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Pixar Fest at Disneyland 2024: Everything You Need to Know

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All things Pixar have taken over at the Disneyland Resort this spring and summer. Pixar Fest officially started on April 26, 2024 in both Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure. The special event celebrates favorite Pixar characters with a new parade, a returning evening nighttime spectacular with fireworks, unique character meet-and-greets, special food and merchandise, and a few extra surprises.

Disneyland Pixar Fest Sign and Ticket 2024

I just visited Disneyland during the opening week of Pixar Fest to bring you a first look at what you can expect. Learn what you can’t miss as well as what you can skip if you have limited time. Here’s your total guide to Pixar Fest in 2024, chock full of tips.

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Pixar Fest Basics

Pixar Pals Playtime Party Sign for Pixar Fest

When: April 26-August 4, 2024.

Where: Pixar Fest is happening in both Disneyland parks in Anaheim, California: Disneyland and Disney California Adventure as well as in Downtown Disney. (If you want to experience offerings in both parks, remember you’ll need a park hopper ticket!)

What: Pixar Fest is a celebration of Pixar characters and movies all over the Disneyland Resort, focused on friendship – a central theme in many Pixar classics. The core pieces of the celebration are a new parade and a returning fireworks show, but there are a lot of Pixar extras popping up all over both parks as well.

Pixar Fest Signs in Disney California Adventure

If you’ve been a longtime Disneyland visitor, you might remember that the Disneyland Resort celebrated Pixar Fest in 2018. That year was when when Paradise Pier in Disney California Adventure park re-opened as Pixar Pier with transformed attractions like the Incredicoaster. This new celebration in 2024 has some similar elements to that event, but the celebration this year is mostly new.

This year, the first month of Pixar Fest is also running concurrently with another celebration “Season of the Force.” Running from April 5 through June 2, 2024, this event features all things Star Wars, including a special ride overlay Hyperspace Mountain and a new ride sequence on Star Tours. (See the complete guide to special and seasonal events at Disneyland.)

What to Do & See During Disneyland’s Pixar Fest in 2024

Pixar Fest 2024 Disney California Adventure Map

If you are thinking of taking a Disneyland vacation during Pixar Fest this summer, what is there to do and see?

“Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular” (+ Fireworks)

Disneyland Pixar Fest - Together Forever Castle Projections
Photo credit: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

One of the headliner attractions for this year’s Pixar Fest is the return of “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular” in the evening in Disneyland park.

Together Forever debuted during the 2018 Pixar Fest celebration, but the current iteration also includes new scenes from the newest Pixar movies like ElementalTurning Red, LucaSoul, and Onward. Expect also to see major appearances by characters from Coco, Toy Story, Up, Inside Out, Monsters, Inc., Cars, and the Incredibles. Brief flashes every other Pixar Movie from the Good Dinosaur to A Bug’s Life to Brave can be spotted if you look closely.

The show incorporates projection technology that can be seen from four major areas in Disneyland park: Sleeping Beauty Castle, the Rivers of America, “it’s a small world,” and Main Street, U.S.A. The show also includes fireworks on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings in spring (and daily starting May 24, 2024), weather permitting.

Disneyland Pixar Fest - Together-Forever Up Balloon
Photo credit: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

Together Forever has two special flyovers that really stand out: Buzz Lightyear taking flight to open the show and the house and balloons from Up near the closing. And a special effect from Coco kind of steals the show too.

Because of the projections being in so many places, there are lots of good vantage points. As a result, I wouldn’t stress too much about finding the perfect spot. In fact, each of the locations have unique effects so you can really see the show multiple times and have a different experience in each one.

The Sleeping Beauty Castle area viewing area at the hub is certainly the most-sought after, but probably not worth the crowds and long waits (especially if you have young children) when there are so many other convenient places to watch it.

I prefer to watch about two thirds of the way down Main Street USA (closer to the castle). I loved being able to see both the castle as well as the projections on the facades of the buildings of Main Street. Plus, the location makes for a quicker park exit if you are ending your night when the show ends.

If you have some extra cash and want a seat to see the show, you can book special event dining at Tomorrowland Skyline Terrace. For $70 per person, you get a meal and a viewing area (with chairs!) from the second floor of Tomorrowland.

“Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration!” Parade

Better Together Pixar Parade Float

Over in Disney California Adventure park, the major Pixar Fest offering is the daytime parade: “Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration!”

While the parade is billed as brand new, returning guests will noticed that several floats in the parade were featured in the Pixar Play Parade which ran on and off for more than a decade prior. But there are new Pixar faces as well, including Joe Gardner from Soul and the characters from Luca.

