Disneyland officially opens its Pixar Place Hotel

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.

Pixar Place front lobby
All photos by the author

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.

Garage entrance to Pixar place Hotel

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.

The recreation level also features the hotel's pool...

Pool on recreation level at Pixar Place Hotel

A new, Finding Nemo-themed splash pad...

Nemo's Cove splash pad

And a play area themed to Pixar short films, including this shuffleboard court themed to La Luna, with stars decorating the discs.

Pixar Shorts Play Yard

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.

Pixar Place hotel room art

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.

Pixar Place hotel bedroom mural

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.

Pixar Place hotel desk

I did not get the chance to stay in one of the rooms, so I cannot speak to their comfort overnight.

Disney also allowed us a sneak peek into the hotel's concierge lounge, Creators Club, which will open later this spring.

Creators Club concierge lounge

The room is filled with Easter eggs for Pixar and Disney Parks fans, including a familiar "bug lamp," from the old A Bug's Land in Disney California Adventure.

Bug lamp in the Creators Club

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Replies (5)

January 31, 2024 at 8:06 AM

I really like the interior motif here, but with how much Disney charges to stay at the Disneyland Resort hotels, there's no way I would ever stay here. You can stay at a chain hotel within walking distance of the front gates for half of what Disney charges.

January 31, 2024 at 10:31 AM

Looks great but Epic Universe! Disney shouldn't announce anything new until probably mid February. Right now its all about Universal lol

January 31, 2024 at 11:47 AM

Just updated with some additional photos.

And, FWIW, I am certain that theme park fans can pay attention to multiple things at once. Heck, given all our experiences in sensory-overloaded environments, we're even pretty good at it!

January 31, 2024 at 11:53 AM

BTW, this just occurred to me... is Pixar Place Hotel Disney's first on-site theme park hotel in the United States that does not include "Disney" anywhere in its name?

January 31, 2024 at 11:59 AM

I think your giving the general population too much credit Robert!

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