San Fransokyo to Open This Summer at Disneyland

February 20, 2023, 1:09 PM · As we told you earlier this month, the new San Fransokyo makeover of Disney California Adventure's Pacific Wharf will open later this year. Today, Disneyland is sharing more first-look concept art for the area.

Disney parks Chairman Josh D'Amaro announced the area's transformation during his D23 Expo presentation last summer. San Fransokyo Square will recreate the mash-up metro area from "Big Hero 6," with a torii-inspired bridge as its icon.

San Fransokyo Gate Bridge
Concept images courtesy Disneyland Resort

Big Hero 6's Baymax will greet guests in a new character location located near the entrance to Cars Land.

Baymax encounter

San Fransokyo Square will remain primarily a food and beverage location, including a new Port of San Fransokyo Cervecería beer garden.

Port of San Fransokyo Cervecería

San Fransokyo Square will open this summer and will continue to offer soups in freshly baked bread bowls along with "many new Asian-inspired selections," according to Disneyland's press release. Specific menus will come later, but Disneyland said that current Pacific Wharf dining locations will remain open during construction.

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Replies (15)

February 20, 2023 at 1:27 PM

I'm curious if a Lucky Cat Cafe will actually make it to the land, like previously teased in concept art.

February 20, 2023 at 1:56 PM

I guess it's pretty surprising that they're planning to complete this conversion so quickly. However, at the same time it's disappointing that so little is being done to makeover this area. It's ultimately a retheme of an existing land to center it around a single character meet and greet.

Certainly a step in the right direction, but this section of the park probably needed a few steps to meet its potential, even under the San Fransokyo theme. Hopefully the Baymax character knocks guests' socks off.

February 20, 2023 at 5:21 PM

I don't know if a built world as rich and detailed as San Fransokyo will make much of an impact at the scale this seems to be suggesting. WDI does incredible work when they have the budget and size to really build something out (Star Wars, Cars Land, Pandora), but smaller references to a huge animated world may not come off as more than a quick solution (and could end up reminding visitors of the original California Adventure with its half-baked world-building). The bridge looks cool, but I always imagined more for this destination.( Its the fault of these incredible animated worlds that have limitless scope and scale) I think they may have similar trouble pulling off Zootopia, when they try for that. WIth budgets being where they are, it may be a while before we see a SWGE-level production again, but with Epic Universe is around the corner, and the continued fiscal success of the Parks and Resorts division, "go big or go home" may still be the smart move.

February 20, 2023 at 6:21 PM

Based on the scale this seems to be, I question why they're even bothering. It looks like a meet and greet mixed with some light cosmetic changes, which is unlikely to do much when it comes to attendance or guest spending. Plus, while Big Hero 6 was a hit, it's not one with the level of staying power of Disney's other franchises. Especially as Pacific Wharf was fine as is, this just feels like a waste of money that could be better used for a different project.

February 21, 2023 at 10:29 AM

I’m with AJ on this. They could have used the money for another project. I feel Pacific Wharf was fine as is too.

February 21, 2023 at 1:36 PM

Disney seems determine to expunge anything in its parks that is not "Disney." Pacific Wharf was too generic, in Disney management's view, so it needed to become something branded to a Disney property.

Okay, fine. But I would rather have something that's well-decorated and generic than something half-baked and branded. Pacific Wharf was fine. This limited San Fransokyo re-skin leaves me skeptical.

February 21, 2023 at 2:43 PM

I was going to say the same thing as Robert. It just appears as the Disney is getting rid anything "general" in DCA.

Pacific Wharf was fine...but there's no IP associated with it. Big Hero 6 is somewhat of the "perfect" franchise for this. The IP isn't SO big that Disney feels like they are wasting potential, while Baymaxx is popular enough for a meet & greet & merch.

Because it's primarily an area for food, they were never going to go ALL in & do something amazing (Just look at Pixar Pier).

This is par for the course on the "light rethemes" to Disney it up! I do think for the average guest visiting, it will be more than fine.

The "California" in California Adventure has long been more or less just references where the park is actually located vs. any California theme.

February 21, 2023 at 3:20 PM

I feel like if this had more effort put into it (and thus time and money, neither of which it seems Disney is willing to spend these days) this could be great. I think an Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man style ride would lend itself nicely to the area's theming, but they've chosen to cram San Fransokyo into this existing area for a glorified meet and greet, I guess.
In the interviews, they said the food and other offerings would remain the same, so this really seems like a half-hearted facelift with no real effort to change anything besides the decorations.

February 21, 2023 at 6:32 PM

The fact that the venues will stay open during construction says it’s only a cosmetic change. Sure, some food items will change but I kind of doubt it.

February 22, 2023 at 1:29 AM

I'm currently reading the chapter on the creation of EPCOT from Leslie Iwerk's The Imagineering Story.

What happened since then to Disney's goal to strive for perfection, "(...) to proof we could do big things. We could do marvelous things."?

Have we, the audience become jaded?

February 22, 2023 at 8:24 AM

This and Pixar Pier remind me a lot of DCA 1.0 that was very unpopular, especially the golden gate bridge (this park has already had one cheesy golden gate bridge in its history). The Avengers area looks pretty drab too compared to the massive amount of effort and resources they poured into World of Color and Cars Land.

February 22, 2023 at 9:50 AM

This is pretty much going along with the general sentiment here, but if you're going to do a San Fransokyo retheme why not utilize the space currently occupied by the much-outdated Bread Tour which has been showing the same film since 2001. Or why not change up the restaurant selection a bit more?

I feel like if you're using an IP at Big Hero 6's level (big enough that most people know what it is, not popular enough for people to go crazy over it), you either have to go big or go home (in other words, an entire Tron land would be a bit much for such an unproven franchise, but the Tron coaster justifies its own existence by being an E-Ticket). I don't know who would care about dedicating an entire land to Big Hero 6 without a E-Ticket or any rides to show for it. I can't help but feel like in 10 years this won't age well.

February 22, 2023 at 10:01 AM

@Juan - I think you nailed it there. Big Hero 6 just isn't a compelling IP for the GP (yes, it does have plenty of pulp appeal, but it's very niche), so it seems that if Disney is going to go through the trouble of renaming an entire area of a theme park around the IP, they should at least do something more substantial than anchoring the retheme with a meet and greet. Inside Out at least got a ride - though just a slightly plussed flat ride - so I think Big Hero 6 deserves something beyond meeting Baymax and reskinned buildings. Do it right or don't bother WDI - isn't that what the lesson was supposed to be from DCA 1.0?

February 22, 2023 at 10:14 AM

The new motto for WDI is, "get to work on this reskin, or we won't just ship you off to Florida — you'll be headed to Gainesville."

February 24, 2023 at 7:46 AM

They didn't even make the bridge look right! They just tacked the spires, which aren't even like the the ones in the movie, onto the existing bridge which looks more like a freight train bridge than anything like the Golden Gate / San Fransokyo bridge.

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