But the absolute highlight of the parade (for me at least?!?!) is the first appearance ever of the iconic boy band 4*TOWN from Turning Red. Red Panda Mei and her friends rock out to one of their songs early in the parade. Be sure you don’t miss the parade’s start or you’ll miss the best part.

Turning Red 4TOWN Better Together Parade Float for Pixar Fest

The most reliable strategy for getting a good view of the parade is good old fashioned camping out a bit early. The good news is that the DCA parade route is long, stretching from Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!, through Hollywood Land, past Carthay Circle, then turning right at Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, and ending past Paradise Gardens near the Silly Symphony Swings on Pixar Pier.

The parade runs twice daily, usually with the first show of the day starting at Guardians and ending at the Pier and the later show running in the opposite direction.

For premium views for this show, Disneyland offers a dining package at Sonoma Terrace with seats and tables overlooking the parade route. The package includes a Pixar-themed dessert and charcuterie tray plus a mocktail and other drinks for $69 per person.

Honestly, the parade is pretty short and the parade route is long with plenty of viewing areas, so I can’t really justify this package unless seating is a must-have for someone in your party. I noticed that the seating area doesn’t have a ton of shade, so you may want to consider booking this package for the second parade (especially on hot summer days) to avoid getting too much direct sun and heat.

Pixar Pals Playtime Party

Pixar Pals Playtime Party in Disneyland Fantasyland Theater

The parade and fireworks get top billing for the event, but back over in Disneyland is what just might be the sleeper hit of all of Pixar Fest: the Pixar Pals Playtime Party. The entirety of the Fantasyland Theater area (across from “it’s a small world”) has been taken over with a multitude of things to do.

The area is part show, part dance party, part play space, and part character and photo opp location. When I dropped by, I spotted Frozone, Mr. Incredible, and Edna Mode on the dance floor with kids, various characters were taking the stage with cast members, and sets like the doors from Monsters., Inc. and the van from Onward. There are also a ton of character meet and greets in the vicinity, including Ember and Wade from Elemental.

Pixar Pals Playtime Party Stage Show

If you have younger kids, make plenty of time to hang out here especially in the afternoon when ride lines are long. Because it’s right next to the Toon Town entrance, it takes some of the overcrowding pressure off of Toon Town (and vice versa).

Related: 20 Tips for Disneyland with Toddlers

Club Pixar

Club Pixar Stage in Hollywood Land

Back in Disney California Adventure, the Hollywood Land area around Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sully to the Rescue attraction has been transformed into Club Pixar. The area features lots of food at stands in the land, a stage with dance music, and photo opps.

The “club” elements are open from 4:30 to 8:30 pm, but there are daytime events in the vicinity as well. On the far end of the land, guests can watch Pixar Shorts on a screen from seats in vintage cars or play Pixar-themed lawn games.

Pixar Shorts Screen in Hollywood Land

Characters like Mr. and Mrs. Incredible appear nearby for meet-and-greets.

The name Club Pixar had a lot of Disneyland regulars excited, hoping for the return of the edgy parties from the Mad T Party days. Unfortunately the area hasn’t really delivered on that promise. When I went to check it out, it was a ghost town (to be fair, it was right before a parade showing, but I’ve heard it is a bit sleepy a lot of the time). The guests that are around the stage area tend to be young families rather than clubgoers. If you are short on time, this would be the Pixar Fest offering I’d skip.

Pizza Planet Truck Hunt

Pizza Planet Truck in Guardians Tower of Terror
This truck was hidden in the Collector’s Office on Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! and was themed to look like the old Hollywood Tower of Terror – a double Easter egg!

Disney guests have been used to finding Hidden Mickeys around the parks for years. For Pixar Fest, a new kind of hunt is available – for the Pizza Planet truck!

This truck made its debut in the Toy Story film, and Pixar has been hiding one as an Easter egg in all of its movies ever since. In keeping with that cameo tradition, the resort has hidden over 50 Pizza Planet trucks in queues and attractions all over both parks. Often the truck is disguised with coloring to match its surroundings or the theming of the attraction it is in, so you have to look closely to find them.

Pixar Fest Food

Pixar Fest Cake at Disneyland Plaza Inn

Disneyland never misses a chance to unveil new food offerings at all their special events. Pixar Fest is certainly no exception. There are tons of new menu items all over both parks. And because they are all inspired by or shaped like Pixar character favorites, they are almost too cute to eat. Almost.

A lot of special event food is available at regular table and counter service restaurants in the parks as well as the snack carts. Starting May 10, however, Pixar Fest will also include a food festival component. Six festive food marketplace booths line the walkways of Disney California Adventure, themed to match many of Pixar’s old and new hit movies: Elemental, Soul, Luca, Ratatouille, Turning Red, and Inside Out.

