It was over 100 degrees that warm Fall day at the Disneyland Resort. But that didn’t stop us from reliving our favorite summer memories in anticipation of the new school year over Lobster Nachos and frozen fruity drinks. It was one of my last few memories at the former Cove Bar, which was situated at Paradise Pier in Disney California Adventure Park. Shortly after, the resort began the imagineering process that realized the newly opened Pixar Pier. As part of the debut of the newly imagined land, Cove Bar was transformed into Lamplight Lounge. During our latest visit to the resort, we dined at the Pixar-inspired lounge, which features gastro-pub cuisine against the gorgeous backdrop of Paradise Bay.
Pixar Pier is the newest addition to Disney California Adventure Park and four Pixar-inspired neighborhoods, the new Incredicoaster ride, Pixar Pal-A-Round attractions, themed food, and Lamplight Lounge. Paradise Bay is the perfect backdrop for the new land, and walking through the new marquee feels like I’ve stepped into the worlds of my favorite Pixar films.
Lamplight Lounge is an immersive culinary experience unlike any other venue at the Disneyland Resort. Located on the bay, the venue offers indoor and outdoor seating with gorgeous waterfront views and an inventive gastro-pub menu and photo-worthy signature cocktails.
As a foodie, I found myself wanting to try every single dish on the menu. The culinary team developed new dishes for the venue including the following:
- Carne asada roll with roasted Fresno chili salsa
- Potato skins with brown butter-caper yogurt, smoked paprika aïoli, and Manchego cheese
- Spinach salad with warm wild mushrooms, soft poached egg, charred onion vinaigrette and shiitake “bacon” served with blue cheese toast
- Chicken sandwich with spicy chili glaze, vinegar slaw, and pineapple butter on a toasted Amish bun
- Creamy PB&J roll served with a flower pot of veggies with hummus and fresh fruit
Storytelling is at the heart of every experience at the Disneyland Resort, and when you dine at Lamplight Lounge, you will find yourself immersed in the creativity and personalities of the artists and storytellers who helped bring Pixar’s most loved films to life. Look for concept art, sketches on coasters, memorabilia, and collectible toys throughout the restaurant.
Seven Things You Didn’t Know About Pixar
- Pixar celebrates the early sketch artwork from beloved Pixar films guests can see that work in the décor throughout Lamplight Lounge. Guests who look “Up” will see a beautiful chandelier hanging from the ceiling at Lamplight Lounge. The chandelier features sketch artwork and film quotes from Pixar animated films including “Coco,” “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles” and more. The design features blank pages at the top, to represent one of the most difficult stages in the design process – starting with a blank slate – along with character artwork from artists in several Pixar departments.
- When a film is in production at Pixar, departments create and wear special t-shirts to celebrate the film. Guests will get a close-up look at a little-known Pixar tradition on the t-shirt wall at Lamplight Lounge. The t-shirts on display are examples of a celebrated accomplishment, humorous reference, inside joke, or even a department’s experience or influence on the film. The many t-shirts also show how many different departments come together to create a Pixar film.
- A conference room table at Pixar Animation Studios features die-cast toys created for the Disney•Pixar film “Cars,” an example of the artists’ playfulness. Many décor items at Lamplight Lounge are inspired by the creative interior design of Pixar Animation Studios’ campus. One is a dining table inside the restaurant that closely replicates the “Cars” table located in one of Pixar’s conference rooms.
- At Pixar, every toy has a story. Above the “Cars” dining table, guests will notice shelves of toys that have been pulled from the Pixar archives. Below the toy shelves are examples of design comments and notes exchanged between Pixar and its toy manufacturing partners to ensure that the final product is as accurate as possible. Each toy goes through many rounds of notes in various forms, including drawings, creative reviews and even video conferences.
- Like “Easter eggs” hidden in Pixar films, many nods to Pixar films and the studios’ culture can be found at Lamplight Lounge, including beverage names. When perusing the menu, guests will notice references to Pixar Animation Studios, its films and the filmmaking process. For example, guests may order the Park Ave. (alcoholic beverage), referencing the street name of the Pixar Animation Studios address in Emeryville, California, or the Goofball Island (non-alcoholic), named after one of Riley’s personality islands from the film, “Inside Out.”
- Each Pixar film requires a large amount of artwork, promotional materials and artifacts that are essential to the film’s research and development. Guests will also discover some film-related memorabilia along the Lamplight Lounge art wall, such as concept art, reference materials, props and physical renditions of artifacts from Pixar films, including “WALL•E,” “Toy Story” and “Ratatouille.” For instance, guests may see a pair of shoes attached to a flat board at the “Toy Story” section. During the making of “Toy Story,” one of the screenwriters attached a pair of his shoes to a board to help him figure out how the green army men, whose feet are attached to a base, would move.
- The talented teams at Pixar often share handwritten notes during the creation of a film, and some of those quotes are showcased at Lamplight Lounge. These notes appear in Lamplight Lounge as part of the tribute to Pixar storytellers. For example, in the sketch art chandelier and in the hallway leading to the restrooms, guests will find some iconic Pixar film quotes that were handwritten by Pixar employees. One that movie fans will find familiar: “WHERE. IS. MY. SUPER. SUIT?!” from “The Incredibles.”
Lamplight Lounge Potato Skins Recipe
When you dine at Lamplight Lounge, you must try the Potato Skins! These potato skins are served with a brown butter-caper yogurt, smoked paprika aïoli, and Manchego cheese. Today I am sharing the exclusive Lamplight Longe Recipe, courtesy of the Disneyland Resort!
- 8 cups cold water
- 9 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 shallots peeled
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 lemon halved
- 1 tbsp coarse salt
- 1 pound small gold potatoes approx. 12 small potatoes
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp Spanish paprika
- 1 tsp ground cayenne
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp capers drained
- 1 5.5 ounce Container plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 lemon zested and juiced
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 lemon juiced and zested
- 2 tsp chopped chives
- 1 clove garlic minced
- Canola oil for frying
- 1/4 cup capers drained
- Micro cilantro
Combine water, garlic, shallot, thyme, lemon, salt, and potatoes in stock pot
Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 12-15 minutes, until potatoes are tender
Drain potatoes and cool for 10 minutes
Combine cornstarch, paprika, and cayenne in a small bowl. Set aside.
Smash potatoes gently between two baking sheets until they are in slightly flattened circles
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Roll smashed potatoes in cornstarch mix and coat on all sides
Place on parchment lined baking pan and freeze for at least 2 hours
Heat butter in small skillet over medium heat until melted
Add drained capers and cook for 5 minutes
Remove capers from butter and cool for 15 minutes
Combine Greek yogurt, lemon zest and juice, and salt in a small bowl. Add reserved capers. Season with pepper, to taste.
Refrigerate until ready to serve
Combine mayonnaise, smoked paprika, lemon juice and zest, chives, and garlic in a small bowl
Refrigerate until ready to serve
Preheat oil in deep fryer to 350°F
Drain capers and fry for 3-5 minutes, until crispy. Drain on paper towels.
Remove potatoes from freezer and fry for 3 minutes, until crispy
Top potatoes with Manchego cheese, fried capers, and micro cilantro
Serve with caper yogurt and paprika aïoli
Visit Disneyland.com for Lamplight Lounge menus and Disneyland Dining reservations.