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This weekend, Pixar Pier is opening at Disneyland Resort’s Disney California Adventure. While I will be in the park next week, checking out the newly themed land, the press event is happening now, and the pier opens to the general public Saturday, June, 23rd. I have thought a lot the last several months over Pixar Pier and what the impending success, or fail, of Pixar Pier means to Disneyland, and Disney Parks as we know it.
Disclaimer: This is not my normal style of post. But it is something I have been thinking about a lot, and I think something many Disney fans may be thinking about also.
Pixar Pier- A Land ReImagined
Pixar Pier is the retheming of Paradise Pier…well, part of it. Paradise Pier was split to create Paradise Park and the part that is now Pixar Pier. When you visited Disney California Adventure after it first opened, Paradise Pier felt much like a boardwalk or pier carnival . Very much comparable to the feel of the Santa Monica Pier. My husband and I went to Disneyland Resort for our honey moon that year, and I remember feeling that Paradise Pier lacked that Disney Magic.
When California Adventure was revamped, so was much of Paradise Pier. The California theming was changed to be more Disney themed. The swings no longer were inside a giant orange, Ariel’s Under Sea Adventure was added, and more. There was definite improvement.
Rumors Started Swirling
In 2017 rumors ran crazy about the possible retheming of California Screamin’ and possibly the entire land. After the success of the rethemeing of Tower of Terror to Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! rumors picked up steam until Disney finally officially announced that yes, they were retheming not only the ride, but the entire Pier…sort of. As the announcement broke, people wondered about the area with Goofy’s Sky School, and Ariel’s Under Sea Adventure. Disney announced that they would rename that section Paradise Park, basically splitting the area into two lands.
Not only would California Screamin’ be rethemed, but so would Mickey’s Fun Wheel (lovingly called Mickey’s Wheel of Death by many). Disney definitely showed that it knows its fans though as they announced that the ferris wheel would still keep the giant Mickey head, perfect for photo opps, even though the ride would be rethemed as Pixar Pal-A-Round.
So this is all a great little recap of events, but what does this have to do with why this retheming is important?
Why Disneyland’s Pixar Pier Retheming Is So Important
Disneyland will never be complete. Walt Disney said so himself. But unfortunately, land in Southern California is limited. And so what is a park to do. Sure, they found some room to expand for Cars Land, and for Star Wars: Galaxy Edge. But there is only so much they can move elsewhere from the backlots before they run out of space.
Disney has rethemed rides before. Some (many) failed, like the retheming of the Peope Mover to Rocket Rods. But in recent years, there has been a lot of success with rethemings. Maelstorm in Walt Disney World is a great example, and of course, in Disneyland there is Tower of Terror’s retheming as mentioned above. But retheming an entire land?
We have seen seasonal overlays in lands. Star Wars Season of the Force, for starters. Or Haul-O-Ween in Cars Land. But completely retheming an entire land? And in a short amount of time?
The retheming of Paradise Pier to Pixar Pier will show if Disney can quickly retheme exising lands to fit the current favorites. If adding a new overlay and small changes to exisiting rides, dining, and shops, even when they are highly adored (such as Ariel’s Grotto and Cove Bar) can be successful, then Disney will be able to quickly adapt entire lands to popular franchises as needed.
Imagine if they had been able to create a Frozen land during that craze? Or if the newly announced Super-Hero Land can be changed depending on the upcoming movies? Being able to change the entire theming of a land, and have it be well recieved, is a huge advantage to Disneyland especially, where space to add new lands is quickly disappearing.
Do I think this means a retheming of Fantasyland? Nope. Disneyland will most likely remain the “classic” experience, but I think California Adventure could see a lot of changes over the years, at a pretty rapid pace. Rides popular only 5 years ago, are gone forever, and I am sure this trend may continue.
Experience New Lands And Old
If you want to check out the new Pixar Pier, and even some of the classic lands, first, be sure to follow me on social media and join the Disneyland withKids facebook group. The other three admins and myself do lives from the parks whenver we are there, answer questions, and more.
Second, be sure to check out all the amazing Disneyland deals my partners at Get Away Today offer. They currently have 4th and 5th day free offers for Disneyland parkhopper tickets to celebrate the opening of Pixar Pier. If you book your tickets in a package deal, be sure to use code CrazyAdventure to save an extra $10 on their already amazing deals.