A First Day Look at the “Finding Nemo” Themed Water Play Area at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel

Guest contribution by Johnny Lund

On August 1st, I decided to take a little trip to the Paradise Pier Hotel to take a nice little look at their brand new pool deck. The pool reopened today from a months long refurbishment to transform it into a new Pixar themed pool deck to match the new theme of the hotel which is currently being transformed into the Pixar Place Hotel.

I was truly in for a treat the moment I walked out onto the pool deck. The whole pool area received a much needed refurbishment. As soon as I walked out of the hallway leading me to the deck, I was welcomed by a wide variety of lush plants and cast members who were stationed right outside the doorways. As I headed to my right, I saw a small stand where they were selling various concessions as the pool bar is not yet open. Directly next to the stand was a plot of turf that had the Luxo ball on it!

As I walked around the corner to where The Sand Bar used to be, I was greeted by a new and improved seating area! The seating area itself had lots of open seating with colorful chairs that added to the ambiance of the deck.

Continuing to walk around the backside of The Sand Bar, I saw a brand new addition to the deck. In the upper right hand corner of the deck there is a new wall unit that has a fire pit built in and a large amount of deck seating! There was a large amount of bench seating built around the backside of The Sand Bar as to add additional seating for when the bar reopens.

As I continued to walk all the way around The Sand Bar, I found myself on the colored deck right outside the main pool entrance gate. I was welcomed by the colorful flooring that was colored to the palette of the Luxo ball. Over here there was a wide variety of shaded seating under a covered lattice with some overhead lighting that also reflected the color palette of the Luxo ball.

Across the colored deck was my favorite part. A set of 4 fire pits representing 4 different Pixar characters! You had Ember from Elemental, Uku, Anger, and Jack-Jack! Each firepit was extremely detailed with the character’s face depicted on the front of it. It’s truly amazing to see how much detail the Imagineers put into this.  

Moving on from there we have the pool deck itself! Over on the pool deck I was pleased to find the hot tub which was decked out in colorful tile that also depicts the color palette of the Luxo ball. A plus for this is that the hot tub is also covered by a lattice covering to protect the guests using it from the sun! There was lots of seating around the hot tub provided by the mustard yellow chairs they had surrounding it.

Moving over to the main pool deck is where they had the most seating. They had lots of the lounge chairs that you can find at either the Disneyland Hotel’s or the Grand Californian Hotel’s pool deck. A nice addition to the pool deck here was a small variety of shaded deck chairs that guests will be able to pay for and reserve either day of or in advance. There are a total of 6 of these chairs on the deck. The pricing for these chairs will be $130 for 5 hours of use from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM. An even bigger addition to the hotel’s pool deck is the addition of cabanas! There are two new cabanas that are added to the pool deck that face out towards the parking structure. These cabanas function identically to the cabanas offered at the Disneyland Hotel and the Grand Californian Hotel in that they offer a private space in the shade for the guests that reserve it. They have a small refrigerator unit, a TV, and come provided with a small amenity kit. The cost for a 5 hour rental for a cabana from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM will cost $425.

Another new addition to the pool deck is the new Luca wall art they have on the wall that divides the parking structure from the pool! The art on the walls here used to feature traditional artwork that could be found on a California pier or boardwalk, but now it features various pieces from the film Luca. I absolutely adore the artwork here as it adds some representation to, what is in my opinion, a fantastic Pixar movie.

Moving on to the new splash pad, we have additional seating that faces it. The new splash pad which is called “Nemo’s Cove” is a wonderful addition the to pool deck. It provides play space for little ones and adds a kinetic energy to the pool deck that was lacking before. On the floor of the splash pad you can find a variety of characters from Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, and the characters continue up on the wall! Moving on to the new slide (RIP California Streamin’ 🥲) we have the brand new Crush’s Surfin Slide! This slide features Crush on top of it with seaweed going up the side of the staircase. The slide itself has bubbles on the side of it and occasionally you can even hear Crush say one of his phrases that he always says!

One final note! The music they have out here is AMAZING! It’s a modern remix of Pixar songs like how they play at Lamplight Lounge. It totally matched the whole vibe of the pool deck!

All in all I have to say that this new pool deck at Paradise Pier is a breath of fresh air that the resort needed. Being honest, I was a hater of this remodel. I love Paradise Pier. I loved the seaside theming of the resort and the quintessential charm of a part of the state that I love to Disney. When I first heard about the retheme, I was vehemently against it and probably the biggest hater of it. But as time has gone on, I’ve seen how much effort Imagineering has put into giving this hotel the love it deserves. Today I even had a chance to talk to one of the Imagineers that worked on this project and show my gratitude for how well they executed this project. They have truly poured their heart and soul into this to make it an elevated experience that is clean and modern, but also reflects the character and charm that Pixar holds in all of our hearts. I can say that first hand that this project is absolutely amazing and I cannot wait to stay here once the transformation is completed!

Johnny Lund is a dear friend of Daps Magic. He can be found on Twitter/X and Instagram sharing his adventures at the Disneyland Resort, particularly at his happy place: the Grand California Hotel & Spa. He is an expert on all things Disneyland and visits several times a week. He also is a regular visitor at Walt Disney World Resort. If you see him in the parks, say hi and tell him how much you loved seeing his article on Daps Magic!