Guide to Pixar Fest 2024

Pixar Fest is the spring and summer celebration featuring fireworks, a brand-new daytime parade, dance parties, and other entertainment–plus seasonal snacks, exclusive merchandise and more. This guide covers everything you need to know about the 2024 special event at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

For starters, Pixar Fest will return to Disneyland Resort from April 26 through August 4, 2024. It’ll start just after the Spring Break season winds down and DCA Food & Wine Festival concludes, and Pixar Fest will end prior to D23 Expo and the start of Halloween Time at Disneyland, which begins earlier than ever this year.

There are also events and offerings overlapping with Pixar Fest. From April 5 until June 2, Season of the Force arrives at Disneyland with Hyperspace Mountain and specially themed food and beverage, merchandise and more for a limited time. Guests can embark on new adventures aboard Star Tours – The Adventures Continue featuring Mandalorian & Baby Yoda, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will provide fresh perspective on the fireworks above Disneyland, with galactic music sweeping through the spires. Then there’s the modified Fantasmic, which makes its long-awaited return to the Rivers of America on May 24, 2024.

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.

Read on for the full guide to Pixar Fest 2024, which covers everything you need to know–from entertainment to merchandise to décor and more!

The centerpiece of Pixar Fest is an all-new daytime parade called “Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration!” that will debut at Disney California Adventure during the celebration. This daytime parade features high-energy dancing and appearances by more than two dozen Pixar characters.

During the Better Together Parade, spot Red Panda Mei and her friends rocking out to their favorite boy band, 4*Town; Joe Gardner and 22 from “Soul” celebrating the sweeter things in life; Luca, Alberto and Giulia from “Luca” enjoying their time together on the water’s edge in Portorosso; and more.

The grand finale of Better Together Parade will feature Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl from “The Incredibles,” Miguel from “Coco,” Mike and Sulley from “Monsters, Inc.,” and Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear from “Toy Story.”

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a proper parade during daily ops at DCA, but the good news is that Disney California Adventure has a longer parade route than Disneyland, and draws lower crowds. This doesn’t mean you can stroll up and grab a spot at the last minute, but you also don’t need to camp out ~2 hours in advance to see Better Together Parade.

We plan on attending Pixar Fest for several days in late April and early May, after which point I’ll circle back with specific viewing tips. For now, I’ll simply say that my favorite vantage point for parade photos is actually the one shown above in the concept art. This is roughly in front of the Little Mermaid dark ride, and is great because you can frame photos with the Fun Wheel in the background.

The downside to this spot is that it’s incredibly popular and space is often limited. Consequently, it does require camping out a bit early–to the point that it’s probably not worth it. (I like this perspective during Oogie Boogie Bash, but that Halloween party has an attendance camp.)

Beyond that, my go-to spots for parade viewing at Disney California Adventure are at the very beginning and end of the route. If you only care about watching the parade, standing in the Paradise Garden Grill area is typically a solid option. Crowds tend to be lower over here, and it should be the starting point for one of the two performances of Better Together Parade (there had better be two performances!).

The other performance will start over by Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, and that end of Hollywood Land is likewise a good spot for parade viewing. I strongly favor both of these viewing locations when they’re the starting point, for the simple reason that you’re done with the parade and can move on to your next attractions while a sizable chunk of park guests are still viewing the parade. Keep in mind that DCA’s performance corridor is long, meaning it takes the parade 20+ minutes just to get to later areas of the route. That’s a lot of time.

One spot we don’t really recommend is Carthay Circle. This can be a excellent vantage if you’re situated correctly and the Better Together parade is coming directly towards you, so that’s not the issue. The problem is crowds. Since it’s right near the entrance and centrally-located, it’s somewhat of a de facto spot for parade viewing at DCA.

But again, it’s been years since Disney California Adventure has done a daytime parade. These recommendations are from memory and/or the dynamics when viewing seasonal cavalcades or the Halloween Parade. We’ll update this with specific advice for Better Together once it debuts–so stay tuned!

Continuing at Disney California Adventure, the all-new Club Pixar is taking over the Hollywood Backlot area. It follows bravely (or perhaps Brave-ly?) in the footsteps of iconic entertainment including elecTRONica and Glow Fest.

During the day in this area, you can snap a photo in front of Pixar-themed backdrops, play games and maybe even encounter a favorite character to pose with. When day turns to night, Club Pixar will take over the area for a nighttime party, inspired by the amazing stories from Pixar Animation Studios. Your whole group can enjoy an interactive DJ dance party, live performances, exciting games, photo opportunities, themed food, specially crafted beverages and more.

No tips for this yet. I just hope it’s as zany and madcap as all of the dance parties that previously were in this space. It’s not truly a Hollywood Backlot ‘club’ without craziness.

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, a bunch of new movies and characters have been added to the Pixar pantheon.

Celebrating the heart of Pixar storytelling, Together Forever takes guests on an emotional journey of friendship with Pixar pals as they meet for the first time, set out on adventures, overcome adversity and in the end, forge everlasting bonds. Together Forever will reprise iconic moments from the original production, such as Miguel strumming his guitar and Carl and Ellie’s house floating above Sleeping Beauty Castle.

The new-look nighttime spectacular will also feature new scenes added featuring characters and moments from Pixar’s “Onward,” “Soul,” “Luca,” “Turning Red” and “Elemental” brought to life like never before. (Bonus: During “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular,” your MagicBand+ will come to life with twinkling lights and vibrations synchronized to the music.)

