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Trip Report: Pixar Day at Sea debuts on the Disney Fantasy

by Dave Parfitt

Disney Cruise Line’s newest themed cruise, Pixar Day at Sea, debuted onboard the Disney Fantasy Jan. 7, 2023. “Attractions Magazine” was invited to be among the first to experience the latest day at sea, and what did we find? A day-long celebration where guests played, danced, sung, swum, and even dined with some of their favorite Pixar characters.

Minnie and Mickey Mouse in Pixar-themed outfits for Pixar Day at Sea sailings
Minnie and Mickey Mouse in Pixar-themed outfits for Pixar Day at Sea sailings.
Photo courtesy of Dave Parfitt.

Denise Case, director of entertainment/creative for Disney Cruise Line, admitted they are still learning and “tweaking” the offerings for Pixar Day at Sea. “Our model was Marvel Day at Sea and Star Wars Day at Sea,” Case explained, “for their storytelling, there’s a takeover of the ship and heroes save the day. Pixar Day at Sea may work better if our Pixar friends join us on vacation throughout the entire cruise.”

Panel discussion of Disney Cruise Line directors
From left are Cruise Director Trent Hitchcock, Disney Cruise Line Director of Entertainment/Creative Denise Case, Hotel Director Sam Jones, and Melanie Hager Disney Cruise Line Publicist.
Photo by Dave Parfitt

The Pixar Day at Sea was so full, activities overflowed into the days before and after the “official” Pixar Day. And that’s a good thing!

One of the signature Pixar Day at Sea events, the Hey Howdy Breakfast with Woody and Friends, did not actually take place on the official Pixar Day at Sea. Reservations were required (at no additional cost) for this interactive character show breakfast hosted by Sheriff Woody, Jessie the yodeling cowgirl, and Bullseye (he’s Woody’s horse). This dining experience is offered multiple times during the cruise.

Our reservation was on Jan. 8, one day before Pixar Day at Sea. We filled up on hearty country & western breakfast fixins’ and enjoyed the cowboy fun. I highly recommend this fun, cowboy sing-along, meal, and it was a great way to get us in the mood for all the Pixar Day at Sea events scheduled the following day.

Cowboy guitarist and Woody perform at the Hey Howdy Breakfast with Woody and Friends
The Hey Howdy Breakfast with Woody and Friends interactive experience featured on Pixar Day at Sea sailings.
Photo by Kent Phillips, Disney Cruise Line

Pixar Day started bright and early with a whole host of Pixar-themed activities taking place in nearly every venue of the ship. “Sarge Says!” got the day going with a family game show in D-Lounge at 9 a.m. This was followed by Pixar Trivia, Dory’s Memory Game, Jack-Jack’s Incredible Diaper Dash, Style on Parade with Edna Mode, Monsters Inc. Open Mike Night, and much more.

Entertainment host and Mike Wazowski on stage for Open Mike Night
Families take the stage with their best jokes during “‘Monsters, Inc.’ Open Mike Nite” on Pixar Day at Sea cruises.
Photo by Kent Phillips, Disney Cruise Line

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Disney event without characters, and during our inaugural Pixar Day at Sea voyage, there were character appearances scheduled from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Miguel from “Coco” danced and played air guitar outside the Walt Disney Theatre, Mike Wazowski and Sulley from “Monsters, Inc.” alternated in front of Boo’s stateroom door, Joy & Sadness from “Inside Out” posed in front of a colorful backdrop, “Ratatouille’s” Remy met fans in front of a giant cookbook, and even Mickey & Minnie Mouse got involved in the activities with special Pixar-themed outfits.

Meeting Pirate Stitch on Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship

Two character meet & greet opportunities required advanced reservations through the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app (again at no additional cost): Toy Story friends and an encounter with The Incredibles. This was to ensure as many people as possible had a chance to get a photo.

Woody and Bo meet and greet during Pixar Day at Sea sailings
Woody and Bo meet and greet during Pixar Day at Sea sailings.
Photo courtesy of Dave Parfitt.
Edna Mode and Mrs. Incredible meet and greet during Pixar Day at Sea sailings
Edna Mode and Mrs. Incredible, seen in a new way, meet and greet during Pixar Day at Sea sailings.
Photo courtesy of Dave Parfitt.

