It’s been six months since Disney California Adventure closed its Paradise Pier area in Anaheim, CA. Of course guests were still able to access some things like Toy Story Midway Mania and for a select time they could eat and drink at the Cove Bar, but the famous Disney walls covered everything else.
Walking from the front of the park to the now Pixar Pier, we are greeted with a larger and more extravagant sign. The new sign definitely has more bulbs so that the evening glow can be that much more spectacular. I know initial plans called for the luxo lamp to adorn the top of the signage but it has yet to be put in place or it’s been nixed. Either way I adore this new entryway.
As you enter the pier and on your left you’ll see the new Pixar themed shop, Knicks Knacks, and the signage is brilliant as well, topped with the character in his snowglobe from the cartoon short.
Like Cars Land, many of the items here are exclusive to the Pier and the store is divided up by film so you’ll see a section for Inside Out, Toy Story, The Incredibles, Monsters Inc, Coco, and UP. I’m not sure if the shop will always stay like this, but the merchandise is currently fantastic, and with the opening of the Incredicoaster and The Incredibles 2 in theaters they had the largest area. There was even an entire space just for Edna Mode merch.
Look across from Knicks Knacks and you’ll see the old Cove Bar, now the Lamplight Lounge. Out of all of the signage, it was the least impressive, but the menu looks fantastic. The lounge was crazy as it was opening day and we didn’t have reservations so we weren’t able to make it inside to see all of the decor which I hear is quite cozy and industrial while still feeling mid-century modern.
Walking farther down the pier you’ll see the Adorable Snowman’s snow cone stand which used to serve soft-serve ice cream, but now serves yellow cones (lemon flavored) as their specialty. Again, this was a pretty long line as it was opening day and the sun was coming down strong. From this area of the pier you can hear the Incredicoaster and see it as it takes off down on the water.
Moving toward the Incredicoaster you see all of the classic Boardwalk signage. There are four signs in total all inspired by Pixar films (Up, Finding Dory, Coco, and Wall-E). Personally I think the Finding Dory billboard was the cutest as it was all about keeping the pier clean for the animal life.
As you enter the Incredibles Neighborhood, you see the mid-century modern theme play out and it looks great. The former California Screamin’ has a brand new red paint job and the queue has a nice brick structure with a fun sign to greet guests. I’d expect this queue to continue to be between 1-2 hours throughout the summer so if you can, grab a fastpass early in the day for this one as they will run out quick. Between this attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Radiator Springs Racers, you might be spending more time getting fastpasses for California Adventure these days rather than Disneyland.
The Incredibles neighborhood is small, and under its welcome sign you’ll see the coaster, a photo-op area with a water feature which is gorgeous, and a milk and cookie cart which had an equally long line. The highlight here is the Incredicookie which is $6 but is “incredibly” huge. Definitely worth getting and sharing. If you’ve seen Incredibles 2 you might get the cookie tie in.
Moving from the Incredibles area to the Toy Story area, you’ll notice the difference in trash cans. The cans in Toy Story are painted like Andy’s room and they are the best in all of DCA in my opinion. Of course you have Toy Story Midway Mania here which hasn’t really changed. The carousel which is supposed to be themed to Jessie has yet to open and is still boarded off. I hope this opens before the end of the summer as it doesn’t feel quite right.
The addition of the Poultry Palace here gives a unique food stand to the area and the layout is hilarious and cute. The box the chicken comes in looks like something you’d see from a classic chicken dinner restaurant as well.
I did notice that the “barker” Mr. Potato Head that usually is in front of Toy Story Midway Mania was curtained off. I hope that isn’t permanent as he is a highlight of the Pier.
Walking past Midway Mania we see a new addition, the Pixar Pier Promenade which looks to be a small stage area for the new but already loved Pixharmonic band who must play the tripledent gum jingle at least 5 times an hour. They are funny, their outfits are super cute, and live music on the pier just seems like a no-brainer as most boardwalks typically have music in one way or another.
Then you see the classic pier games. There are four of them which have been there since Paradise Pier opened in 2001, but they have been rethemed to A Bugs Life, Wall-E, Toy Story (which had been there since the 2006 remodel), and the Pixar short La Luna. Each game has themed prizes to the movies they represent too. You can win a Heimlich plush at the Bugs Life game which seemed to be the longest line so that is the prize of choice for most people. I will say the Bullseye prize for the Toy Story game is really cute too.
Going beyond the pier games you’ll see what will become the Inside Out neighborhood. The hot dog stand, Angry Dogs, is already open and is adorned by Anger exploding with rage. Out in front of the future Bing Bong’s candy shop is a mural of the character but the rest of the area walking toward Paradise Park is walled off. I guess we will wait for the Inside Out neighborhood as it isn’t supposed to open until early 2019, but my hope is that they open the candy shop prior to the new Emotional Whirlwind attraction as the pier just fizzles out once you get past the hot dog stand.
Overall, Pixar Pier is a nice upgrade from Paradise Pier. This is the third incarnation of the Pier area and it is by far the best. I wonder if Paradise Park, which currently includes Silly Symphony Swings and Goofy’s Sky School along with the Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta dining area will become part of the Pixar theming in due time. I’d still like to see Ratatouille be represented, which has been rumored to take that area. We’ll just have to see, but for now Pixar Pier is very nice and worth taking a slow stroll around, There are many sights, smells, and sounds that have upgraded the Pier. Two thumbs up to California Adventure!
- Pixar Pier is Open at Disney’s California Adventure - June 28, 2018
- Opening of Dreamworks Theater - June 17, 2018