Pixar Pier officially opened on Saturday June 23, 2018. The area encompasses the south side of the original Paradise Pier. The remaining area of the Pier became Paradise Gardens Park.
First impressions of Pixar Pier from Friday June 29, 2018 -
Today was my first visit to Pixar Pier. Last week it was only open to invited guests on Friday. It officially opened on Saturday. I spent the first part of my visit walking around and taking some pictures of the new areas. I had a mixed first impression. Some elements were nice, some were a bit odd and some are just not finished yet. The area had a good crowd with a lot of guests moving around. Overall it felt rather tight/cramped to me. They added several planters, trees, sitting area, show elements which make the walkways feel smaller vs the wide open expanse it used to be. It looks better in that respect but it makes it feel even more crowded. The neighborhood concept that was being described is there but not really that distinguishable. You get a sense of a grouping and it is slightly re-enforced with trash cans.. but it is not that noticeable. The Inside Out area is rather large for a hot dog stand, gift shop and soon to be spinner, none of which are necessarily close to each other because of the coaster and wheel so it does not really convey a neighborhood. Overall the changes come off feeling almost like a seasonal/festival overlay than a permanent change to the area. It is still a work in progress with several signs and other aspect not complete yet so maybe this will change with time. I am curious if a sign is going to be added to the far side near Paradise Gardens. There is an elaborate sign/entrance on one side and nothing on the other.. unless you count the parade gate sign which is really off to the side and in my mind should be part of the Paradise Gardens Park area not Pixar Pier since it is outside the coaster track.
- Attractions -
- Incredicoaster - The launch sequence water effect is a nice plus. Moving the FastPass machines opens up some extra queue space which is nice. The queue itself and launch building look ok. I would have liked to have seen a little more added to block out more of the backstage and outside buildings. This would have been a nice opportunity to do that. I did not experience the attraction. I did find it interesting the on ride photos are still available but online only, the kiosk and cast members that helped are gone. The system is still done by entering a number into the app though. Would have been nice to have gone to a scan system.
- Pixar Pal-A-Round - The Ferris wheel is the same as it has always been, just a new color scheme, queue cover and queue announcements. I am not a fan of the new name. It is awkward to type and say. I thought it should have just been called the Fun Wheel.. drop the Mickey from the name. Then it would work with the Mickey face and Pixar characters. I skipped ridding since a 45-60 minute wait did not patience this visit.
- Games of Pixar - The four midway games now feature Pixar characters and themes. Most noteworthy they feature Pixar prizes that seemed very popular with guests. Overall the prizes make the experience much better vs the generic ones that have been there in the past.
- Toy Story Midway Mania - The queue has been tweaked slightly and the color scheme changed but nothing else. I thought Disney missed an opportunity here to swap some of the games. With both WDW and Disneyland introducing new areas around the attraction timing seemed perfect.
- Lamplight Lounge - This seems to be the hit of the remodel. The line was constant, not quite what the Cove Bar line was but still long considering the expanded seating. I did not eat there or venture inside but from the pictures and video it looks great. The only negative I have seen is the pricing is on the high side.
- Jack Jack Cookie Num Nums was a little disappointing that it is just a couple of carts. I was expecting it to be a kiosk in the old location. It had a very temporary feel to it and was kind of awkward looking to me. It had a solid wait.
- Angry Dogs - A minimal overlay to the hot dog stand featuring Anger from Inside Out. The odd part is how far from the other Inside Out things it is. It is sort of isolated where it is. There always seemed to be a couple guests in line which was more than I used to see at the old hot dog stand.
- Poultry Palace - This building seemed very out of place. It almost becomes a focal point and it does not match any of the other elements of the Pier. Also it seems incomplete still with some signage missing. I found it odd there are several references to the apple juice drink box but they do not sell apple juice! Guests seemed to be enjoying the boxes the food came in more than the food itself. The lack of seating space seemed to be an issue with guests sitting on the ground using anything they could as tables, such as the FastPass machines, Zurg figure, etc.. There is a small Zurg figure next to the stand but with no seating in the area and stroller parking there it was a challenge to get a picture.
- The Pixarmonic Orchestra has moved to the Pixar Pier Band Shell. The shell itself looks ok but the venue is not good for performances. The performers are on ground level and have no real stage. Guests watching have very little shade and cannot really spread out due to cast members asking you to move closer to keep the walkway clear. It was not enjoyable at all to try and watch a performance there. On the plus side having a live band on the Pier was great to hear as you walked around the immediate area.
