This past weekend, Pixar Pier officially opened at Disney California Adventure. For those who might be unfamiliar, Disney recently rethemed Paradise Pier ― which had a general California theme ― and transformed it into Pixar Pier, which is now based on the characters and films of Pixar. This retheming included altering the existing rides, snack stands, and game counters to have Pixar themes. As with any changes Disney implements, there are mixed feelings about it. Disney California Adventure, in general, has been moving away from the strictly California theme. By introducing Cars Land, changing Soarin’ to Soarin’ Over the World rather than California, switching the Hollywood Tower of Terror to Guardians of the Galaxy, and planning for a future Marvel-themed land, this park is definitely evolving from its original theme. I personally am loving it! While the California theme looked lovely and there are aspects I truly enjoy, it felt too restrictive. I love having the opportunity to experience more Disney movies, characters, and worlds in the parks.
We were able to get to the park just a few minutes after opening, and the pier was already full of guests, with lines for the Incredicoaster ― the newly rethemed California Screamin’ ― reaching two-plus hours almost immediately, extending to the entrance of the pier. Luckily, we were able to get FastPasses for the Incredicoaster for later in the evening and didn’t have to wait in such a long line. We started the day just walking on the pier and taking in all that was new.
The walkway that once hosted classic California billboards now has sweet Pixar-themed boards that still have a beachy/pier theme. There is also the new Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats which sells lemon soft-serve treats (think lemon Dole whip!). This new snack counter is based on the Abominable Snowman from Monsters Inc. I’ve been dying to try this, but lines have just been so long! I’ll attempt to get it again another time.
At the end of the main walkway into the pier, you approach the Incredicoaster. This is an Incredibles-themed roller coaster ride that now boasts characters and effects featuring the Incredibles family. I have a lot of ride anxiety when it comes to roller coasters and thrill rides and usually opt out of riding California Screamin’. However, I’m a sucker for anything new and Disney, and knew I had to see it. After 30 minutes of my husband convincing me I would be fine as I panicked, I finally got on the ride. I was so riddled with fear and anxiety that I barely remember the first few moments of the ride, and honestly most of it was truly a blur. But, I was able to keep my eyes open enough to see all the new effects. It was really cute, and I loved having a story to the ride. Edna loses Jack Jack, and the whole family is chasing after him! Once I got off the ride, I realized it wasn’t quite as terrible as I anticipated, though it was still pretty intense for me. I have ridden Guardians of the Galaxy almost 100 times at this point, which I think has really helped as the drops are much more intense in that ride. I’m hoping this experience makes me just a little less scared of big rides in the future.
Once you pass the Incredicoaster, there are a few new snack stands to try. Just outside of the Incredicoaster entrance is Jack Jack’s Cookie Num Nums based off of the littlest Incredible and his love of cookies. It’s a small stand that sells three different cookies (chocolate chip, shortbread, and gluten-free) and milk. It was the food item we were most excited to try when we heard about everything new coming to Pixar Pier, and it certainly did not disappoint. We ordered the Jack-Jack Cookie Num Num, which was a thick, soft, and warm chocolate chip cookie with huge chunks of chocolate chips. Both Zach and I deeply love freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, and this one was amazing. It didn’t taste cheap, overly sweet, or like it came from a grocery store. It was as if it came out of your oven at home! Please get this.
After Jack Jack’s, you approach Poultry Palace, which is a new snack stand that sells seasoned chicken drumsticks and corn on the cob. Poultry Palace is based on a fast-food restaurant in a Disney Toy Story short called “Toy Story Toons: Small Fry.” I actually never heard of this until I learned of Poultry Palace coming to the parks! We got an order of their drumsticks, which come with a side of coleslaw and is served in an adorable takeout box resembling a kid’s meal. We had originally expected Poultry Palace to be just a fried chicken stand and were surprised that the chicken wasn’t fried, but seasoned. The seasoning on the chicken is really tasty, with lots of it. It seems like it should have a crispier skin, but I assume because its pre-made it softens a bit under the heat lamps. However, it was really good, and we wouldn’t definitely get it again. With just a serving of chicken and corn (no french fries!) it’s also a lighter snack/meal option for those looking for that or wishing for a bit of a lower-carb meal.
