How Disney*Pixar COCO Honors Family Traditions #PixarCOCOEvent #PixarCOCO

One of the things I looked forward to during my #PixarCocoEvent trip to San Francisco, was learning more about Miguel and his family. After all Disney*Pixar COCO is about Miguel unlocking the real story behind his family history.


Note: Disney and Pixar invited me on this all expense paid trip for the Disney*Pixar COCO Event. While I will share different events and activities during the trip, any personal views expressed are always 100% my own.

But what is that family history?! And what is Dia de los Muertos?! And what's that colorful bridge all about?! I learned all the answers to these questions and so much more, while meeting the teams behind the scenes and research that went into the storyline for Disney*Pixar COCO.

Adrian Molina (Writer and Co-Director) and Dean Kelly (Lead Story Artist) shared about the research into family history and traditions. They traveled to Mexico to experience Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a festival where the "souls" of the dead are invited to visit the "land of the living" to be reunited and celebrate.


While in Mexico, they learned about some of the customs which they used in Disney*Pixar COCO including

  • Ofrendas - Offerings are put out to welcome the soul of dead family and can include traditional food and items the relatives liked in life. Photos are added to help keep the faces of families in memory. It gives families the feeling that their ancestors are connected and watching over them.
  • Marigold Flowers - Used to make a path of petals that guide the spirits to their altars with their vibrant colors and scent. It's also a symbol of the path that brings living and dead families together.
  • Cemetery Ritual - During the day families will visit the cemeteries to clean it up and decorate it for when their family spirits arrive. At night the whole family will stand vigil at the graves. There's music and lots of candles all around.

For the Pixar COCO research team, it was important to add this research into the film to add authenticity. They didn't want Pixar COCO to just be a film that took place on "the day of the dead". They wanted the meaning behind these traditions to be a part of the story.



After learning about the traditions, it was time to learn about the worlds of Pixar COCO, especially where Miguel's family is coming from - The land of the Dead.


The land of the dead in a multi layer, brightly colored city with building going up vertical connected by stairways and bridges. The marigold bridge contains the only living vegetation and connections both the worlds together.

Throughout the land of the dead there's hidden skulls and iconography. If you look closely you can see how lights, pathways and building forming together to make different size and shaped skulls


There's generations of people from late 19th century, pre-Columbia and Spanish colonial times. The vertical towers represent layers of history and people, with the newest on the top.


The building have windows with lights to give the feeling that people are actively living inside and outside. There's also trolleys and gondolas to help people travel around. The land of the dead is an active place.

As you can see lots of research and caring when into building both worlds in Disney*Pixar COCO. Get ready to visit when it opens  in theaters  on November 22nd!


Disney Pixar COCO movie poster

MOVIE SYNOPSIS:

Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt).

Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself magically transported to the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history.



Directed by Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”), co-directed by Adrian Molina (story artist “Monsters University”) and produced by Darla K. Anderson (“Toy Story 3”).

To learn more about Disney•Pixar’s COCO, visit - www.movies.disney.com/COCO

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