Disney launches a brand new festival today, which spans both parks at the Disneyland Resort. Pixar Fest, running April 13th through September 3rd, celebrates all things Pixar and leads into the June opening of the new Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure.
The event includes a new fireworks show, the return of two parades (but with a twist), character entertainment, decorations, event merchandise and even some specialty Pixar themed food.
The MiceChat team attended a preview at the Disneyland Resort last night. Below you’ll find a general overview of the event and what to expect. In the coming days we’ll also share detailed articles about each of the major event attractions. Check back daily.
Together Forever Fireworks
A brand new fireworks show, “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular,” will light up the sky over Disneyland from tonight until September 3rd. The show features Pixar characters, stories and music. It also uses the digital mapping projectors installed for the 60th Anniversary Disneyland Forever Fireworks. That means fancy projections on Main Street USA, Small World, and the Fantasmic mist screens.
The theme of Together Forever is friendship, it’s an underlying element in many Pixar films and works as a loose thread to help tie this clip show together. In place of Tinker Bell, there’s a castle flyover by Buzz Lightyear. To infinity and beyond!
Here’s a bit of live video from the first preview of the show on Tuesday night (skip ahead to 2:55 for the start of show).
And here’s another live video from last night from a bit farther back (so you can see some of the projections on Main Street).
There are three main spots to watch the show. Our advice is to watch it anywhere from the middle of Main Street all the way to the Hub (in front of the castle). If that’s too busy, Small World Mall (with a clear view of the Small World facade) is your next best bet and probably the best spot for a view of the projections. Your last resort is the Rivers of America. Instead of the Castle, your main view will be over Big Thunder, with projections on the Fantasmic mist screens. If you’ve seen the early Fantasmic, stay put and watch the fireworks from the river. It’s not the best, but it is a very convenient spot.
One bit of advice. The show can be watched on two levels, as a fireworks show or as a projection show. In few locations will you be able to clearly watch both at the same time. If you are looking low at the projections, you’ll miss the fireworks in the sky. There’s a certain excitement to having stuff going on all around you, but some folks may find it frustrating. Think about it before the show and focus on what’s most important to you (fireworks or projections). That might even help you decide which location to view the show from.
Here’s a map we put together for you of the three best locations to view the show in our opinion:
PIXAR PLAY PARADE RETURNS . . . BUT TO DISNEYLAND
The long-running DCA Pixar Play Parade returns today. But instead of DCA’s parade corridor, the show will make its way down Main Street USA to Small World Mall. The parade is being updated as well. It will now lead off with a giant Pixar Luxo Lamp and yellow Ball that you’ll recognize from the Pixar short “Luxo Jr.”. Also joining the parade are characters and floats from “Up.” and “Inside Out”. Keep an eye out for Bing Bong before he’s forgotten forever.
This is the concept art that Disney released for the new Luxo lamp:
And here’s the actual version. It moves around, tlits, and turns on and off. . . just like a real lamp.
And here’s a live video Dusty recorded yesterday:
DCA Will Paint The Night
When can we do this again? How about right now?! “Paint the Night,” which delighted Disneyland crowds at the 60th anniversary of the Happiest Place On Earth, has been updated and moved to Disney California Adventure. In June, a new float inspired by “Incredibles 2” will join the parade as well. According to Disney:
Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible and Frozone will showcase their superhero awesomeness as they take on their newest threat, the Underminer. Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack also showcase their unique powers in surprising new ways, as shown through dynamic and innovative visual technology. Like other elements in this spectacular parade, this new float comes to life through a series of dazzling LED lights, new music elements and high-tech, pop-art effects inspired by the mid-century-modern style of the films.
And here’s the Paint the Night live video. Do you miss the Frozen unit or were you ready to let it go to make room for the upcoming Incredibles unit?
A collection of Pixar Shorts will be featured at the Sunset Showcase Theater at Disney California Adventure during most of Pixar Fest, including favorites such as “For the Birds” and “LAVA.” The short films will rotate during the celebration.
In the Paradise Gardens area of Disney California Adventure, guests will find all sorts of entertainment, including “The Pixarmonic Orchestra.” This wacky band performs songs from the Pixar films using unconventional instruments such as cowbells, kazoos, duck calls, sirens and slide whistles. You’ll also be able to meet the Pixar characters in the Pixar Pals area at Paradise Gardens.
Other musical groups throughout the resort will also be performing Pixar songs, including the Disneyland Band, Straw Hatters, Dapper Dans, Main Street Piano Player, Royal Street Bachelors, Jambalaya Jazz Band and Mariachi Divas.
Beginning June 8, the Pixar Pals Dance Party will kick off at the Tomorrowland Terrace in Disneyland. The dance party will include Pixar characters such as Russell, Dug, Woody, Jessie, the Green Army Men and more.
PIXAR FEST MERCHANDISE
All sorts of merchandise will be available throughout the resort for Pixar Fest. There are logo tees for adults and kids. Loungefly is creating a special Pixar Fest leather tote, and a limited release pin will feature the event logo.
An exclusive Pixar Fest charm bracelet will be part of the merchandise selection. With multiple bracelet options and a variety of charms with fun friendship messages and Pixar characters, guests can mix and match for themselves, or friends and family.
PIXAR FESTIVAL FOOD
There are so many specialty food items at Pixar Fest that it’s almost like a mini food festival. Here are the featured items sorted by the film they are inspired by
Here’s our guide. Click to download and print it out and take with you to the park.
Of course, many of you just want to see the desserts. And we can’t blame you. It’s a theme park thing. Eat your green alien macaroons and enjoy yourself.
The color changing noodles is a fun item. To make them change color, you squeeze some citrus on top and they’ll turn colors. But to make them taste good, be sure to use the provided sauce as well.
In addition to the food you’ll find all over the resort, Tomorrowland’s Pizza Port is also converting into Pizza Planet for the duration of the festival (and perhaps far beyond).
And this is likely going to be one of the breakout items of Pixar Fest, the latest light-up tumbler. Last year it was the enchanted rose tumbler. This time around it’s the Claw (they also have Nemo and Dory versions).
The whole resort is participating in the fun. The Monorails are wrapped in Pixar characters, the topiary in Downtown Disney sport Pixar character shapes, banners in the Esplanade promote the festival, and bunting on Main Street is in Pixar colors.
Here’s our initial impression of the event. . . it’s fun. It reminds me of the old Jack Lindquist (Disneyland’s first president) celebrations that Disneyland once did as a summer campaign. Fun decorations, solid entertainment, new things to buy, and some really fun (and often good) food. I’d count it a win just to see Paint the Night again. And in just a couple months, Pixar Pier opens. There’s a LOT so see and do.
Thank you for reading! We have MUCH more for you from Pixar Fest, including videos, photos, interviews and commentary from our fantastic crew of photographers and authors. Check back every day for more Pixar goodness.