The Ultimate Guide to Disneyland’s Pixar Fest and the Pixar Place Hotel

The Ultimate Guide to Disneyland’s Pixar Fest and the Pixar Place Hotel

Calling all Pixar fans. Pixar characters and attractions have a major presence at the Disneyland Resort year round, but during Pixar Fest, you could say the House of Mouse doubles as the Palace of Pixar. Returning for the first time since 2018, the limited-time celebration, included with regular park admission, introduces a new parade, updated fireworks, lots of new characters, limited-time themed dishes and drinks, and some very special hidden surprises — 50, to be exact. 

Pixar Fest
Photo: Brooke McDonald

What to Do and See at Pixar Fest

Pixar Fest’s marquee entertainment offerings are split between Disney California Adventure Park and Disneyland Park, with additional decor, photo ops and specialty foods extending into the Downtown Disney District. To experience all of Pixar Fest’s top must-dos, you’ll need to visit both theme parks with either a park hopper ticket or one-park tickets on two separate days. 

Pixar Fest Dug
Photo: Brooke McDonald

Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration! 

This new daytime parade at Disney California Adventure features a catchy new theme song and more than two dozen Pixar characters — the most ever represented in a single parade, according to Disneyland show director Robin Trowbridge. 

The parade is “an invitation to celebrate friendship — and beyond,” Trowbridge said during a panel presentation to media. “We’ve learned from our Pixar pals that friends will accept us or help lift us up no matter what we’re going through, no matter what stages we are in life, and we love that message.”

Three new floats spotlight recent Pixar films. Red Panda Mei tops the “Turning Red” float, performing “Nobody Like You” alongside 4*Town, friends, and even her dad in his cardboard red panda costume. 

Red Panda Mei Disneyland
Photo: Brooke McDonald

Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration! 

On the Luca float, Alberto and Luca splash half underwater while Giulia pedals above. And on a float celebrating Soul, Joe Gardner and 22 have found that spark. 

Pro tip: For the perfect Pixar view, try snagging a spot with your back to The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, facing the Pixar Pal-A-Round Ferris wheel.

Club Pixar

Also at Disney California Adventure, Pixar Fest takes over the Hollywood Backlot with photo ops and characters during the day, like Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, who are meeting in their original, retro supersuits. In the late afternoon and evening, from 4:30 to 6:30, the space comes alive with neon lights and music from a live DJ. Onstage performance sets featuring iconic scenes from PIxar films like Toy Story, Inside Out, and Monsters University are shown on a screen then “retold” through interpretive dance (often getting the crowd involved). 

Photo: Brooke McDonald

Nearby, the Pixar Shorts Stop Drive-in Theater shows Pixar short films on the big screen, with rows of seating disguised as vintage cars parked for a night at the movies. On either side of the drive-in, guests can play free Pixar-themed takes on games like cornhole and tic tac toe.  

 

Pro tip: Try to time your visit to the Hollywood Backlot with a ride on Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!

Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular

This Pixar-themed nighttime show returns to Disneyland Park with fireworks on most nights during the show’s run.

Photo: Richard Harbaugh/Disneyland Resort
The big wow moments from the original 2018 show have returned — Buzz Lightyear soars through the sky above Sleeping Beauty Castle; Carl and Ellie’s house from Up floats through the air; and giant characters from Coco tower above the buildings lining Main Street, USA. 
Pixar Fest Coco Disneyland
Photo: Michael Owen Baker/Disneyland Resort
The show has also been updated with new scenes and animation from Pixar’s recent films to showcase every Pixar film to date, adding 17 new characters to the previous 59 from the original show. 
“Everything that you remember and loved about the previous version of the show has only been enhanced,” said KC Wilkerson, principal media designer for Disneyland Live Entertainment and show director for Together Forever. Rather than add characters from the newer films to the existing show, Wilkerson said they decided to “break the show apart” and add characters and music from the new films, including Soul, Onward, Turning Red, and Luca, to the “appropriate chapters.”
Pixar Fest Turning Red
Photo: Richard Harbaugh/Disneyland Resort

Pro Tip: The best views of Together Forever are definitely from Main Street, USA, and in the hub in front of the castle, but to avoid the worst of the crowds, try either of two alternate locations — along Rivers of America or in front of the “it’s a small world” facade. If you watch at “it’s a small world,” keep your eyes peeled — there are six hidden Mickeys concealed among the projections. 

PIxar Pals Playtime Party

The name sounds like this spot is just for kids, but the Pixar Playtime Party, which runs from 11:45am to 5:30pm in Disneyland Park’s Fantasyland Theatre is surprisingly fun for all ages. There are photo ops from films like Monsters, Inc., Cars, and A Bugs Life, and heavily themed spots to meet characters, some of whom are debuting for the very first time at Pixar Fest, like Ember and Wade from Elemental and Luca and Alberto from Luca. You can also meet Ian and Barley from Onward, Russell and Dug from Up, and Merida from Brave.  

