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What Is Pixar Fest At Disneyland? It’s Giving “Summer Vacation”

Coco, Monsters, Inc., Turning Red... Disneyland’s biggest festival yet stars your favorite Pixar characters.

by Carly Caramanna
Mike and Sully from Monsters, Inc., during the "Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration!" parade i...
MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Few people have been immune to Pixar fever in recent years — and if I’m being brutally honest, I can’t get enough. From Luca's all-too-relatable coming-of-age journey to the heartfelt themes of family throughout Coco, it's no wonder these binge-worthy movies are irresistible pieces of cinema that continue to captivate us.

And now, all can rejoice in the imaginative worlds brought to life by Pixar Animation Studios at Disneyland Resort's Pixar Fest. Returning for the first time since 2018, it’s bigger (there’s Mei Panda) and better (new parade) than ever, taking over the entire resort.

From Up-inspired bites to never-before-seen character meet-and-greets (Hi, Luca!), I’m breaking down everything you need to know about Pixar Fest because "adventure is out thereeee!"

What is Pixar Fest?

Pixar Fest is happening now through Aug. 4, 2024, at the Disneyland Resort. The event draws inspiration from Pixar’s themes of friendship, family, and beyond to celebrate these beloved stories and characters through limited-time entertainment, shows, décor, and themed foods and beverages.

Unlike Disneyland’s after-hours events, Pixar Fest is included in standard theme park admission, with elements found throughout both theme parks, Downtown Disney, and its on-site resorts.

Here's a breakdown of the festival's biggest highlights.

Characters Galore

Easily the heartbeat of Pixar Fest is the vast number of exclusive characters represented, including new-to-park Luca and Alberto from Luca, long-time favorites Mike and Sulley from Monsters, Inc., and much more. These are depicted in traditional character meet-and-greets and during a limited-run parade.

The festival also offers the special opportunity to meet the highly anticipated mother-daughter character duo of Meilin and Ming Lee from Turning Red.

Pixar Pals Playtime Party

Pixar Pals Playtime Party serves as the hub of the festival within Disneyland Park. Taking over the Fantasyland Theatre, it’s all things Pixar through immersive photo opportunities, crafts, characters, and a stage production.

Undoubtedly, the highlight is brushing shoulders with your favorite characters, who pose for photos and take center stage in a lively, high-energy dance party. There’s even love for Pixar’s most underrated movie, Onward, in the form of an elaborate photo set-up complete with a full-sized Guinevere.

Limited-Time Fireworks

There’s no better Disney *kiss goodnight* than ending the day with fireworks, and “Together Forever — A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular” is a festival must. Creatives doubled down on the previous version of this show, which combines memorable music with immersive projections, pyrotechnics, and the latest technologies kicked up a notch with greater detailing and enhanced fireworks.

Can’t-miss moments include Buzz Lightyear soaring through the air and the addition of recent Pixar films, like Elemental and Soul. All in all, it’s worth dragging around your weary body for just a little while longer.

A Brand-New Parade

“Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration” is the festival’s brand-new daytime parade. Pixar’s films are represented through dynamic floats, including Turning Red with everyone’s favorite fictional boy band, 4*Town. The parade takes the streets of Disney California Adventure Park twice each day and features an original soundtrack that is pure ear candy.

For the best seats in the house, an add-on dessert party will satisfy your sweet tooth, offering unlimited bites and front-row reserved seating.

Club Pixar

As the sun sets on Disney California Adventure Park, Club Pixar offers a different twist on the animation experience with a DJ dance party, performances, and more offerings suitable for the entire family. The atmosphere is reminiscent of a backyard party with games like cornhole and, my favorite part, a simulated “drive-in” where you can relax in replica retro cars and gawk at a jumbo screen playing Pixar shorts.

Fun (and Flavorful!) Food

The Mouse pulled out all the stops for Pixar Fest when it came to food. There are dozens of bites and sips to ensure you don’t turn into Inside Out’s Anger. And all the festival fun found on the fork is just as colorful as the very films they are influenced by, like an Up-inspired “Adventure Is Out There” sundae. Those with plant-based diets can find Impossible meat-alternative options across menus.

Disney California Adventure Park has also added themed marketplaces for a film-inspired food festival. My favorite offering, a French camembert-topped vegetable pizzette, can be found at the Ratatouille-inspired Gusteau’s To-Go.

Why should you visit?

As a frequent Disneyland visitor and a habitual returner to its after-hours parties (which can cost upwards of $1,000 for a family), I love that this festival feels like those highly themed events but with the bonus of being included in standard tickets. And it really delivers, with an unprecedented depth of offerings, from entertainment to rare characters, bringing renewed energy to the parks.

If you do plan to travel to Disneyland during Pixar Fest, which I highly recommend, here are a few tips for navigating the festival:

  • You can find characters all over the festival, so check the Disneyland App for the most up-to-date locations and times.
  • You can view fireworks from many places throughout Disneyland Park, including near It's a Small World and along Main Street, U.S.A. Plot your spot well in advance, as the most popular spaces typically fill up 45 minutes ahead.
  • Mobile ordering will significantly cut down on wait times for food and prevent any hanger-induced meltdowns.
  • The parade occurs twice daily, with the crowds typically heading in droves to the first.
  • Regular park admission includes everything except food and beverages, which you can purchase a la carte.

Bottom line? If any of the Pixar films have tugged at your heartstrings (in which case, same), Pixar Fest is worth a visit.