At D23 Expo 2022, we announced to much fanfare that Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure park will turn into San Fransokyo from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Academy Award®-winning “Big Hero 6”!
Those of you who have recently been to the park may have seen that this exciting transformation has already begun. Later this summer, during the Disney100 celebration at Disneyland Resort, you will be able to step into the new area — named San Fransokyo Square — and discover new offerings inspired by Baymax and friends.
Today, we’re excited to tell you more about the Walt Disney Imagineering story behind San Fransokyo Square and some of the fun that awaits.
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, 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. 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. Be sure to stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more details, and we look forward to bringing San Fransokyo Square to life in Disney California Adventure park this summer!
Theme Park reservations and valid admission for the same Park on the same day are required for Park entry. Park reservations are limited, subject to availability and not guaranteed. Park admission and offerings are not guaranteed. Visit Disneyland.com/updates for important information to know before visiting the Disneyland Resort.
As a person from Japan, I would highly recommend that Disney hire a cultural consultant before planning any adaptation of Japan/Big Hero 6 at Disney California Adventure. It’s crucial to approach Japanese culture with sensitivity and respect, and a consultant can ensure that the adaptations are accurate and appropriate. Any consultant can point out that mixing up ビール and ビア (both mean beer) is inaccurate where ビール should be used. It also feels out of context to have just ビア or ビール on the signage. Similarly, using generic Japanese font for those can feel out of place for people who are familiar with Japan’s rich design culture.
Furthermore, the use of Torii-like structures in the adaptation can be concerning (in this case, Golden Gate Bridge), as they are sacred symbols in the Shinto religion. It’s important to approach such symbols with care and commitment to avoid cultural appropriation or disrespect. A cultural consultant can guide the team in ensuring that the adaptations are done correctly and with cultural sensitivity. In doing so, Disney can showcase the exciting world of Big Hero 6 to a global audience while also respecting Japanese traditions and culture.
We love Big Hero 6! Can’t wait to see the fun new changes and to meet Baymax! Hopefully the ramen and teriyaki stay and continue to be safe for nut allergies! That’s our sons favorite place to eat when we visit. Yum yum yum!
Pretty cool. I’m looking forward to this.