Note on June 23, 2018 Paradise Pier split into two with half becoming Pixar Pier and the other half Paradise Gardens Park.
First impressions of Paradise Gardens and Goofy's Sky School (from July 2, 2011)
- As you saw in the pictorial update I went a little overboard with the number of shots taken in the newly opened Paradise Garden area. I was trying to figure out how to capture the area and ended up posting a wide variety of shots, about 1/3 of what I took, hopefully they helped to give you a flavor of the area. I was really impressed by the complete change in atmosphere the Imagineers have pulled off. This new dining area is vastly different from anything else the Disneyland Resort has to offer. We really enjoyed hanging out, eating, and listening to the band. There was plenty of shade with fans even circulating the air. We did note there were no heaters and curious if there will be some by the winter?
- Most of my group ended up at the Boardwalk Pasta and Pizza so we had a wide selection of their offerings at the table and everyone really enjoyed it. I asked where they would put it on the price/quality scale and everyone agreed it was expensive but so is everything else so from that stand point they felt the pricing was about the same as every where else and quality was a step up. I think they gave the quality higher marks due to the freshness and variety of the menu. We were disappointed with the Grill choices, we were hoping for some traditional grill items, and the current menu did not entice any of us to give it a try. We also thought the lack of a traditional children's plate at either such as nuggets or burgers was a bit of an issue. They had children's dishes but they were complementary to the main dishes.
- While eating listened to the tail end of a set on the Band Stand by a group called Odyssey. They played a good mix of music that definitely helped to create a festive and lively environment in the garden for lunch (also assuming they play during dinner but we did not make it back out that way).
- Lastly wanted to comment on the sound. We were surprised that you did not hear the Swings or other Pier attractions. We sat in the main covered area nearest the parade route and could not think of a time when the swings volume intruded in our conversations. Speaking of this area if you had visions of sitting in there and watching a parade some day I do not think that would work. The way the tables and walls are you would not be able to see much if anything once the crowds line the street (even without the crowds you cannot see that much).
- I opted to skip Goofy's Sky School, mostly due to the Lazygeek volunteering and my lack of interest in it. I went on the old Mulholland Madness once during the AP preview in 2001 and that was enough for me. I just did not enjoy the ride and Goofy's is basically the same ride. He said the ride itself was the same and he would probably not be going on again any time soon unless his son really wanted to, but he thought the Goofy overlay was very well done and fun to explore. I will be posting pictures from his ride once he sends them my way, he went a little crazy too and took over 200 pictures on his journey.
- I do like how they keep adding new details to the park. The attraction posters under the Silly Symphony Swings were a nice find. And the couple new pictures in the Blue Sky Cellar were interesting. I thought the cars land overview from the Tower of Terror was one of the best shots I have seen. I wish they had a screen that had that time lapse camera running or even better yet the live camera... geeks like me would sit in there and watch that and if it were big and HD we probably would waste hours in there!
First Impressions of The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure (from a sneak preview on 5/27/11):
First impressions of the Little Mermaid Ariels Undersea Adventure: Overall I enjoyed the attraction (went on three times in total Friday). I was expecting an attraction that was a little more detailed and longer than your average Fantasyland Dark ride, but not one up to the level of say a Pirates or Haunted Mansion. Mermaid met these expectations and maybe surpassed it a bit. I thought they used all the available space and managed to cram quite a bit into the building. The pacing of the attraction seemed a little on the quick side to me, I actually enjoyed it the most on the third trip when it kept slowing down (guessing this was due to wheelchairs/load problems). Also due to the tight space I thought the amount of time/space between scenes was a little too short, but understand that you cannot have long transitions. Another element that jumped out to me as I went through was the large number of animated characters. Seems most move, sway, spin, or shake in some manner. Lastly the sound really stood out. I believe all the sound comes from the sets/characters, I do not remember hearing anything coming from the clam shell (so it is different than Haunted Mansion). The localization of the sound is great, for example in the Under the Sea section you can hear some of the individual instruments and the sound seems to be coming from it!
