Pixar Pier, the re-imagining of Paradise Pier, is now open at Disney California Adventure. Four themed neighborhoods: Incredibles Park, Toy Story Boardwalk, Pixar Promenade and Inside Out Headquarters, are inspired by beloved Pixar stories and characters.
Jeanine and I both had the chance to go through the new area, so here’s some pictures from both of us.
There’s a beautiful archway at the entrance. Eventually Luxo Jr., the Pixar lamp, will sit in the center of the arch, and will have light and motion.
Knick’s Knacks has been open for over a month, but the exterior was not complete. Within the last week the snow globes over the entrances were added. The shop has all kinds of Pixar-themed merchandise from movies like “Up”, “Finding Nemo”, “Coco”, and “WALL-E” – and right now there’s a large section of “Incredibles” merchandise. Some of it is exclusive to this location.
The Lamplight Lounge replaced Ariel’s Grotto and the Cove Bar. Jeanine will have a much more in-depth look at this restaurant. It’s really beautifully done. The top level of the restaurant is still the bar/lounge area. Like the former Cove Bar, it’s first come, first serve. Reservations are available for the dining area downstairs. There’s an indoor dining room and a large covered patio area outside.
The menu is “California casual gastropub.” Sushi, lobster nachos, sandwiches, salads, etc. All gorgeous to look at. The couple of items I’ve tried have been very good. The menu is divided into “Bites”, or small plate items intended to be shared, and “Bigger Bites”, which are entree-sized, though could be shared. Only the “Bites” are available upstairs, while the full menu, which also includes the kids “Budding Artists” menu and dessert, is available downstairs.
Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats has also been open for over a month. Soft serve chocolate and vanilla ice cream is available, but the most popular item is the non-dairy lemon soft serve (essentially lemon-flavored Dole whip). It’s served either in a cone topped with white chocolate or as part of the Pixar Pier Parfait, in a cup with a layer of blue raspberry slush. It’s incredibly photogenic. (I love the colorful umbrellas – they are all around Pixar Pier.)
New billboards with Pixar characters adorn the wooden fence along the boardwalk. Many guests enjoy posing with balloons at Disney, so there’s a bunch of Pixar-colored balloons painted on the fence for that purpose. I personally really liked the fish painting.
Incredibles Park is the first neighborhood in Pixar Pier, home of the Incredicoaster. It’s mid-century modern architecture, with lots of geometric shapes like triangles. The arch features one of the three murals in the area which were designed by Teddy Newton, character designer on “The Incredibles”.
The former California Screamin’ attraction has been re-imagined into the Incredicoaster. The story: the city of Municiberg is re-dedicating their beloved classic roller coaster, and renaming it the Incredicoaster in honor of the Parr family. The family is riding the coaster for its inaugural launch, except for Edna and Jack-Jack, who are too short to ride. Jack-Jack teleports away from Edna to check out the coaster on his own while his family rushes to save riders from his unpredictable superpowers.
The queue is more interesting now – there are dividers between some of the rows which have information on the different characters.
There are also monitors overhead featuring video of the family as they are interviewed prior to the inaugural launch of the re-dedicated roller coaster.
On the walls in the loading area and approaching the loading area is the second of the murals – it extends down the stairs. Very colorful. (This is only part of it.)
I took a ride on the Incredicoaster with a Disney Imagineer which you can see in the video below.
There were no changes to the roller coaster ride experience at all – no changes to the track or the vehicles (other than the paint job). The modifications made were to add story elements. The tubes were further enclosed with some figures and effects added. Two more extensive static scenes were added along the track: one just after leaving the station, and the other just before returning to the station.
I thought it was a lot of fun, though as I said, there’s no difference in the actual ride – it’s still as fast and smooth as before. There’s a lot of dialog between the family while they are looking for Jack-Jack, but I found it hard to hear. The scenes on the ride go by so fast that I missed seeing most of the characters – and I knew what I was supposed to be looking for. At an earlier media event, one of the Imagineers said: “It’s hard to tell a story at 55 miles per hour.” It’s hard to see the story at that speed, also. I think part of that is the lighting, going from light to shadow with no time for your eyes to adjust. I think/hope that the scenes will be easier to see at night, and that will enhance the experience.
Upon exiting the attraction there’s the Jack-Jack’s Cookie Num Nums kiosk, where the third of the murals is located. There are three kinds of cookies, including a gluten-friendly option, and several varieties of milk, including almond and soy.
The Incredibles waterfall wall separates Incredibles Park from the forthcoming Jessie’s Critter Carousel.
Toy Story Boardwalk is the next neighborhood. Jessie’s Critter Carousel is still under construction and will open in 2019, but Toy Story Midway Mania is up and running.
Poultry Palace is a food kiosk offering chicken and turkey legs and corn on the cob. The meal comes in this cute cardboard carton.
Señor Buzz Churros features two different churros – a classic cinnamon sugar and a spicy “Caliente” churro.
Pixar Promenade is a neighborhood where all Pixar stories can come together. The Boardwalk Games are still here, now with Pixar characters. La Luna Star Catcher, WALL-E Space Race, Heimlich’s Candy Corn Toss, and Bullseye Stallion Stampede. Playing the games requires purchase of a prepaid card from one of the dispensing machines near the game booths.
Each game awards different plush characters as prizes.
The Pixar Ball fountain is located near the games. Like the big black sphere in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland, this is a kugel fountain. The ball sits inside a shallow bowl and is supported almost weightlessly by aquaplaning on a thin layer of water.
The Pixarmonic Orchestra will perform in the new bandshell.
The attraction here is the Pixar Pal-A-Round, a re-imagining of the former Mickey’s Fun Wheel. Each of the 24 gondola cars is painted with a different Pixar character, representing 12 pairs of Pixar pals, e.g. WALL-E and EVE, Joy and Sadness, Russell and Dug. There are still swinging cars and non-swinging cars.
The Angry Dogs food kiosk offers hot dogs of different spice levels: the Angry Dog and the Slightly Annoyed Dog.
Condiments available include Buffalo hot sauce and sriracha as well as ketchup and mustard.
The Inside Out Headquarters neighborhood is still to come. Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff will open later this summer.
Many sweet treats will be available, including candy tears, Rainbow Unicorn cotton candy, and Memory Refreshers frozen slushes, along with Pixar-themed cake pops, candy apples and more. A new family-friendly attraction, Inside Out Emotional Whirl will open in 2019.
That finishes our tour of Pixar Pier. Remember: Adventure is out there!