When an email hits your inbox inviting you to the Pixar Studios for the Incredibles 2 movie event, you don’t worry about the details, you just reply YES. And you might be heard yelling, “Honey, where is my Super Suit?” because you think you’re hilarious. But you obviously say yes to that invite- this is Pixar, after all; the place that has perfected storytelling in my generation. Here’s my Incredible Pixar Studios tour experience that includes an in-depth tour of the Steve Jobs building atrium, the Incredibles 2 art gallery, and a rare look inside the Pixar Archives.
In case you are wondering: no, I never thought this would be where blogging took me. I mean- literally- never thought this would be an actual picture of me.
When I first started writing it was for the love of Disney and running the Disney races, so, sure, you could make the Disney connection. But in my wildest dreams did I see myself walking a Hollywood red carpet with Superheroes or accessing someplace as magical as the Pixar Studios.
I say this to my kids all the time, but it is so true. Blogging has changed my life and in some ways carved out my life’s path. And I totally didn’t expect that to happen when I created my first Blogger account.
I didn’t expect anything to happen, to be honest. I thought it would be an online journal of my ramblings and that no one would read it.
Yet, here we are, millions of pageviews later… ! (and oh my word- THANK YOU GUYS for every single one of them!)
And two weeks ago I flew to California to tour Pixar Studios and learn about the Incredibles 2 movie.
Pixar Studios Tour Experience
Blogging and this community created adventures and opportunities for me, sure, but even more so it’s been a source of pure joy. And that’s exactly what I felt and how I responded as we drove through the gates of Pixar.
I was Joy from Pixar’s Inside Out, clapping (nope, not kidding, I clapped and bounced in my seat like a little kid! No shame in my Pixar-loving game!) when this became my view for the first time.
I mean, can you blame me?
It’s a pretty cool world to be part of and I’m so happy I started talking to strangers on the internet so many years ago. (Yes, kids, I know. Do as I say- not as I do!)
I’ll be the first to admit I was making core memories on this trip! I’m jumping on the train of thought to take you back with me for my Pixar Studios tour experience.
Are Pixar Studios Tours Available to the Public?
Don’t show your Anger, but no, the public cannot go on a Pixar Studios tour. We were invited to a special press event to discuss the 20th (yes! 20th- can you believe it?) Pixar Studios Animation film, The Incredibles 2.
The Pixar Studios campus is a working studio and in order to protect their creative processes, the public doesn’t have the opportunity to take tours.
I know. It is a little heartbreaking to share that news. But moving on to better news…
Is Rainbow Unicorn From Inside Out As Cool As She Seems?
YES. She’s even COOLER than you can imagine.
As we gathered in the courtyard of the Steve Jobs Building to take pictures, I spied her through the windows and, yep, you guessed it clapped and bounced up and down like a little kid. I couldn’t wait to get inside and hug her neck!
What’s the Story Behind the Luxo Jr. and The Pixar Ball Statues?
In one of the biggest surprises on the Pixar Studios tour, we learned that the famous replications of the bouncing lamp, Luxo Jr., and the ball he plays with were not native to the Pixar campus when it opened in 2000.
A traveling Pixar exhibit visited Austraila, where the two statues were created by the Austrailian museum hosting the exhibit. After the exhibit returned to the US, Austrailia decided they really didn’t have a need for the giant lamp and ball (go figure!) and offered them to Pixar.
They’ve been a must-do photo stop since 2008- and the lamp even turns on at night!
What’s Inside the Steve Jobs Building?
Inspiration, magic, and cereal. Yes, cereal!
There’s a room full of it for the animators, creators, and staff to help themselves to as they wish. I got a huge chuckle out of this.
You walk through the doors and into an open atrium that was created to inspire collaboration and co-mingling of the folks that work here. All restrooms, the mail room, a Pixar store and the cafe are located on this ground floor.
It’s the best kind of space that lets the outside in because it’s created with walls of windows. I felt like it would inspire those that work there to think outside the box. I honestly never wanted to leave this space because it was that warm, welcoming, and inviting.