Vivid projections, colorful lasers and memorable music can be enjoyed from multiple locations throughout Disneyland, including the Rivers of America, the façade of “it’s a small world” and Main Street, U.S.A. On most evenings, fireworks will illuminate the sky during Together Forever–but there will be some evenings when it’s presented pyro-less. (Basically, fireworks on nights that are busy; projections-only during slower dates.)

Our viewing recommendations for Together Forever don’t really differ from other nighttime spectaculars at Disneyland. See our Where to Watch Disneyland Fireworks Guide: Best & Worst Viewing Areas. I’m particularly partial to front and center, which offers a great vantage of Sleeping Beauty Castle and its projections, as well as a great look at the Up house and whatever else does the aerial passover. (Sounds like it might not be Buzz Lightyear this time? Perhaps a new surprise.)

However, the downside of that is it requires camping out at least an hour in advance. That’s both a time-consuming and risky move, given that Disneyland fireworks are often cancelled. Farther back on Main Street will give you a panoramic view of the facade projections and you’ll still be able to see the aerial flyovers in the distance. It’s not as good of a view, but it’s still immersive and much easier.

Some people love Rivers of America or “it’s a small world” as alternative locations that are much easier and less crowded. I’m not one of them. While those can be good no-stress spots for second viewing, they’re just not the same as Main Street. See the show from the dead-on view at least once.

Throughout the day, the whole family can dance and play the Pixar way with some favorite pals at the Pixar Pals Playtime Party at Fantasyland Theatre in Disneyland. 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.

Given the description and that the stands are empty in the concept art, it sounds like this will be an interactive experience rather than a stage show. Which is honestly a shame, if you ask me. We had hoped for something akin to “Together: A Pixar Musical Adventure” at Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris.

Instead, this sounds like a glorified dance party. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there are countless other places in the park where this could be offered. Fantasyland Theatre is perfect for actual live entertainment.

At various locations in both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, you’ll be able to meet many characters from Pixar stories, including from “Inside Out” and “The Incredibles.”

You may also encounter Ember and Wade from “Elemental,” who will be making their Disneyland Resort debut for Pixar Fest! Our hope is that Bing Bong, who recently debuted at Pixar Place Hotel, also joins the fun for Pixar Fest. If not him, maybe the new emotions from Inside Out 2 will materialize during Pixar Fest.

Pixar-inspired food and beverages will be available around Disneyland Resort. The iconic Pixar Fest cake will return to Plaza Inn, and the menu at Troubadour Tavern in Disneyland will transform to feature Pixar-inspired bites and beverages. Once again, Paradise Garden Grill in Disney California Adventure will serve Coco-inspired menu items.

Beginning May 10, six Pixar-themed food marketplaces will join the fun in Disney California Adventure and be available through the length of the festival. Each location celebrates a unique film, and menu items will transport you and your tastebuds right into some fan-favorite Pixar worlds. Here’s a little flavor of what you can expect:

  • Summertime dishes inspired by the Italian coast at Portorosso Pasta from “Luca”
  • Reimagined classics at Gusteau’s To-Go, themed to “Ratatouille”
  • A playful mélange of elements at The Elemental Table, inspired by “Elemental”
  • Fun foods perfect for a boy band at 4*Town Fav*4*ites from “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 from “Inside Out.”

For that perfect keepsake that also satisfies your Disney snack cravings, look no further than new novelties arriving just for Pixar Fest! You may recognize the Pizza Planet truck from…almost every Pixar film, ever?

During Pixar Fest, you’ll also be able to recognize it from…hanging around your neck, I guess. This version of the Pizza Planet truck doubles as a popcorn bucket. Stay tuned for more fun Pixar-themed novelties to be revealed soon.

All-new merchandise collections will begin to arrive around Disneyland Resort soon, with stylish designs inspired by iconic Pixar films and characters. From Pizza Planet baseball caps to Mike Wazowski sweatshirts, items from these collections are the perfect way to get ready for a Pixar-filled summer. Plus, additional limited-time Pixar Fest merchandise will arrive in April.

You’ll also find medallions themed to each of your favorite Pixar films available for a limited time throughout Disneyland Resort. Whether you’re a fan of classics like “Toy Story” and “a Bug’s Life” or prefer newer releases like “Lightyear” and “Elemental,” you won’t want to miss these collectibles.

Decorations will pop up all around Disneyland Resort, enhancing The Happiest Place on Earth with brightly-colored banners, incredible sculptures that double as must-stop photo locations and more inspired by favorite Pixar stories.

In the esplanade between Disneyland and DCA, you won’t want to miss the over 25-foot-tall sculpture celebrating friendship and highlighting the iconic Pixar Ball. In Disney California Adventure, you’ll even be able to use your MagicBand+ to interact with a Pixar-themed installation.

If you’re looking for a place to stay to be fully immersed in the Pixar Fest fun, we’d recommend considering Pixar Place Hotel. (I honestly can’t believe I’m type the words “recommend” in the same sentence as that hotel, but here we are!)

In case you missed it, see our new Resort Review: Disney’s Once-Worst Hotel Gets Reimagined & Redeemed! I don’t want to say that’s a glowing Pixar Place Hotel review, but compared to my sentiment towards Paradise Pier Hotel–and what I was expecting of the overhaul–it really is.

All in all, Pixar Fest sounds like a good event for Summer 2024 at Disneyland Resort. The biggest disappointment is that there’s nothing about the return of Paint the Night parade, which is essentially a Pixar parade–and debuted a new Incredibles float during the last Pixar Fest. 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, here’s hoping that rolls out during the festival

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’re looking forward to it.

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!

3 Responses to “Guide to Pixar Fest 2024”
  1. Karyl March 16, 2024
  2. Allen March 14, 2024
  3. Bill Budd March 14, 2024

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