Onstage, Pixar shorts rotate with live, interactive performances from a steady stream of Pixar Pals, like Woody and Jessie and Mr. and Mrs. Incredible and Frozone, who engage the crowd in their high-energy dance party — with one notable exception, Sadness from Inside Out. Poor Sadness really gives it her all up there, but there is just no amount of encouragement from Joy and the rest of her friends that can make Sadness look like she’s having fun — and you’ll just want to give her a big hug. 

Joy and Sadness Pixar Fest
Photo: Brooke McDonald

Pro tip: Specific times for different character appearances aren’t listed for the Pixar Pals Playtime Party, so if you have any must-see characters, you might need to hang around for a bit to catch them. Maximize your time by pairing this experience with snack time and grab a Pixar-themed snack from Troubadour Tavern, adjacent to the Fantasyland Theatre. You can bring your food into the theater and keep an eye out for your favorite characters while you eat. 

Ian And Barley Pixar Fest
Photo: Brooke McDonald

A Special Character Debut — Plus Even More Pixar Characters to Meet 

In addition to meeting in Disneyland Park during the Pixar Pals Playtime Party, Dug is also appearing in the Grizzly Peak area at Disney California Adventure. But here, for the first time ever, Dug talks!

There are a few more spots around Disney California where you can meet even more Pixar characters. Find friends from Toy Story, Inside Out, and The Incredibles at locations along Pixar Pier. Pixar Pier is also home to several of the park’s Pixar-themed rides: Toy Story Midway Mania!, Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind, Incredicoaster, and the Pixar Pal-A-Round. 

Cars Land Disney California Adventure
Photo: Brooke McDonald

In nearby Cars Land, which feels like stepping into Cars and strolling through the Radiator Springs, you can meet Lightning McQueen, Mater, and Red the Fire Truck. Cars Land is also home to three of Disneyland’s Pixar-themed attractions — Radiator Springs Racers, one of the best rides at any domestic Disney park, Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters, and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. 

Toy Story Alien Macaron Pixar Fest
Photo: Brooke McDonald

Just Keep Eating

During Pixar Fest, you’ll find Pixar-themed foods, drinks and treats added to menus across the resort. And good things come to foodies who wait because May 10 brings six new marketplaces, each inspired by a different Pixar film, with cleverly named, colorful dishes like Mood Swing, a half-and-half portion of Joyful Yellow Comforting Mac & Cheese and Angry Red Hot Mac & Cheese, served at Inside Out-inspired Hanger Management; and the Kol Nut Whoopie Cookie Pie at Elemental Table, inspired by Elemental.

Kol Nut Whoopie Cookie Pie Elemental Pixar Fest
Photo: Brooke McDonald

Pro tip: In addition to the limited-time festival dishes, there are numerous Pixar-themed restaurants open year round. Table-service restaurant Lamplight Lounge at Disney California Adventure isn’t just my favorite Pixar-themed restaurant, it’s my favorite restaurant at Disneyland. Honorable mention goes to Flo’s V8 Cafe, a quick-service Route 66-inspired diner with outdoor seating overlooking Radiator Springs Racers cars zooming through Ornament Valley.

Souvenir Snack Vessels

Souvenir popcorn buckets are nothing new at Disney parks, but recently, the designs have leveled up to infinity and beyond. Several souvenir popcorn buckets debuted for Pixar Fest, including a Pizza Planet truck that fully doubles as a toy with a removable alien, lights, and a pullback function to make it move on its own.

Pizza Planet popcorn bucket
Photo: Brooke McDonald

There’s also a talking Dug bucket that’s exclusive to Disneyland Magic Key (aka annual pass) holders and a Coco guitar bucket with strings you can actually play. 

Coco Pixar Fest
Photo: Brooke McDonald

Plus your Pixar sipping with character straw clips like Panda Mei, the Pixar Ball and Lamp, and an Alien Macaron. There are also Coco, Slinky Dog, and Pixar Ball sippers, Pixar Fest tumblers, and more.

A Toy Story Treasure Hunt: Find the Hidden Pizza Planet Trucks

Pixar films are packed with Easter eggs, aka hidden references, and among the most famous are Pizza Planet trucks. First introduced in Toy Story, a Pizza Planet Truck has appeared in nearly every Pixar film. 

Inspired by that fun fact, Pixar Fest has introduced its own collection of 50 hidden Pizza Planet Trucks. These popcorn bucket-sized trucks are each meticulously themed to the location where they’re cleverly hidden around Disneyland Resort. We won’t give their locations away, but we found some hidden throughout Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and Downtown Disney District. 

