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  • Pixar Pier Issues / Fix

    I don’t know what it was but since 2018 when Pixar Pier opened at DCA it’s felt so stale and corporate (like most modern Disney endeavors nowadays). This isn’t just a thread to stomp on current management and Iger or to just flat out complain, because there was some good elements to the overhaul, but overall it could’ve been more well handed. I’ll go over my likes and dislikes/ fixes for this land which could’ve been done so much better.

    CONCEPT
    Bad. Just flat out bad. I don’t know what the recent obsession has been with PIXAR as a brand has been at the parks in recent years. The Pixar Place at DHS in Florida (at least that closed down), the Disney After Dark event coming soon, Pixar FEST.. then Pixar Pier. I don’t know when it became Pixarland? That being said I actually enjoy most products from Pixar movies- but when “Pixar” as an IP isn’t used. Midway Mania or Astro Blasters as examples. Pixar is the name of a studio/ brand- not the basis of a land. With Pixar making such a wide variety of IP’s, that alone made Pixar a flimsy basis for a theme park land.

    THEMATIC CHANGES
    Pixar Pier completely ignores any type of thematic cohesion that Paradise Pier 2.0 was aiming for. The days of the traditional Victorian 19th century seaside fair are gone- traded for a more sterile and plastic version of that theme. However, I’m not entirely mad Disney for aiming for a more colorful, bright approach. Being there, it feels more alive and how you’d THINK a seaside fair would feel instead of actually feeling like one. For one, I enjoy the more colorful motifs and the brighter color story. I believe that suspension of disbelief is what helps the classic Disneyland lands feel timeless. The bright sparkly new look of the castle achieved this perfectly, suspending the belief that a real life medieval castle WOULD be pink by making it timeless and magical. (but the brighter more unrealistic pallets and construction actually improved the general aesthetics of the area vs how it used to look). The thematic inconsistencies are made worse when the “neighborhoods” are introduced. (did Disney learn nothing the last time they refused to call a themed area a “”land””). All of which having such a distinct aesthetic it’s almost impossible to say they belong in the same land. The archway and postmodern style of the Incredibles neighborhood is such a sharp distinction from the carnival-like surroundings, and everything about the Toy Story area is awful. The stationery figures and oversized props blocking the walkways make it such a juxtaposition to the building style of Midway Mania and the incredicoaster. The Promenade is cute enough, and I like the paint and classical carnival motifs around the area. All that is thrown away when you enter the Inside Out neighborhood, which instead of looking like the real world location of Inside Out (SAN FRANCISCO) which would actually FIT the area and would add something to the dying name “California” over the parks entrance- they take you to a section inside of the brain control room- just slapped onto the cement surrounded by a rollercoaster. WHAT WERE THEY GOING FOR HERE?!? I’m genuinely baffled this exists in real life. The stationery plastic figures around add to the tackiness of it all. For what it’s worth, Bing Bongs Sweet Stuff is genuinely cute and makes more sense near the promenade than the “eMoTiOnAl WhIrLwHiNd”.

    Attractions
    Easily a downgrade. They kept the track from California Screamin, (not because they thought it would provide an easy, clear canvas to tell a story on but because it’s cheaper). The Incredicoaster Is a total joke. The stupid static figures, forced story. The only moderate improvement was the bright red tubes and the amazing score from the movies, (however I believe the Screamin’ score worked just as well, the music just serves the purpose of the ride). The Critter Carousel is cute enough, I like the figures but the theming in the entirety of that area is a mess as mentioned above^. The Games are the same, just reskinned so there’s no real problems. The “Pixar Pal-A-Round” is so forced it hurts. They could’ve just called it the “Pixar Fun Wheel” and I’d have no issues. I’ve already spoken my distaste of the whirlwind so I won’t even go in on that. Just know I THOROUGHLY LOATHE the whirlwind.

