Downtown Disney and Paradise Pier Changing

Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock just revealed several impending changes at Downtown Disney and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. It’s…a lot.

Let’s talk about the impending hotel re-theming and the new amenities coming to Downtown Disney.

The Paradise Pier Re-Theme

In 2018, Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure switched to a Pixar theme.

Disney introduced four Neighborhoods, three of which connected to specific properties. So we have The Incredibles, Inside Out, and Toy Story.

A fourth Neighborhood applies to the rest of the Pixar franchise. And the incidental part of this change involves Paradise Pier Hotel. It got left behind.

Courtesy of Disney Tourist Blog

In 2001, Disney had renamed and re-themed the hotel to match Paradise Pier. Unfortunately, when the Pixar change occurred, the hotel didn’t receive a matching one…until now.

Yes, the third official hotel at Disneyland Resort will re-theme to Pixar over the next year or two.

Disney has announced a Luxo Jr. lamp and ball statue will anchor the front of the hotel campus.

Also, Disney is constructing a walkway that will allow guests to walk straight from the resort to Disney California Adventure.

Details remain scarce about the changes coming to Paradise Pier. However, park officials displayed a rather ornate chandelier featuring Pixar characters.

This massive ornamental decoration included Pixar characters you know from Soul, Coco, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, WALL-E, and several more. It’s wildly detailed.

At this point, Disney hasn’t announced any restaurant changes at Paradise Pier. I presume they’re coming, though.

You may recall that PCH Grill closed for good in 2021. Meanwhile, the hotel’s other eateries aren’t currently operational. Something’s up, right?

Courtesy of Disney Tourist Blog

The former Paradise Pier will display Pixar art in the hotel lobby, presumably in a similar fashion to Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel.

The Other Confirmed Changes

Disney spent just as much time this week discussing upcoming improvements at Downtown Disney. It’s fully reimagining this space.

The changes come with some fantastic news too. Friends, I swear to you that Earl of Sandwich will live again at Downtown Disney.

Courtesy of Disney Tourist Blog

Resort officials made the mistake of not putting a stake through its heart. This place is otherwise unkillable.

Yes, for the third time, Earl of Sandwich will rise from the dead and return as a temporary pop-up restaurant near the old ESPN Zone and Rainforest Café.

Disneyland fans have expressed their outrage each time this place has closed.

To its credit, Disney has listened. So, here we are with the third coming of Earl of Sandwich. It’ll apparently return in a matter of months!

Courtesy of Disney Tourist Blog

Elsewhere at Downtown Disney, a new restaurant will open. And it’s a very big deal.

Are you familiar with Din Tai Fung? If not, I’ll ask these folks to explain:

Yes, if you were paying attention to the video, there’s a restaurant review that calls the place “the McDonald’s of Taipei Dumplings.” It’s an iconic Taiwanese franchise that has recently expanded into California.

We’re talking about dumplings that have earned a Michelin Star, and this place is coming to Downtown Disney! It’s a massive coup for Disney.

Resort officials have also confirmed that a new menu is coming to Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, which started strong but has since lost some heat.

Disney also announced a new restaurant called Paseo and Centrico, which will replace the current Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar and Café.

Chef Carlos Gaytan of Chicago’s iconic Tzuco at River North and the former Mexique will craft the menu here.

Final Thoughts

With these announcements, park planners are redefining Downtown Disney as a foodie’s destination spot.

Meanwhile, the former Paradise Pier will be the place to go for Pixar lovers.

The one thing I should clarify is that this announcement kills a longstanding rumor. Many had speculated that Paradise Pier would switch to Toy Story Hotel.

We already have two of those in the world, one at Shanghai Disneyland and the other at Tokyo Disney Resort.

Apparently, Disney wants a broader Pixar theme at Paradise Pier. As always, those plans remain subject to change, though.

For right now, the most important thing I’ve discussed here is that Earl of Sandwich returns.

At some point, Disney has to consider why it keeps trying to close a place that fans so zealously support.

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