Pixar Pier is now open at Disney California Adventure theme park in Anaheim, California. Walt Disney Imagineers “re-imagined” the Paradise Pier portion of the park into a whimsical celebration of classic Pixar films. Pixar Pier includes four themed neighborhoods: Incredibles Park, the Toy Story Boardwalk, Pixar Promenade and Inside Out Headquarters (opening in 2019). To maximize your enjoyment of Pixar Pier, here are six tips to make your visit incredible!
The signature attraction of Pixar Pier is the Incredicoaster. The fastest attraction in all of Disneyland Resort, lines for Incredicoaster will surely build throughout the day, so make this your first ride. Formerly California Screamin’, the Imagineers made a good coaster even better by adding characters and story elements from Disney Pixar’s “The Incredibles”. The track and layout of the old roller coaster remain the same, but as riders race to catch baby Jack-Jack, they encounter numerous special effects including water, fire and a delicious num-num cookie smell. Music from Academy Award-winning composer Michael Giacchino adds to the experience of the Incredicoaster.
After you’ve enjoyed Incredicoaster, check out the other attractions of Pixar Pier, like Toy Story Midway Mania! and the Pixar Pal-A-Round. Toy Story Midway Mania! is still the popular, interactive attraction that first opened in 2008. After a welcome from Mr. Potato Head Boardwalk Barker, guests compete in target-themed games against their ride vehicle partner. Pixar Pal-A-Round is a focal point of Pixar Pier, and the third re-theming of the original Sun Wheel that opened with the park in 2001 (it became Mickey’s Fun Wheel in 2008). Each of the 24 gondolas of Pixar Pal-A-Round feature a different Pixar friend, and the wheel offers spectacular views of Pixar Pier and the surrounding area. Guests can choose from stationary gondolas or sliding, swinging ones for an extra level of thrill. In 2019, Jessie’s Critter Carousel will open, replacing King Triton’s Carousel. The Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind family attraction will anchor Inside Out Headquarters, bringing the total Pixar Pier ride count to five.
Along Pixar Promenade are four carnival-type midway pay-to-play games, where you can win Pixar stuffed animals. The games include Bullseye Stallion Stampede, La Luna Star Catcher, Wall-E Space Race and Heimlich’s Candy Corn Toss. Like all carnival midway games, there’s no guarantee you’ll win a prize — so you may want to save your money for the many shops that abound, like Knick’s Knacks on Pixar Pier.
Pixar Pier bandshell features The Pixarmonic Orchestra – a seven-piece band that performs Pixar tunes in an upbeat, jazzy style. In addition to their traditional instruments (guitar, drums, woodwinds), the group is quite proficient in kazoo, duck calls, sirens and slide whistles. The Pixarmonic Orchestra is sponsored by TripleDent Gum, and that earworm faux-commercial jingle, first introduced in Inside Out, may just stay with you for the rest of the day.
One of the signature dining spots of Pixar Pier is Lamplight Lounge. Themed as the after-work hangout for Pixar Animators, the restaurant is filled with drawings and art from Pixar films. Menu items include lobster nachos, ratatouille, carne asada rolls, burgers and kids’ meals, of course – finished off with warm fluffy donuts and dipping sauce for dessert. Don’t feel like sitting down to a full meal? There are plenty of clever kiosks throughout Pixar Pier offering treats inspired by Pixar characters and films: Poultry Palace, Señor Buzz Churros, Angry Dogs, Jack-Jack Cookie Num Nums and Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats.
The level of detail is rich in Pixar Pier, from the bright lights of the Pixar Pier marquee to whimsical boardwalk billboards to a kugel fountain with the Pixar Ball. Plenty of Pixar Pals stroll along the promenade including Edna Mode, Frozone, Russell & Dug and more. Once you’ve experienced Incredicoaster and other attractions, slow down, grab a snack and take time to savor the characters, sights and sounds that make up Pixar Pier. You’ll have a much richer theme park experience by soaking up the well-crafted atmosphere.
By Dave Parfitt