San Fransokyo Square from ‘Big Hero 6’ Coming to California Adventure in Summer 2023

Disney has announced that Pacific Wharf will become San Fransokyo Square from the Walt Disney Animation Studios film Big Hero 6. The newly reimagined land at Disney California Adventure will feature a place to meet Baymax as well as new spots to eat and shop.

In case you’re unfamiliar with it, Pacific Wharf is essentially the food court at Disney California Adventure. It’s currently home to Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill, Lucky Fortune Cookery, Pacific Wharf Cafe, Pacific Wharf Distribution Co, Rita’s Baja Blenders, and Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop.

Pacific Wharf is also home to the Boudin Bakery Tour, which some consider the best attraction in all of Disney California Adventure and my personal favorite place to eat! Somehow, the land also includes Wine Country Trattoria, Sonoma Terrace, Mendocino Terrace, and the Magic Key Terrace–even though they’re not actually part of the wharf itself.

In actuality, all of the Wine Country “stuff” is orphaned real estate. Pacific Wharf opened with Disney’s California Adventure back in 2001 and was a subland of the Golden State. That encompassed much of the park, including Grizzly Peak Recreation Area, Condor Flats, Bountiful Valley Farm, Golden Vine Winery, the Bay Area, and Pacific Wharf.

Of those lands, Condor Flats became Grizzly Peak Airfield and was absorbed into Grizzly Peak and Bountiful Valley Farm was replaced by Cars Land (and later part of Avengers Campus). The Bay Area kinda became part of Paradise Pier and Golden Vine Winery sorta became part of Pacific Wharf. “How” is a good question–the current DCA park map is a bit hazy when it comes to the boundaries of Pixar Pier, Pacific Wharf, and Paradise Garden Park.

In any case, the area most guests would naturally identify as Pacific Wharf is essentially a food court and does not have room to expand. It’s abutted by Cars Land on one side, the parade route on the other, and the bridge to Pixar Pier on the other. The winery area is really it’s own thing, and probably not part of this.

Later in Summer 2023, you will be able to step into the new San Fransokyo Square and discover new offerings inspired by Baymax and friends from Big Hero 6. Walt Disney Imagineering has shared new concept art and the backstory behind San Fransokyo Square and some of the fun that awaits at Disney California Adventure…

San Fransokyo Square will transport you to the not-too-distant future, in a fictional mash-up of two iconic cities: San Francisco and Tokyo.

As the tech industry began to emerge and the local fishing trade fell on hard times, entrepreneurs came together to reinvent the seaside canneries into a vibrant, multicultural district of neighborhood restaurants and small businesses where you’ll be able to eat and shop.

An iconic landmark of the area will be the San Fransokyo Gate Bridge, which will span the tide pools linking San Fransokyo Square to the Paradise Gardens Park obelisk.

Once you cross the bridge into San Fransokyo Square, you’ll catch a view of the floating wind turbine atop an old fishing net tannery, powering the district from high in the sky. Clues to the area’s storied and charming past can be found in the details throughout San Fransokyo Square.

Outside a converted warehouse at the south end of San Fransokyo, you may have the opportunity to encounter Baymax, as part of an all-new meet & greet.

Today, Pacific Wharf is home to eateries featuring sourdough bread, ice cream sundaes, delicious Mexican fare, Asian dishes and more. You’ll still be able to enjoy all your favorite Pacific Wharf dining locations during this transformation.

When the transformation to San Fransokyo Square is completed this summer, you’ll find familiar favorites like soups in freshly baked bread bowls, as well as many new Asian-inspired selections.

The new Port of San Fransokyo Cervecería draws inspiration from its tri-cultural influences with signage in English, Japanese, and Spanish. Outside will be a fun and inviting beer garden decorated with festoon lights and papel picado.

The San Fransokyo Square Public Works Department is hard at work on this transformation. To the best of my recollection, Imagineering started construction at the end of last month, right around the time when the Disney100 celebration kicked off. We’ve seen ‘progress’ in the last few weeks, but I’ve neglected to take any photos because I’m bad at my job. (I’ll try to remedy that this week.)

