From the first press release revealing the ‘California’ theme of the second gate at the Disneyland Resort, there has been a chorus of people claiming it would never work. With every new announcement about Disney California Adventure those people have been proven right. The latest big change will be a re-theming of the Paradise Pier area, ostensibly a California Amusement Beach Park of days gone by, into a Pixar themed land Disney will be calling Pixar Pier.
Attractions, eateries, and merchandise locations will be re-themed to various Pixar film properties in an prime example of what Michael Eisner called Synergy. The idea fills in a deficiency of Pixar related projects at the Disneyland Resort giving some of the studios’ most successful movies new life for guests.
One of the biggest transformations will be changing California Screamin’ coasting into “Incredicoaster,” which, you guessed it, is based on The Incredibles movie, which has a sequel in the works. It will include a redesign of the loading zone into a mid-century modern style loading area, a new storyline with character moments and a new look for the vehicles. Get your last ride of California Screamin’ in before Jan 8th when it closes to prepare for the transition.
Although Disney hasn’t officially announced anything, it looks like King Triton’s Carousel will undergo a transformation of its own. If Disney’s offering, I’d love one of those otters from the amazing animal themed carousel.
An expansion of the Toy Story themeing will surround Toy Story Midway Mania attraction while an area inspired by “Inside Out” will grow on the western end of the boardwalk. This area will get a new child friendly spinner attraction, although no official opening date has been set.
Mickey’s Fun Wheel won’t be going anywhere, but the ride’s 24 gondolas will be themed to represent different Pixar characters. The midway games in the area will get Pixar character inspired makeovers too. These areas will also close on January 8 to begin their makeover.
On the other side of Paradise Bay, Disney will make a new land called “Paradise Park.” It will be home to the existing rides and eateries (from Jumpin’ Jellyfish and Paradise Gardens all the way down to The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure).
This is a big change for Disney California Adventure. With the beginnings of a Marvel-land on one end of the park and more Pixar attractions on the other, the park is moving further away from its original theme. Unless Disneyland gets creative over by the hotels, there is very little room left to expand DCA, so re-themeing is the way they can make these big swings at coming up with an attraction mix that will attract new guests.
Don’t forget that Disneyland resort will start a new Pixar Fest event on April 13th.
I’m OK with this change. The original theme of the park was fairly weak to begin with (in terms of actual theming), so giving the park some areas that have really strong themes — unrelated to California — seems like a fine idea.
I wish they’d do a better job overhauling the Paradise Pier area, though. The carnival games are just an awful thing to have in a Disney park, and the end of Paradise Pier closest to the Grand Californian could really use some help, theming-wise, so it’s unfortunate that it’s being left out of the Pixar theme.
What I don’t like with the plans for DCA is the idea of sticking Marvel into a corner of it. Disneyland is very obviously in need of a third gate to help address crowding, and a park solely dedicated to Marvel would be a great way to do that. Whether they did it on the other side of Harbor Blvd. or tore down the Paradise Pier hotel and used land on that side of the property, it would make so much more sense to build a whole Marvel park instead of shoehorning a few attractions into a very small space.