Pixar Pal-A-Round

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Pixar Pal-A-Round
Pixar Pal-A-Round 2019.jpg
Pixar Pal-A-Round in 2019
Disney California Adventure
AreaPixar Pier
Coordinates33°48′18.39″N 117°55′19.87″W / 33.8051083°N 117.9221861°W / 33.8051083; -117.9221861Coordinates: 33°48′18.39″N 117°55′19.87″W / 33.8051083°N 117.9221861°W / 33.8051083; -117.9221861
Opening dateFebruary 8, 2001 (as Sun Wheel)
May 4, 2009 (as Mickey's Fun Wheel)
June 23, 2018 (as Pixar Pal-A-Round)
Closing dateOctober 14, 2008 (as Sun Wheel)
January 8, 2018 (as Mickey's Fun Wheel)
Ride statistics
Attraction typeEccentric wheel
DesignerWalt Disney Imagineering
ThemeBoardwalk; Victorian; Pixar
Height150 ft (46 m)
Vehicle typeGondola
Riders per vehicle8[1]
Duration9 minutes
Disabled access Wheelchair accessible

Pixar Pal-A-Round (formerly known as the Sun Wheel and Mickey's Fun Wheel) is a 150-foot-tall (46 m) eccentric wheel at Disney California Adventure, at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. The attraction opened to the public on February 8, 2001 at Paradise Pier as the Sun Wheel. Inspired by Wonder Wheel at Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Coney Island, which also features both sliding and fixed gondolas, Pixar Pal-A-Round has a large pie-eyed Mickey Mouse face at its center.

From 2001 to 2008, the attraction featured a sun face on the front along with a yellow color scheme. In 2008, the attraction was rethemed as the Mickey's Fun Wheel, which opened on May 4, 2009. The sun was replaced with a Mickey Mouse face, and images of Mickey, Goofy, Donald Duck, and Minnie Mouse were added to the gondolas.[2] On November 2, 2017, Disney announced that the ride would be renovated, which would include Pixar characters on the gondolas, but with Mickey's face remaining on the side. On June 23, 2018, the attraction reopened as the Pixar Pal-A-Round.[3]


Pixar Pal-A-Round is an eccentric wheel, differing from conventional Ferris wheels in that 16 of its 24 gondolas ride on interior rails so that they slide inward and outward as the wheel rotates. This results in a more intense experience, and motion sickness bags are provided in each gondola due to the disorienting nature of the ride. The other eight gondolas are fixed to the rim of the wheel and do not slide. Guests may choose to ride in sliding or fixed gondolas, each of which can carry eight people.[2]

Pixar Pal-A-Round features a Mickey Mouse head, but with gondolas themed after Pixar films such as Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Inside Out, and Coco.[3] From 2009 to 2018, the stationary cars featured Mickey, while the sliding ones featured Goofy, Donald Duck, and Minnie Mouse.[2]


Sun Wheel (2001–08)

The former Sun Wheel at Disney's California Adventure Park

The attraction opened as the Sun Wheel on February 8, 2001, and was one of the park’s earliest attractions during opening day. It was modeled after Coney Island's 1920 Wonder Wheel, and featured a sun on the front side along with a yellow color scheme. The purple and orange cars rode on inside rails, which means that they were sliding towards the inside and outside as the ride revolved. The sun face was inspired by Mexican art from the 1970s. In October 2008, the Sun Wheel underwent renovation and was re-themed as the Mickey's Fun Wheel.[4]

Mickey's Fun Wheel (2009–18)

Although the ride experience hasn't changed, the sun was replaced by a Mickey Mouse head and the color scheme was changed from yellow to red.[5] The attraction re-opened on May 4, 2009 as the Mickey's Fun Wheel.[6]

In 2013, lights were installed around the back of Mickey's Head for World of Color: Winter Dreams along with an LED lighting package that was installed on the California Screamin' roller coaster. Creative executive Steve Davison revealed during an interview after the premiere of Winter Dreams that the new lights installed on Fun Wheel and California Screamin' are a permanent addition and will be used in future World of Color updates.[7]

On October 2, 2014, the ride malfunctioned, stranding riders for two hours before they were evacuated with no reported injuries.[8][9]

Pixar Pal-A-Round in 2019

Pixar Pal-A-Round (2018–present)

