Hey howdy hey, cowgirls, spacemen, forgetful fishies and wearers of the Cone of Shame! Shelly V here, and I spent all day Thursday roaming both Disney California Adventure and Disneyland Park seeing what Pixar Fest merchandise and food they had soft-opened (for lack of any type of a better term). About 75% of the time for the Food Fest, I was told “Come back tomorrow,” but when I did find something I was NOT disappointed! They really went all-out for this one!
Our own Dusty Sage got a chance to interview Chef Zack Paulson from Steakhouse 55, which is now showcasing a special Pixar-themed tea (details to follow later this week) and they looked at a few of the yummy offerings for this limited-time event:
Here’s a little video of that ADORABLE Green Alien “The Claw” sipper Dusty and Zack were talking about in the interview:
As for finding Pixar Fest merchandise – that was no problem whatsoever!
If you have your heart set on a one-stop Pixar shop where you can get your paws, claws or clamps on merchandise that, so far, you can’t get anyplace else out here, go to Knick’s Knacks, just at the entrance of Paradise/Pixar Pier’s entrance, across from what is still presently The Cove Bar but what will become The Lamplight Lounge in late May. Because of the construction walls that are there at present, it’s tempting to just pass it by on the way to Midway Mania. DON’T. It’s really a beautiful, hidden gem for the Pixar fan – even if you don’t buy anything. This is nothing like the cute little Midway Mania shop at the ride exit, which is wonderful, but that is a latte compared to this double espresso.
We even have a West Coast version of a Purple Wall (the inexplicable craze of young folks taking selfies against particular walls at Walt Disney World) – The Pixar Wall – but when Pixar Pier opens, it’s going to become a doorway again, so come get your picture taken in front of it soon (if that’s your thing). The storyboard images on it will remain along the ceiling of the shop, but you’ll never get a chance to see them up this close again.
This is also the home of the ONLY Pixar-exclusive Art-on-Demand kiosk, and some of the artwork displayed I’ve never seen before, and it’s just stunning. The decor of the shop itself is fun and fan-oriented as well; a display plays videos of Pixar behind-the-scenes, characters peek in from portholes, copies of model sheets and inspirational sketches are tacked up at kids’-eye level as well as adults’. Check out the music box near the Annual Passholder case by the back entrance. There’s another high up on a shelf near the center of the outside wall of the shop. It was in the playroom of Midway Mania and they are both real working music boxes.
But let’s look at some of the actual merchandise. That’s what I trecked all the way across the park for, right?!
So many shirts (and a couple of hats, dresses and cups) but mostly shirts!
Something tells me these are going to be VERY popular . . .
Another sure to be popular item are the character socks.
And art, and cups, and cups that go blink blink blink with a claw in them!
Elias and Co. had the second-most amount of Pixar-related merchandise, so…about ten percent of what Knick’s Knacks had. I could not find the Pixar Fest ears anywhere but Knick’s Knacks, and, sorry Minnie Ear collectors, there are as of yet no Minnie Ears for this celebration.
Elias and Co. have the charm bracelets with the little back-and-front best friend character bags that go with them. You get the bracelet and the pairs of Best Friend charms, and you keep one and give one to your best friend. Or you know deep in your heart and just like that 1970s self-help book I Am My Own Best Friend and you buy yourself the bracelet and the charms and sing to yourself “I am Woman, Hear me roar,” with a fab new bracelet full of cute charms. Because though I take the worst photos ever, look at these:
Oh, hey, a couple in the back are in focus. Live and learn and then get Dusty, Debbie, Matt, Brian and Scott to do all of the site’s photography when they’re not doing more important stuff, which they honestly were Friday! You’ll be seeing the gorgeous results all weekend!
Several different posters, note cards and coffee cups rounded out the display along with the t-shirts Dusty and the gang showed us yesterday.
As I said earlier, there wasn’t as much food out yet; I mostly got photos of menus, but I was super-lucky and Carnation Cafe was serving its full Pixar Food Fest menu!
We’ve also created a food check-list for you so you can keep track of what’s available and where to find it. Yes, we love you!
Paradise Garden Grill is getting another specialty menu and it looks like a lot of fun. I want that Coco coco mug.
No Mike Wazowski Sourdough Bread at Boudin Bakery (or he was sold out), but there was Mater:
I headed across the Esplanade to Disneyland, and Carnation Cafe, where they actually had a fried bologna sandwich on display. I asked about the pork chop TV dinner, and they confirmed that they had it.