    “FIXES”

    For aesthetic fixes, all I would do is take out those tacky, plastic figures from the Toy Story and Inside Out Neighborhood. I’d probably gone down the exceedingly bright yellow and replace it with a rich tan- and make the bright blue more navy for color contrast. I’d finally fix the weird carousel to match the (if slightly simplified) colorful Victorian wooden style the rest of the land has been doing for years. Same for the Incredicoaster queue- make it that playful kiddie-fied Victorian style- Same for the rest of that neighborhood. (also no stupid neighborhoods!) As for the Incredicoaster proper, just take the figures out and leave it alone. Not all rides need stories you know! Sometimes a good rollercoaster is all something needs to be! Let WDI do something more inventive and creative with the Incredibles as an IP! Paint the Fab 5 back on the buckets for the Ferris Wheel and let it be! There’s enough Pixar shoved down our throats 24/7 and itd be nice to see them there again. I actually have 0 gripes with the Sweet Store. Just make it “Paradise Promenade”. UNINSTALL THE WHIRLWIND- for the love of Walt Disney! And finally, let it just be Paradise Pier again! I miss not having whole lands based on IP, (unless they’re good- I’m looking at you Cars Land and Galaxy’s Edge!). With some easy fixes- It’d be easy to fix that mess of a land. Thank You so much if you made it this far! I know I have some strong opinions, but you’re always free respond for any feedback or with your thoughts. Thank You!
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Antonio Lopez; 02-01-2020, 07:15 PM.

  • #2
    I got through the whole post! I'm always split when it comes to Pixar Pier. On the one hand, I love the color story (as you mentioned) and the addition of Lamplight Lounge, because as a person who works in animation, their menu is clever and the drinks are really fun in comparison to some areas in the park. However, I never venture farther than the Incredicoaster because... well, it does feel a little camp-y the further you walk towards the Toy Story area.

    I, too, would have appreciated if they toned down the Pixar elements just a tad because it does feel tacky at times. Part of me wishes they stayed close to the "classic" Mickey shorts in regards to theming, but maybe focus groups were craving more Pixar. They could have been a little more tasteful, but it does feel a bit slapped together.

    I think any Pixar movie can be taken, and themed extensively, and it can make for a beautiful area in the park (well, given the budget, of course). However, Pixar as the sole IP? I agree. It feels very messy.

    Ah well.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm not going to lie, I didn't really "get" the Victorian theming to the pier. Maybe they didn't go all the way in retheming the land (namely the carousel and planned boardwalk around the Fun Wheel), but I also think a major aspect was the off-the-shelf rides. SSS looks even more bland and generic than it did as the Orange Stinger, for example.

      But it did have a theme that wasn't just slapping IP on off-the-shelf rides. Incredicoaster, while fun and thrilling, looks even more cheap with its static figures. I understand most Imagineers were working on GE, but is one animatronic too much? The only thing I like about that change is the cookie smell, which isn't anything to write home about. Its music is alright, but is ruined by people talking over it.

      If I were to theme it, I'd probably style it around a 60's/70's boardwalk like the original concept, but without all the 90's stucco designs and generic carnival rides that plagued it. More rides like Golden Zephyr (a design dating back to the 1900s), and some natural features (sand, rocks) would need to be added. Let the Sun Wheel be the icon of the park instead of even more Mickey.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by TLand2055 View Post
        I'm not going to lie, I didn't really "get" the Victorian theming to the pier. Maybe they didn't go all the way in retheming the land (namely the carousel and planned boardwalk around the Fun Wheel), but I also think a major aspect was the off-the-shelf rides. SSS looks even more bland and generic than it did as the Orange Stinger, for example.

        But it did have a theme that wasn't just slapping IP on off-the-shelf rides. Incredicoaster, while fun and thrilling, looks even more cheap with its static figures. I understand most Imagineers were working on GE, but is one animatronic too much? The only thing I like about that change is the cookie smell, which isn't anything to write home about. Its music is alright, but is ruined by people talking over it.

        If I were to theme it, I'd probably style it around a 60's/70's boardwalk like the original concept, but without all the 90's stucco designs and generic carnival rides that plagued it. More rides like Golden Zephyr (a design dating back to the 1900s), and some natural features (sand, rocks) would need to be added. Let the Sun Wheel be the icon of the park instead of even more Mickey.
        Correct! DCA 1.0 didn't try at all to give a cohesive theme to Paradise Pier.. in 2012 they had gotten around the re themeing Midway Mania, the games, and the entrance. However, it was never completely done. California Screamin and the carousel were never properly themed to a "Victorian Seaside" before Pixar took over .