- Characters - There are a couple character meet and greet locations set up. Edna was out near the Incredibles fountain and I saw Dug/Russell near the wheel. It was good to see characters out on the Pier but again no real shade or space for the queues.
First impressions of Toy Story Midway Mania (from the Annual Passholders preview on 6/9/08):
- The queue building has a great amount of detail and really is up to previous Disney standards. Overall I enjoyed the experience and had a good time. I found the games to be entertaining and somewhat challenging. Your tram enters the building and you first get to experience a test game where you are throwing pies. No points are awarded but it lets you learn to use the spring action shooter. Then your tram departs and heads for one of several banks of screens where you play the next four games, then at the end your score is tallied and you receive a virtual prize. At the end of each game your score for that game and cumulative score are shown on a screen in your tram. At the end only the total score and accuracy are shown. As you head back to the unload area you see the high scores for the day and all time.
- Gameplay: I have never been a huge fan of 3D glasses.. they always seem to bother my eyes, but in this attraction the effects seemed to work perfectly and it did add a new dimension to the gameplay. Another aspect the geek in my found fun was how each game tried to apply real physics to the projectiles you were shooting. So the rings behaved differently than the darts or baseballs. This was fun to see and play around with. The games you play are:
- Pie Throw Practice
- Bo Peep's Baa-loon Pop (retired in May 2010)
- Rex and Trixie’s Dino Darts (added in May 2010)
- Hamm & Eggs
- Green Army Men Shoot Camp
- Buzz Lightyear's Flying Tossers
- Woody's Rootin' Tootin' Shootin' Gallery
- Woody's Bonus Roundup
- Some nuts and bolts: As you saw in the pictorial update the ride trams consist of two cars that each seat four people (2 back to back). They dispatch two trams at a time out of the main loading area. There is a separate loading area off to the side for guests needing assistance (handicap access). This seems to keep the trams moving nicely. Also note there is no Fastpass or Single Rider line (the Florida version has both). The queue itself is fairly boring with the notable exception of the Mr. Potato Head Barker who is an attraction unto himself. If Monday was any indication they still have kinks to work out with Mr. Potato Head. He was stopped when I arrived then working but later he was behind a tarp for the rest of the evening. I have seen they are having similar issues with the WDW one too. I guess this can be expected with a piece of equipment as complex as him. Only the last 20 minutes or so of it covered and the over flow out in the open. Last note if you have infants or other small children they have to sit on the seat, you cannot hold them. We had an 11 month old in our group and he did ok, but making sure it was ok disrupted the game play (or at least that is the excuse the Lazygeek used for his score). They really pushed that option over a baby swap, but I think if he would have insisted the CMs would have let him.
- I was a little disappointed that they did not have an on-ride photo/score/email option like they have on Buzz, I thought that was a great idea and fun for the once in a lifetime folks as a keepsake and for those of us who play all the time to see our scores. Maybe someday they will add this. In terms of setting the story for the attraction, I thought the set up was a bit awkward where you come from the Pier and basically put in the Toys world with no real transition. In Orlando they use the queue to bring you into the Toy World. Here you really do not get what is going on until the last scene in the loft of the gift shop where you see the Midway Mania box and other toy boxes on the ground.
- I received a couple emails asking if it was worth it or lived up to expectations... I think it really depends on what you were expecting. It met my expectations, but I would not say exceeded them, say in the way Indiana Jones did on my first ride or my first viewing of Fantasmic but I walked away satisfied and wanting to go on again. I think the attraction is well done, the games are fun, and it fits on DCAs Pier nicely. I enjoyed the games and see myself riding somewhat frequently, depending on the wait.
- In May 2010 they made the first revision to the attraction. A new game Rex and Trixie’s Dino Darts replaced the Bo Peep's Baa-loon Pop. As was hinted at when the attraction opened this transition basically happened over night with the park closing one night with one game and opening the next with the new one. Of course before this a lot of work and testing went into it by the Imagineers but the rollout was smooth.
The Geek's First Impressions of Paradise Pier(2/3/01) - I kept these in the Paradise Gardens Park section since that seemed more appropriate even though a couple of the attractions have been re-themed for Pixar Pier.