This marks the first time Disneyland has held a food festival in summer months. Traditionally, Disneyland has only offered three regular seasonal food festivals (Lunar New Year in January/February, Food & Wine in March/April, and Festival of Holidays in November/December). So this may well be a trial balloon for festivals in DCA for more of the year, much like Disney has done over in Epcot at Walt Disney World.

While I always sample the most-talked about food, I don’t try to cover food festivals comprehensively, so check out the foodie guide from the Disney Parks Blog for a deeper dive into all the options. At the very least, I can highly recommend the Pixar Fest Cake from Plaza Inn which is a perfect afternoon snack when you need a sugar rush. As always, there are multiple new churro flavors so those are an inexpensive snack to grab as well.

Pixar Fest Merchandise

Pixar Fest 2024 Merchandise at Bing Bongs in DCA

Just like the food, the Pixar Fest merchandise available this year is cute and colorful.

Hot items always include souvenir popcorn buckets, and Pixar Fest has three: Dug from Up (for Magic Keyholders only), the guitar from Coco, and the Pizza Planet Truck.

Our traveling group also tried to get our hands on the customizable headbands that allow guests to select and mix and match their favorite characters. Available at Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff in DCA and the Mad Hatter Main Street location in Disneyland, they were already sold out by the time we got there. But watch for those to be restocked in the coming days or weeks.

Pixar Fest Merchandise Window Downtown Disney

Trips With Tykes Tip: Some of the Pixar merchandise can be found in the larger stores like the Emporium on Main Street USA in Disneyland, Five and Dime on Buena Vista Street, and World of Disney in Downtown Disney. But if you really want to get the more obscure Pixar stuff, head to Knick Knacks,by the bridge to Pixar Pier as well as Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff in the very back of the Pier area by Toy Story Midway Mania.

Pixar Character Meet & Greets

Mrs Incredible Meet and Greet Disney California Adventure Pixar Fest

I’ve already mentioned quite a few character meet-and-greets, but it probably goes without saying that there are lots of opportunities to meet and take photos with your favorite Pixar characters. To find out who will be where on the days of your visit and to check the times, go to the Disneyland app (select the map and then select the drop down at the top “Characters”).

Generally speaking, you can expect to find the following Pixar characters:

  • Ember & Wade from Elemental: In Disneyland by the Fantasyland Theater
  • Alberto & Luca from Luca: In Disneyland by the Fantasyland Theater
  • Ian & Barley Lightfoot from Onward: In Disneyland by the Fantasyland Theater
  • Dug & Russell from Up: In Disneyland by the Fantasyland Theater
  • Dug from Up (talking version!): In DCA behind Grizzy River Run/ around Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
  • Joy & Sadness from Inside Out: In DCA in the Pixar Pier Bandstand
  • Mr. & Mrs. Incredible: In DCA between the Hyperion Theater entrance and Hollywood Land
  • Various characters from Cars: In DCA in Cars Land
  • Frozone: In DCA near the Incredicoaster
  • Woody, Jessie, Buzz Lightyear, & Bo Peep: In DCA near Toy Story Midway Mania

Everything Else Pixar You Can Do During Pixar Fest

Lamplight Lounge DCA Window

While there are a lot of special Pixar offerings, don’t forget that the parks are pretty packed with Pixar as is. If you want to keep the Pixar theme going in your day, here are all the regular rides with Pixar characters you can experience – as well as the methods you can use to cut long lines for them.

Don’t forget about Pixar themed restaurants and other non-ride experiences as well, which I’ve listed as a bonus below.

In Disneyland park

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage in Disneyland
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (Genie+)
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
  • Bonus: Dine at Alien Pizza Planet, listen to the Dapper Dans mix in Pixar tunes to their set, look for Woody and Jessie in the last room of “it’s a small world.”

Related: Top Attractions in Disneyland to Ride with Toddlers and Preschoolers

In Disney California Adventure park

Toy Story Midway Mania Exterior in DCA Pixar Pier
  • Radiator Springs Racers (Paid Lightning Lane, Single Rider Line)
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
  • Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters
  • Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sully to the Rescue (Genie+, Buddy Pass)
  • Toy Story Midway Mania (Genie+)
  • Jessie’s Critter Carousel
  • Incredicoaster (Genie+, Single Rider Line)
  • Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind
  • Pixar Pal-A-Round
  • Turtle Talk with Crush
  • Bonus: Play the Pixar-themed games on the boardwalk at Pixar Pier, look for the the nod to A Bug’s Life and Bug’s Land in Avengers Campus, dine at Lamplight Lounge or Flo’s V8 Cafe, draw a Pixar character at Animation Academy, spin the giant Luxo Ball kugel fountain on Pixar Pier.