        (I added a blue sky image from yesterland on how the carousel was planned to look)
        Attached Files

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        • #5
          I couldn't agree more. I think you summed it up when you said 'Pixar is not a theme,' and 'Not all rides have to tell a story.' The whole area just feels like a DTD with rides now. Yay.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Antonio Lopez View Post

            Correct! DCA 1.0 didn't try at all to give a cohesive theme to Paradise Pier.. in 2012 they had gotten around the re themeing Midway Mania, the games, and the entrance. However, it was never completely done. California Screamin and the carousel were never properly themed to a "Victorian Seaside" before Pixar took over .

            (I added a blue sky image from yesterland on how the carousel was planned to look)
            I wouldn't say they didn't try at all, but their execution was failed in places. They tried to combine the 90s with the 60s and failed at that. All in all I think the pier's Beach Boys type theming was a bit too recent. Given a cohesive theme, it would probably work now since that era is longer ago (much like retrofuturism and Tomorrowland)

            And you're right about the Pier improvements. That very article is actually what I had in mind during that post.

            It's always been a problematic land for immersion since opening, since the park has no proper berm. You can see the Convention Center all the way from Little Mermaid, for example.

            Comment


            • #7
              I think plopping a cheap amusement pier into Disneyland was a bad move in the first place, so I have no qualms with them waffling back and forth on how to "fix" Paradise/Pixar Pier.

              That being said, I will say Pixar Pier- almost in spite of itself- succeeds where both versions of Paradise Pier failed by being more visually interesting than 1.0's off the shelf 90s tackiness and 2.0's Main Street But with a Ferris Wheel. The colors are striking, the neighborhoods- while clumsy- do offer something interesting & familiar to stare at when not looking at the Anaheim Convention Center, and the big toy boxes/figures aren't too different from the giant whale or cartoon garden outside Alice in Fantasyland. Pixar is synonymous with Disney Cartoon now and short of giving each movie a spot in Fantasyland or something, I'm glad it's instead being burned as a whole on dressing up a generic Ferris Wheel, Carousel, and crappy spinner ride. Yeah, it was rushed, but it's a million times better than the awful Toy Story Land in WDW.

              I'd honestly rather they tore the whole pier down and hopefully one day they will when they decide to level the Paradise Pier Hotel, but it's fine until they change their minds again and that's really what makes this incarnation of the pier tolerable- we all know they're going to change their minds again.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Reef Pilot View Post
                Yeah, it was rushed, but it's a million times better than the awful Toy Story Land in WDW.
                I don't think so. TSL has great theming elements, and wholly brand new rides. I would prefer it over "Paradise Pier But We Spilled A Red Paint Bucket And Added IP".

                Comment


                • #9
                  So I'll be that guy and say that I honestly don't mind Pixar Pier as a concept. I think it's a simple way to get more characters and IP into the parks--which, whether you like it or not, is something a lot of people DO want. Kids WANT to meet Bing Bong and Edna. They want to run alongside Dash and play with Woody.

                  But Pixar Pier is failing and it's failing from a single problem: A lack of a cohesive story.

                  The problem isn't a pier made up of Pixar's properties, the problem is WHY does this particular pier exist? What is the mythos behind it? Grizzly Peak is a park. Cars Land is the land from the movies. Avengers Campus will have a story fitting within the Avengers Universe. This is a SOLVABLE problem, but it's one Disney doesn't seem to realize exists.

                  Take a look at the rides and try to figure out the story behind Pixar Pier. The Incredicoaster backstory is that it was a historic roller coaster that recently got a fresh coat of paint the Incredibles endorsement. An old amusement pier getting re-vamped by a Pixar family--that's one story. Toy Story Mania and Jessie's Critter Carousel are... well the toys themselves inviting us into their world to play games and have fun. It's as if they made these rides for us and they want us to play from their view of the world. A fun story, but a totally different one. Then we have the new Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind, which is like the scene of Headquarter's from the movie transported into the middle of the this pier (in a way the most like a classic IP ride that simply revisits a story or scene from a movie). But another story altogether.

                  What Pixar Pier needs is a UNIFYING story. A single reason this pier exists. Either this pier was an old, outdated one that Pixar characters came in to fix up and put their names on (ugh, so meta). OR it was created by the Pixar characters to welcome us into their world. OR it's a slice of movie story. By trying to be all three, the pier is failing.

