Updated March 22, 2018
The Pixar Play Parade will make its first run down Main Street on April 13, 2018 when Pixar Fest launches.
Originally located in California Adventure, this parade is taking over Disneyland when it returns. The famous hopping Pixar Lamp (one of my favorites!) will lead the way.
There is one dining package that allows reserved viewing for this parade. I have suggestions on other places to watch, as well, below.
In this article
The Pixar Play Parade lasts approximately 40 minutes. It’s a colorful, fun, exciting parade that appeals to both children and adults. If I were to choose a more “child-focused” parade between Paint the Night and Pixar Play, I would choose Pixar Play.
Most floats shoot off bubbles and during the warmer months, some spray water. So, if you’re hesitant about getting wet, don’t choose a front row spot.
To see if/when this parade will run during your trip, visit this link and change the date on the calendar to your timing.
We don’t know an official start time for this parade, so this post will be edited once that has been announced. Cast members have recently suggested it will fulfill the placement of Mickey’s Soundsational Parade. However, the dining package timing parameters indicate the second parade will run later.
We do not know if there will be a FASTPASS option to secure viewing for this parade.
In addition to the hopping Pixar Lamp, the bouncing Pixar Ball will be joining this parade. An Up! float will debut, as well.
“The legendary hopping Pixar Lamp and Ball from Pixar’s Luxo Jr. short lead the way, followed by Joy, Sadness and Bing Bong in Riley’s “Rocket” Wagon from Inside Out.
Keep your eyes peeled—the Up float’s lush jungle greenery means Carl, Russell, Dug, Kevin and her brood of baby birds have hit the parade route. And, of course, Carl’s house isn’t far behind!”
Some old favorites will be along for the ride, including:
- Roz, Sulley and Mike from Monsters Inc.
- Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, Violet and Frozone (on a float this time!) from The Incredibles
- Crush, Marlin, Nemo, Dory, Squirt and baby turtle friends from Finding Nemo and Finding Dory
- Heimlich, Flik, Atta, Dot and Slim from A Bug’s Life
- Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, Rex and more from Toy Story (with flipping acrobats that make me very nervous!)
- Dancers and performers on spring-loaded stilts
This parade starts near it’s a small world, runs down the trail next to the teacups and Matterhorn, briefly rounds part of the Disneyland Hub, marches down Main Street, veers right at Town Square, passes City Hall and the Main Street Railroad Station before finally exiting the square between the Mad Hatter Shop and Disney Showcase.
During previous years, if a single parade was running, it would follow the above mentioned route. If there were two parades running, the first started at it’s a small world and then the second started at Town Square and followed the route shared above, but in opposite order.
Anxious to see what this year brings!
Scroll down for a map detailing the parade route.
Plaza Inn Dining Package
What we know so far about this package:
- It will include a “picnic style meal” from Plaza Inn.
- Reservations opened March 13, 2018. Book online at this link.
- Call 714.781.DINE to reserve if online isn’t available.
- Diners will receive entrance into a viewing area along the parade route. (Not sure where yet.)
- As with all dining packages, you do not have to have a dining package for a child age 2 or younger. He or she will be able to enter the viewing section with you. But, please make a note about children of this this age range in your reservation so cast members can make seating accommodations.
- After paying for your meal, you’ll be given a ticket to enter the viewing section, which location is still unknown at this point. You will not have chairs in this section. It will likely be mostly standing with possibly the front row or two sitting on the ground.
- Reservations made for dining between 12:00pm and 1:55pm will be assigned to the first parade of the day. Reservations made for dining between 2:00pm and 4:15pm will be assigned to the second parade of the day (if there is a second parade).
The menus include:
Adults ($39.99/adult age 10 and up))
- Chicken Breast and Leg
- White Cheddar Mac ‘n’ Cheese
- Lemon Green Beans
- Watermelon Salad
- Pudding Dessert
- Choice of Beverage (soda, milk, juice, etc)
Kids ($24.99/ child age 3-9)
- Chicken Tenders
- Choice of Side
- Pudding Dessert
- Choice of Beverage (soda, milk, juice, etc)
***Vegetarian options are available upon request. For any dining experience at Disneyland, when making a reservation, share any dietary restrictions you may have and the resort will make every effort to accommodate your needs.
***I’ll be reviewing this dining package opening weekend and will update this post with photos and lots more info shortly after.
Where to Watch
I have three recommendations for watching this parade. They include:
- near it’s a small world
- at the Disneyland Hub
- near Disney Showcase in Town Square
I’ve shared my thoughts on each of these locations here:
it’s a small world
This has always been my favorite area for parades and fireworks. It doesn’t fill quite as quickly as Main Street, it typically includes a lower crowd level even at show time, it allows little ones some space to run around prior to the parade, there are restrooms nearby (to the left of Fantasyland Theatre), there are snack kiosks along the parade path, and you can find a Fuel Rod machine inside the gift shop you exit through when leaving the it’s a small world attraction. Arrive at least an hour prior to the parade start time to claim your spot in this area.
Closest Restrooms: Find these to the left of the Fantasyland Theatre (where you see Mickey and the Magical Map).
