Pixar Fest at Disneyland: Everything You Need to Know Before You Go

by | Mar 13, 2024 | Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland, Disneyland Parks

Find out what’s in store during Pixar Fest, a celebration of beloved characters and stories taking place across Disneyland Resort with a whole host of special, limited-time offerings.

If you adore Pixar movies like we do, you’re going to want to plan a visit to Disneyland Resort during Pixar Fest! After a years-long hiatus, Pixar Fest is returning to celebrate all of the amazing animated films we know and love from Pixar Animation Studios –– and it’s a fantastic opportunity to explore new entertainment, new food and drinks, new merchandise, and so much more.

What’s in store for Pixar Fest in 2024? Here’s a look at what you can expect if you’re headed to Pixar Fest at Disneyland Resort, including information about all of the newness coming to the theme parks, resort hotels, and Downtown Disney.

What is Pixar Fest?

Pixar Fest is more than just a celebration of all of the characters, films, and incredible artwork that Pixar Studios is known for. It’s also meant to be an event that brings guests together to celebrate friendship and connection. During Pixar Fest, all areas within Disneyland Resort will come together to commemorate the stories that connect us, with colorful decor, exciting new offerings, and plenty of fun Pixar-inspired touches everywhere you turn. 

The first Pixar Fest opened in April 2018 and was timed to coincide with the opening of the reimagined Pixar Pier at California Adventure, running from April to August. However, after this initial run, Pixar Fest was put on pause and did not return as an annual event in the parks (though at-home celebrations did occur in 2020 and 2021).

That’s changing in 2024, however –– Pixar Fest is back, and it’s bigger than ever! Pixar Fest will take place from April 26 to August 4, 2024. The celebration will take place across both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, and you can expect the event to cover much of the resort when it gets underway.

What to Expect During Pixar Fest at Disneyland

Pixar Fest new sculpture for 2024

Pixar Fest will feature an all-new sculpture with pals like Woody and Buzz that guests will be able to snap a photo in front of at Main Street, U.S.A., in Disneyland Park when the celebration begins. (Artist Concept/Disneyland Resort)

Whether you’ve never been to Pixar Fest before or simply want to plan your day in advance, we’re sharing all of the details about what you can expect during Pixar Fest below. From must-try food and drinks to exclusive merchandise to exciting entertainment, there will be so much to explore and experience! 

Plenty of New Pixar-Themed Decor

Like any festival or celebration that takes place at Disneyland Resort, Pixar Fest will kick off with incredible themed decor. You can expect bright, colorful decor that’s designed to reflect different Pixar characters and stories, from the beloved toys of Toy Story to the memorable sea life of Finding Nemo to more recent sensations like Turning Red

One of the centerpieces of the Pixar Fest decor will be a brand-new sculpture that features some of the most iconic film characters. This sculpture, which will sit right at the start of Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland Park, will contain the likenesses of pals like Woody and Buzz, Nemo and Dory, and Wall-E and Eve. It’ll be the perfect place to kick off the celebration (and snap some photos!) when you arrive.

A New Daytime Pixar Parade

Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration Parade

In the new “Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration!” parade, dynamic and colorful floats will make their way through Disney California Adventure Park. (Artist Concept/Disneyland Resort)

At California Adventure, a brand-new Pixar-themed parade will make its way down the Performance Corridor –– and it’s going to be one of the can’t-miss centerpieces of Pixar Fest! This new parade, called “Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration!” will captivate audiences with the famed friends we all adore from films old and new, like Mei Lee in her red panda form and her friends from Turning Red; Luca, Alberto, and Giulia from Luca hanging out in Portorosso; and Joe Gardner and 22 from Soul. Plus, with more than two dozen Pixar characters in total, including appearances during the parade’s finale from the beloved characters from Toy Story, Coco, Monsters, Inc., and The Incredibles, you’re sure to see your favorite films featured!

“Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration!” will run twice each day during Pixar Fest, giving guests plenty of opportunities to catch this festive, high-energy parade.

The Return of “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular”

Pixar Fest at Disneyland, Together Forever fireworks show

“Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular” will return with some all-new scenes for Pixar Fest in 2024. (Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)

If you happened to catch “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular” during the first Pixar Fest back in 2018, you’ll be thrilled that this incredible show is returning to the skies above Disneyland Park! The show features a combination of fireworks and projections, which transform Sleeping Beauty Castle into a display of some of Pixar’s most heartwarming moments (yes, the ones that might make you cry!).

