I received an all expense paid trip from Disney to attend the #Cars3Event. The opinions expressed here are my own and I received no monetary compensation. #PuppyDogPalsEvent #ABCTVEvent #TheToyBox #BornInChina
“The art challenges the technology and the technology inspires the art.” – John Lasseter
Last month Disney whisked me away to San Fransisco for the #Cars3Event press trip and we spent much of that trip at Pixar Animation Studios. Pixar Studios is a closed campus and they don’t typically do public tours, so it was a privilege being able to spend so much time there. After my trip, friends have asked what Pixar Studios was like and my words fall short. At the risk of sounding corny, it was simply magical.
After you enter the gates, you get a peek at the infamous Pixar lamp (Luxo Jr.) that stands tall in the center of campus. The lamp lights up at night! Cue the goosebumps as you get closer and spot the Pixar ball that has made many cameos in Pixar films. The campus is well manicured and beautiful. We were told that rose bushes were planted around the perimeter so that employees could cut a fresh flower for their desk. There are also herb gardens that the chefs pick from to use in the Pixar kitchen.
The studio’s main hub is the Steve Jobs Building, aptly named after the man who helped turn Pixar into what it is today and oversaw the design of the studio itself. The campus is laid out like a brain – the right side is where the creative team is housed and the left side is where the more technical team is housed. The two sides are encouraged to collaborate and come together in this central hub. Many character details were scattered throughout the building, including LEGO statues of Woody and Buzz.
The Steve Jobs building is also home to Pixar’s many awards. In the midst of the many Oscars and Golden Globes awards stood a very worn Woody doll. With the doll came a letter addressed to John Lasseter, Pixar’s chief creative officer, from a Walt Disney World Cast Member. Fair warning, you might want to grab a tissue before you read about what the letter says. When Woody isn’t in the awards case, he travels with Lasseter for speaking engagements. We were told that Lasseter always gets emotional when talking about the doll.
The letter reads: “On June 18, 2010 we had a young child about 6-year-old by the name of Caleb come into City Hall at Magic Kingdom Park. He brought us his well played with Woody doll. You see, his parents bought him a new one and he wanted his first one to have a great new home and to spend infinity and beyond with Buzz Lightyear. We felt it was appropriate to share him with you.” Oh my heart! This is why Pixar is so amazing. They deeply understand the meaning behind this doll and treasure it enough to place right next to an Oscar.
We screened an episode of the The Toy Box in the Brooklyn Building on campus, which also included many fun Pixar details – like a life size Finding Nemo scene and giant Piper from the Pixar short. Scattered through the floor were Pixar character silhouettes. This building also had a very open and collaborative feel to it. We were told that the decor at Pixar changes based on which movies they are working on at the time.
When the creative minds at Pixar need a break, they can head to the basketball or beach volleyball courts. Or if they prefer, they can take a dip in the pool or head to the gym. I’d personally be hanging out in one of the hammocks on campus. Our tour guide joked that instead of the “Freshman 15″, that everyone gains the “Pixar 15″ when they first start working there because the food is so amazing. Pretty much a dream work environment and every single person I interacted with was just so happy to be there. I want to work at Pixar when I grow up!
Coincidentally, tomorrow just so happens to be career day at my son’s school and he wanted to dress as a future Pixar animator. Those souvenirs from the Pixar gift shop came in handy! Maybe I’ll get to see the Pixar campus again someday.
After seeing where the movies are made, I’m even more excited for Cars 3 to hit theaters on June 16th! Check out the latest trailer: