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Nemo can be found at revamped hotel
Disneyland readies Pixar Place Hotel
Among the three on-property lodging options at the Disneyland Resort, the Paradise Pier Hotel has long been something of an afterthought. It has neither the mid-century charm of the Disneyland Hotel nor the elegance and style of the Grand Californian. Despite attempts to Disneyfy the place, it never really shook its pedestrian roots as a nondescript, two-star hotel. That may be changing, however, as the 15-story, 500-room property undergoes a major makeover. Imagineers are injecting more whimsy into the place and recasting it as Pixar Place Hotel.
According to Disney, the transformation will be complete this winter, but elements will be incrementally introduced prior to that. In the summer, for example, the rooftop pool deck will reopen with a colorful dose of “Finding Nemo.” Crush will be camping out atop a 186-foot-long waterslide, while Hank will be inviting kids to frolic in the splash pad. Interestingly, under-the-radar Pixar shorts, such as “Bao” and “La Luna,” will be referenced in a new play area that will debut later this year adjacent to the pools. In the evening, guests will be able to catch Disneyland’s fireworks alongside the deck’s character-themed firepits.
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As evidenced in renderings (see below), oversized artwork from “Cars,” “Inside Out,” and other Pixar blockbusters will help make the refurbished lobby pop. Disney says the Pixar Lamp will be prominently featured at the hotel’s entrance and that a character-filled mobile will grace the lobby atrium.
It might have been nice to have a “Ratatouille”-inspired restaurant or perhaps a taqueria based on “Coco.” Pixar, however, apparently won’t be playing a role in the hotel’s new restaurant, Great Maple. Instead, it will be an outpost of the California-based chain and will serve modern American dishes such as Soda Pop-Braised Baby Back Ribs and Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Maple Bacon Doughnuts. (Apparently, “modern America” isn’t overly concerned with cholesterol.)
A third-party operator owned and operated the hotel, which opened in the mid-1980s as Emerald of Anaheim and was later renamed the Pan Pacific. It was among a gaggle of hotels, restaurants, and other diversions that encroached the resort in hopes of capitalizing on its popularity. When Walt Disney began working on his Florida project, he took the lessons of the choking overdevelopment in Anaheim to heart. By purchasing many thousands of acres in Florida, he knew he could create a buffer and build parks, hotels, and more far from the madding crowd that the project would inevitably attract.
The Walt Disney Company eventually bought much of the land surrounding the Southern California resort, including the Pan Pacific hotel in the mid-1990s. It initially dubbed it the Disneyland Pacific Hotel, but changed it to Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel in 2000 as the resort readied the opening of Disney’s California Adventure. The hotel overlooks the part of the park that was originally known as Paradise Pier. Since the land was re-themed as Pixar Pier in 2018, the hotel name change and makeover makes sense. Besides the common areas, there has been no word whether Disney will be making any modifications to the hotel’s rooms.
Boogie on over to Disneyland
In other Disneyland news, it’s that time of year again. No wait. It’s not even officially summer yet, but the resort is already hyping its Halloween Time. Schedule to kick off September 1, the event will feature old standbys such as Haunted Mansion Holiday, the temporary overlay of the E-Ticket ride that stands both Halloween and Christmas; the Main Street Pumpkin Festival; the nighttime takeover of the Guardians of the Galaxy drop tower ride, which is re-themed “Monsters After Dark,” and the celebration of Día de los Muertos at both parks.
On select evenings, Disney California Adventure will host the separate-ticketed presentation, Oogie Boogie Bash. It will include treat trails, a special show and parade, and limited capacity admission to keep the wait times reasonable for rides and attractions. Unlike most other parks, Disney does not offer any haunted houses for its Halloween event. But it will round up a cadre of its baddies at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail and render it slightly sinister as Villains Grove. Prices vary for the event, ranging as high as $189 per person.
Have you ever stayed at the Paradise Pier Hotel? What are you thoughts about the Pixar makeover of the property?