I was so excited for the opportunity to see Pixar Fest at Disneyland, I was more than happy to hop on the plane to LAX (with a dream and my Mickey ears…yeah I went there) and take off! As a Walt Disney World veteran, I had expectations for Pixar Fest. Were the expectations too much? Probably. But, then again, I’m used to festivals like Food & Wine and Flower and Garden at Epcot. I plan to use this space to give you my take on the best and worst of Pixar Fest at Disneyland.
The Best and Worst of Pixar Fest at Disneyland
What is Pixar Fest?
Let’s begin by helping everyone understand what in the world Pixar Fest actually is. It is not a permanent installation, but Pixar Pier in Disney California Adventure is. Pixar Fest is a celebration of fun and friendship, and it highlights all your favorite Pixar characters in various ways. There are limited time food offerings, special fireworks, character meet and greets, and limited edition merchandise.Pixar Fest runs from now through September 3, 2018. You can experience Pixar Fest at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park.
The Best of Pixar Fest at Disneyland
Next, let’s talk about what they get right at Pixar Fest at Disneyland. Like I previously mentioned, the decor is on point. Banners all around the park entrance proclaim this summer the summer of Pixar Fest. Inside the park, the “main” Pixar colors, blue, yellow, and red, are seen in various ways throughout the resort.
Pixar Fest Food at Disneyland
I’ll confess, I cheated a bit when it comes to eating at Pixar Fest. I attending the opening of Toy Story Land a few weeks earlier, and they served us the Alien Macaroooons they serve at Pixar Fest. They are amazing! The filling is just slightly sweet, and the macaroon itself is textured just right. So, I didn’t feel the need to try it again, but I highly, highly recommend it.Another yummy item that I tried was the “Coco” inspired churro. You can find it at the churro cart in Frontierland (right outside the doors of the Golden Horseshoe). I didn’t care for the spicy dipping chocolate it came with, so I’d skip that if I were you.
Pixar Play Parade
Pixar Play Parade is probably my favorite daytime parade (save Festival of Fantasy in Walt Disney World), and it is totally worth your time to stop and see it. We opted to sit on Main Street, U.S.A. because I really wanted to see the castle as the floats went by. I’m sure there are other seating areas that Disneyland veterans will tell you about, but you can’t go wrong with Main Street. We took our seats about 30 minutes before the parade started so we wouldn’t have to stand the entire time.Be prepared to get wet! There are lots of fun interactive floats in the parade, and almost all of them have a water feature of some kind! My favorite floats were the “Inside Out” and “Up!” floats.
Together Forever Fireworks
Finally, don’t skip the fireworks! Were they as grand and spectacular as the Magic Kingdom’s? No, not really. Were the projections better? Possibly! What I loved most about the Together Forever fireworks was the involvement of a large part of the park in the show. From Rivers of America to the castle hub to Main Street U.S.A, everything was covered in sound and light.
Call me sentimental, but the theme of “Celebrating Friendship and Beyond” really came home for me during the fireworks show. I may have gotten a little teary standing in a shop doorway watching and taking it all in.
The Best of Pixar Fest at California Adventure
Also part of Pixar Fest, but staying on permanently, is the newly reimagined Pixar Pier. While much of the festival food and decor will go, Pixar Pier is staying put. So what is specific to Disney California Adventure for Pixar Fest? More food and character meets!
Pixar Fest Food at California Adventure
My favorite treat from Pixar Fest had to be “It’s Lemon” from the
Abominable Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats stand in Pixar Pier. It rivals the fan favorite Dole Whip, in my opinion. Of course, I prefer Citrus Swirls, and lemon is one of my favorite flavors, so I’m probably biased.Among the other sweet treats available at Pixar Pier, there is also Angry Dogs (hot dogs inspired by Anger from “Inside Out”) and Poultry Palace (turkey legs and chicken fingers inspired by the “Toy Story” short “Small Fry”).
Bing Bong’s Sweet stuff was still under construction when we visited, but I’ve heard it’s now open! If you need another sugar rush, Bing Bong will have you covered!
Pixar Pals Meet and Greet
We are not against meeting characters without our kids, but we didn’t seek out the Pixar characters specifically. We did see Mike and Sully walking around Pixar Pier, and, of course, I had to get my photo with Disgust because she’s my spirit animal!Neil and I did, however, find the Pixar Pals meet and greet area and the infamous “Pixar Wall” so, of course, I had to take a photo!
Pixar Themed Rides
As I stated earlier, Pixar Pier isn’t going away when Pixar Fest ends on September 3. Thankfully, if you need a Pixar fix, you’ll still be able to get it in the form of rides. You must check out the Incredicoaster (formerly California Screamin’), Pixar Pal-A-Round (formerly Mickey’s Fun Wheel), Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind (opening later this year), and Jessie’s Critter Carousel (opening in 2019).In Cars Land, the cars that greet you when you enter the land are currently themed as Buzz and Woody. If you want a photo op, I would move quickly! They change them up seasonally, and I’m sure they’ll be Halloween themed before we know it!
The Worst of Pixar Fest
Honesty moment: I had big expectations for this festival. I am used to the way festivals operate in Walt Disney World, and I expected Pixar Fest to be similar. It is not. First of all, many of the specialty food items are served in restaurants or bakeries. Other than churro carts, there aren’t any carts with bite sized portions to try. Plan ahead and know that if you are taking a quick weekend trip, you probably won’t be able to try everything.Another point to consider is dining reservations. We had been wanting to try the Blue Bayou since we discovered it riding Pirates of the Caribbean four years ago (it’s inside the ride, y’all…so cool). However, I may have opted for somewhere else like the Plaza Inn if I had known Blue Bayou had no special Pixar Fest items. Make sure you research before you go!Finally, not all the food is worth it. I’ve seen lots of people raving about this churro and that churro on social media. Y’all. A churro is a churro. I don’t care if you put it in frosting or coat it in chocolate, it’s fine. I don’t really get the fuss of churros. Disneyland does do them better than Walt Disney World, but a girl can only eat so many, ya know? Also a negative for me is the ratio of sweet to savory items. I need more savory items, and, honestly, I need them to be smaller portioned so I can eat more! Ha!Overall, there is more to like about Pixar Fest than to dislike! If you have the opportunity to go see it, go! I had so much fun on our getaway, and I can’t wait to see what new things Disneyland has in store for us next year!