Baby Yoda hidden truck
Photo: Brooke McDonald

Multiple Merchandise Collections

It wouldn’t be a Disney festival without plenty of shopportunities, and Pixar Fest, featuring both fest- and film-focused collections, is no exception. The Pixar Fest collection stars the iconic Pixar Ball and a colorful collection of some of the most popular characters including Panda Mei, Joy and Sadness, and Mike and Sulley. 

Pixar Fest Merchandise
Photo: Brooke McDonald

The Wilderness Explorer Collection, inspired by Up, has some more neutral pieces I love, like an olive green sweatshirt and bucket hat. 

Back to the bright stuff, the Pixar Painted Collection is colorful and artsy. 

And lastly, Toy Story gets plenty of love with its own broader Toy Story collection, plus a Pizza Planet collection with a backpack, jersey, hat, shirts, and tumbler. 

If you can’t make it to Pixar Fest in time to shop, several pieces from some of the collections are available online at Disney Store. And for another go-to site for Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel merch, RSVLTS makes a range of fandom-themed shirts, shorts, hoodies, hats, and more for adults and kids. Among their newest releases, a collection of seersucker shirts and shorts themed to five favorite Pixar films was just released in sizes for men, women, and kids. 

Where to Stay: Pixar Place Hotel

Pixar Place Hotel
Photo: Brooke McDonald

Disneyland Resort has several official hotels — each just a quick walk from the theme parks and the Downtown Disney District — but for the full Pixar experience, the choice is clear. Pixar Place Hotel, a total transformation of Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, opened on Jan. 30, 2024. The reimagined hotel received a full thematic overhaul, injecting Pixar’s vibrant, playful ambiance and colorful characters into every corner of the hotel.

A “living gallery” of Pixar animation, the hotel celebrates every stage of the creative process. A large-scale installation of the iconic Pixar Lamp and Ball greet guests in the lobby, which is filled with representations of characters in various forms — from a whimsical mobile overhead, to sketches along the walls, to maquettes in glass cases — showcasing different stages of the creative process. 

In the afternoons and evenings in an alcove just off the lobby, Joe Gardner, from Pixar’s Soul, chats with guests while playing jazz on the piano. When Joe isn’t playing, the lobby is filled with the sounds of a custom soundtrack of chilled-out, modern versions of Pixar tunes. 

Pixar Place Hotel Joe Gardner Soul
Photo: Brooke McDonald

You might even see Bing Bong, Riley’s pink, elephant-like Imaginary friend from Inside Out. He roams the lobby and third-floor recreation deck during the day. If you see him, be sure to say hello — he’s exclusive to the Pixar Place Hotel. 

Pops of Pixar’s primary blue, yellow, and red accent the sleek, modern guest rooms — unrecognizable to those who remember their former Paradise Pier state. A headboard mural celebrates beloved Pixar films and characters and a Luxo Jr.-inspired desk lamp and Pixar Ball motifs on the sheets celebrate the studio that brought them to life. 

Pixar Place Hotel Guest Room
Photo: Brooke McDonald

Outside on the third-floor pool and recreation deck, Finding Nemo and Finding Dory lend their theming to the pool and splash pad and the Pixar Shorts Court, with games like “Bao” Toss and “La Luna”-inspired shuffleboard, offers some dry fun. 

Recently opened Small Bytes pool bar serves salads, sandwiches, snacks and signature cocktails, with a full bar taking care of the rest.

Character-themed fire pits help fight off the SoCal evening chill, and a large seating area in front of a fireplace offers a spacious place to watch Disneyland’s fireworks, accompanied by the show soundtrack.

Anger Fire Pit
Photo: Brooke McDonald

Located on Disneyland Drive, across from Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Pixar Place Hotel is optimally positioned for access to Disney California Adventure, with Pixar Place Hotel guests even getting their own exclusive park entrance and security checkpoint.

Get more information and book your stay at Pixar Place Hotel at Disneyland.com.

Save on Disneyland Tickets and Hotels With New 2024 Summer Deal

On sale May 29, 2024, a three-day, one park per day ticket for Monday through Thursday visits from June 10 through Sept. 28, 2024 starts at $249 for adults and $149 for kids (ages 3– 9). Tickets including any day admission, including weekends, start at $299 for adults and $199 for kids. 

Now this deal won’t get you the Pixar Place hotel, but for stays June 10 – Sept. 26, 2024, you can save up to 25% on select stays of four nights or longer at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the Disneyland Hotel or The Villas at Disneyland Hotel or up to 20% Sunday – Thursday with no minimum night stay. Discounted rates can be reserved May 29 – Sept. 12, 2024, pending availability and restrictions. 

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