The two other new food offerings that we have not tried yet are Angry Dogs and Senor Buzz Churros. Angry Dogs is based on Anger from Inside out and features spicy hot dogs with a wide array of sauces to choose from as toppings, which we are really looking forward to trying next time we go. Senor Buzz is small churro stand that offers two churros: a blue sparkly churro and a new, red, hot cinnamon churro. We’re looking forward to trying the red one when we return!
The boardwalk games have also been rethemed based on Pixar films, including the Pixar short La Luna and the films Wall-E and A Bug’s Life. We played the Bug’s Life game a couple of times, which required tossing candy corn into Heimlich's mouth. If you won the games, you could get some really cute plushies of the movie characters.
Throughout the day there were also meet and greets with several Pixar characters. While we were there, we saw Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, Frozone, Edna, and Jessie, though I’m sure several more were there throughout the day.
They also rethemed Mickey's Fun Wheel, the giant merry-go-round in the park to the Pixar Pal Around. Each of the little carriages have been updated with Pixar characters and it looks so cute!
A very popular California Adventure restaurant, Cove Bar, has also been reimagined as Lamplight Lounge. We haven't had a chance to go yet but it looks incredible and still features fun cocktails and lobster nachos, which Cove Bar was famous for.
There are still a few things coming to Pixar Pier that are still under construction. These include Bing Bong’s Confectionery, Jessy’s Critter Corral, and an Inside Out ride called Emotional Whilrwind. Bing Bong’s will be a big candy shop, and Jessie’s is a retheming of the carousel that will feature toy animals for guests to ride. Emotional Whirlwind will be a rethemed Flik’s Fliers (which is being moved from A Bug’s Land) to resemble traveling through memories like in the movie.
Disney Parks Blog posted a bunch of photos on their blog if you want to check out more!
After thoroughly exploring the Pier, we headed over to Disneyland to check out a couple of new things there. In the Tomorrowland Theater they were showing a preview of Ant Man & The Wasp, which was awesome, and the movie looks hilarious.
We then headed over to Pirates of the Caribbean to check out the new Redhead scene. For those who don’t know Disney so well, there used to be a scene that featured pirates selling women or “wenches.” It featured a tall and beautiful red-haired animatronic woman, and pirates would call out, “We wants the redhead!” Well, since the idea of selling women as property is a bit antiquated and doesn’t really align with the direction Disney is going with its portrayal of women, the scene was redone and now features a much tougher red-headed pirate woman, and instead of selling women, it’s an auction. I know people were furious Disney decided to change the scene, but I think a rum-drinking tough pirate lady is a lot cooler than selling women as property. They also decided to take out any mention of Davey Jones and the weird misty scene with his face projected on a screen. I think this was totally fine since I’m not sure anyone likes the Davey Jones character. Overall, the updates to this ride look great, and we’re happy it’s open again! It appears they have also set up the ability to do FastPasses but have not started it.
Last, the Downtown Disney store, World of Disney, has been undergoing renovations for several months with half the store closed. They recently swapped halves, so now the half which was closed is open and the other half is closed, which gives the opportunity to check out some of the major changes. The store has taken on a much more modern aesthetic, with dark wood floors and exposed brick ― it almost looks like Joanna Gaines designed it. It is really similar to how some of the stores look in Disney Springs, the Downtown Disney equivalent at Walt Disney World. It also matches well with the Disney Home store that also opened this past year. Overall, it looks really nice and also feels much more open, less cluttered, and much less cramped.
Overall, it was a great day enjoying all the new things at Disney! Hope you enjoyed walking through it with me.
With even more magic and Bing Bongs,