Sign Up for Our Monthly Family Getaways Newsletter
When Disney California Adventure Park opened at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., in 2001, the idea was to represent Disney within the Golden State. But over the last 17 years, the park has evolved to bring Disney stories and characters to life — while still immersing guests in the history and culture of California.
The newest addition to the park is Pixar Pier, which opened last month as a reimagination of the Paradise Pier area. Originally designed to celebrate the seaside boardwalks along California’s coastline, the area retains its nostalgic charm but now includes “neighborhoods” that are dedicated to beloved Pixar characters, in addition to re-themed attractions: the Incredicoaster and the Pixar Pal-Around and, coming in 2019, Jessie’s Critter Carousel and the Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind.
California Screamin,’ Disney California Adventure’s signature rollercoaster, has been redesigned as the Incredicoaster with new music and narration. The new ride will take parkgoers on a mission with the family of superheroes from “The Incredibles” movies.
“We wanted to take the story that was set up in the movie and expand it,” said Elliott Rosenbaum, an assistant creative producer with Walt Disney Imagineering for Pixar Pier. “We looked at what we really love about the Incredibles — seeing them work together and exercising their superpowers —and built our story around those elements.”
At the midcentury-modern station (a nod to the Incredibles’ 1960s-style house in “Incredibles 2”), riders learn that baby Jack-Jack has escaped from his babysitter, super suit designer Edna Mode. Then, riders are off on a race with Jack-Jack’s brother, Dash, to chase down the elusive super baby as the rest of the family use their powers to help.
Fan-favorite Toy Story Midway Mania! anchors the Toy Story neighborhood on Pixar Pier and will be joined in 2019 by Jessie’s Critter Carousel, which will incorporate Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl and her woodland friends from the “Woody’s Roundup” television show in “Toy Story 2.”
“I’m really excited that we’re going to be able to expand that story and bring it life for the first time in a 3-D space,” Rosenbaum said.
Along the Pixar Promenade — a neighborhood dedicated to a variety of Pixar characters and stories — Paradise Pier’s Ferris Wheel has been transformed into the Pixar Pal-A-Round with gondolas (featuring both swinging and non-swinging cars) that feature pairs of Pixar pals, including Lightning McQueen and Mater from the Pixar film “Cars”; Buzz Lightyear and Woody from “Toy Story”; and Wall-E and Eve from “Wall-E.”
“One of the themes we love in Pixar movies is the friendships that develop between characters,” Rosenbaum said. “So, we took some of those pairings and put them on the Pal-Around, which was a great opportunity to celebrate that part of Pixar.”
Disneyland Resort also just announced that the final neighborhood on Pixar Pier will be Inside Out Headquarters. Located on the western end of the pier, this neighborhood will be the location of the Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind, a whimsical family-friendly attraction that will debut in 2019.
But the attractions aren’t the only parts of Pixar Pier that have been reimagined. The boardwalk games, shops and food offerings have also been re-themed, including the Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats, and “Inside Out”-inspired Angry Dogs, which serves up both spicy “Angry Dogs” (with a side of Chester’s Flamin’ Hot Fries) and the not-so-spicy “Slightly Annoyed Dogs” (with a side of Lay’s Classic Potato Chips).
“My favorite thing about the pier is the food and beverages,” Rosenbaum said. “We’ve been able to bring really great ‘in-story’ items such as Jack-Jack Cookie Num Nums, where you can actually eat a delicious gooey chocolate chip cookie inspired by ‘Incredibles 2,’ or Poultry Palace from the ‘Toy Story’ short ‘Small Fry.’ I think that’s a really great moment of storytelling that we’re able to bring to our guests — and it’s also delicious.”
The area’s full-service restaurant and bar (formally Ariel’s Grotto and the Cove Bar) has been transformed into Lamplight Lounge, a gastropub-style bar and lounge. The upstairs area serves small bites and signature cocktails, while the downstairs restaurant offers entrees (plus delicious mini-donuts that aren’t available upstairs).
Both serve the famous Cove Bar Lobster Nachos — a longtime favorite California Adventure guests. The walls of Lamplight Lounge are covered with artwork and memorabilia from Pixar films and shorts, including sketches, a guitar from “Coco” and the sign from Ratatouille’s restaurant. The waterfront location offers diners a fantastic view of Pixar Pier, as well as the other attractions surrounding the park’s lagoon.
The DetailsDisneyland Resortdisneyland.disney.go.com