At D23 Expo 2017, Disney Parks and Resorts announced that Paradise Pier in Disneyland Resort’s Disney California Adventure theme park would be transformed into Pixar Pier. Details at the time were non-existent, but they hinted that rides would be rethemed to Pixar films, that new restaurants would open up, and that there might even be room for new attractions. Now that Disneyland is gearing up for Pixar Fest, we have learned the first details of this new Pixar-themed land.
Pixar Pier will officially open in Summer 2018. To make way for the new Pixar-themed land, California Screamin’, Ariel’s Grotto restaurant and the Cove Bar, Mickey’s Fun Wheel, Games of the Boardwalk and Sideshow Shirts will close on January 8, 2018. Pixar Pier will open during the limited-time Pixar Fest celebration, which begins April 13, 2018. The celebration will include the new “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular” fireworks as well as the return of Pixar Play Parade and “Paint the Night” parade, and more to be announced. Here’s the official description:
When Pixar Pier opens along the southern shore of Paradise Bay, with newly themed attractions, foods and merchandise throughout. This new, permanent land in the area that is now Paradise Pier will introduce four new neighborhoods representing beloved Disney·Pixar stories.
The four neighborhoods will be themed around three Pixar movies: The Incredibles, Toy Story, and Inside Out. A fourth section will “be a celebration of many of your favorite Pixar stories.”
The first of the four themed neighborhoods guests is inspired by The Incredibles and will involve the popular California Screamin’ rollercoaster being transformed into The Incredicoaster. As you can see in the concept art above, the queue building will be re-themed to reflect the mid-century modern house of the superhero family. We can also see a mural on the back wall that looks like the same style as the opening credits sequence of the movie.
The ride itself will likely not be any different, although I’m assuming Neil Patrick Harris’ announcement will now become Edna Mode or a character from the films. Disney says that the new version of the ride will include “new character moments and a new look for the ride vehicles.” I don’t look at this as a bad thing, as Screamin’ was always a good ride with a poor theme. Hopefully, what they add is cool and not just pasted on.
The second neighborhood in Pixar Pier will be based around the Toy Story franchise. The popular Toy Story Mania! interactive game attraction will remain, and there is no word on if they will update the ride to reflect any of the new characters being introduced in Toy Story 4 or the recent Toy Story short films.
A neighborhood inspired by the film Inside Out will be found on the western side of the boardwalk and will include a new family-friendly attraction in the expansion pad at the right end of California Screamin’. It has been rumored that the ride would be a themed spinner ride, and if you look at the concept art above, you can see just that, with the colored memory balls from the movie. The new ride is scheduled to open at a later date – I’m betting in late 2018 or early 2019.
In the fourth neighborhood celebrating other Pixar films, Mickey’s Fun Wheel will be given a new look, with each of the 24 gondolas modified to feature different Pixar characters. But don’t worry: the iconic face of Mickey Mouse will remain on the Paradise Bay side of the wheel. The Ferris wheel on the opposite side of the bay has become one of the most iconic landmarks of Disney California Adventure.
The Games of the Boardwalk will be transformed into midway games inspired by Pixar characters. The Bullseye Stallion Stampede game will remain.
Ariel’s Grotto restaurant and the Cove Bar will be transformed into a “new lounge and grill offering sparkling views of Paradise Bay and the new Pixar Pier.” This is probably the only thing in this transformation that I am personally concerned (and possibly angry) about. I, like many of you, love The Cove Bar. I really hope Disney doesn’t mess with what made it great.
The Cove Bar has been one of the most high demand walk-up food spots in all of Disneyland Resort, so maybe this is a matter of them expanding the options into Ariel’s Gorotto, allowing for more seating and less waiting? Maybe I’m being too hopeful?
Personally, I never cared for Ariel’s Gorotto, but I know it was one of the only character dining options where kids could meet the princesses, so I wonder what Disney is going to do about that.
The remaining areas of Paradise Pier, including Paradise Gardens, Silly Symphony Swings, Jumpin’ Jellyfish, Goofy’s Sky School, Golden Zephyr and The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, will become a new land called Paradise Park.