                  I think the answer is obvious. Which of the current three stories is the most compelling? Which is the most magical and exciting and has the most potential for future expansion? I think it's the current Toy Story ride stories: Pixar characters wanted to create a place where humans could experience their world and have fun. So they MADE an amusement pier. But not just any pier, a pier that only this group of characters could create. They took the things we're used to seeing on a pier (roller coasters, boardwalk games, etc.) and made them their own.

                  Toy Story Mania isn't just any boardwalk games--it's games as only the Toy Story characters could create them. That theme needs to spread across the other rides. The Incredicoaster can't just be some craven re-theme of an old coaster (again, ugh META). It needs to be a coaster purposely DESIGNED by the Incredibles--Maybe Dash created it so people could experience his incredible speed and the rest of the family is either helping him or helping us not to crash.

                  Then you carry the same story over to other things, like food. Instead of plopping the Poultry Palace (ugh) into the pier, what would it look like if the characters themselves MADE an eatery? The Adorable Snowman's Frosted Treats does this perfectly. More of that.

                  And then lastly, you get to fixing the theming. If the story is now that all these different Pixar characters came together and created their own pier, does it make sense for that pier to be a clash of styles? Probably not. They probably had a meeting and decided on a unifying look for the pier. That look may not be purely classic victorian. It may itself be a mish-mash of styles (something that amplifies the magic), but they definitely didn't just plop down the style from their IPs in each "neighborhood". Also, get rid of the neighborhoods, cause you don't need them.

                  And I guess finally, what's cool about a unifying story is how it points the way forward. Pixar pier has a LOT of space behind it for ride expansion (assuming they have the budget to re-locate backstage buildings). Based on this story, what else would make sense? Well, old amusement piers often had something like a tunnel of love. Why not have an Inside Out Tunnel of Emotion (or whatever the hell you wanna call it). They often had a haunted house. What if the characters from Coco made their own version of a haunted house, featuring the Land of the Dead (and using the Mystic Manor ride system)? Heck, you could even have guests go UNDER the pier to a Finding Nemo area with underwater rides (similar to the Mermaid Lagoon building at DisneySea). Having a unifying story and a reason for existing opens the doors to any number of creative opportunities.

                  I know that some of you might be thinking "it's totally unrealistic for a bunch of Pixar characters from different movies to build something" all I will say is: If we're able to believe that anthropomorphic automobiles can build a town, I think we can suspend our disbelief for this.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by IndyAdventurer View Post
                    So I'll be that guy and say that I honestly don't mind Pixar Pier as a concept. I think it's a simple way to get more characters and IP into the parks--which, whether you like it or not, is something a lot of people DO want. Kids WANT to meet Bing Bong and Edna. They want to run alongside Dash and play with Woody.

                    But Pixar Pier is failing and it's failing from a single problem: A lack of a cohesive story.

                    The problem isn't a pier made up of Pixar's properties, the problem is WHY does this particular pier exist? What is the mythos behind it? Grizzly Peak is a park. Cars Land is the land from the movies. Avengers Campus will have a story fitting within the Avengers Universe. This is a SOLVABLE problem, but it's one Disney doesn't seem to realize exists.

                    Take a look at the rides and try to figure out the story behind Pixar Pier. The Incredicoaster backstory is that it was a historic roller coaster that recently got a fresh coat of paint the Incredibles endorsement. An old amusement pier getting re-vamped by a Pixar family--that's one story. Toy Story Mania and Jessie's Critter Carousel are... well the toys themselves inviting us into their world to play games and have fun. It's as if they made these rides for us and they want us to play from their view of the world. A fun story, but a totally different one. Then we have the new Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind, which is like the scene of Headquarter's from the movie transported into the middle of the this pier (in a way the most like a classic IP ride that simply revisits a story or scene from a movie). But another story altogether.

                    What Pixar Pier needs is a UNIFYING story. A single reason this pier exists. Either this pier was an old, outdated one that Pixar characters came in to fix up and put their names on (ugh, so meta). OR it was created by the Pixar characters to welcome us into their world. OR it's a slice of movie story. By trying to be all three, the pier is failing.

