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Move over, Mickey – Carl Frederickson is here: 5 things we loved at Pixar Fest 2024

Inside Out 2 will be released during Pixar Fest 2024

Inside Out 2 opens June 14, but you can party with the characters Joy and Sorrow now until Aug. 4 at Pixar Fest 2024 in Disneyland, California.

A look at Pixar Fest 2024, on until Aug. 4 at Disneyland, CA

– By Shawn Conner

One of the most highly anticipated movies of the summer, Inside Out 2 opens on June 14.

Fans of Pixar Animation Studios’ first Inside Out, released in 2015, are eagerly awaiting the return of young Riley and her band of emotions – Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger.

Meanwhile, some of those characters and a bunch more from various Pixar flicks have taken over Disneyland, California.

Pixar Fest 2024 is a parks-wide celebration of the animation studio behind Toy Story, The Incredibles, Monsters Inc. and many more. Launched in late April exclusively at Disneyland, CA, the festival continues until Aug. 4 with a Pixar-themed parade, daytime and nighttime shows, food and plenty of merchandise.

This is actually the second Pixar Fest. The first was held in 2018, also at Disneyland. But this second iteration is bigger and better, with more characters and bigger attractions.

To give you a taste of what exactly Pixar Fest 2024 is all about, here are five things I loved about it while on a press preview trip for the April 26 launch. 

1. Pixar Place Hotel. The rebranded Paradise Pier hotel is just a Munchling’s throw from the park. In the lobby you’ll find a giant replica of Luxo, Pixar’s desk lamp mascot, balanced on studio’s trademark blue-and-yellow ball. At least once a day Bing Bong, Riley’s imaginary pink elephant-like friend from Inside Out, appears for meet-and-greets, and Soul pianist Joe Gardner has been known to tinkle the ivories of the lobby piano. There is no hotel lounge per se, but a pool deck bar caters to adult good times while the wee ones frolic in a splash zone. The hotel café is rather utilitarian – “grab and go” being the euphemism here – but a wall screen shows Pixar shorts. Most remarkable is the art – nearly abstract paintings that evoke Pixar films in hallways and rooms.

Luxo and Pixar ball at Pixar Place Hotel, Disneyland CA

Luxo, Pixar’s desk lamp mascot, and the Pixar ball greet visitors in the lobby of Pixar Place Hotel, Disneyland CA. Shawn Conner photo.

2. A Pixar Pals Celebration! Parade. The parade features two dozen characters from Pixar films, including Miguel from Coco, Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc., and Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, all waving from and dancing on eight spectacular (I mean c’mon, it’s Disney!) floats. Speakers pump out “Better Together,” a new song written for the event that will burrow into your skull whether you like it or not. It takes place near the pier in California Adventure Park, the sister park to the original Disneyland. Best enjoyed while sipping an IPA . 

Inside Out float at Pixar Fest 2024 Disneyland California. Shawn Conner photos.

Inside Out float at Pixar Festival 2024 at Disneyland, California. Shawn Conner photo.

3. The Together Forever Pixar Nighttime Spectacular. The show begins with Buzz Lightyear buzzing over Sleeping Beauty Castle and continues with scenes from all the films as well as new animation featuring characters from Turning Red, Luca, and Soul projected onto the castle and Main Street building facades. The balloon from Up makes an appearance in the night sky. And yes, there are fireworks.

Shorts Stop at Club Pixar for Pixar Fest 2024 at Disneyland, CA. Shawn Conner photo.

Shorts Stop at Club Pixar is a small outdoor theatre showing Pixar shorts. Shawn Conner photo.

4. Pixar Pals Playtime Party. Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, Joy and Sorrow and more dance onstage and bust moves with audience members in Disneyland’s Fantasyland Theatre. There are also photo opps and play stations. Club Pixar, in California Adventure Park, is the night-time version.

Mr. and Mrs. Incredible at Pixar Pals show at Pixar Fest 2024. Shawn Conner photo.

Cut a rug (but don’t cut in) with Mr. and Mrs. Incredible at the daytime Pixar Pals show at Pixar Fest 2024. Shawn Conner photo.

5. The Incredicoaster. This item’s a bit of a cheat since the Incredicoaster, along with other Pixar-theme rides, is open all year round. But for this Disneyland visitor, no trip is complete without strapping in for this thrill-ride, one of the top attractions at California Adventure Park.

Pixar Fest 2024 activation station at Disneyland

Don’t let the skies fool you. The sun is usually shining on Pixar Fest 2024. Shawn Conner photo.

There is more to Pixar Fest than the above. For example, the park’s culinary wizards have created over 80 food items to tie-in with the movies, including chicken and waffles with a peach cobbler sauce (Soul) and a fried bologna sandwich (Up), not to mention a number of desserts that look like pop-art sculptures.

Monsters Inc parfait Pixar Fest 2024.

Chow down on a Monsters Inc. parfait at Pixar Fest 2024. Shawn Conner photo.

And there’s plenty of exclusive Pixar-themed merch, including my favourite, a backpack with the face of Up’s perennial old codger Carl Frederickson.

Pixar Fest 2024 merchandise. Shawn Conner photo.

Note the Carl Frederickson backpack. Shawn Conner photo.

With a park already crowded with not only Disney’s own universe of talking animals and princesses but also the MCU and Star Wars, the Pixar family might sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Pixar Fest 2024 is a lively reminder of the many memorable stories and characters that the studio has given us over the years. 


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