Closest Food: Food kiosks selling pretzels, ice cream, and popcorn are set up along the parade route here.
Advantages: This area is the last to fill up and it’s great for families.
Disadvantages: If you want to make a quick exit after this parade, don’t count on it. Leaving this spot takes a while.
Near the Disneyland Hub
I like this spot because people don’t know to line up here. Instead of camping out 2 hours prior, wander near this section to see if anyone is waiting for the rope to go up. Stay nearby and then get as close to the rope as possible once it’s up (usually about 1-1.5 hours prior to parade time).
What rope am I referring to? Cast members will run a rope from the sidewalk on Main Street to the sidewalk closer to the Partners Statue, preventing guests from walking into the parade route. It’s not up all day, of course, because this area is open to guests for normal traffic flow. But, it goes up about 1.5 hours prior to showtime. Scroll down a bit to see a graphic showing the rope.
Closest Restrooms: The closest restrooms are in Adventureland. Walk under the main entrance of Adventureland and you’ll run right into the restrooms.
Closest Food: There’s a popcorn cart set up in the hub, as well as other vendors selling turkey legs, churros and more. Walk all the way around the circle to find a good selection.
Advantages: You can make a quick exit after the parade if you don’t want to stick around for fireworks. Head toward Tomorrowland as soon as the parade finishes for some breathing room. Also, if you follow my suggestions, it’s easy to grab a front row spot. You’ll get a long view of the parade, too, as you can see it coming around the hub and then watch it go down Main Street from this spot, too.
Disadvantages: This is a small area, so you have to be diligent about grabbing your spot. If I had small kids, this would stress me out. This option is best for smaller parties instead of families.
Near Disney Showcase at Town Square
This spot allows you to see the parade in two different ways. First, you’ll see it trailing down Main Street and then after it makes its way around Town Square, you’ll see it exit the parade route. (This works for the opposite version, too, when it starts at this end, rounds Town Square and then continues into Main Street).
You’ll need to set up about 2 hours prior to parade time if you want front row here.
Closest Restrooms: The closest restrooms are near Disneyana, to the right of the Opera House. There is another set of restrooms to the right of City Hall.
Closest Food: Town Square has kiosks selling popcorn and churros. Walk down Main Street for treats from Candy Palace or the ice cream shop.
Advantages: This area feels very nostalgic to me since you’re essentially on Main Street, facing Town Square. I also love the double view of the parade, as mentioned above. For a quick exit after the parade, this spot is your best bet.
Disadvantages: You’ll need to dedicate about 2 hours to grab a good spot here. There aren’t a ton of snack kiosks nearby.
Parade Viewing Map
As detailed above, I’ve shared my three favorite viewing spots for parades at Disneyland. The Plaza Inn dining package location will be added to this map once we know it.
- Disney shares more on this parade at this link.
- After many years of guests hanging out 5 hours prior to parade time to secure a spot, Disney set some limits to keep guests safe. Previous parades included guests setting up no more than 2 hours prior to parade time. I’m assuming this parade will include the same.
- Benches are hot commodities for parades. Don’t camp out on a bench located around the Disneyland Hub expecting to see the parade from it. Many of these benches are moved as the parade start time draws nearer. There are some that remain with a view of the parade, but people set up super early for those and there’s no guarantee of which benches will be moved where.
- Permanent “benches” can be found on the path from the Disneyland Hub headed toward the Matterhorn. These are a safer bet to secure, but people arrive early for those, too. Arrive 2 hours prior to parade time to save a spot. If you set up along this path, the closest restrooms are (the most adorable in the park!) on the way toward it’s a small world, on your left, before you reach the teacups.
- When you set up prior to the parade, you may use a blanket to secure your spot. You may not leave the blanket unattended in any way, but they are allowed. I recommend using a blanket to keep little ones off the ground, which can be hot or dirty. The blanket will also (hopefully) prevent a GROWN MAN from sitting RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR 3 YEAR OLD CHILD MOMENTS BEFORE THE PARADE STARTS. Sorry about that. I’m still bitter. A bulky blanket is no fun to haul through the park, so I highly recommend (and rarely stop rambling on about) the Matador blanket, which fits up to 4 people and folds into a small square that can literally fit inside your pocket. Like magic! I have one and have used it dozens and dozens of times, inside and outside of Disneyland. Find it at this link.
- If your child (or you – I’m not judging) is dressed like a character that runs through the parade, be sure that he or she (or you) do your best to show that character when he or she goes by. Parade characters work hard to spot devoted fans dressed like them, but it can’t hurt to point to your little Jessie when she shows up. Most often, that character will wave or point or do something to show he or she sees the devotion. Calling out character names (within a respectful volume) can also be effective.
- This parade is running through Disneyland for the first time. Performers and cast members are working hard to make everything run smoothly. Please show respect as everyone gets accustomed to this new experience.
- Need help while waiting for the parade? Look for cast members in white shirts with blue ties. These cast members are more senior than others and are focused on crowd management and production set up.
- I’ll be looking for a disability section for this parade as soon as it starts. Most of the parade route is accessible to all guests, but if a section dedicated to guests with disabilities, I’ll update this post. For more on disabilities at Disneyland, visit this link.