New Better Together Parade & Pixar Fest at Disneyland in 2024!

Disney has announced several events coming to Disneyland and California Adventure in 2024, the highlight of which is the return of Pixar Fest and the debut of an all-new daytime parade. This post shares the dates, details, and our commentary about this seasonal special event.

For starters, Pixar Fest will return to Disneyland Resort from April 26, 2024 through August 4, 2024. The special event was previously held in 2018, kicking off in mid-April and running until right before the start of Halloween Time at Disneyland in early September. That sort of occurred in phases, getting a second-wind in June with the opening of Pixar Pier and addition of a new float in Paint the Night.

According to Disneyland, Pixar Fest will bring us all together for a celebration of friendship and beyond. From colorful décor and themed menu items to commemorative merchandise, the Disneyland Resort theme parks, hotels and Downtown Disney District will have a Pixar twist of friendly fun for a limited time.

This festival of friendship is highlighted by heartwarming entertainment featuring Pixar stories. An all-new daytime parade called “Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration!” will debut at Disney California Adventure.

Here’s concept art for the upcoming “Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration!” DCA daytime parade:

That’s not all. Over at Disneyland, the emotional “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular” returns with some all-new scenes. Since these fireworks were last shown in 2018, it’s likely this means the releases since then–basically, Onward and on. (Minus Lightyear, I’m guessing. But Buzz is already in the fireworks, anyway.)

During the celebration, you may also encounter new characters such as Ember and Wade from “Elemental,” Red Panda Mei from “Turning Red” and more. Additional entertainment and offerings will be announced at a later date.

Turning to commentary, this is all great news.

We’ve been holding out hope that Disneyland would announce a big summer of entertainment for 2024, and this is that. Pixar Fest is not exactly what was on our wish list, but the idea is precisely on point.

Personally, I’m really happy to see “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular” return. That short-lived fireworks show was really good, and I became a big fan of it. (Admittedly, I wasn’t initially keen on the idea of a Pixar production on Main Street in Walt Disney’s original magic kingdom, but I quickly warmed to it after actually seeing the show. It’s also, like, ten times better than Mickey’s Mix Magic.)

I’m also looking forward to new scenes in Together Forever, so long as they’re better-paced than what was in Disney Enchantment from those films. Oh, and don’t cut out or even condense the Coco segment!

In general, I like how Disneyland rotates out its fireworks shows and brings back ones that have been seemingly lost to history. While discussing the (potential) return of Wondrous Journeys last month, we noted that Disneyland practically invented the “McRib Playbook” and routinely rotates an assortment of nighttime spectaculars and other entertainment.

Even right now, we have literally no clue which fireworks show will return there in January 2024. Wondrous Journeys would seem to be the odds-on favorite given its popularity, but everything from Mickey’s Mix Magic to Disneyland Forever are equally plausible. Heck, if they announced the return of Believe, Magical, or Together Forever, it wouldn’t be that surprising. (You can now remove Together Forever from that last sentence, as it’s coming back for Pixar Fest.)

As for the “Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration!” daytime parade, this is also good news.

Disney California Adventure hasn’t had a daytime parade (or any parade) in a while–since the last Pixar Fest, if memory serves me correctly. During that, the long-running Pixar Play Parade moved from DCA over to Disneyland, and Paint the Night debuted at Disney California Adventure with a new Incredibles float.

Since then, DCA has done processionals, cavalcades, and the Halloween hard ticket parade, but nothing fully-fledged during normal operating hours. The assumption has been that the festival food booths along the performance corridor make it difficult or impossible to do both, which I’m guessing is accurate given that “Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration!” doesn’t start until DCA’s Food & Wine Festival ends.

It was difficult to be upset about the lack of a daytime parade previously, as DCA’s festivals are fantastic. Not only that, but the ‘missing’ parade was Pixar Play Parade, and it had been around for what felt like forever. Regardless, it’s great that Disney California Adventure will have more major entertainment aside from World of Color. There’s been an imbalance for a while, with Disneyland having far more, and this should help tip the scales a bit.

Finally, there’s this tidbit in the press release: “Additional entertainment and offerings will be announced at a later date.”

Perhaps I’m eternally optimistic and/or stupid for never learning my lesson, but this leaves the door open for Paint the Night Parade. I know, I know…it probably won’t happen. But night parades have been Disneyland Resort’s “break glass in case of emergency” go-tos for a while, and with the exhaustion of pent-up demand likely becoming more of an issue in 2024, it seems at least possible. 

It wouldn’t surprise me if a decision has not yet been made on Paint the Night, and they’re waiting to see how attendance shapes up early in 2024, what projections look like for summer, or if there’s sufficient staffing for another parade. (That last one has been an impediment for the last few years.)

My guess is that Pixar Fest as a whole is motivated by Disneyland Resort expecting pent-up demand to die down. With it lagging in the California parks, Disneyland could’ve seen this year at Walt Disney World as a cautionary tale, and wanted to avoid having similar issues. Regardless of the reason, it’s great to have a summer season ‘event’ and hopefully whatever else is announced, whether it be Paint the Night or smaller scale stuff, further enhances the entertainment slate. We can’t wait!

Planning a Southern California vacation? For park admission deals, read Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets. Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and many other SoCal cities!

Your Thoughts

What do you think of Pixar Fest returning? Excited to see the “Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration!” daytime parade at DCA or “Together Forever” fireworks at Disneyland? Wish this were a different seasonal event, or happy with Pixar? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

6 Responses to “New Better Together Parade & Pixar Fest at Disneyland in 2024!”
  1. Judy B Taylor December 5, 2023
  2. Will December 4, 2023
    • Tom Bricker December 5, 2023
  3. David Z December 4, 2023
    • Tom Bricker December 4, 2023
  4. Chris December 4, 2023

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