Disneyland will never be completed: the sentiment from Walt Disney applies to all Disney Parks—they're always changing and adapting. Disney California Adventure (DCA), part of the Disneyland Resort, is an embodiment of growth. It's been re-imagined since its opening in 2001, and the latest change is all about Pixar. On June 23, 2018, Paradise Pier will reopen as Pixar Pier with re-themed attractions, food stands, and merchandise.
Nerdist joined a small group of reporters for a sneak peek at the makeover and the reveal of new details. Here's what we learned from Walt Disney Imagineering producer Jeffrey Shaver and Disney California Adventure general manager Gary Maggetti:
Taking the place of the beloved Cove Bar, Lamplight Lounge has a lot to live up to. The story for the new establishment says the owner of Lamplight was pals with Pixar animators. "This is the place Pixar animators would go and hang out after work. So this is not a Pixar bar, this is a place they'd hang out. You'll see doodles and sketches Pixar artists have left there over the years," Shaver said.
Maggetti told us the Lounge will have a single entrance (where the entrance to Ariel's Grotto was) and will have a pub feel with small plates designed to share. Yes, they're keeping the lobster nachos. The downstairs seating area will have the full menu, while the outdoor seating upstairs will have a subset of the menu.
Adorable Snowman Treats
Paradise Pier Ice Cream Company is becoming Adorable Snowman Treats, named after the sweet character in Monsters, Inc. known for making yellow snow cones he swears are lemon. Here you'll be able to buy a lemon frozen dessert called "Don't Worry, It's Lemon," a version of the lemon dessert dipped in white chocolate (a "snowcap"), a lemon soft serve parfait, and vanilla and chocolate soft serve.
This should be open around the end of April or beginning of May, ahead of Pixar Pier.
All the Incredibles
After you pass the frozen treat stand, you'll head into the Incredibles Neighborhood, which Shaver says is "the biggest departure from what you know from the area because it's very styled after the production design of the Incredibles. It's very mid-century... it's very Palm Springs."
The big draw here is of course the Incredicoaster, the Pixar re-theming of California Screamin'. To transform the ride they're adding show buildings at the beginning and end, updating the launch system and the loop with new technology, and closing in the scream shield tubes entirely to add characters and effects. The idea is the park guests are there for the inaugural launch day for the roller coaster, and the Incredibles family is in attendance. But Edna Mode and Jack-Jack are too short to ride, so they hang back...except Jack-Jack's powers get out of hand. You can see some of the story concepts in the gallery below. Important note: one part of the ride features Mr. Incredible trying to tempt Jack-Jack with a chocolate chip cookie, and they'll pipe the scent of the cookies into the tube.
The Incredibles composer Michael Giacchino is doing a new piece of music for the ride and all the voice actors from the film are reprising their roles.
Finally, Edna Mode will be present as a meet and greet character.
Jessie's Critter Carousel
We finally know what's replacing King Triton's Carousel: Jessie's Critter Carousel. The Toy Story theme is pulled from the "Woody's Roundup" cartoon and features raccoon, goats, deer, and more (you can see a mock-up below). This attraction will open at a later date, not with Pixar Pier.
Themed Food Carts Galore
The food carts peppered throughout Paradise Pier are staying in place with fresh theming. You'll be able to grab snacks from Poultry Palace, Senor Buzz Churros, or Angry Dogs. Maggetti hinted a cookie stand will be placed where the exit of California Screamin' was.
Sweet, Sweet Merchandise
At the entrance to the pier, Knick's Knacks will be the home for Pixar merchandise. And if you're craving candy, Bing Bong's Confectionary has you covered. The Inside Out influenced locale will feature familiar faces from the film, like Jangles the Clown and Rainbow Unicorn.
Pixar Promenade Games
Games are part of the boardwalk experience, so they're staying put with most of them getting makeovers. Bullseye Stallion Stampede is based on Toy Story, so it doesn't need to change. The other games will be transformed into Wall-E Space Spin, Heimlich Candy Corn Toss, and La Luna Star Catcher.
Still a Pier Vibe
By virtue of its name, Disney California Adventure has California ties. It's why Pixar Pier will still connect to its Cali coast inspirations. “This is still your classic California seaside pier. We started this project with a trip down the seaboard to places like Santa Cruz beach boardwalk and Santa Barbara pier to make sure we capture a lot of those fun elements, but now it's told in a Pixar way,” Shaver explained.
According to Maggetti, the Paradise Pier billboards will switch to “uniquely themed” Pixar designs that fit into the pier setting.
More to Come
We're only a few months from opening, but additional news about Pixar Pier is still to come. For example, Maggetti told us an unannounced attraction is taking the place formerly occupied by the Maliboomer (an attraction that closed in 2010). It won't be ready for the opening day of Pixar Pier but is coming soon.
And though it won't be there in June, the Pixar lamp shown in concept art for the Pixar Pier welcome sign will be there eventually and will have animated features.
View more photos of Pixar Pier concept art and more from the Incredicoaster in the gallery below.
What part of Pixar Pier are you most looking to visiting? I'm going to be living in Lamplight Lounge. Head to the comments and tell us where you'll be hanging out and/or come talk to me on Twitter.
Images: Disney, Amy Ratcliffe
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