But it won’t be exactly the same as the original version. “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular” is getting an update, with all-new scenes added to include new stories and characters. While you’ll still be able to watch the most iconic moments from the original run, like Miguel strumming his guitar and Carl and Ellie’s house floating over Sleeping Beauty Castle, you’ll also see entirely new scenes that capture Pixar films like never before. One of the most exciting additions? A scene from Turning Red featuring Mei Lee and her friends. 

Other more recent Pixar movies, like OnwardSoulLuca, and Elemental will also be represented during “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular.” Plus, you’ll have more viewing opportunities in 2024! While you can catch the show on Main Street, U.S.A., there will also be music, projections, and even lasers to accompany the show in viewing spots along the Rivers of America and across the facade of “it’s a small world.”

Oh, and don’t forget to wear your MagicBand+ during the show! As “Together Forever” takes place, your MagicBand+ will come to life with lights and vibrations that are perfectly synced to the music.

Special Character Encounters

Characters for Pixar Fest at Disney California Adventure and Disneyland

During Pixar Fest, guests will be able to meet many characters from Pixar stories, including friends like Joy and Sadness from Disney and Pixar’s Inside Out. (Disneyland Resort)

One of the most exciting elements of Pixar Fest will be seeing your favorite characters come to life right in Disneyland and California Adventure. You can expect characters like Woody and Jessie, Russell and Dug, and other Pixar faces who regularly pop in for appearances at California Adventure to likely be out and about. But there are sure to be surprises during the celebration… including some appearances or encounters with new characters, like Ember and Wade from Elemental.

Of course, don’t forget to pop over to the newly reimaged Pixar Place Hotel! Here, you’ll find a few special characters available for guests to meet, including Bing Bong from Inside Out and Joe from Soul (who actually might play some tunes in the lobby during your visit!). 

The First-Ever Club Pixar

Club Pixar during Pixar Fest at Disney California Adventure Park

Club Pixar will take over the Hollywood Backlot in Disney California Adventure Park for a nighttime party each evening inspired by the amazing stories from Pixar Animation Studios. (Artist Concept/Disneyland Resort)

Over at California Adventure, you won’t want to miss a special experience that’ll transform Hollywood Land’s Hollywood Backlot into a total festival of fun! The first-ever Club Pixar is coming to the theme park, featuring Pixar-themed photo backdrops, games, and even some special character encounters –– plus a vibrant, music-filled nighttime party.

During the day, you can stop by the Hollywood Backlot for some Pixar fun in the form of photos, games, and character meet and greets. At night, the area will transform into Club Pixar, a lively nighttime party that includes an interactive DJ dance party, live performances, games, photo opportunities, and some specially-themed food and crafted beverages to enjoy.

A New Stage Show Starring Pixar Pals

Pixar Pals Playtime Party at Disneyland Park

At the Pixar Pals Playtime Party at Fantasyland Theatre at Disneyland Park, guests will be able to get into the groove at a high-energy show, enjoy interactive games, photo locations and activities inspired by Pixar feature films, and even watch a selection of iconic shorts on the big screen during Pixar Fest, from April 26-Aug. 4, 2024 at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. (Artist Concept/Disneyland Resort)

Disneyland’s Fantasyland Theatre will welcome a brand-new stage show just for Pixar Fest: the Pixar Pals Playtime Party. This daytime show is family-friendly, and it’ll get guests of every age up on their feet to dance during each high-energy performance!

Pixar Pals Playtime Party will feature some of those beloved Pixar characters, combining their appearances with interactive games, photo locations, and exciting activities inspired by the movies they appear in. Plus, guests will have the chance to watch a selection of Pixar’s iconic short films on the big screen!

Exclusive Themed Food and Merchandise

Pixar Fest exclusive food, Pixar Cake

The colorful Pixar Fest Cake will be available during Pixar Fest at Plaza Inn at Disneyland Park. (David Nguyen/Disneyland Resort)

Lastly, you don’t want to miss the Pixar Fest exclusive food, drinks, and merchandise! Like with every big event at Disneyland Resort, there’s sure to be a wide selection of specially-themed items on the menus of both table service and quick-service restaurants throughout the parks, Downtown Disney, and the resort hotels. Popular items from the previous Pixar Fest will return, including the iconic Pixar Fest cake from Disneyland’s Plaza Inn!

