Disney Opens First-Ever Brewery

Jul 02, 2019

Disneyland Opens First-Ever Brewery

Recognized as the first-ever brewery in Downtown Disney, Ballast Point Anaheim offers something unique--special beers actually produced on-site for Disneyland. In keeping with Disneyland’s philosophy, the atmosphere is family-friendly, yet guests over 21, who visit this nautical-themed location, can enjoy a variety of tap beer options, including some limited-edition brews made just for Disneyland.   

The 4,000-square foot glass-enclosed bar and restaurant, designed by RIM Architects in Tustin, also includes an adjacent 2,500-square foot outdoor beer garden, a dining room, and a kitchen.  With seating for 220, the seafaring venue offers views of the Downtown Disney promenade below. Its interior spaces mimic the hull of a ship with sailing references that include wooden interior ribbing, boat tie downs, sea life murals, and suggestions of ocean waves. 

We spoke with RIM’s Managing Principal Dana Charles Aiken and Project Manager Louie Garcia to learn more about the design and construction of this popular, newly opened brewery restaurant. 

Can You Describe the Initial Design Process?

Since RIM’s Tustin office specializes in entertainment, hospitality, and themed-environment projects, our team was delighted to help design and manage the delivery of this project. From the beginning through final construction, the project required close coordination with Disneyland; Ballast Point Brewing Company, the owner; R Douglas Construction, the contractor; and the rest of the design team. We began with a series of renderings to illustrate the overall feel and design direction, gradually refining these drawings with input from the team. (See renderings of dining room and bar below.)

To pay homage to the building's previous tenant, a Pirate Bear sits in the rafters. The prior tenant, Build-A-Bear Workshop, was a guest-favorite destination, and we wanted to honor their legacy at Downtown Disney by leaving a part of them behind.

How Did the Construction Process Differ?

To minimize guest inconvenience at this busy entertainment complex, construction work was scheduled during off-hours whenever possible. The complexity of the project resulted in building a new brewery in an environment that operates 24 hours of the day. The Downtown Disney district is open from 6am – 2am daily and is the main passage way for guests staying at the Disney hotel properties. The construction process was especially challenging in that one of the hotels, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, is located directly across from the brewery, with hotel rooms facing the site. Therefore, typical construction methods were revised to minimize sound from the construction site.

How Does the Team Feel About the Completed Project?

We are quite proud of our work and the look and feel of the space. In fact, shortly after the brewery's official opening, our entire office enjoyed lunch there and visited the brewery from another perspective, that of a patron. It's a fun atmosphere, casual, yet chic at the same time and suitable for a variety of individuals ranging from beer lovers to Disney park attendees and families of all ages. Our Tustin office always enjoys working with Disney and the opportunity to bring their fresh concepts to reality.