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There are some invitations you don’t wait to accept, and the one I got from Marshall at Disney inviting me to visit Pixar’s headquarters and get an inside look at Monsters University was one of those for me. I’ve wanted to get inside the world of Pixar since Toy Story back in 1995 — heck, before that, when I first saw the groundbreaking Luxo Jr. short.

The main Pixar building, recently named for the company’s co-founder Steve Jobs, was an absolute delight to visit. The wide-open space gave the work space a relaxed feel, even while the visible signs of the masterpieces the company produces made it very clear just how hard everyone there works. The cafe and gift shop in the building’s bottom level were joined by lounges and other areas clearly intended to foster an atmosphere of collaboration and camaraderie among the employees.

Right outside the main building was a giant Luxo Jr. lamp — that, I found out after an evening reception, lights up at night — and the star-and-stripe ball from Luxo Jr. that finds its way into many of Pixar’s later films and shorts. If you’re getting the impression that Pixar would quite possibly be one of the most incredible and fun places to work anywhere, I’ve done my job.

You’ll see among my photos some pictures related to my classes at Monsters University. Look for an in-depth piece on that awesomeness in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, enjoy this brand-new trailer for Monsters University, which will be hitting theaters June 21.

Photos: Matt Blum, except
Photo of Matt with Sulley and Mike: Disney.

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