Be sure to charge your MagicBand+. It interacts with the show!

Luckily, there are two other “friendtastic” locations to experience it. A less-crowded spot that is actually closer to the fireworks is “it’s a small world.” You can really see the projections well there.

If you are seeing the 9 p.m. Fantasmic! show, simply stay in place to experience the show with music and projection on water screens at Rivers of America.

Knowing all these tips can help you manage your time and crowd-coping skills. We have more Disneyland fireworks viewing tips in another post.

If you watch on Main Street U.S.A., you'll see a surprise emerge from the rooftops during the "Coco" segment.

Here's our YouTube video of "Together Forever  – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular,” with new clips from some of the more recent Pixar movies.

Pixar Pals Playtime Party at Fantasyland Theatre

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Resort's Pixar Fest - Toy Story and Inside Out on Stage

Get the wiggles out by playing and dancing with your favorite Pixar characters at this family-friendly playtime party in Disneyland Park. Enjoy the high-energy show, interactive games, photo locations, activities and iconic Pixar shorts. You can check the hours online, but generally, it's open from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. And that means this is the best thing to do when ride times are at their midday peak. It's shady and has benches for people who need to chill out, plus there are nearby Pixar Festival snacks at Troubadour Tavern. The vibes are mellow while Pixar Shorts are playing and toadally energetic when the dance parties start, so there's something for every mood.

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Resort's Pixar Fest - Incredibles on Stage

It's perfect for the tadpoles. The entertainment switches about every 15 minutes, rotating between dance parties with characters, character meet and greets and Pixar Shorts. You can dance with characters from "The Incredibles," "Inside Out" and "Toy Story." You can take photos with characters from "Onward," "Up," "Luca" and "Elemental." We have never seen so many Disney characters all in one spot!

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Resort's Pixar Fest - Characters from Luca in craft area

Take the tadpoles to do free crafts in a Luca-inspired space. You may even get to meet Luca and Alberto in that area!

Disneyland Pixar Fest Characters

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Resort's Pixar Fest - Dug and Russell

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 are in the parks to meet guests during Pixar Fest.

 

Look for Ember and Wade from “Elemental," as well as Russell and Dug from "Up" at the Pixar Pals Playtime Party at Fantasyland Theatre. You can also meet characters from "Onward" and "Luca" there. In addition to those meet and greets, you can dance with Joy, Sadness, Woody, Jessie, Bo Peep, Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, Frozone and Edna. It's so many characters in one place! It really is the place to be in the afternoon.

Pixar Fest - Mr. Incredible in retro suit

The Incredibles don their retro suits in the Hollywood Backlot of Disney California Adventure! A real talking "Dug" meets and talks to guests in Grizzly Peak. His location can move, but you can see his times in the Disneyland app and track him down! he taught us how to shake! So fun!

Disneyland Pixar Fest Food and Beverages

Pixar Fest - Pixar Cake

Friends don’t let friends go hungry. As with all great celebrations, there will be food, including the returning iconic Pixar Fest cake at Plaza Inn. There are over 80 new items!

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Resort's Pixar Fest 2024 - Drinks for Pixar Fest

While there will be offerings all around the resort, as of May 10, there are six Pixar-themed marketplaces at Disney California Adventure Park that remain through the end of the festival. Each location celebrates a film with food inspired by those worlds:

  • Portorosso Pasta ("Luca") — summertime dishes inspired by the Italian coast
  • Gusteau's To-Go ("Ratatouille") — reimagined classics
  • The Elemental Table ("Elemental") — a playful mélange of elements
  • 4*Town Fav*4*ites ("Turning Red") — fun foods perfect for anyone, but especially tweens and boy bands
  • The Spark ("Soul") — feel-good foods that feed your soul
  • Hanger Management ("Inside Out") — flavors that appeal to all of your emotions

You are going to want the special Pizza Planet truck-themed popcorn (it lights up and rolls!) and bucket and a "Coco" guitar popcorn bucket (with tunable strings!). How adorable! Speaking of the Pizza Planet truck ... Disney has hit 50 different themed Pizza Planet trucks around the resort! They might be themed to the land or attraction that they appear in, so keep your eyes open! We even spotted one near Woody in the Better Together parade!

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Resort's Pixar Fest 2024 - Food Novelties

Hop over to our Pixar Fest food menus post to see all the fun and yummy offerings as well as food novelties. Hopfully, you can try some of the Pixar-inspired treats at some of our favorite quick-service and table-service restaurants during Pixar Fest.

Pixar Pier treats - Disneyland Pixar PierHere are some of our favorite regular Pixar-themed menu items you can find at any time. 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. Remember the not-so-Abominable Snowman from Monsters 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 ketchup of every degree of angry spice. After riding 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.

Our 'Friendtastic' Guide to Disneyland Resort's Pixar Fest 2024 - Schmoozies! 2319 Shake

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

Pixar Fest - Dug

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.
  • Do free Pixar crafts in Downtown Disney and at the Pixar Pals Playtime Party
  • 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 and comfortable riding independently.
  • Strike up a conversation with Dug the talking dog in Grizzly Peak. You can find his times in the Disneyland App.
  • 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.

Pixar Fest - Pixar Place Hotel

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. 

Related: Tips to Maximize Your Time at Disneyland Resort

Related: Our "Incredible" Guide to Pixar Fest Food Menus — Over 80 New Items!

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
View Comments

Comments

Apr 19, 2024 at 6:33 p.m.
Tmax Says...

We are going first time july2-4 ! I’m wondering though- you’re articles are amazing for helping me plan by the way- my main question is - during Pixarfest will there be the new special projection firework show at Disneyland park and no type of projection firework show at California adventure park ?

Reply
Apr 22, 2024 at 9:36 a.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tmax!

World of Color will continue at Disney California Adventure Park, featuring projections onto water screens. It's such a fun show! Disneyland Park will play host to the only true fireworks show at this time.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Apr 11, 2024 at 7:30 a.m.
Gaynor Says...

Similar situation to Shanda here. Our vacation is 5th August!! Any ideas of what parade / night time shows we will get to see?

Reply
Apr 12, 2024 at 5:16 p.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Hi Gaynor!

Disney has not yet confirmed the entertainment for the period between Pixar Fest and Halloween Time, so we aren't sure what the entertainment schedule will be until about six weeks advance (or unless Disney announces something earlier). Fantasmic! will return May 24, and is usually performed nightly during the summer. World of Color would also more than likely be available.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Apr 6, 2024 at 8:12 p.m.
Shanda Says...

Our Disneyland vacation will begin on August 6. Boohoo. Has the festival ever extended its end date? Or is there at least merch still available after the close?

Reply
Apr 12, 2024 at 5:18 p.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shanda!

We just wanted to hop back to say that there are a few select Pixar Fest food items that will be available beyond Aug. 4. The foodie guide was just released yesterday, and you can view the menus here.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Apr 29, 2024 at 6:19 p.m.
Shanda Says...

Thanks for the reply!

Reply
Apr 8, 2024 at 9:09 a.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shanda!

Special events are not typically extended. As for merch, it could be possible but not guaranteed that some leftover items would be available in the following days.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply

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