If you have been following my pictorial updates you have seen most of the queue already, but actually walking it made for quite a different view. As you saw they have made the outside queue able to expand to accommodate the anticipated crowds, or shrink back to its regular size if not needed. It seems like a very flexible design. The plants as you go through the queue do bring up images of sea life and work perfectly. It was fun to see the amount of detail and effort that went into the space and how they maximized it to squeeze in a fairly long queue. One interesting note is the music that is playing in the outside queue is the regular Paradise Pier music, also curious if the black speakers will be receiving covers, seems like they should. Once you make it around to the building there is a very small queue and you are but aboard very quickly due to the large capacity of this attraction. I was happy to hear there will be no Fastpass for this attraction. That means the line should keep moving and it makes those wait times seem easier to deal with.
For pictures of my first ride through click here
The Geek's First Impressions of Paradise Pier(2/3/01)
Note: I kept all these impressions together.. many of these attractions are gone or renamed now
- Overview: This is the section of the park that I was
convinced I would not like before going into the park. After visiting
I can say I was partially right. I am still not a big fan of the
section, but I think Disney did a good job with it. I think it
does a great job of conveying its theme. My problem is I just
do not like the theme... guess I will have to live with it. There
are some good points to the section. The lagoon lends itself to
some great picture oportunities with all the reflections. The
wave machine was not working, so I have no idea what that will
do to the pictures. I am still disappointed with Disney not designing
more of its own attractions for this park. The other major problem
I see with this section of the park is capacity problems. The
lines all move fairly slowly due to the limited capactiy of each
attraction. During the preview most of the lines were well over
an hour most of the day. The early morning and later evening were
the best times to see the Pier. Also be sure to take advantage
of Fastpass to help you out. One of the other problems with this
section is the McDonalds. I have nothing against the place, but
I thought the prices were ridiculous... I will opted to walk across
Harbor to a "real" McDonalds and save a ton of money
and with the long lines it will probably be the same amount of
- Golden Zephyr: This ride was ok... nothing too spectacular.
It is a standard spinning ride. You get some nice views of the
Paradise Pier section. The plastic & rubber seatbelts were
interesting and felt cheap. Also I was surprised there are no
doors, or chains on the inner side of the ride. Its wide open...
wonder how many items will end up in the lagoon? This was a nice
way to spend the time while waiting for our Fastpass for Mulholland
Madness to come up... Also note if there is even a hint of a breeze
this attration is closed down.
- Jumpin' Jellyfish: We did not get on this, mostly because
it looked crowded and not that exciting to us. Younger kids will
love this attraction we think.
Madness: We really hated this attraction... First off it looks
aweful... the orange & green steel. Riding it was also a miserable
experience due to our heights (6',6'2", 6'4"). It was
extremely tight and since I road with the 6'4" guy they decided
to put an extra pad on the lap bar which in turn made my legs
get squished even more. It was extremely uncomfortable. The ride
itself was loud and jerky. I enjoyed the lateral G-forces on the
top, but because of the leg discomfort it was made worse as the
ride went on. I would have probably had more fun if my legs were
not being crushed... enough whining about the legs I bet you are
saying... so let us move on to complaining about the views.. from
this attraction you can see out of the park and it looks terrible...
Lazygeek commented on how this attraction looked "temporary",
so our only hope is someday it will go and we will get a good
- SS Rustworthy: This children's water play area looked
really cool to us, but we did not feel like getting wet, so we
- Orange Stinger: This is a standard swing ride with a
Bee theme to it located in an orange. It looks much better from
the outside than the inside. Once on the ride the orange panels
block most of your view of the surrounding area. The ride is ok
but nothing to write home about. The scent in the queue is a nice
- Maliboomer: This is the tall ride that shoots you up
180 feet into the air and you bounce around a few times then come
back to earth. The disneygeek did not ride this, but the other
members of our party did twice and they really enjoyed it. The
view looking out of the park was annoying, but the looking into
the park was really cool they report. They also say the ride itself
is exciting and fun.
