Down Under Disney

The Australian Guide to Disney Parks

The Australian Guide to Disney Parks

Pixar Pier: Paradise Lost?

Opening on June 23rd 2018, Pixar Pier is the reimagined version of Paradise Pier and another step in taking the California out of California Adventure. Attractions including “California Screamin'” and “Mickey’s Fun Wheel” have undergone theme changes to become the “Incredicoaster” and the “Pixar-Pal-Around” ferris wheel, respectively. There has also been a rebuild of signage, new Pixar themed eateries and a range of other cosmetic changes to the area as well.

Despite this new permanent overlay, the general feel of this area remains the same; an excellent homage to the turn of the century, carnival boardwalks.

 

The Incredicoaster

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Entrance to the Incredicoaster. Image courtesy of Travel + Leisure.

 

Ride Specifications

– Ride Type: Roller Coaster

– Height Requirements: 122cm

– Ride Duration: 2.08 minutes

– Max Speed: 89km/h

-Max Height: 37 Metres

– Area: Pixar Pier

– Fastpasss: Yes

-Rider Switch: Yes

– Single Rider: Yes

– Year Opened: 2001 (As California Screamin’ and 2018 as Incredicoaster)

– Recommendation: Unmissable!

– Hours: Open-World of Colour Show

– Average Queue Time: Too Early To tell. Should Average out at about 45-60 minutes once the novelty wears off.

 

Ride Overview

The Incredicoaster is a launched, steel rollercoaster that contains a vertical loop, making it the only ride at the Disneyland Resort to send you upside down.

The original California Screamin’ roller coaster was the feature attraction of California Adventure on opening day. Like the Paradise Pier area itself, it was designed to mimic the old (dangerous) wooden roller coasters of a century ago. Think “Scenic Railway” at Luna Park but smooth and fun.

California Screamin’s transformation into the Incredicoaster only took 6 months. Apart from a paint job, the addition of story telling elements and a new soundtrack, the ride has remained exactly the same.

 

Ride Description

The story of the Incredicoaster centres on Jack Jack, who plays a very important role in the second film. While at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new roller coaster, Jack Jack starts using his powers. Getting frustrated with this, Elastigirl hands Jack Jack over to Edna Mode and she loses control. She informs everyone’s favourite superhero family of what has happened and you race off to witness their attempts to catch him. Upon your return to the station you pass a room, where Edna has managed to lure a now giant Jack Jack back to safety with a cookie.

During your exhilarating ride you pass through what I like to call story tunnels. Within each tunnel an  attempt is made to rescue Jack Jack. The first of these features Dash dodging Jack Jack’s lasers, the second Mr and Mrs Incredible and the last, a fire and force field lighting effect with an appearance from Violet.

Arguably the best element of this ride comes at the very start. Instead of slowly making your way up a rickety chain lift hill you are launched at great speed, going from 0-89km/h in 4 seconds. This is a very similar process to the Superman Escape Ride at Movie World on the Gold Coast but is less intense. The loop is a great feature as are the many bunny hop hills that lift you out of your seat.

 

Verdict

The Incredicoaster is a 100% must do for those who love thrill rides. Some of the theming does look a little tacky but overall these story additions have improved the experience. I especially like the soundtrack and audio made specifically for the ride.

 

Top Tip: 

Riding at night seems to be your best option for this roller coaster. It makes some of the theming less sloppy and the darkness always makes it feel faster. Be careful though. Due to the nighttime show “World of Colour” it closes earlier than the park.

 

Spolier Alert: Below is a nighttime POV of the Incredicoaster thanks to LMG Vids.

 

Toy Story: Midway Mania

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A real turn of the century boardwalk feel with Midway Mania. Image Courtesy of Mint Crocodile.

 

Ride Specifications

– Ride Type: 3D, Interactive Dark Ride

– Height Requirements: No

– Attraction Duration: 8 mins

– Area: Pixar Pier

– Fastpass: Yes

-Rider Switch: No

– Year Opened: 2008

– Recommendation: Do

– Hours: Open-Close

– Average Queue Time: 45 Minutes

 

Ride Overview

Do you ever remember playing Mario Party on the old Nintendo consoles? A whole group of mini-games put into one game cartridge! The best! Now think of that and you’ve basically got Toy Story: Midway Mania. The key difference here is that it’s not your lounge room, you wear 3D glasses and your controller is a pull string cannon-like gun, attached to a 4 person omnimover vehicle. See? Almost exactly the same thing! OK maybe not exactly the same but I still think this attraction gives off that competitive, mini-game-party kind of feel.

Toy Story Midway Mania opened in 2008 and became an important addition to the California Adventure Boardwalk. It is among the more popular rides mostly because it is a great family attraction. Essentially it is a virtual reality version of the Buzz Lightyear ride in Tomorrowland but instead of firing at real figures with lasers everything is computerised and you aim your cannons into a screen.

Note: For those wondering, a Midway is the section of a carnival or fair where all those dodgy games are.

 

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Your Game Controller on Midway Mania. Image thanks to Simply Sinova.

 

Ride Description

The main aim of Toy Story Midway Mania is to score as many points as possible, playing 6 different carnival style games (the first being a practice round) with the Toy Story gang. You pop your 3D glasses on, hop into your spinning vehicle and get taken around to different screens. Each screen you are taken to will feature a different game:

 

– Pie Throw Practice Booth (Pie Toss game with no points added).

