Pixar Pier Announced to Permanently Replace Paradise Pier in Disney’s California Adventure
Bob Chapek and John Lasseter reveal the next addition to the Disneyland Resort at D23 2017
During the Parks and Resorts Panel at D23 2017, Bob Chapek called John Lasseter, Cheif Creative Officer of Pixar and Disney Animation, to the stage to announce multiple projects coming to the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.
Each of these announcements was centered around Pixar in some way or another. In short, Disneyland is going to be the home of a new Pixar fireworks show and the Pixar Play Parade, while Disney’s California Adventure will take Paint the Night from Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary.
But what’s more interesting (and infuriating) are the revealed changes to Paradise Pier in California Adventure.
Within the next few years, guests will no longer be able to visit the Californian pier, but rather the same area, redesigned based on Pixar characters. In addition, a new confectionery based on the Inside-Out character “Bing Bong” will open in one of the gift shops currently in the area as well as a theater, likely housing the Pixar Short Film Festival currently in EPCOT. Mickey’s Fun Wheel will become the Pixar Fun Wheel, with no other details about specific changes to design being revealed.
This will likely mean that all of the changes to retheme the pier into a Mickey and Friends amusement area will have been pointless, with the redesigned pier opening only 5 years ago.
This also places the status of California Screamin’ in jeopardy, with the name likely being changed, with a subsequent removal of fan-favorite Neil Patrick Harris from the attraction’s soundtrack following soon after.
A few years back, rumors sprang up that the coaster would be seeing a retheme based on the Incredibles character “Dash”, and given these plans, that doesn’t seem too far off.
The second I heard this news I was immediately devastated. What was an iconic and classic reminder of the yesteryear in California would now have an Intellectual Property slapped on it for quite literally no reason other than the fact that it was devoid of one previously.
What was a charming side area with one of the best coasters and simplest design in any Disney Park is now a bombastic mistake that would be much easier to swallow if it wasn’t a permanent overlay.
Toy Story Midway Mania is doing just fine, so advertising it with an entire land is outright pointless. Pixar isn’t the giant it used to be. They continuously release subpar sequels to little fanfare with the occasional defiance of the norm.
This, and rumors of Inside-Out taking over the Imagination Pavillion, really paint a bleak picture of Pixar’s future in the company. No longer are they revolutionaries, but the kings, tumbling down the mountain after being pushed off the throne, only to be drained of every last drop of blood, marketing the corpse of a former god.
Pixar characters are marketing fodder at this point. Pixar is no longer the superstars we used to worship them as. Instead they do the bidding of Disney, shoehorning in sequel after sequel to the point where Disney doesn’t even trust them, placing a 21 minute“short” before their next film “Coco”, just to ensure breaking even at the box office.
Pixar does belong in the parks, just look at Cars Land. But does it deserve to desecrate something that frankly didn’t deserve retheming, let alone required it? Of course not.
Bob Chapek loves synergy, and loves to retheme as a means of advertising. Tower of Terror isn’t marketable, but Guardians of the Galaxy are. He started the Parks and Resorts panel touting the success of Mission: Breakout, even though polls and assorted research has identified that it’s doing roughly as well as ToT was.
Paradise Pier didn’t advertise anything. It didn’t show off new technology or make anyone want to go out and see the next Disney movie. It didn’t sell merchandise or drive park traffic. It didn’t open new doors for the company, or meet a need that many were craving for, or even create brand synergy.
But Paradise Pier embodied the best of California Adventure. A love letter to California and the world itself. It blended Mickey Mouse and Friends, a brand synonymous with classic Disney, with a classic representation of nostalgic family fun. Paradise Pier stood on its own as the strongest part of DCA 1.0 and as an area lacking corporate representation.
Here marks a new era of Disney Parks. One where Business rules over Integrity or loyalty to the brand.
Here we enter the future.
Ryan Dorman is a Columnist and Content Director for The Boardwalk Times