- Sun Wheel: The Sun Wheel gives you the choice of riding
in either a stationary (red car) or a swinging car. We went for
the stationary cars on our first visit because the line was about
1/3 that of the swinging cars, also the red cars go higher and
offer better photo oportunities. Overall we thought the ride was
fun. It offered a great view of the park and Disneyland. Unfortunately
it also offered a great view of the surrounding area too, but
not much can be done about that. The ferris wheel fits the theme
perfectly and works nicely in the area. The major problem with
it is capacity. The line really inches along.... and waiting over
an hour for a ferris wheel ride seems long to me... On a different
visit we tried the swinging cars. They were fun, but the view
was not as spectacular as the red ones because you do not go as
high, and all the swinging makes taking pictures a little trickier.
I do not think it is worth the long wait compared to the stationary
cars. If the line is short, I say give it a try, but if its an
hour and you can get on the stationary cars in 20 min, go for
the short line.
- King Triton's Carousel: We also skipped this ride, opting
to visit it on a future visit. From our vantage point it appeared
to be a hit with the younger kids. The detail on the carousel
looked really good. We have heard people say it appears to be
"hidden" by California Screamin', but our impression
was not hidden, but over powered. Finding the carousel and going
on it is no problem, but with all the work that went into it,
its hard to appreciate with all the steel from the coaster around
- Games of the Boardwalk: I hate boardwalk games, and I
hated the idea of having them at Disney... so I bet you can guess
my opinion of them now that I saw them. I think they were well
done, meaning they fit the theme perfectly and actually looked
pretty good. Unfortunately the high price seemed to really bother
me... I did see quite a few people participating in the games,
so I bet they will be a hit and a money maker for the park.
Screamin': Well the disneygeek is not a coaster fanatic, but
the Lazygeek and the geek's brother did ride it and gave it two
thumbs up. They said the launch was not as cool as the Rock n
Roller Coaster at the Studios in WDW, but still noteworthy. They
really enjoyed the length of the ride and the smoothness of it.
The entire attraction is linear induction motors, no chain lifts
on this coaster. I was really surprised by how quiet the trains
were, all you could hear really was the swosh sound and the screams...
They had no comment on the sound track, so either they were too
distracted, or it was not working. They could not tell me. Be
sure to use FastPass on this attraction, or you could end up in
line for a while. Also note that if you want to ride get on while
its working, it seemed to be having a lot of problems staying
up, but then again it was a preview, so the bugs will be worked
out over time.
| Current Attractions:
- Golden Zephyr (Opened: Feb 08, 2001)
- Goofy's Sky School (FP) (Opened: Jul 01, 2011)
- Jumpin' Jellyfish (Opened: Feb 08, 2001)
- Silly Symphony Swings (Opened: Jun 11, 2010)
- The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure (Opened: Jun 03, 2011)
- King Triton's Carousel (Feb 08, 2001 - Mar 05, 2018)
- California Screamin' (Feb 08, 2001 - Jan 07, 2018)
- Games of the Boardwalk (Feb 08, 2001 - Jan 07, 2018)
- Mickey's Fun Wheel (May 04, 2009 - Jan 07, 2018)
- Mulholland Madness (Feb 08, 2001 - Oct 12, 2010)
- S.S. Rustworthy (Feb 08, 2001 - Sep 10, 2010)
- Maliboomer (Feb 08, 2001 - Sep 07, 2010)
- Orange Stinger (Feb 08, 2001 - Mar 01, 2009)
- Sun Wheel (Feb 08, 2001 - Oct 14, 2008)
- Paint the Night (Apr 13, 2018 - Nov 07, 2018)
- Pixar Play Parade (Nov 30, 2007 - Nov 30, 2016)
- Disney's Electrical Parade (Jul 03, 2001 - Apr 18, 2010)
- Block Party Bash (Nov 30, 2004 - Nov 30, 2007)
- LuminAria (Nov 09, 2001 - Jan 06, 2002)
- Disney's Eureka! A California Parade (Jan 31, 2001 - Nov 30, 2001)