– Hamm & Eggs (Egg tossing game).

– Rex and Trixie’s Dino Darts (Dart Throwing).

– Green Army Men Shoot Camp (Baseball Throw).

– Buzz Lightyear’s Flying Tossers (Hilarious name for a ring toss game).

– Woody’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Shootin’ Gallery (Suction cup shooting game).

 

To play the games all you need to do is aim your cannon at the targets and pull the string repeatedly. Nothing physically comes out of the cannon but it will appear on the screen. Your scores are displayed on a little LED screen on your vehicle with the all important winner revealed after all games are concluded.

 

Verdict

Any ride that involves a competitive element I’m there! However, what I like most about this ride is that it has the nostalgia and fun of carnival games without the dodginess and carnies. The technology holds up well and really is the perfect family attraction.

 

Spoiler Alert: A POV of Midway Mania thanks to LMG Vids. Just remember the camera doesn’t wear 3-D glasses at all times so the screens will be fuzzy.

 

Pixar-Pal-Around (Ferris Wheel)

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Notice the inner gondolas are placed on sliding rails? Good Times. Image Sourced from Disney Wikia.

 

Ride Specifications

– Ride Type: Ferris Wheel/Swinging Ferris Wheel

– Height Requirements: No

– Attraction Duration: 9 mins

– Height: 49 metres

– Area: Pixar Pier

– Fastpass: No

-Rider Switch: No

– Year Opened: 2001

– Recommendation: Do

– Hours: Open-World of Colour Show

– Average Queue Time: 30-45 Minutes

 

Attraction Overview/Description

I know what you’re thinking “A Ferris Wheel’s a Ferris Wheel! Next!” and I would agree with you if this was a normal Ferris Wheel. The Pixar-Pal-Around is what is referred to as an “Eccentric Wheel”. This means that 16 of the 24 available gondolas are not fixed to the wheel itself. Instead, they are placed on rails between the outer rim and the hub, enabling the gondolas to slide up and back with the rotation of the wheel. Yes, the humble Ferris Wheel is now a worthwhile attraction.

The Pixar-Pal-Around Ferris Wheel is the third theming of this attraction; preceded by the “Sun Wheel” (2001) and Mickey’s Fun Wheel (2009). With each incarnation, the Wheel simply received a new colour scheme. For Pixar Pier, this paint job has seen the wheel become predominantly blue with Pixar characters plastered on the gondolas. Mickey’s face, however, remains the central feature.

 

Verdict

Your enjoyment of this ride is really dependent on your fears. If you are simply scared of heights and the mere mention of “Ferris Wheel” terrifies you, give it a miss. If you hate the idea of sliding and swinging precariously 40 metres above the ground, go for the fixed gondolas. Otherwise, you simply have to go on the swinging gondolas. It’s so different and makes the trip around a lot more exciting. Regardless of what you choose you will only need to do this attraction once.

Spoiler Alert:  A full circuit of the swinging gondolas over Pixar Pier thanks to Inside the Magic.

 

Games of Pixar Pier

What carnival style pier would be complete without boardwalk games? At Pixar Pier you can play a range of themed games where you can win soft toy prizes! You do, however, need to pay a little extra for these games. Even if you don’t want to play, these games add a good atmosphere to the Pier. I have outlined the different games below.

Related image

Heimlich’s Candy Corn Toss. Sourced from Inside the Magic (YouTube)

 

La Luna Star Catcher
A fishing style game based on the Pixar Short of the same name. Cast your line and see how many stars you can catch.

Heimlich’s Candy Corn Toss
The fat caterpillar from A Bug’s Life Stars in this one. All you have to do is throw large candy corn into his awaiting mouth.

WALL·E Space Race
Based on the Space Dance scene in WALL·E, you use aim a small water gun hose at a target to make WALL·E and EVE ascend. First one to the top wins.

Bullseye Stallion Stampede
Race a horse across a field by rolling balls into holes. Each hole has point values making your horse move further. First one across the paddock wins.

 

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One of the more exciting Games. Sourced from Mouse Troop.

 

Top Tip: Unlike normal carny games these are designed for people to win a plush. If all the people playing are in the one party then someone will be getting a rather cheap souvenir.

 

Future Attractions

Even though it is opened, Pixar Pier isn’t quite complete yet. There are still two attractions to come. Jessie’s Critter Carousel (Formerly King Triton’s Carousel) and a new Inside out ride, terribly named “Emotional Whirlwind”. This ride is basically exactly the same as “Flik’s Flyers” from a Bug’s Land. However, with A  Bug’s Land now closed, I guess the Imagineers figured they could simply re-purpose this ride. Both of these attractions will be opening in 2009.

Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind

Disney’s Concept Art of the New Inside Out Ride. 

 

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Jessie’s Critter Carousel Concept Art, from the D23 Expo 2017. Image sourced from D23 

 

Final Note

When it came to Jurassic Park John Hammond always “spared no expense.” The same probably can’t be said for Disney Imagineering and it’s re-theming of Paradise Pier to the new Pixar Pier. This is the sentiment going around many of the American blogs, who aren’t that impressed by the new update. For Australians the update changes nothing. Pixar Pier is a great area as Paradise Pier was before it. You will enjoy thoroughly!

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