Over the last year, Disneyland’s Paradise Pier Hotel has started making the transition to Pixar Place Hotel. Earlier today, Disney released more information on the renovation and that Pixar Place will officially open on January 30th, 2024. In this post, we’ll share the new details before adding our commentary about the additions. Let’s get to the news!
Here’s the concept art of the lobby. Pixar Place Hotel will evoke the inspiration and humor that goes into every Pixar film, while celebrating the artistic process. Showcasing early sketches to finished design, the art and décor will highlight vibrant Pixar stories, revealing some never-before-seen artwork.
When the lobby is complete, you will see even more unique art inspired by Pixar films and be greeted by the iconic Pixar Lamp balancing atop its ball, with an imaginative mobile of beloved Pixar characters floating from the bright skylight above. The mobile will depict the beginning stages of Pixar filmmaking, when animators create the characters’ designs with their most basic shapes and colors. The characters you’ll see are at the beginning of their journey, just as the guests who step into the lobby begin their own story at the Disneyland Resort.
Now, let’s give you a colorful peek inside one of the guest rooms! From pillows inspired by the Pixar Ball to lighting reminiscent of the Pixar Lamp, there will be whimsical nods to the animation studio throughout these comfortable and contemporary accommodations. Some of the art was even created by Pixar Animation Studios artists especially for Pixar Place Hotel. The headboards will consist of concept art from a variety of Pixar features, including “The Incredibles,” “Toy Story 3” and more that are arranged in order from warm to cool colors, sharing the importance of color to the tone of a scene.
Moving on to the important stuff, the food! Opening in November, Great Maple restaurant will bring its innovative menu of upscale comfort food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This modern American eatery will serve a robust selection of dishes made from scratch daily including the Cajun Shrimp & Cheddar Biscuit Benedict, Soda Pop-Braised Baby Back Ribs, Charred Cauliflower Hummus, Maple Pecan-Crusted Salmon, Market Fish, a variety of inspired salads, and Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Maple Bacon Doughnuts!
A few weeks after the ground-floor flagship eatery opens, more culinary delights also operated by Great Maple will open. A new grab-and-go coffee shop in the lobby called Sketch Pad Café will serve assorted pastries accompanied by a selection of coffee and tea. Plus, an all-new menu will debut at the rooftop pool bar to be named Small Bytes, serving up salads, wraps, assorted cheese plates and more which you can enjoy with signature beverages.
If you’re ready to dive in to the fun now, the hotel’s new “Finding Nemo”-themed splash pad and pool is open. The area features Pixel Pool, which is lined with relaxing loungers, along with Nemo’s Cove pop-jet splash pad, and the not-to-miss Crush’s Surfin’ Slide, a 186-foot-long water slide inspired by the coolest sea turtle in the ocean. The adjacent play court and pool bar will open later this fall.
Near the pool, you can gather with friends on comfy couches surrounding fire pits inspired by some of Pixar’s more hotheaded characters, including Jack-Jack from Pixar’s “The Incredibles” and Anger from Pixar’s “Inside Out.”
Back in the lobby, browse through the new gift shop STOR-E featuring Pixar-themed apparel and toys, plus more Disneyland Resort souvenirs and sundries. You all know I’ll have plenty to say about this name in the commentary section.
Plus, a new and expanded fitness center recently opened, offering treadmills, free weights and more complimentary for hotel guests. Keep an eye out for a mural of Mike and Sulley running on a treadmill.
Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel (which is the name until January 30th) is open and welcoming guests during this transformation and offers the added benefits of staying on property at the Disneyland Resort, including a dedicated entrance across the street with direct access to Disney California Adventure park. I’ll add here that it is beneficial for guests going into California Adventure. If going into Disneyland, this hotel is farther away than many good neighbor hotels on Harbor Blvd.
I have talked a little bit about this transformation previously so I’ll end up just hitting most of the big topics in this section. Before that, I do have a few general thoughts. Paradise Pier Hotel was not a good on-site hotel. As I mentioned, it wasn’t close to Disneyland, the rooms were lacking, the theme was bad and the amenities were only so-so. Add in that the price was much higher than any good neighbor hotel despite the lack of quality and I did not recommend staying there.
Over the last year, we’ve watched the hotel transition from the outside. It’s on our walk to the parks and I drive past the tower almost every day. The redesign from the outside is lackluster, in my opinion. I don’t think it’s worse but that’s mainly because there wasn’t room to go down. The building looks like any other hotel in the area, which makes sense considering this is a repurposed hotel that Disney bought. I don’t think Pixar Place is anymore inviting than Paradise Pier Hotel was but that’s just from the outside.
Diving into the new details is a bit of a mixed bag. The lobby concept art is not super inspiring but, again, this was a ‘nowhere to go but up’ situation. For those that really like the over the top decorating that let’s you know you’ve stepped foot on Disney property, I think this will scratch that itch. It’s not necessarily my thing, but some people love that idea at WDW’s Art of Animation. That in-your-face design does work if it’s executed well and I’m interested in seeing if this can match Art of Animation’s level.
The room photos are the bright spot of the news for me. It’s a modern and somewhat basic hotel room but looks much better than the previous rooms at Paradise Pier. I like almost all of the Pixar touches, especially the comforters and the lamps. The headboard is a lot but it’s similar to what I said about the lobby. Some people, especially kids, will be over the moon that there are pictures of their favorite characters on the wall.
I don’t have a lot to say about the restaurant additions other than Great Maple is good! I’ve been to others in Southern California and this is a really nice addition for the hotel and one I’ll review once it opens. Adding in a pool bar and quick pastry stand is much needed and will certainly make Pixar Place Hotel more inviting and accommodating.
The pool doesn’t look all that different to me from what it was. That’s fine because it’s a solid pool. The area can get a little bit crowded but the slide is fun and it’s a nice place to spend an afternoon.
Now, for the main event… STOR-E is the worst name that Disney has come up with lately and that’s no small feat. You know when a second grader is telling a joke and they wind on and on and everyone is a little bit frustrated but also chuckling because it’s cute? Then, the kid gets to the punch line and it doesn’t actually make any sense at all because it’s some weird wordplay that only worked in this little monster’s head because he’s 8. That is what’s happening here except it’s an actual store inside of an actual Disney hotel.
I get it. WALL-E is a Pixar property and this store is inside a Pixar hotel. But when you tell your family member that there’s a store inside of the hotel and say that it’s called STOR-E, adding in “ya know, like WALL-E.” They’ll look at you with slightly widened eyes and say, those sound nothing alike. Also, the logo is laughable. Now, maybe this is all a joke and supposed to be over the top bad. If it is, bravo to them and I take back everything I said. I did laugh when I heard it so mission accomplished!
I’ll end on a positive note by saying that the mural of Mike and Sulley on a treadmill is the peak of art and humanity. I adore it. That puts an end to my very serious, not at all facetious, thoughts on the news about Pixar Place Hotel. All in all, I do think it will be an upgrade over what Paradise Pier Hotel offered but I’m not overly impressed by what I’m seeing so far.
What do you think of the Pixar Place Hotel news? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below! Planning a trip to Disneyland? Check out our Planning Guide here. Need tickets to Disneyland? We’ve got discounted options here! If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!