Pixar Play Parade returns to Disney California Adventure

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After being on hiatus due to construction for over 17 months, the Pixar Play Parade has made its return to the new and improved Disney California Adventure.

The parade features six floats and dozens of Pixar characters, along with high-energy music and dancing. The parade starts off with the stars of Monsters, Inc., including Roz, who leads the parade by twirling her baton. Sully can be seen riding in front of a giant stylized drum that has been decorated with the Play Parade logo. An impressive animatronic version of Mike is located on the back of the float. The parade continues, with floats dedicated to The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story, and Cars.

The first thing you’ll notice about the floats in the Play Parade is their size. For example, The Incredibles float contains a gigantic Omnidroid robot that towers over the audience. The Finding Nemo parade unit has a large Crush figure that is fully animated. This float also has several performers using the exact same articulated Dory and Marlin puppets used in Finding Nemo – The Musical at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It’s worth mentioning that the Toy Story unit has acrobats who actually swing and flip upside down on the parade float. This is very impressive looking, especially considering the units are moving continually down the parade route. Unfortunately, some cuts were made to the Pixar Play Parade after it returned from its long hiatus. The Ratatouille float has been completely removed, so that movie no longer has any representation in the parade. Also, Lotso Bear from Toy Story 3 formerly appeared on a large toy dump truck. He has been replaced by Mr. Potato Head.

The Pixar Play Parade is relatively short, clocking in at just over 10 minutes. The parade route is ridiculously long, so long that it is the longest parade route in any Disney theme park in the world. The parade starts near Tower of Terror and ends in Paradise Pier near Silly Symphony Swings. This means there is plenty of room on the parade route to find a spot, even if you arrive near show time. If you do end up waiting until the last minute for a spot, I recommend the area near Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta, as I usually observe this is the last area to fill up.

The parade is worth seeing, especially if you have young children in your party. Besides the dozens of Pixar characters, almost all of the parade units spray bubbles on the crowd. And let’s face it, kids really love bubbles.

The Pixar Play Parade is currently scheduled to run twice daily during the summer season at 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm. The 2:00 pm parade starts in the Tower of Terror area, and the 5:00 pm performance starts near Silly Symphony Swings. Also, during warmer days most of the parade units spray the crowd with water, so protect your belongings if you don’t want them to get wet.

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Guy Selga Jr.

Disneyland writer for TouringPlans.com and co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland. Also a Disneyland local and appreciator of Disney theme park history. Twitter and Instagram: @guyselga

One thought on “Pixar Play Parade returns to Disney California Adventure

  • June 29, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I think it bears mentioning that the Pixar parade features one of the most insistently earworms of a soundtrack found outside it’s a small world. The “Countdown to Fun” theme (derived from a Hong Kong Disneyland production) is painfully catchy, and the repurposed pop songs (Rungren’s “Bang on The Drum All Day,” Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”) will be lodged in your brain for weeks to come!
    PS Keep an eye out for Jack-Jack’s impressive exploding head effect.


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