Show Spotlight: Pixar Play Parade

“Everyone count down to fun – 5, 4, 3, 2, FUN!”

Sulley in the Monsters University segment of the parade.

Sulley in the Monsters University segment of the parade.

What is the Pixar Play Parade?

This peppy daily parade at Disney California Adventure features segments focusing on some of the most popular Pixar films. This includes:

  • Monsters Inc./Monsters University (float, dancers)
  • The Incredibles (float, characters, dancers, stilt-jumpers)
  • Finding Nemo (floats, puppeteers, dancers)
  • A Bug’s Life (float, characters, dancers, performers on swings)
  • Toy Story (floats, characters, dancers, gymnasts on bars)
  • CARS (characters, dancers)

Mousertainment Memorandum: The Pixar Play Parade and other smaller shows like The Incredibles H.I.T. Squad – Heroes in Training or Operation: Playtime! – Featuring the Green Army Men, plus Meet & Greets with Toy Story characters, along with themed lands (Cars Land, A Bugs Land), attractions like Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! and Toy Story Midway Mania! are all part of what makes many people think of Disney California Adventure as the “Pixar Park”. This is similar to its Orlando sibling park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which tomorrow celebrates the 27th anniversary of its opening on May 1, 1989. That park will be adding an entire Toy Story Land in the next few years!

Who are the performers?

Dancers precede The Incredibles float with Jack-Jack on it.

Dancers precede The Incredibles float with Jack-Jack on it.

A very large cast of characters and performers (and CARS!) features folks dancing, leaping, swinging and singing along to the great songs from Pixar films and more!

Nemo and Marlin swim ahead of a float with Crush and friends from Finding Nemo!

Nemo and Marlin swim ahead of a float with Crush and friends from Finding Nemo!

In this parade you can encounter everyone from Sulley to The Incredibles to Nemo and Dory to Flik and Atta to Buzz and Woody to Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater!

Heimlich from A Bug’s Life segment of the parade.

Heimlich from A Bug’s Life segment of the parade.

When and where can I find it?

Jessie, Woody and some of the cowboy and cowgirl friends in the Toy Story segment of the parade!

Jessie, Woody and some of their cowboy and cowgirl friends in the Toy Story segment of the parade!

Although the parade has recently been down during the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival 2016, it is expected to return soon to its normal late afternoon daily performance at the park.

Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater from CARS at the end of the parade.

Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater from CARS at the end of the parade.

The parade route runs from Tower of Terror through Hollywood Land and along the Paradise Pier with plenty of viewing spots available.

Check your daily Entertainment Times Guide or the Disneyland app for the schedule.

Why spotlight it?

One of the swingin’ bugs from A Bug’s Life segment of the parade!

One of the swingin’ bugs from A Bug’s Life segment of the parade!

This long-running parade is still an upbeat crowd-pleaser. While no permanent segments have been added in a while, during many new Pixar movie releases, a pre-parade element is often temporarily brought in, with the most recent having been for Inside Out.

I particularly enjoy the gymnastic elements of this parade – like the swinging “bugs” in the Bug’s Life segment and the cowboys and cowgirls twirling over the bars on the Toy Story float. I think they add great kinetic energy to the whole show!

Since the show focuses on the Pixar “classics”, I think it’s trying for an evergreen feeling for the whole family ala a Disneyland parade featuring Disney favorites. However, the show does not evoke (for me) quite that same sense of nostalgia that a Disney-focused parade does. It feels like it’s geared more for young ones who’ve grown up with Pixar films more recently, than for everyone.

Still, it’s definitely worth seeing at least once, even if (for me) it doesn’t hold the “must-repeat” quality of some of the parades at Disneyland or at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

Have you seen the Pixar Play Parade? Do you find it plenty of Pixar fun for the whole family or think perhaps it’s time to bring in a new parade to Disney California Adventure?

Update 10/28/16: It looks like the Pixar Play Parade may disappear again soon from Disney California Adventure.  Perhaps in preparation for another Food & Wine Festival during the holidays?  It was expected to go down starting in January due to the construction scheduled at the soon-to-be-former Tower of Terror, but it is not showing up on the park schedule after Halloween.  So if you want to catch this parade, I’d recommend doing so by Monday as it may or may not return in the future.

Update 5/23/17: And… it’s back!  You can catch this parade once again at Disney California Adventure, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it continued to be “seasonal” between the now-regular festivals in the park.

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