Pixar Pier opened at Disney California Adventure on June 23rd, 2018 at the Disneyland Resort, replacing the longtime Paradise Pier. Most of what is there is still very similar to Paradise Pier, so if you liked that, you should like Pixar Pier as well. Not everything is yet open, those experiences include Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff (opening this summer), Jessie’s Critter Carousel (opening 2019) and Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind, with a repurposed Flik’s Flyers (opening 2019). So more is coming – nothing huge, but still a variety of experiences.
I wouldn’t recommend a special vacation just for Pixar Pier – Halloween Time is coming and Christmas after that, and both are really fantastic at Disneyland. Pixar Pier makes a nice addition to those trips, but will be there whenever you decide to visit.
Here is my list of 8 experiences to enjoy at Pixar Pier!
1 – Lamplight Lounge: There is no contest to what my favorite experience is on Pixar Pier. It is a restaurant/lounge that could stand on its own anywhere. While it is a relatively expensive experience, the food is mostly very good and there is a lot to look at. Not every seat is equal, there are many that overlook Pixar Pier, some that are inside and some that are at a bar where you’ll face away from the great exterior view. Downstairs is the full menu, upstairs is drinks and appetizers. We were told 2 hours wait on our first visit and received a table 20 minutes later, the second time we were told 45 minutes and received a text within one minute.
Inside the Lamplight Lounge
2 – Character Meet and Greets: Characters like Edna Mode and Mr. & Mrs. Incredible are among characters that have been meeting. I don’t know if there are any particular characters that are actually guaranteed, but you will find a number of Pixar friends at Pixar Pier. The backdrop that Edna and The Incredibles have been at is really nice and the waits haven’t been too long to meet them (we waited 10 or so minutes for Edna Mode).
3 – Incredicoaster: If you liked California Screamin’ you’ll like the Incredicoaster. it’s the same ride with new music, effects and theming. I personally preferred California Screamin’ but it’s a fun ride either way. Nighttime is best here, or at least sunset to see the lighting.
Incredicoaster during the day
4 – Jack Jack’s Cookie Num Nums – The Jack-Jack Cookie Num Num is a deep dish chocolate chip cookie served warm. There aren’t many items at the Pixar Pier kiosks that interest me, but this dessert is yummy and sharable if not that unique.
Jack-Jack Cookie Num Num
5: Pixar Pal-Around – Mickey’s Fun Wheel received a mild retheme, with the capsules now all themed to Pixar characters. Mickey’s face is still the wheel icon. The attraction offers great views as always of the area, including Pixar Pier from above. Umbrellas with Pixar balls are more visible from above than the ground.
Pixar Pal-Around video
Pixar ball umbrellas
6: Games at Pixar Pier – The best part about the games (which I would usually not play) is the Pixar Pier themed game card and the plush that is all Pixar related. For $4 I ended up with my souvenir card and a La Luna star with “Pixar Pier” noted on it.
7: Knick’s Knacks: This shop opened in April and features a lot of fun Pixar items. The store itself is well designed with artwork everywhere, and is worth stopping into.
Knick’s Knacks sign
8: Pixarmonic Orchestra: The group has a bandshell now, they had formerly been at Paradise Gardens. I am not sure if the Pixarmonic Orchestra will be a more permanent addition, but it is fun stopping for some music. The bandshell isn’t as good a location as Paradise Gardens was, so arrive early to be able to see them.
I didn’t list everything, there are several food kiosks plus the Adorable Snowman Treats along with fun billboards to look at featuring Pixar characters. I also didn’t add Adorable Snowman as one of my top 8 because the wait ended up being an hour and the treats were okay but once was enough for me.
Unlike the Toy Story Land locations in Florida and elsewhere, I like that Pixar Pier doesn’t limit itself to one story (or one franchise). Pixar has so many wonderful films that range a variety of different characters and emotions. While Radiator Springs is for me the perfect land (with several attractions, meet and greets, a counter service location and shops) and that does encompass one franchise, it’s nice to have all the stories of Pixar able to be told in one place.