On November 2, 2017, Disney announced that Mickey's Fun Wheel would be updated to include Pixar characters on the gondolas with Mickey's face remaining on the side facing Paradise Bay.[10] The attraction was closed on January 8, 2018, along with other Paradise Pier offerings, as the land transformed into Pixar Pier.[11] On April 25, 2018, Disney announced that Mickey's Fun Wheel would be renamed "Pixar Pal-A-Round," to be consistent with the attraction's new theme. The color scheme was changed yet again to light blue, and the gondolas received new images of characters from Pixarfilms, such as Joy & Sadness from Inside Out, Mr. Incredible & Elastigirl from The Incredibles, and Miguel & Héctor from Coco.[3] The attraction officially opened on June 23, 2018.[12]

On February 3, 2019, Pixar Pal-A-Round was lit up in blue and yellow for Super Bowl LIII, which featured the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots.[13]


The non-swinging portion of Pixar Pal-A-Round received a 4.66 average score out of 10, while the swinging portion received a 1.33 average score.[14] The swinging gondolas have been described as "terrifying" and "a one-of-a-kind-experience."[3] In May 2019, the ride was ranked as the 24th best attraction in the park out of 25 by the Time Out magazine.[15] A reviewer on Your USA City Guide described it as "far scarier than it seems."[16]

The Mickey's Fun Wheel had been ranked as the second best ferris wheel in the world by Fodor's in June 2017.[17] In December 2014, Paste magazine editor Garrett Martin ranked the ride as the sixth best attraction in the park.[18]


  1. ^ a b "Mickey's Fun Wheel". disneyland.disney.go.com. Archived from the original on January 18, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Mickey's Fun Wheel - Paradise Pier". allears.net. Archived from the original on June 19, 2010. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d Franko, Vanessa (June 21, 2018). "Pixar Pier preview: How the Pixar Pal-A-Round is different from Mickey's Fun Wheel at Disney California Adventure". Orange County Register. Archived from the original on April 15, 2019. Retrieved January 5, 2020.
  4. ^ "Yesterland: Sun Wheel". Yesterland.com. 2001. Archived from the original on January 2, 2020. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  5. ^ Owen, Rob (July 26, 2009). "Disney's California Adventure getting $1.1 billion makeover". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  6. ^ Sim, Nick (April 5, 2009). "Mickey's Fun Wheel to open in May at Disney's California Adventure". Theme Park Tourist. Archived from the original on May 25, 2019. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  7. ^ Brigante, Ricky (November 15, 2013). "World of Color – Winter Dreams all-new nighttime Disneyland show debuts featuring Frozen, Toy Story, holiday songs". insidethemagic.net. Archived from the original on December 7, 2019. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  8. ^ Morino, Doug (October 2, 2014). "Riders stranded for two hours on Ferris wheel at Disney California Adventure". Orange County Register. Archived from the original on January 2, 2020. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  9. ^ "Stuck Riders Removed From Ferris Wheel At Disneyland's California Adventure". CBS Los Angeles. October 2, 2014. Archived from the original on May 16, 2019. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  10. ^ Martín, Hugo (November 2, 2017). "Disney California Adventure is getting a Pixar makeover". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 3, 2018. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  11. ^ Fisher, Marla (January 7, 2018). "Say goodbye forever to these favorite Disney California Adventure rides". The Mercury News. Archived from the original on January 8, 2018. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  12. ^ Castillo, Jose (June 21, 2018). "Pixar Pier Officially Opens at Disney California Adventure on June 23rd, New Details". wdwnt.com. Archived from the original on January 2, 2020. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  13. ^ "Los Angeles landmarks, California Adventure Ferris wheel turn Rams blue for Super Bowl 53". abc7.com. February 3, 2019. Archived from the original on February 7, 2019. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  14. ^ Libbey, Dirk. "All Of Disneyland's California Adventure Rides, Ranked". CinemaBlend. Archived from the original on May 23, 2019. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  15. ^ Juliano, Michael (May 31, 2019). "The 25 best Disneyland rides". Time Out. Los Angeles. Archived from the original on September 9, 2018. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  16. ^ Steve (October 4, 2019). "Pixar Pal-A-Round Review – Disney California Adventure – Disneyland California". yourusacityguide.com. Retrieved January 8, 2020. Steve: 'Overall it is a ride that is far scarier than it seems.'
  17. ^ Laks, Zachary (June 6, 2017). "15 Best Ferris Wheels in the World". Fodors. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  18. ^ Martin, Garrett (December 1, 2014). "The 10 Best Attractions at Disney's California Adventure". Paste. Archived from the original on April 3, 2017. Retrieved January 8, 2020.

External links

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