                    I think the answer is obvious. Which of the current three stories is the most compelling? Which is the most magical and exciting and has the most potential for future expansion? I think it's the current Toy Story ride stories: Pixar characters wanted to create a place where humans could experience their world and have fun. So they MADE an amusement pier. But not just any pier, a pier that only this group of characters could create. They took the things we're used to seeing on a pier (roller coasters, boardwalk games, etc.) and made them their own.

                    Toy Story Mania isn't just any boardwalk games--it's games as only the Toy Story characters could create them. That theme needs to spread across the other rides. The Incredicoaster can't just be some craven re-theme of an old coaster (again, ugh META). It needs to be a coaster purposely DESIGNED by the Incredibles--Maybe Dash created it so people could experience his incredible speed and the rest of the family is either helping him or helping us not to crash.

                    Then you carry the same story over to other things, like food. Instead of plopping the Poultry Palace (ugh) into the pier, what would it look like if the characters themselves MADE an eatery? The Adorable Snowman's Frosted Treats does this perfectly. More of that.

                    And then lastly, you get to fixing the theming. If the story is now that all these different Pixar characters came together and created their own pier, does it make sense for that pier to be a clash of styles? Probably not. They probably had a meeting and decided on a unifying look for the pier. That look may not be purely classic victorian. It may itself be a mish-mash of styles (something that amplifies the magic), but they definitely didn't just plop down the style from their IPs in each "neighborhood". Also, get rid of the neighborhoods, cause you don't need them.

                    And I guess finally, what's cool about a unifying story is how it points the way forward. Pixar pier has a LOT of space behind it for ride expansion (assuming they have the budget to re-locate backstage buildings). Based on this story, what else would make sense? Well, old amusement piers often had something like a tunnel of love. Why not have an Inside Out Tunnel of Emotion (or whatever the hell you wanna call it). They often had a haunted house. What if the characters from Coco made their own version of a haunted house, featuring the Land of the Dead (and using the Mystic Manor ride system)? Heck, you could even have guests go UNDER the pier to a Finding Nemo area with underwater rides (similar to the Mermaid Lagoon building at DisneySea). Having a unifying story and a reason for existing opens the doors to any number of creative opportunities.

                    I know that some of you might be thinking "it's totally unrealistic for a bunch of Pixar characters from different movies to build something" all I will say is: If we're able to believe that anthropomorphic automobiles can build a town, I think we can suspend our disbelief for this.
                    You hit the nail on the head. I want there to be a story to why the land exists much like NOS with the Lafitte(sp?) back story. I think this is what’s missing. Well said, my guy!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think that had they just used Toy Story characters it would have given a better storyline to the land. The could have given the Encredicaoster a Woody and Buzz's Wild Ride theme ( it could connect to the scene in which Buzz tried to fly and then realizes he is a truly a toy from the first film ) Critter Carousel and MM could have stayed they way they are and the Bing Bing Ride could have instead been something themed to another TS character maybe even Forky. They could then have gutted Buzz in TL and made that an Inside Out dark ride which I think the IP lends itself to more so then a carnival spinner. They could have kept the California beach theming to the eastern side of the lake and enhanced the viewing area for WoC which often seems to me as under used and bland. ( though a great place to stop and rest if you want a moment away from crowds while still staying in the open feel of the park )

                      I think one thing that has always bothered me from the jump is yes CA does have many piers and a ton of coastline and though there are some small roller coasters and tiny ferris wheels on some of our piers I think the majority of people world wide think Coney Island when they first see PP. It's like yes LA has some tall building but if you show me a sea of them I am thinking Chicago or NY before my mind thinks of LA.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Why they didn't theme California Screamin' to something Monsters Inc. is beyond me. Paint those giant coaster tubes like Scream collecting canisters and come up with some sort of story about Mike and Sully using using the scream collected to help power the pier. Sure, laughter is more powerful but if coasters are going to make folks scream anyways, no reason why the monsters wouldn't take advantage of the free energy!
                        "I take no side. I am beyond your worrying and wars. I am unseen. Unknowable. Like a rock in the river."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Honestly, Paradise Pier was a failure in concept from day 1, and even the "fix" was little more than putting lipstick on a pig, before this version.
                          "Have I gone mad?"
                          "I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are. "

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