Yesterland

Pizza Oom Mow Mow

“In Crust We Trust”
Pizza Oom Mow Mow at Disney's California Adventure

“At this wacky, beachcomber restaurant next to Reboundo Beach, they serve up great pizza—like the Big Kahuna Hawaiian, Awesome Pepperoni and Wipe Out Cheese—pasta, salad, beverages, and more…and good vibrations at no extra charge. Dude, it’s the ultimate!” That’s what the official website says about this surfer-themed eatery.

Not only can you eat surfer cuisine here, you can also practice speaking in surfer lingo—or at least in surfer clichés, Cowabunga, dude!

Pizza Oom Mow Mow at Disney's California Adventure

Pizza Oom Mow Mow

As you approach the restaurant, a sign on a blue boogie board invites you in: “Surf into Pizza Oom Mow Mow for an endless summer of party-wave pastas, sunny salads, and perfecto pizzas. In Crust We Trust.”

Pizza Oom Mow Mow at Disney's California Adventure

Left side of Pizza Oom Mow Mow

Before you enter the restaurant, take a look at the building. The sides don’t look at all like the middle. The left side looks like a beach cottage, complete with dormer windows. It appears that surfers have left their boards on the shake roof.

Pizza Oom Mow Mow at Disney's California Adventure

Right side of Pizza Oom Mow Mow

The right side looks like another cottage, only the roof of this one has a bicycle, a single water ski, several life preservers, and even a lifeguard tower, complete with an access ladder. A “modern” (in a 1960s sort of way) addition with a tall metal roof connects the two cottages.

Remember, you’re not really at the beach. You’re at a theme park. This restaurant was obviously designed with a clever backstory to provide a logical explanation for why the blue-roofed main structure is book-ended by two beach cottages.

There’s only one problem. Nobody knows the backstory. (Well, somebody must know it, but they haven’t shared it with guests.)

Actually, good backstories shouldn’t need to be explained explicitly. They should just make sense to any guest who keeps his or her eyes open. So, as you spend more time here, try to figure out the backstory.

Pizza Oom Mow Mow at Disney's California Adventure

Order stations and pick-up counter

You’re inside now. It’s a quick service restaurant where you place your order at an order station and then pick up you food at the counter.

Look all around. There’s a lot of beach culture stuff in here. This place is clearly some sort of surfer hangout.

Pizza Oom Mow Mow at Disney's California Adventure

Menu

Choose from five kinds of pizza, two pasta dishes, and three entrée salads. Add a side and a beverage, if you like. If you have kids, there are choices for them too. If you like beer (not for the kids), your only options are Bud and Bud Light. (Sorry about that.) Don’t forget to ask about their “totally tubular assortment of desserts.”

Pizza Oom Mow Mow at Disney's California Adventure

Pizza eater tiki head

The islands of Hawai‘i were the birthplace of surfing, so it’s fitting for Pizza Oom Mow Mow to pay homage to the Aloha State. A tiki wearing an aloha shirt and eating pizza watches you as you study the menu boards.

There is a similar tiki head at the peak of the roof above the main entrance outside. Also, two large standing tikis (one a kane and the other a wahine) guard the exterior. Perhaps they should have called this place Walt Disney’s Enchanted Pizza Room. On second thought, that’s a bad idea. Walt Disney was not a surfer.

Pizza Oom Mow Mow at Disney's California Adventure

Surfboard wall

Take your food to a table. Look at all those surfboards. What’s the story here? Is this wall a place for surfers to safely stow their boards while they polish off a pizza? Or is this a surfboard shop that now also sells pizza and other foods?

Pizza Oom Mow Mow at Disney's California Adventure

Woodie on a garage door

There’s an airbrushed Woodie mural in this dining room. Not Woody and Buzz. Just Woodie.

A Woodie is a vintage station wagon with wood panel sides. Woodies were popular with surfers in the 1960s because they could put their surfboards in them. The old vehicles were easier on the surfers’ wallets than new station wagons. And they looked much cooler.

The Woodie mural is on a garage door. Hey, the whole wall is an exterior garage wall. This supports the story that cottages were built as residences and the blue-roofed central part was added later.

