The 11-acre Toy Story Land, themed to the Pixar film franchise, opened June 30th at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It is the first new land at The Studios in more than 20 years.
The idea is that you’ve been shrunk to the size of a toy and placed in Andy’s backyard. Toy Story Land’s attractions are designed to appeal to young children. That’s good; the park has needed more such rides for years.
The existing Toy Story Mania! joins the two new rides with an new entrance inside a land filled with giant replicas of Woody and his pals.
The big draw is Slinky Dog Dash, an outdoor roller coaster that stretches its coils all across Andy’s backyard. The ride is faster than the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, but thankfully less rough than The Barnstormer or Big Thunder Mountain.
The ride’s queue is very imaginative, but its entirety is in the open air! Add the slow loading capacity of the ride, and the lines are super long as soon as the park opens and stay that way all day.
Touring Tips: Try to ride at park opening, right before the park closes, or use FastPass+. Beware of the Florida sun when deciding to join the queue! Be prepared and bring lots of water when visiting during the hot summer months. At some point in the queue there is a water fountain, use it and refill your bottles.
Next up is the Alien Swirling Saucers ride, themed around Toy Story’s vending machine aliens and their obsession with The Claw. Eleven cars move whiplike in a figure-eight pattern around two circular tracks embedded in the ground. As far as the ride experience, it’s much milder than the Magic Kingdom’s Mad Tea Party.
Touring Tips: Here, too, expect long lines as soon as the park opens. Ride during the first or last hour the park is open. Use FastPass+ only if this ride is critical to your child’s happiness; if not, consider skipping Saucers if the wait exceeds 20 minutes.
Toy Story Mania! ushered in a new generation of Disney attraction: the “virtual dark ride.” Since Disneyland opened in 1955, ride vehicles have moved past 2-D and 3-D sets often populated by Audio-Animatronic figures. Now, for Toy Story Mania!, the elaborate sets and endearing characters are gone. Instead, imagine long, empty corridors covered with reflective material. There’s almost nothing there—until you put on your 3-D glasses. Instantly, the corridor is brimming with color and activity, thanks to projected computer-graphic (CG) images.
Conceptually, this is an interactive shooting gallery much like Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, but, in Toy Story Mania!, your ride vehicle passes through a totally virtual midway, with booths offering such games as ring tossing and ball throwing. You use a cannon on your vehicle to play as you move from booth to booth. Unlike the laser guns in Buzz Lightyear, though, the pull-string cannons in Toy Story Mania! take advantage of CG image technology to toss rings, shoot balls, and even throw eggs and pies. Each booth is manned by a Toy Story character, who is right beside you in 3-D glory, cheering you on. In addition to 3-D imagery, you experience vehicle motion, wind, and water spray.
Touring Tips: Because it’s a ton of fun, Toy Story Mania! is super popular. Even though the added third track allows for more guests to ride, Fastpass+ reservations will run out. Your best bet is to be one of the first through the turnstiles, then zoom to the attraction.
The new land has a quick-service eatery dubbed Woody’s Lunch Box, serving American fare and soda floats; it’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Look for a review of the eatery in a future post! Fun outdoor seating with umbrellas is available.
Sarge and the Green Army Man Drum Corps march through the land several times a day and invite guests to play “Sarge Says.” Sheriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl meet the visiting honorary toys.
There is no store, but plenty of Toy Story merchandise (headbands inspired by aliens and Slinky Dog toys, fashion accessories, and T-shirts) is available at two stands.
Like Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios uses tiering to restrict the number of FastPass+ reservations you can have at its headliner attractions; with the opening of Toy Story Land, it has become much more complicated. Right now, Alien Swirling Saucers, Slinky Dog Dash, and Toy Story Mania! are all Tier 1 attractions, while all other attractions have moved to the Tier 2 category. This means that you’ll be able to make an advance FastPass+ reservation for only one of them. Get a FastPass+ for whichever one you can, as early in the day as possible. When the park opens, head immediately for the other rides and try to ride them standby.
We expect that Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and the two new Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge attractions will also become Tier 1 when they come online at the end of 2019. At that point, the Toy Story Land rides may or may not move to the Tier 2 category.
Touring Tip: The Land also looks amazing at night, so make sure to return to ride Slinky Dog Dash or just to wander around and take in the sights.
If you enjoyed this post, sign up for our newsletter here. For all there is to see at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids by Bob Sehlinger and Liliane Opsomer.