By far, our favorite Pixar Day at Sea activity was “Pixar Storytellers at Sea.” During each sailing, a special Pixar guest presents a seminar about their career. For our inaugural sailing, Bob Peterson, Pixar animator, writer, director, and voice actor shared stories. I love hearing creative folks talk about the inspiration for their work, and Bob Peterson held everyone in rapt attention, particularly as he demonstrated voices from famous Pixar characters such as Roz (“Monsters, Inc.”), Mr. Ray (“Finding Nemo”), and Dug (the dog from “Up”). Peterson was incredibly passionate, authentic, and honest about his career, and I appreciated that the Disney Cruise Line team offered a Pixar activity particularly aimed at the adults. A special guest from Pixar Studios is scheduled to attend every Pixar Day at Sea cruise.

The Inaugural Pixar Day at Sea ended with two parties on deck: Pixar Pals Celebration (7:30 – 8 p.m.) and An Incredible Deck Party: Celebrate the Supers! (10:15 – 10:45 p.m.). Personally, I loved the Pixar Pals Celebration. This show offered a chance to see all the Pixar friends who appeared throughout the day in one high-energy dance party – and Dug, the dog from “Up!” stole the show with his overly-enthusiastic tail-wagging.

Pixar Pals Celebration on Pixar Day at Sea

The Incredibles deck party also had its moments, particularly the first appearance of Violet and Dash on screen and an adorable Jack-Jack puppet. However, the show relied a little too heavily on a video projected on the huge funnel-vision screen that caused the crowd energy to wane. That being said, the energy picked up again for the concluding fireworks show set to Michael Giacchino’s soundtrack to “The Incredibles.”

Celebrate The Supers Incredibles Show for Pixar Day at Sea

Other Pixar Day at Sea Highlights

• Pixar themed activities in the kids clubs such as making music with Miguel from “Coco,” build your own Forky from “Toy Story 4,” and Chillith with Ian from “Onward.” Kids even get a chance to meet Ian after he sends them on a quest (this is the first time Ian appears as a character on a Disney Cruise Line ship).

• “Crush’s Totally Awesome Pool Party” and other Pixar-themed moments throughout the day on the upper pool decks.

• A special a Pixar-themed dinner in all family dining venues with cuisine inspired by Pixar Studios’ Emeryville, Calif. home as well as special Pixar-themed treats available throughout the ship.

Playful Pixar Ball signature dessert
Playful Pixar Ball signature dessert – baked vanilla cheesecake, blueberry filling, lemon almond cake
Photo by Dave Parfitt.

Pixar Day at Sea Overall Thoughts

Disney Cruise Line’s Pixar Day at Sea is an enjoyable experience that brings a little extra joy onboard your seven-night Disney Fantasy cruise. [Seriously, Joy is right there waiting to take a photo with you.] As a brand-new offering, Pixar Day at Sea is still a work in progress. For example, Rex, the nervous dinosaur from “Toy Story.” was not present on the inaugural sailing, but showed up on the second Pixar Day at Sea cruise. (Rumor has it Rex was stuck in the elevator as those short little arms couldn’t reach the buttons.) Other notable absences included no real presence of popular Pixar films such as “Cars,” “Wall-E,” “Brave,” “Luca,” or “Turning Red.” It’s possible those last two films were “too new” to be included in this sailing. Finally, there was almost too much for one day with long lines occurring for character meet and greets and activities. Disney Cruise Line pivoted during the inaugural sailing offering additional character appearances like The Incredibles and activities such as Anyone Can Cook on other days after Pixar Day at Sea.

All and all, Pixar Day at Sea, was a fun offering during our seven-night Eastern Caribbean sailing, and stretching it into a fully-themed Pixar Cruise might even make it that much better.

Currently, Pixar Day at Sea is included on select Disney Fantasy cruises though March 2023 and sails to the eastern and western Caribbean. Check out DisneyCruiseLine.com for more details, or visit our recommended travel agent, MouseFanTravel.com.

Here’s a vlog of the whole trip, including Pixar Day at Sea by Attractions Magazine reporter Quinn Roseboom and his fiancée Christian Theriot:

Our Pixar Day at Sea - Attractions Adventures on Disney Cruise Line
Meeting Woody and Bo Peep on Pixar Day at Sea onboard Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship
Mickey and Minnie’s Exclusive ‘Pixar Day at Sea’ Outfits on Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship
Meeting “Face” Mrs. Incredible and Edna Mode during Pixar Day at Sea on Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship
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