Related: Top Attractions in Disney California Adventure to Ride with Toddlers and Preschoolers

Pixar Place Hotel

Pixar Place Hotel Back Entrance

Last but certainly not least, guests can experience even more Pixar by staying at the Pixar Place Hotel. Formerly known as Paradise Pier, this hotel just underwent a massive renovation that completely transformed all the common areas and rooms.

I had the chance to stay at the hotel in February and toured it again this trip. I will be the first to admit that was a tough critic of Paradise Pier in its final years, but I think Pixar Place is a massive, massive upgrade.

The theming is on point and the rooms are very well-designed and spacious for families. Guests can meet both Joe Gardner from Soul and Bing Bong from Inside Out in the hotel’s common areas (usually in the afternoons).

Pixar Place Hotel Room

The hotel still isn’t as full service as the Grand Californian or the Disneyland Hotel (see my Grand Californian vs. Disneyland Hotel comparison), but it now has more of the amenities Disney guests will expect of a $400-500+ a night hotel.

The addition of the private back entrance into DCA (by Goofy’s Sky School) is a major improvement for its accessibility and walkability. A concierge lounge is also coming soon as well as part of the final stages of renovation.

I’ll have more details on the Pixar Place Hotel soon in a separate post, so stay tuned for that!

Final Pixar Fest Thoughts

Pixar Fest Sign on Disneyland Esplanade

When I first heard about Pixar Fest, I thought it was really just going to be superficial overlay meant to help promote a few summer movie releases and re-releases. If you were following social media before it started, you probably read some similar skepticism about the event.

Now that the event has launched, however, the skeptics have disappeared and the reviews have actually been very positive. I’d say this Pixar Fest is a more extensive celebration than the one that was offered in 2018 – and that one was already pretty solid.

The parade and nighttime spectacular are nothing game-changing but there are so many little extras in every nook and cranny of the park that it adds up to a lot. I’m especially excited about the food festival element and hope this will be a successful trial for expanded food festivals in DCA.

Pixar Fest Disneyland Ticket and Castle

I honestly did not expect the huge variety of offerings Disney and Pixar put together for the event. If you have just a couple of days, don’t try to do it all – you’ll be exhausted and will miss out on all the regular attractions and experiences! But if you work a few of the special offerings into your Disneyland day, it will definitely be worth your while.

Fair warning: it will probably also send you straight to Disney+ after your trip to watch a few Pixar movies again, as it did for me.

Where to Book Your Disneyland Vacation & Save Money!

Get Away Today Graphic Disneyland Summer 2024 Ticket Deal

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For park tickets, don’t purchase direct from Disney and pay more! Book discounted Disneyland park tickets from Get Away Today here. Tickets purchased now are valid through December 31, 2025. Both park hopper and single park per day tickets are available, as well as tickets that include Genie+.

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Current Get Away Today Specials & Deals:

  • Summer 2024 3 Day Ticket Deal: Super-discounted 3 day tickets valid for visits June 10 through September 26, 2024 (including on non-consecutive days). Choose weekday only or all days of the week as well as a 1 park-per-day or park hopper ticket. Prices start at $50/day per child and $83/day per adult. Normally this kind of a deal is available only to SoCal or California residents in summer, but this year it’s open to all!
  • Extra Day Free Tickets: Get 5 days at Disneyland for the price of 4 with this extra day free special for longer vacations.
  • 3rd or 4th Night Free: available at select Anaheim area hotels exclusively through Get Away Today bookings (can be combined with all ticket discounts).

Disclosure: Disneyland and Get Away Today hosted me during my visit to Pixar Fest in 2024, providing tickets, accommodations, and food. My family regularly visits Disneyland other times at our own expense. All opinions are my own.

The ultimate guide with insider tips for Disneyland's Pixar Fest in summer 2024.

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David

Tuesday 29th of May 2018

Very detailed and useful information.

Cindy Chamberlain

Tuesday 24th of April 2018

Hello - we are planning our first Disneyland trip, for our Disney crazy family of 4, after MANY trips to Walt Disney World. (We live in KY). We are planning to be there June 26-July 1st. These were listed on several sites and crowd calendars as lower crowd days. Now with Pixar Pier opening on June 23rd I'm guessing the crowds will be HUGE?? This is a once in a lifetime trip for us (since CA is so far away and airfare is outrageous). Is is silly for us to come now? We wanted to be able to do most everything in both parks since this is our one and only trip (or at least while the kids are little). Should we reschedule for next summer?

Tuesday 17th of April 2018

So helpful