Ever since the opening day of Disneyland in 1955, the resort never does anything small. A major re-branding of a large section of the resort’s second theme park, California Adventure, will open on June 23. However, the parks will begin the Pixar Pier celebration early with the first-ever Pixar Fest, which begins on April 13 and includes a new fireworks show, two Pixar parades, new character experiences and new food choices like those found with the opening of Alien Pizza Planet, based on the Toy Story movies.
Disneyland will welcome the “Pixar Play Parade” (which has been performed at Walt Disney World in Florida) for the festivities. Led by the famous Pixar Lamp, the parade features many favorite characters from beloved Pixar films and this year includes an Up float (featuring Wilderness Explorer Russell, Dug the dog, Kevin the flightless bird, and old man Carl Fredicksen) and another featuring Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong of Inside Out.
At night, Disneyland guests will witness “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular,” a new fireworks show that celebrates the movies with amazing pyrotechnics and music presented with a friendship theme. In addition, various projections will be shown on various structures throughout the park during show including Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, the water screens found on the Rivers of America, the front of “It’s a Small World,” and the buildings on Main Street, U.S.A. Disney purists may take issue with Buzz Lightyear flying over the castle instead of the traditional Tinker Bell.
Over in California Adventure, the “Paint the Night” parade returns with 1.5 million LED lights with floats inspired by Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., Cars, and The Incredibles. The Sunset Showcase Theater will feature a collection of Pixar Shorts, including For the Birds and LAVA, Pixar-inspired performances will be presented in the Paradise Gardens area, and new Meet and Greet areas will be set up with Buzz, Woody, and Jessie from Toy Story; Mike and Sully from Monsters, Inc.; Nemo and Dory from Finding Nemo; and Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars.
Pixar Fest also comes with many new food options, including the opening of Alien Pizza Planet in Tomorrowland where the Aliens from Toy Story “have sourced the finest ingredients from across the universe to deliver fresh, hot pizzas that are out of this world,” says Alex Dunlap, Food & Beverage Content Relations Coordinator for Disney Parks Blog.
“A specialty of their home planet Pepperonia is a special pepperoni pizza topped with green peppers and mushrooms. They’ll also be cooking up a hearty cheeseburger pizza with ketchup, yellow mustard and pizza sauce on a sesame seed crust and topped with cheese, caramelized onions, diced tomatoes, slider patties, a house-made burger sauce, and pickles.”
Other Pixar-themed foods offered during the festival include a Berry Funnel Cake and Root Beer Floats served in a souvenir Woody’s boot at the Golden Horsehow in Frontierland; Strawberry Funnel Cakes at the Hungry Bear Restaurant in Critter Country; Strawberry and Cocoa Churros offered in Tomorrowland and Frontierland respectively; Green Pesto Pasta and Alien Macaroons in Tomorrowland; Shrimp Ratatouille Byaldi and the Charcuterie Plate Starter (a cheese flight) at Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square; Fried Bologna Sandwiches and a Pork Chop TV Dinner at the Carnation Cafe on Main Street, U.S.A.
The new Lamplight Lounge (formerly Ariel’s Grotto restaurant and Cove Bar) will open when Pixar Pier opens on June 23 in California Adventure, serving California gastro-pub cuisine and signature cocktails. The pub will feature “artistic marks” left by some Pixar regulars, including concept art, sketches left on napkins, knick knacks from Toy Story, etc. Other Pixar eats include Angry Dogs (inspired by the character Anger from Inside Out), Poultry Palace and Senor Buzz’s Churros (inspired by Toy Story) and the Adorable Snowman Treats (inspired by Monsters, Inc.).
Pixar Pier will open with the much anticipated Incredibles re-branding of California Screamin’ Roller Coaster (now to be called “The Incredicoaster”) with a distinctive new look. New scenes, special effects, and music will be featured throughout the ride and the mid-century-modern’s loading area. Other attractions include Jessie’s Critter Carousel (inspired by Jessie’s wilderness friends featured in Toy Story 2); the transformed Mickey’s Fun Wheel with new Pixar-themed gondolas; midway games based on A Bug’s Life, La Luna, and WALL-E; and an upcoming Inside Out family attraction yet to be named. These are welcomed additions to the park’s A Bug’s Life play area, the Toy Story Mania ride, and the other attractions found in Cars Land.