Additionally, Troubadour Tavern and Paradise Garden Grill will both offer Pixar-inspired menu items. While the Troubadour Tavern menu will feature a mix of Pixar items, Paradise Garden Grill will offer a special selection of Coco-themed foods and drinks.

And partway through Pixar Fest, there will be an extra-exciting addition: six Pixar-themed marketplaces at California Adventure! These marketplaces will each celebrate a unique Pixar film, and the menu items offered will be designed to transport you right into the worlds of the movies you love. Here’s a sneak peek at the 2024 marketplaces and themes:

  • Summertime dishes inspired by the Italian coast at Portorosso Pasta (inspired by Luca)
  • Reimagined classics at Gusteau’s To-Go (inspired by Ratatouille)
  • A playful mélange of elements at The Elemental Table (inspired by Elemental)
  • Fun foods perfect for a tween boy band at 4*Town Fav*4*ites (inspired by Turning Red)
  • Feel-good foods that feed your soul at The Spark (inspired by Soul)
  • Flavors to appeal to all of your emotions at Hanger Management (inspired by Inside Out)

We also know there will be must-have merchandise themed after both the celebration and your favorite Pixar characters! You’ll be able to purchase some super fun novelties, like a brand-new Pizza Planet truck popcorn bucket –– and more items that’ll be revealed as the festival draws closer.

In stores throughout Disneyland Resort, you’ll also be able to shop all-new merchandise collections. Pixar Fest merchandise will actually start to arrive at Disneyland ahead of the festival, meaning you can start shopping now. You’ll find items themed after plenty of Pixar stories, from Pizza Planet baseball caps to Mike Wazowski sweatshirts. Starting right now, you can shop Toy Story themed merch –– and come early April, you’ll also be able to shop the Wilderness Explorer collection inspired by Up for some Pixar fun.

When the celebration officially kicks off in April, exclusive merch will also arrive to commemorate the occasion. The new Pixar Fest Collection will include must-haves like a Pixar Fest Spirit Jersey, hoodies, baseball and bucket hats, a new mug and water bottle, and more. You can shop the collection at Disneyland Resort hotels, both theme parks, and Downtown Disney.

Oh, and keep an eye out for medallions themed to each of your favorite Pixar films throughout Disneyland Resort. These limited-time medallions are collectibles that Pixar fans will love, whether you’re a fan of classics like a Bug’s Life or newer releases like Lightyear.

Does Pixar Fest Require a Separate Ticket?

Any guest who has a theme park ticket or Magic Key pass (and an accompanying park reservation) can attend Pixar Fest. It may be a special celebration, but it’s open to everyone! You won’t need to purchase a separate or special event ticket to experience all of the exciting Pixar-themed offerings. 

Will Pixar Fest Be Crowded?

Because Pixar Fest is scheduled to take place in late spring and throughout the summer, it’ll be held during some of the busiest months of the year. Disneyland crowds tend to peak in the summer, with increasing numbers of visitors headed to the theme parks and resort hotels from mid-May through late August. 

You should expect both Disneyland and California Adventure to see crowds throughout Pixar Fest. Weekends will likely be the most crowded days of the week, but when schools are out for summer vacation –– at the end of May through mid-August –– you can also expect crowds on weekdays. 

Additionally, you’ll want to check Disneyland Resort’s event calendar before you visit. There are numerous events taking place at the same time, meaning crowd levels will likely be higher when both Pixar Fest and other events are occurring on the same days. Here’s a look at some of the events that’ll be happening concurrently:

  • Season of the Force: This Star Wars event will take place at Disneyland Park from April 5 to June 2, 2024
  • Disneyland After Dark events: Numerous Star Wars Nite events are scheduled in April and May, overlapping with Pixar Fest (and on these nights, Disneyland Park will close early)
  • Grad Nite: Local schools will descend on Disneyland Resort to celebrate their graduations during both the day and night on select Grad Nite dates in May and June (and on some evenings, California Adventure will close early)

If you’re hoping to see the lowest crowd levels, you’ll want to plan your visit around these dates (and don’t forget to keep Magic Key blockout dates in mind, too!).

Posts by Heather Adams

Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.

Authored by
Heather Adams

Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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