Aside from the bridge and meet & greet space, construction transforming Pacific Wharf into San Fransokyo Square should be minimally intrusive. For those unfamiliar with Pacific Wharf, it looks substantially-similar to what the concept art depicts. It’s a lot of new window-dressing that’ll give fresh personality to the area.

This was announced back at the D23 Expo last year, and I didn’t realize until today that I never gave this news “proper” commentary. Our post from then was only ~200 words, which is basically a tweet by my verbose standards. I’m sure it’ll shock all of you, but I actually have a lot of thoughts about this.

And unlike my reaction to the Pixar Pier reimagining, my initial reaction here is actually positive! To start with, Pacific Wharf isn’t losing anything that makes it special: bread pudding, bread bowls, other assorted breads, and the delicious QuesaBirria.

I don’t think it needs to be said, but this is not going to materially change Pacific Wharf. So my “positive” reaction is also a measured one. I’m not expecting San Fransokyo Square to be a game changer or something around which anyone will plan trips. It’s a minor plussing, at best.

With that said, Pacific Wharf is nothing special from a thematic perspective. This is essentially the crux of why I believe that San Fransokyo Square will be an incremental upgrade. Any changes to this area will likely be enhancements.

The difference between the San Fransokyo Square reimagining of Pacific Wharf and the Pixar Pier reimagining is that Paradise Pier had grown into something unique and special, and had potential to be further improved.

Imagineering could’ve gone all-in on the Victorian boardwalk style or borrowed from any one of the real-world piers in California while adding Toy Story motifs. That could have been a nice enhancement–the blueprint for it was literally right there with previously-made improvements to Paradise Pier and Toyville Trolley Park at Tokyo DisneySea.

Instead, they opted to turn Pixar Pier into a mishmash of stories and a hodgepodge of visual styles that are incongruous and at odds with one another. It turned into an expensive vanity project that brought very little of substance and value to the table. There were nuggets of good ideas there, but it suffered from competing visions, too many cooks in the kitchen, or something.

And again, it wasn’t cheap. Unlike so many things that can be blamed on leadership or “bean counters,” Pixar Pier was a creative failure, through and through.


We doubt this will be a Pixar Pier situation where the end result is a lateral move–or worse. For one thing, Pacific Wharf has essentially maxed out its potential as an original “California” land. Improvements were made to it during and after the Disney California Adventure overhaul, but it’s still basically just a food court.

And it will still, basically, be a food court after this transformation. If the concept art is any indication, the strengths of Pacific Wharf are not being messed with or undone; what’s being added is design details and Disney intellectual property that can give the area a bit more personality and design depth.

The layered backstory approach doesn’t always work–and is honestly played out–but it makes complete sense here. An area like San Fransokyo Square is precisely where you’d expect to see repurposed restaurants and other venues. Beyond that, narrowing the focus to only one Disney IP will likely make the end result more cohesive.

Ultimately, there’s where I stand with turning Pacific Wharf into the Big Hero 6 “land” of San Fransokyo Square. I don’t really care that much, but I do disagree with the consensus among Disneyland fans, which seems to be that this is laughably insufficient. In my view, not everything needs to be a blockbuster addition or reimagining.

To be clear, I do not think San Fransokyo Square is going to be some epic transformation that is huge to the future of the park, but light plussings can be important, too. This should be better than going from Paradise Pier to Pixar Pier but not quite as much of an improvement as reimagining Condor Flats into Grizzly Peak Airfield.

Personally, I think Disney California Adventure could use more placemaking like this–and I also don’t mind melding the “California” theme with one featuring Disney characters. It worked well with Cars Land, could be a nice little enhancement here, and the same could probably be true for Hollywood Land and other areas of the park.

On that note, I think we can all agree that it’s beyond time to turn Grizzly Peak into the de facto California Country Bearland. What would be more majestic and awe-inspiring than the beauty and grandeur of Yosemite National Park and that iconic Bear Band?! Now that is what would get the people to book trips to Disneyland!

Planning a Southern California vacation? For park admission deals, read Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets. Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and tons of other places!

Your Thoughts

What do you think of the news that Pacific Wharf will be reimagined as San Fransokyo Square from Big Hero 6? Hoping that Grizzly Peak becomes California Country Bearland? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

15 Responses to “San Fransokyo Square from ‘Big Hero 6’ Coming to California Adventure in Summer 2023”
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