Updated March 6, 2020
2018 is shaping up to be a very exciting year at the Disneyland Resort. Pixar is moving in and its presence at both parks is soon to be significant.
Pixar Fest kicks off the celebration with two parades swapping their original locations to remind us all that Disneyland will never stop evolving. Just as Walt Disney wanted.
Originally at California Adventure (DCA), the Pixar Play Parade will make its first march down Main Street in Disneyland when Pixar Fest begins on April 13, 2018. And, not to be outdone, Paint the Night Parade will run through DCA on the same day after previously only running through Disneyland. In addition to that? An all new fireworks show, Together Forever: A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular, will debut the same day. That – in a nutshell – is Pixar Fest.
Pixar Pier will open June 23, 2018 with a newly redesigned Incredicoaster (previously called California Screamin’), a redesigned Mickey’s Fun Wheel (now called the Pal-A-Round), and four distinct neighborhoods that will better define this massive land that covers so much of California Adventure.
Let’s explore in more detail all that is currently taking shape between the two parks. We have a lot to learn!
In this article
Basic Info on Pixar Fest and Pixar Pier
Here is a quick run down of the differences between Pixar Fest and Pixar Pier.
Starts 4.13.2018 and includes events at both parks:
- Paint the Night Parade at California Adventure
- Pixar Play Parade at Disneyland
- Together Forever – a Pixar Nighttime Spectacular (new fireworks at Disneyland)
Visit this link for info from Disney on Pixar Fest.
Visit this link for a peek at Pixar Fest merchandise.
Opens 6.23.2018 and includes California Adventure only:
- The opening of the Incredicoaster (the large “wooden” roller coaster that used to be called California Screamin’)
- The reopening of the Fun Wheel (Ferris Wheel)
- Other parts of the pier (games and shopping)
- The Lamplight Lounge (opening in place of where the Cove Bar and Ariel’s Grotto used to reside)
Dates and Times for Pixar Fest Entertainment
To see if/when Paint the Night is running during your trip, visit this link and change the date to your timing.
To see if/when the Pixar Play Parade is running during your trip, visit this link and change the date to your timing.
To see if/when Together Forever – a Pixar Nighttime Spectacular is showing during your trip, visit this link and change the date to your timing.
Paint the Night Parade
Paint the Night Parade opened in May of 2015 to help launch the 60th anniversary of Disneyland. After ending its run, it returned again briefly and then was replaced with the final run of the Main Street Electrical Parade (MSEP), which retired in August 2017.
Paint the Night is like the MSEP on steroids and is a favorite of many, many Disneyland guests. Don’t miss it during your visit.
When it returns to the Disneyland Resort on April 13, 2018, it will run through California Adventure this time, rather than Disneyland Park. There are dining packages available to secure a great view of the parade. Or, you can set up prior to showtime without a dining package.
I share many tips on how to see the parade with or without a dining package, along with the expected parade route, in this post dedicated entirely to the parade:
Pixar Play Parade
The Pixar Play Parade debuted in March of 2008 at California Adventure and enjoyed a long run (with several breaks) until August 2017.
This parade is colorful and fun, includes squirting water and cast members flipping on the floats. It’s full of excitement.
When it returns to the Disneyland Resort on April 13, 2018, it will run down Main Street for the first time ever with the famous Pixar Lamp leading the way.
One dining package is available to secure a good view. I also have some suggestions on where to set up to watch without a package.
I share many tips on this parade in this post dedicated entirely to the Pixar Play Parade:
Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular
Beginning March 16, 2018, Remember…..Dreams Come True will show nightly at Disneyland. This fireworks show was created to commemorate the park’s 50th anniversary and has been brought back time and time again to delight guests. It is slated to end April 12, 2018. Visit this link to see if/when this show will be playing during your visit.
Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular is an all new show that was created for Pixar Fest. It’s a celebration of friendship and I totally love that!
“Friendship… it’s a theme ever-present in so many timeless Pixar tales—classics like Toy Story, Monsters, Inc. and Cars, and more recent releases such as the smash-hit Coco and the upcoming film Incredibles 2.
During Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular, you’re invited to embark on an emotional journey of friendship that starts when unlikely Pixar characters meet, set out on adventures and overcome obstacles together.
Feel your senses come to life as this story unfolds with fireworks, music and projections at iconic Disneyland locations—including Sleeping Beauty Castle, the Matterhorn Bobsleds, the water screens of the Rivers of America, the façade of “it’s a small world” and the buildings of Main Street, U.S.A.
The new nighttime spectacular will even culminate in a grand celebration of the greatest Pixar pals—proving that, no matter what, true friendship lasts to infinity… and beyond!”
I share many tips on this show in this post dedicated entirely to fireworks at Disneyland:
What Else You Should Know
- There will be specialty foods offered during the Pixar Fest celebration. Visit this link for details on that. That same link includes merchandise that will be sold during Pixar Fest. Here is a link with a specialty food checklist.
- Crowds will a bit higher during the initial weekends when the Pixar Fest starts and then when Pixar Pier opens. I encourage you to arrive early each day – an hour prior to official park opening – to ensure you get to see and do everything you want.
- The Cove Bar (the popular restaurant/bar that serves the even more popular lobster nachos) reopened March 16, 2018 and stay open through the end of May 2018 when it will close permanently so that the Lamplight Lounge can take its place.
- Lobster Nachos will be available at the Cove Bar during this last hurrah and then also at the new Lamplight Lounge.
- No replacement/alternative princess dining option has been named by Disney to fill the void of Ariel’s Grotto, which is now closed. If/when a new character meal is announced, I’ll update my post that details all of your character dining options at the Disneyland Resort, which you can find at this link.
- Until we have a new meal to consider, I recommend Minnie’s in the Park at the Plaza Inn inside Disneyland for princess fans. The Fairy Godmother is almost always part of this meal. Occasionally, you can find Perla and Suzy, Cinderella’s mice. Minnie’s in the Park is by far my favorite character meal for several reasons. The location is great, the restaurant itself is gorgeous (notice the detail in the interior decor), I see at least 10 characters each time I dine there, and finally, the characters are diverse, which allows nearly every guest to find someone to connect with. Visit my character dining post for more on this and three other character meals inside and outside of the parks.
- Redd Rocket’s Pizza Port in Tomorrowland will transform into Alien Pizza Planet – “A Better Place” as Pixar Fest gets underway. More at this link.
- I visit the parks once a week and share many updates on how the construction of Pixar Pier is coming along. Follow me there and on Instagram to keep up with the changes.