With Pixar Pier officially cutting down the red ribbon this weekend, and the fact that we finally got to see The Incredibles 2, I just can't stop thinking about visiting Disney's California Adventure! That likely won't happen until after summer, so I wanted to take an early dive into the new attractions and satiate the hunger a bit (at least for now).
A little background on the DCA Pier for those of you who were curious like me: When the park opened in 2001, the land called Paradise Pier was built to make guests feel as though they were walking an old California boardwalk - with Beach Boys music filling the airwaves. Then in 2008, the park began a series of upgrades to the pier (and to DCA in general) that were supposed to help "Disney-fy" the park, which management didn't believe contained enough Disney references. The very first of those upgrades was Toy Story Midway Mania, which opened June 2008. Did we think Imagineers had a plan all along to transform the pier into a fully Pixar-themed land? I can't say for sure. But knowing the way Disney thinks, I would say we have finally completed this transformation - a whopping 10 years later.
The main attraction of this newly developed land is certainly the Incredicoaster (formally known as California Screamin'). Although we may always have a soft spot for the original boardwalk ride, you've gotta admit this new version sounds pretty sweet. With the inclusion of a new animated film to start off your ride, specific character references throughout, and new electronic effects sprinkled in between, the new additions will no doubt be a fun change to fans of this infamous super family. That being said, The Incredibles 2 must be seen beforehand if you can swing it since it appears there are some awesome references!
For the half of you (probably more like 1/4) that actually still go on the "eccentric wheel" on the pier, you'll be interested to know that it is now called the Pixar Pal-A-Round. Not many changes are offered on this ride, except for that fact that you will get to see your favorite Pixar characters on each gondola. Thankfully, we still get Mickey's jolly face as the centerpiece to the wheel.
Even though the new land had its grand opening this past Saturday, there are still a couple attractions in the works. First, the King Triton Carousel will be newly renovated to become Jessie's Critter Carousel in 2019. Inspired by the movie Toy Story 2, the ride will feature all sorts of cute critters from the old show "Woody's Roundup" who would gallop and frolic with cowgirl Jessie back in the day. Yeehaw!
The next future attraction has a bit more of an interesting story surrounding it. In the place where the Maliboomer once stood high, Disney has plans for a ride called Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind. Now if you're familiar with A Bug's Land, you'll notice that the concept art looks an awful lot like Flik's Flyers. That may be because they have plans to relocate and re-theme the attraction to match Pixar Pier. This won't hurt A Bug's Land too much however, because Imagineers already have plans to shut down this area of the park by the end of the year to make way for a new Marvel themed land. Not many details have been released yet, so we will all have to stay tuned for more before the 2020 opening.
Eats and Sweets
With this top-to-bottom makeover, the Pier's food and beverage spots needed an upgrade as well. And I have to admit, the upgrade I am most excited for is the Lamplight Lounge. Formally known as the Cove Bar (and the home of the famous Lobster Nachos), the lounge is appropriately named after the Pixar lamp logo that we all recognize and adore. Some highlights of the space include: totally awesome decor with all sorts of original artwork from the studio's past years, a vaulted door that leads to a secret room which guests can reserve for small private events, and - of course - a pretty delectable menu with creative cocktails and noms. Don't worry, the Lobster Nachos are alive and well!
From corn on the cob to jumbo turkey legs, you can now get all of your favorites at a little snack shack smack in the middle of the pier. The Poultry Palace kiosk looks like humungous happy meal box and has a small menu that includes la carte snacks and full meals that even come with a toy Zurg! The inspiration for this culinary cart comes not from a full length feature but a Pixar short. The short called Small Fry appeared in 2011 before the animated live action feature of The Muppets. In this short, Bonnie (from Toy Story 3) visits a fast food establishment called Poultry Palace and Buzz gets bested by a toy who is less than half his size. Check out the entire short on YouTube.
It wouldn't be Pixar Pier without a little Anger in the mix. If heat is what you crave, then Angry Dogs is the perfect place for you. This meat on a stick stand inspired by that little red guy from Inside Out serves up only two kinds of dogs: the full-blown angry dog which comes with a bag of spicy fries, or the "slightly annoyed" dog as its not-so-spicy counterpart. Either way this place is sure to get your ears burning!
And what would a pier be without its sweets? If you're looking for something to beat that Disney heat, head over to the Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats. That big, cuddly, anything-but-scary abominable snowman from Monsters Inc will be waiting for you - and he might be waiting a while, as I heard that lines were up to 1 hour lately! The menu features a few flavors of soft serve swirls (you know there had to be Lemon) and a few add-ons such as "snow capping" AKA dipping in white chocolate. And for those churro fanatics like me, you can still get your fix at Pixar Pier with Señor Buzz Churros. The kiosk is inspired by one of the best parts of Toy Story 2, when Buzz has switched over to his Spanish mode.
One last quickie on the food and bev side: once you exit the Incredicoaster you will come immediately in contact with Jack-Jack Cookie Num Nums - which will only truly make sense to you once you've seen the Incredibles sequel. If the film had you craving cookies by the end of it, this spot is sure to satisfy your craving for a warm, gooey treat (and maybe calm you down if you've been feeling a little monster-ish).
Later this summer you can find more candy to fuel your already sugar-filled high at Bing Bong's Sweet Stuff Confectionary. The shop will sell candy, frozen slushies called Memory Refreshers, and exclusive themed offerings such as cake pops and caramel apples (maybe we can expect some candy tears?). Expect the shop to look totally colorful and reminiscent of our favorite imaginary friend from Inside Out.
Games and Souvenirs
If rides and stuffing your face aren't your thing, you'll probably enjoy walking around the Pier's token souvenir store- Knick Knacks! This spot was named after Pixar's fifth original short film also called Knick Knack and it has a pretty cool backstory. The short was originally shot in 3D and created six years before Toy Story was even made, as one of the studio's first dives into animation. It's likely you remember this short, but here is a reminder in case you'd like to watch it again.
And what would a boardwalk be without its classic games? Step right up and try your best at the four new renditions. If you've got a steady hand, take a shot at the WALL-E Space Race, where you keep your hand on the trigger of your very own fire hydrant to shoot across the galaxy. If hand-eye coordination is more your style, then Heimlich's Candy Corn Toss could be a great fit. Whatever you fancy, kids and adults alike will have fun testing their skills in these new Pixar-themed games.
Okay, phew! So that's it. The shortest wrap up I could do that highlights all of the best additions to the new Pixar Pier. Have you been lucky enough to visit yet? If so, what was your favorite part? Comment below! I will keep living through you until I can get there myself :)