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Disneyland After Dark: Pixar Nite

These are my personal opinions and suggestions after attending Disneyland After Dark: Pixar Nite event in March 2020.

As the sun begins to set and darkness falls amongst the land, 
Disneyland After Dark is close at hand. 
The CMs arrive with cameras in their hand, 
in search of festive guests in all the lands.
And if you are lucky to be found
A picture with a Character will go down.
If you can stay up to hang around,
It is the best late night party in the town.
(poem written by me)

For more info on the Disneyland After Dark 2022 events click here

What is Disneyland After Dark?

Disneyland After Dark is a separate ticketed event on select nights. Each event is a different theme with after hours park access, entertainment, characters, attractions and more.

Cost: $109 per person ages 2+
Time: 4 hour party with early mix in 3 hours before 
Dates: See Disneyland for info
Location: Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park

What to Expect at Disneyland After Dark Event

At a Disneyland After Dark event after you enter the gates you will get a lanyard, event wristband, special event map and possibly a themed pin. When the event time begins the regular day guest will be asked to leave and only those with the wristband will be allowed to stay. There will be opportunities for special character photo meet and greet, exclusive themed merchandise, special themed food, dance parties, entertainment and shorter wait times for rides.

Outsider Perspective

Before attending Pixar Nite I asked my audience for advice and to share their thoughts on Disneyland After Dark events.  I was surprised many of them had not yet attended one of these events.  Many had very strong opinions as to why they have never attended. The most common response was the cost, they felt it was too expensive; the consensus was they did not want to spend more money especially if they already had a day ticket or annual Park Pass. The next concern was having to spend the night in long lines for photo opportunities with characters. As well as long lines for the exclusive merchandise and the possibility of things selling out.

My Personal Pixar Nite Experience 

The party was scheduled at Disney California Adventure Park from 8pm to 12 am. Since adults are allowed to dress up to match the theme (with some exclusions) I was dressed up in my Monsters University attire with my themed t shirt and the Art hat I made. As soon as the mix in time began I entered the park with no problems or long gate wait times. 

Mix in is typically 3 hours before the event you can enter the park and are mixed in with the regular day guests.


Since I had not yet attended the Food & Wine Festival I decided to try some gluten free couple treats.  After my snack I headed over to Pixar Pier to hop on a few rides. I decided it was a good idea to grab a gluten free pizza from Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta to fuel my night. I browsed the Event food list and nothing special was gluten free. Sadly, this is pretty common so I highly suggest my gluten free folks eat before the party starts. Often many of the regular restaurants will close for the night and you don’t want to be stuck in the spot of being hungry with no options, plus you want to save time for all the fun! 

Max Pass & Wait Times

I’m not sure if Max Pass is an included option before the party but I had it in my app and was able to get a fast pass for Guardians of the Galaxy’s ride. After my fun on Guardians it was almost party start time. I did check the app and the Max Pass option was no longer available for me to use.  But don't worry once the party starts you don't even need Max Pass anymore. Just FYI don't rely on the app for ride wait times during the Party, in my opinion they were inaccurate. For example, the app said Guaridan's was a 55 minutes wait but in reality it was 10 minutes.  In my humble opinion, the wait time signs at each ride were more accurate.

With short wait times I rode just about every ride within the park. Some of them I rode multiple times like my favorites Guardians and Incredicoaster. When there was no one in the line the Cast members let you stay on the ride to go again without getting off if you wanted.

Expectations vs Reality

I came with expectations of long lines for characters but I wasn’t going to let that spoil my night. I knew I  would just skip the Character Photo ops if it was too long. The reality for me was just the opposite, the character opportunities and photo background lines that I went in moved rather quickly. I actually got several photos with characters which made my night.  Some of my favorites were Wall-E and Eva, Nemo & Dory, Joy & Sadness, the Pixar truck and an extra special meet up with the new characters from the movie Onward. The longest I ever waited was 15 minutes. Now I didn’t stand in every line as they were spread out in different areas of the park.  I’m sure some lines were longer than the ones I chose but I was extremely happy with my photo pass experiences.

Dance Parties

You definitely don’t want to miss out on attending the dance parties. Sure it might be awkward at first to get on the dance floor because once you do you will not regret it. This is where I had the most memorable character interactions. Get those cameras and video ready because you get an up close opportunity to dance with Disney Characters. It’s selfie time, don’t be shy! I danced the night away with many of my favorite Monsters University pals Sulley, Mike, Ros, Art and many other Monsters Inc pals.

Actually at Pixar Nite there was multiple dance parties. Over near Pixar Pier it was an Incredibles dance party. I mean how many people can say they danced with the Edna Mode? I know I can say I have, and I even danced with the fun party animal Mr. Frozone. Also Mr. & Mrs. Incredible were adorable to watch dancing together. And the DJs at the dance party really know the perfect, yet family friendly songs to play that will certainly have you eager to move those feet.

Exclusive Merchandise 

I wasn’t interested in the exclusive Pixar Nite merchandise so I didn’t even check it out. As I walked past Knick Knacks at 8pm there was a long line but it looked somewhat manageable. I am not sure how long people waited, but I do know when I walked by two hours later the line was gone. Either the merchandise sold out or people weren’t as interested either.

Overall, I highly recommend attending a Disneyland After Dark event.  I personally felt that it was worth the value what I paid. I know I probably could have stayed longer but after being on the go at the park for the entire 7 hours I was exhausted. If you are planning on attending I definitely recommend not visiting the park during the day (before mix in time), save up your energy for the party. Don’t set your expectations too high to do everything, plan your priorities if you must. But do go to the Disneyland After Dark event expecting to have fun, it’s a once in a lifetime party after all!