The pork chop was half the thickness of the one at Carthay Circle but every bit as juicy and delicious. (The marrow was wonderful, if you are so inclined.) The spiced apple sauce lent a perfect balance with the meat. It wasn’t too sweet or too tart. It tasted like comfort food that wasn’t trying to slowly murder you. The mashed potatoes were good, cooked perfectly. Had they been more salty or buttery it would have messed with the taste of the spiced apple sauce, so I’m glad they didn’t. There’s pepper on the table if you’re so inclined.
The cornbread was a little dry, so use that butter. There are bits of roasted corn inside, but they’re not dried out. The flavor is really good. They actually brought me butter on the side, but one of the staff told me it was supposed to be honey butter. I think honey butter might be a bit much with the spiced apple sauce and the lava cake.
The peas and carrots are cooked in some kind of oil with herbs, and the carrots seemed bland and greasy. Maybe if they were peeled first. The peas did seem exactly like frozen ones, so if that’s what they were going for, that was perfect. The problem is, each flavor was on its own. I experienced the carrot, and it was peel, mushy and bland. I experienced the peas. I experienced oily herbs. I experienced oil. The ingredients never married. I’d have done a sous-vide with a lot less oil, I think, used sweet peas if those weren’t, and I would have peeled the carrots.
Here is the most important part: the Lava Cake. By the time you finish your dinner, it will be cold. This is not how you eat Lava Cake. YOU ARE AT DISNEYLAND. EAT DESSERT FIRST. I also recommend (strongly) a glass of milk and a spoon. This dessert looks like a small brown hockey puck but is one of the most exquisite lava cakes I have tasted. It is bliss tucked into a 2′ space in a ceramic TV dinner tray. Order the dinner just for this.
Alien Pizza Planet is also open! Isn’t this what we have all wanted forever . . . a Pizza Planet in Tomorrowland. Take a look below and then do your best to will the universe to created a more permanent version once the festival ends.
I’ve been laughing at the “OMG look how cheap the sign is! Look how badly it’s put on!” posts online. The alien by the sign is obviously in the process of putting it up. Haphazardly. Ohhhhhhh.
Note that the aliens are arranged to be staring at each table…at the great Pixar Fest food!
Speaking of . . . most of the food is the same as before. But there are some creative Festival dishes here.
This is the one Zack and Dusty were talking about in the video . . .
The making of a Pixar Fest legend, the Cheeseburger Pizza:
Will you be trying it?
All of the posters feature menu ingredients. Outside, a mural will have guests playing “Find the Delivery Aliens.”
Heading over to the Golden Horseshoe to see what’s up there. Two CMs, as every other CM in restaurants that day, were excitedly telling me about stuff to see and do during Pixar Fest. I actually stayed later for the fireworks instead of going home because of this. They did not have the Root Beer Float in Woody’s Boot yet, so I stepped out front to see a HUGE queue for the churro stand…yep, the COCO Cocoa Churro.
I still couldn’t move after my experience at Carnation Cafe, so I asked a really sweet quartet of guests to share their experience with me.
Immediately after I stopped recording, he said “Oh! It tastes kind of like coffee!”
What would I have liked to have seen?
I love the Sully popcorn bucket that fits with the Mike sipper that Zack shows Dusty in the video at the beginning of this article, but wouldn’t it be nice to have them change out the popcorn turners (Roastie Toasties) for the event? They’ve actually done that before.
Minnie Ears. They’re such a hot commodity for Disney right now. I’m really surprised that they didn’t at least have one with a Pixar Ball-colored bow or two Pixar balls for the ears with a Luxo Jr. on the bow, or something like that. But they could have gone nuts with it and had plaid ones for Merida, thought bubbles for Inside Out, just endless possibilities.
Food: Nothing for Brave. An apple tart. Shortbread. It doesn’t HAVE to be haggis, though the haggis at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival is exceptional and a big hit. Bear brother cake pop trios . . . with haggis. . . lol. I digress.
A drink with those fruity boba balls and cotton candy around the rim for Bing-Bong. They serve it at the Anaheim Packing House (down the street from Disneyland) and they’re ludicrous, but they do a gangbuster business and my daughter Alice has to have one every time we go there.
Go try the Pork Chop TV Dinner at Carnation Cafe. It’s a don’t miss. You’ll probably even like the carrots. I’m a fussbudget.
I got some new glamour shots of menu items from Disney, to fill in the gaps from the Fab News guide to Pixar Fest a few weeks ago:
Thanks for taking a look at my look at some of the food and merchandise available for Pixar Fest at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure! There is so much more to see and do so please keep an eye on MiceChat.com and on our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook Page to keep up with everything happening as it happens!
And that’s the tail end of this update. We look forward to hearing your thoughts about the food and merchandise now that the festival is fully open.