March 2008 – present
Hollywood Land, Buena Vista Street, Pacific Wharf, Paradise Pier – The Pixar Play Parade crosses right through the middle of California Adventure, stepping into half of its lands. The procession starts in Hollywood Land, next to the Tower of Terror, and winds around the corner to Buena Vista Street. From Buena Vista Street, the parade heads down Pacific Wharf’s main walkway, until it comes to an end in Paradise Pier, next to Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta.
When Disney acquired Pixar, execs really wanted to increase its presence in the parks. California Adventure began incorporating more and more Pixar characters into its attractions, and when the Block Party Bash parade/dance show came to a close, Disney saw its opportunity to create a Pixar parade. The Pixar Play Parade opened in 2008 to overwhelming popularity, and the parade was expanded several times to include more characters.
Though the parade itself was not altered during California Adventure’s expansion and renovation, the massive construction throughout the park made it almost impossible to maintain an open parade route. As a result, the Pixar Play Parade went on hiatus from January 2011 through the park’s “reopening” in 2012. The Pixar Play Parade remains one of the most popular shows in California Adventure, and it’s the largest Pixar attraction at the Disneyland Resort.
- Single Rider Line – no
- Fast Pass – no
- Height Requirement – none
- Duration – 18:00
The Pixar Play Parade starts with a standard parade opener: a marching band and wave of enthusiastic dancers. After the performers warm up the crowds, the characters file into the street on various floats. Each float is accompanied by either a song from its soundtrack or an arrangement of a pop or rock song. The procession is as follows:
- Monsters University (accompanied by the MU Fight Song)
- The Incredibles (accompanied by Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”)
- Finding Nemo (accompanied by Huey Piano Smith’s “Sea Cruise”)
- A Bug’s Life (accompanied by Cyndi Lauper’s “[Bugs] Just Wanna Have Fun”)
- Toy Story (accompanied by Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got A Friend In Me”)
- Cars (accompanied by Tom Cochrane’s “Life Is A Highway”)
The parade does not have a big finale. Instead, Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars drive at the rear of the parade, and they follow the parade as it rides off into the Paradise Bay sunset.
MY RATING: ★★★☆☆
This parade is not as exciting as those in Disneyland. The floats are not as intricately designed, the characters don’t really dance or move around much, and the floats are fairly low to the ground, so some can be hard to see if you’re not right at the front. Some floats do have amazing acrobatics, but the parade moves pretty fast; so it’s easy to miss them. The best thing about this parade is that the route covers so much ground; it’s much easier to get a good view of the Pixar Play Parade than any of the Disneyland parades. If you’re near the route during a showtime, definitely check it out, but this parade isn’t a huge deal to miss.
Stake out a spot for this parade about 20 minutes before it starts. You’ll have tons viewing options, since the route is so long, but most guests tend to crowd around Hollywood Land and Paradise Pier. I’d recommend looking for a spot on Buena Vista Street or in Pacific Wharf, away from the start and end points of the parade. If you’re visiting around a holiday or in the middle of summer, you’ll likely have to stake out a spot up to 45 minutes ahead of time, but otherwise, you shouldn’t have too much trouble.
From 2008-2010, the Pixar Play Parade included a Ratatouille float. The float had to be removed from the parade with the installation of the Red Car Trolley in the park, since Remy’s cookbook was too tall to travel under the cables.
If there are two scheduled parades in one day, the second parade often travels in reverse; from Paradise Pier to Hollywood Land.
The Play Parade starts with an original song, Countdown to Fun!.