Disneyland’s spanking-new Pixar Fest in California promises the ride of a lifetime.
Everyone has come for the ride. Piled on a pyramid of luridly coloured orbs are enormously tall (and cute!) characters from Inside Out, Joy and Sadness. Joined by a couple of trapeze artists on a soaring float is Woody, the ebullient cowboy doll – voiced by Tom Hanks – from Toy Story. Zipping around on state-of-the-art segways are the super-powered mum and dad from The Incredibles. Merrily prancing on solid ground is the clown fish Nemo.
Even the scariest, feistiest brutes from Monsters, Inc are unleashing their fury, as they parade down Main Street USA in California’s Disneyland Resort.
Welcome to Pixar Fest – the biggest celebration of Pixar characters and friendships from iconic movies such as Finding Nemo, Cars and Up – which has just kicked off at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.
“If a Pixar film is not making me cry, it’s not really working,” says Roger Gould, creative director of Theme Parks for Pixar Animation Studios. “And that’s exactly the sort of experience we want the fans to have at this festival. We want them to be filled with joy as they watch their favourite characters come to life on the streets of Disneyland, but we also want them to connect emotionally to them.”
While the aforementioned Pixar Play Parade is a definite daytime highlight, the spectacle really unfolds after dark when floats studded with more than one million LED lights hit the streets as part of the Paint the Night parade. The astounding 40-feet-long Tinker Bell float, with high-energy music and dancers twirling in fairy-light costumes, kicks off the jamboree, while a Mickey Mouse float with a spiralling 14-feet-tall sculpture provides a fitting finale.
The icing on the animated cake, however, has to be Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular, which includes sensational fireworks above the Sleeping Beauty Castle, foot-tapping tracks such as “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story and vibrant light projections on the façades of Main Street USA that’ll give Sydney’s Vivid a run for its money.
One year in the making, the festival will be held daily until 3 September 2018, with Pixar experiences sprinkled throughout the two theme parks – Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park – that form part of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.
If you’re not planning a trip to California over the next few months, you can still have your Pixar fix, thanks to Pixar Pier – a permanent “land” opening in June this year, to coincide with the release of Incredibles 2. There are four whimsical neighbourhoods for to explore, but the biggest drawcard will be Incredicoaster – a high-speed roller coaster with vivacious characters, special effects and tunnels featuring projection screens. Join the ride.