Disneyland is throwing a five-month party dedicated to its Pixar family favourites
My heart was beating like an eight-year-old who had eaten a packet of Pop Rocks, done a line of Wizz Fizz, downed a litre of Coke and was swimming through a lolly jar.
Standing with a crowd of thousands on Disneyland Park’s Main Street, light projections transformed the iconic Sleeping Beauty’s Castle into a cinematic heart attack of animation happiness.
Suddenly, Buzz Lightyear flew 30m in the air over the top, and then BAM – hundreds of fireworks exploded with military-like precision in time to an orchestra as fireballs, music and lasers started going off, like a frog in a sock, all around. I wanted to grab the stranger beside me and hug them. Which wouldn’t have been that weird because, you know … Disneyland.
After all, it is the happiest place on Earth. And when the happiest place on Earth decides to throw a fivemonth-long party, it’s a damn good time to go. Pixar Fest is the biggest celebration of Pixar in the Disneyland Resorts, ever.
Running until September 3 at Disney Resort in California, Mickey Mouse, Jack Sparrow and The Little Mermaid take the back seat, as stories of the unlikely friendships between characters from Pixar films, such as
Cars, Monsters Inc and Finding Nemo, take centre stage. You can feel the theme of “friendship and beyond” incorporated into both theme parks – Disneyland Park and Disneyland California Adventure Park (which conveniently, are beside each other) – through new attractions, performances, parades, decor and merchandise available to take home.
How? Disneyland is pepped up on Pixar-fizz everywhere you go, thanks to the incredible attention to detail by the “imagineers”. Creative director of Pixar Theme Parks for Pixar Animation Studios (and former animator) Roger Gould and his team spent the last year dreaming up, designing and building new experiences for guests to celebrate Pixar everywhere they go. From the minute you walk through the gates, you’re part of the Pixar madness.
From subtle changes on hotel keys and street music, to new additions to parades and fireworks, everything gets the Pixar treatment. Here are the newest and biggest highlights:
PIXAR PLAY PARADE
The sun is still up as the afternoon’s parade begins, led by the 4m tall Pixar Lamp which, despite having no eyeballs or viewable human controlling it, successfully rolls its way down Disneyland Park’s Main Street without running over cheering kids. There are 120 performers including puppeteers, dancers and acrobats entertaining the crowd who lose their minds at the Toy Story float and a number of people swoon thanks to the marching-dance routine by The Green Army Men. Newest additions: the fellas from Up tow their floating balloon-house 5m above the parade, and Inside Out characters sit atop 280 colourful orbs on a rocket wagon with a rainbow tail.
PAINT THE NIGHT PARADE
Once the sun sets, head over to Disneyland California Adventure Park to see millions of LED lights brighten the night. Classic Disney and Pixar characters dance on electrically-charged floats in outfits that have enough globes in them to decorate 80,000 Christmas trees. Performers dance in fully-lit costume (I mean this literally – they weren’t drunk) to movie tunes that include Under The Sea, You’ve Got A Friend in Me and Beauty and the Beast. The one and only Mickey Mouse conducts the finale on-board a spiralling kinetic sculpture, at which point adults and kids go full fan-girl/boy crazy and are dancing, singing and feeling just as amped as the parade.
THE PYROTECHNICS DISPLAY MADE MY HEART FEEL LIKE A KID ON A SUGAR HIGH
Joy and Sadness hit the streets in the Pixar Play Parade at Disneyland Park for the Pixar Fest; Toy Story’s Green Army Men have a fabulous march/ dance routine, and eat themed food such as Nemo and Dory apples.