January 30, 2024, 8:04 PM ·

The Disneyland Resort this morning officially opened its newly rethemed and renovated Pixar Place Hotel.

Pixar Place is the new name and theme for the former Paradise Pier Hotel, which opened in 1984 as the Emerald of Anaheim, then Pan Pacific Hotel Anaheim, before Disney bought the property in 1995, renaming it Disneyland Pacific Hotel. A rebrand with the opening of Disney California Adventure changed it to the Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, with renovations 20 years ago preceding the current refurbishment.Disney invited reporters to tour the hotel this morning. But before that, we had to have an opening moment.Work continues on the north tower of the hotel, though the south tower’s transformation is complete. So if you’re wondering why room rates seem so high right now for what has been Disneyland’s (relatively) value-priced hotel, that’s because capacity is greatly reduced while that room conversion work continues, even as the completed changes boost demand for the property.The hotel’s common areas are complete, however, and they impress far more than the somewhat humble Paradise Pier ever did, starting with a front lobby dominated by a sculpture of Luxo Jr. atop a Pixar ball, underneath a skylight filled with mobiles representing the early stages of development of various Pixar characters.Still, Pixar Place is not meant to create Pixar stories. Instead, it celebrates them.”When you’re in an in-story hotel, like a Toy Story Hotel, it’s very much of the world. You’ve seen the film, so you get an idea of how that might be represented – I’m a toy, I am visiting that world,” Walt Disney Imagineering Senior Producer Joey Caporaso said. “Here, our story wasn’t visiting those worlds. It was more of celebrating the process and art of Pixar Studios. So that’s our lens – that’s the way we tied it together.”As a result, the design of the hotel is more of a template to frame curated and created items of Pixar-themed art, rather than an attempt to immerse guests within living inside a Pixar story. For that frame, Imagineers and art directors chose a mid-century modern look, though they tried to distinguish the Pixar Place aesthetic from the nearby Disneyland Hotel.

“One of the things that we really wanted to do with the hotel was highlight the combination of art and technology in Pixar films,” Pixar Animation Studios Theme Park Creative Director Tasha Sounart said. “You’ll see a lot of motifs that represent the technology of Pixar – pixel designs or geometric shapes – all of that was meant to represent the technology side of Pixar. Then you’ll see alongside the concept art and things that you might have seen from ‘The Art of…’ books, that kind of concept art.”But then I also really wanted to showcase a lot of the the process of making Pixar films that maybe you haven’t seen as much – animation thumbnails or the wireframe – when the characters go from a sketch to being built in the computer.”That’s what visitors will see in a redesigned entrance from the hotel’s parking structure. The hallway is now decorated with large Pixar character concept sketches in front of wireframe images of those characters.Pixar Place Hotel visitors also can find live-action depictions of Pixar characters within the hotel. Joe Gardner from “Soul” plays piano across from the check-in desk in the afternoons and evenings five times a week, while Bing Bong from “Inside Out” makes its meet-and-greet premiere seven days a week on the third floor recreation level, where guests also may view the Disneyland fireworks at night. You can see both characters in my TikTok/Instagram video from earlier today.Back inside, the 479 rooms feature a piece of art by Sounart that depicts a series of Pixar characters in a progression of running poses – a way to visually represent motion in a stationary medium.As for the rest of the room, a Pixar-themed mural above the bed also reinforces the theme, via the last image guests will see before turning in at night.Rooms also feature the decorative touches of a Luxo Jr. desk lamp and beds adorned with comforters embedded with Pixar ball shapes over carpets decorated with a Pixar lamp pattern. I did not get the chance to stay in one of the rooms, so I cannot speak to their comfort overnight.To help support Theme Park Insider while saving money on discounted theme park tickets, including several deals now available at the Disneyland Resort, please follow the ticket icon links our Theme Park visitors guides.And to keep up to date with more theme park news, please sign up for Theme Park Insider’s weekly newsletter.

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