Incredible Pixar Artwork Is Everywhere
This atrium is a delight to the eyes and Incredibles 2 movie artwork was on almost every wall. I was a little bit obsessed with every mural and wanted to find a way to take it all home with me.
Spoiler: nothing made it home with me. Ha. The Pixar Archives or a charity auction are the usual destinations for these items once they have lived their life in the Steve Jobs Building.
The Incredibles 2 Art Gallery Tour
This was a highlight of my time at Pixar. There are two galleries that rotate artwork from the movies; we were lucky enough to tour both the Coco gallery (Coco is a gorgeous movie, see it if you haven’t!) and the Incredibles 2 art gallery.
If you know me, you know I love spoilers and trying to figure out plot points in advance. While there might have been some spoilery things on the walls of the Incredibles 2 art gallery, I didn’t pick up on any of it. And trust me- I was looking!
Here are some spoiler-free images provided by Pixar.
This wall was particularly exciting – and not just because we got to see Edna! Though you know I adore Edna Mode and her signature style.
This is what’s called a color script, which is similar to a storyboard. Instead of showing the actual scenes like in a storyboard, it shows the emotions of the movie through color. The darker areas show the more ominous scenes where the brighter areas are where things are more exciting or happy.
Color scripts are used to map out the pacing and emotion for the entire film. If you stand back, you can get a visual of how the emotional aspect ebbs and flows of the movie. Very cool!
Creating Our Own Super
You aren’t going to leave Pixar Studios 2nd floor without using your creative side! I think it’s a rule or something. And the bloggers were not getting an exception to this “rule” (that I totally just made up).
We learned about concept art from Pixar artist Alonso Martinez and even had some hands-on crafting. I think this officially means I am a Pixar artist, right? I mean, I created in the studio… so…
Yeah, yeah, yeah- I won’t wait for my paycheck or anything.
And yes, I did an Incredibles Disneybound for the Incredibles 2 Event. That was not an opportunity I was going to pass up! You can check out how I put it together- including how to make that Incredibles logo necklace!- in the link above.
What’s in the Pixar Archives?
Everything amazing is in the Pixar Archives! It’s the storage house for all the historical work of the Pixar Studios.
We were granted special access to the Pixar Archives as part of the Incredibles 2 event. I can’t tell you where to find this building because it’s a huge secret, but I can show you a little bit of what’s inside.
The ladies we met have the special task of curating and collecting the hundreds and thousands of items that go into creating a Pixar movie. Animators notes, sketches (some complete with coffee stains and doodles!), concept art, 3-D molds and statues used to create characters and final artwork can all be found inside the walls of the Pixar Archives.
Most items were stored in boxes or files which means the archives are basically a large storage facility with special temperature controls to keep the artwork pristine.
Sometimes contents from the Archives go on tour, so there’s a chance you can see some of this amazing collection on the road someday!
The entire Pixar Studios tour experience was just as Super- and of course- as Incredible- as I hoped it would be. Breathing the air on the Pixar campus seems to infuse the soul with inspiration and I am so thankful that I was able to experience this event.
And just wait- there’s so much more to come! From costuming to an interview with the director and producers to learning about Baby Jack-Jack’s powers: the Incredibles 2 Event was full of awesome information.
In the next few weeks, I’ll share more from the creators of The Incredibles 2. You won’t believe the layers and steps that go into making a Pixar film!
Until then, I’ll be over here perfecting my superhero pose.
Go See Incredibles 2 on June 15!
Written and directed by Brad Bird (“Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille”) and produced by John Walker (“The Incredibles,” “Tomorrowland”) and Nicole Grindle (“Sanjay’s Super Team” short, “Toy Story 3” associate producer), Disney•Pixar’s “Incredibles 2” busts into theaters on June 15, 2018.
Follow Disney/Pixar on Twitter: https://twitter.com/disneypixar
Follow Disney/Pixar on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pixar/
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Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)