Pizza Oom Mow Mow at Disney's California Adventure

More airbrush art

The airbrush artist didn’t stop with the garage door. A muscular surfer wearing green baggies is shooting the curl. His flowing red hair mimics the flaming red sun. Okay, it’s not a Rembrandt, but it goes with the story here.

Pizza Oom Mow Mow at Disney's California Adventure

Shark

Presumably the shark hanging from the ceiling is part of the backstory. Let’s hope that the story doesn’t involve a shark eating a surfer.

Pizza Oom Mow Mow at Disney's California Adventure

Outdoor seating

You may want to eat outside under the blue sky with two large tikis watching you. Catch some rays. This patio is most excellent.

Pizza Oom Mow Mow at Disney's California Adventure

At night.

With no official, published backstory, it’s time to make one up based on what we’ve seen.

There were two cottages at the edge of a beach in Southern California. They had been built in the 1920s by families from Pasadena as summer weekend homes. By the 1960s, the cottages were owned by a surfer who operated a surf shop in one cottage and lived in the other. His friends and their friends liked to hang out at the surf shop, and it developed into an informal club. Because they liked to keep an eye on the waves, they made a deal with the local lifeguards. They would relocate a surplus lifeguard tower to the roof of one of the cottages. In return, they would also keep an eye out for anyone in trouble in the water when the lifeguards weren’t around.

One day, the owner of the surf shop made some pizza for his friends. They loved it and wanted to be able to buy it whenever they were hungry (which was all the time). So he started selling it. He recruited his friends to work there. As the word got out, it became a thriving business. Motorists would pull off Pacific Coast Highway to enjoy the surfer chow and memorabilia. The cottages were way too small for all the diners, so the owner and his friends connected the two cottages into one large restaurant. Their favorite song at the time was the Beach Boys’ 1965 version of “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow,” so they named the restaurant Pizza Oom Mow Mow.

Until an official backstory is published, that will have to do.


Pizza Oom Mow Mow was one of the original restaurants of Disney’s California Adventure when the park opened in February 2001.

Pizza Oom Mow Mow at Disney's California Adventure

Construction of Pizza Oom Mow Mow (1999 photo)

Pizza Oom Mow Mow was located near the Orange Stinger in a corner of Paradise Pier that was supposed to represent Route 66 in California. With an assortment of mismatched rides, shops, and restaurants that failed to evoke a real place and time, and with a walkway that didn’t look like a road, this Route 66 didn’t feel at all like a stretch of the famous highway that once ran from Chicago to Santa Monica. It didn’t look like a classic amusement pier either. Rather, it looked like a hodgepodge—because that’s what it was.

Pizza Oom Mow Mow at Disney's California Adventure

Drawings of new façade for former Pizza Oom Mow Mow, displayed in Blue Sky Cellar (2010 photo)

Pizza Oom Mow Mow closed permanently on September 6, 2010. The closure of the surfer-themed eatery was part of the larger project to transform Paradise Pier from a hodgepodge into a charming seaside amusement park of the early 20th century, with a cohesive style and plenty of Disney characters. The structure of the building and its kitchen are being reused for Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta.


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© 2011 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated May 20, 2011.

Photo of Pizza Oom Mow Mow sign: 2002 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Pizza Oom Mow Mow with hotel in background: 2001 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Pizza Oom Mow Mow cottage with dormers: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Pizza Oom Mow Mow cottage with tower: 2002 by Kevin Yee.
Photo of Pizza Oom Mow Mow order stations: 2008 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Pizza Oom Mow Mow menu board: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Pizza Oom Mow Mow pizza-eating tiki: 2009 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Pizza Oom Mow Mow surfboards: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Pizza Oom Mow Mow dining room with Woodie mural: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Pizza Oom Mow Mow airbrushed surfer mural: 2010 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Pizza Oom Mow Mow shark hanging from ceiling: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Pizza Oom Mow Mow outdoor dining patio: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Pizza Oom Mow Mow at night: 2009 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Pizza Oom Mow Mow construction: 1999 by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore.
Photo of Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta artwork in Blue Sky Cellar: 2010 by Werner Weiss.