At the D23 Expo 2015 in Anaheim, Bob Chapek, Chairman of Parks and Resorts and Kathy Mangum, Portfolio Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, took to the stage to announce the beginning of the future for Disney’s Hollywood Studios with an 11 acre Toy Story Land. This land promised to immerse guests in the world of Toy Story by shrinking them down to the size of a toy and explore Andy’s backyard with Andy’s toys. Three years later, the land has finally opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and has fulfilled its promise and more!
Toy Story Land opened on June 30, 2018 and has brought a much needed addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Once guests step foot inside the land, they are greeted by Woody and are already feeling the immersion taking them into Andy’s backyard with the size and scale of Woody, the blocks spelling out Toy Story Land, and walking along the pavement the size of Andy’s shoe (which is a size 240!).
Walt Disney Imagineering paid close attention when designing the land to truly make guests shrink to the size of a toy. The only negative that I personally have against the theming and story telling is the issue of having the characters from Toy Story (Woody, Buzz, and Jessie) meeting and greeting guests while the similar toys that are in the area are twice the size! I believe Disney was faced with a challenge and knew they needed to have the characters out and about and found no way around it. Maybe this was a unique circumstance where the characters should not have been doing meet and greets in the land.
The land features two new attractions and of course the ever popular Toy Story Mania, which now receives a new entrance and queue inside the land! Alien Swirling Saucers brings guests aboard an alien spaceship and whips them around while listening to “space jazz” music all while avoiding THE CLAW! This attraction is an exact clone of the popular Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree from Cars Land in Disney California Adventure, however the overall theming is switched. Guests can be riding aboard their vehicles listening to an upbeat version of You’ve Got a Friend in Me, We Belong Together, and my personal favorite, When She Loved Me.
Slinky Dog Dash, is the signature attraction for Toy Story Land. This is a family-friendly coaster with two launches. The coaster is somewhat similar in intensity to that of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at the Magic Kingdom, however with much more attention to detail. When guests board their own Slinky Dog, they’ll hear Slinky talk to them telling them to “hang on to their springs and coils, cause this here coaster is the wildest ride in… Andy’s backyard.” Once you dispatch, you’ll hear the springs and coils of your Slinky as you launch off into the first part of the coaster. You’ll pass by Jessie and Rex on a Jenga set and zoom past other guests in the land.
The coaster then comes to a stop at the Dash & Dodge power booster which sends guests off in another launch. Once you reach the top of this launch hill, you’ll get an interesting bird’s eye view into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge! Through a series of mini camel humps, you’ll arrive then at the big finale where an animatronic version Wheezy the Penguin is singing You’ve Got a Friend in Me (a lot like Robert Goulet I must add). The coaster itself is so much fun and with its 38 inch height requirement most of the entire family can enjoy it.
Toy Story Land also offers Woody’s Lunch Box which features a unique menu that will pleasantly surprise park goers. From items such as a Brisket Melt (which is my personal favorite) to Totchos (Nachos with Tater Tots) their is something unique that everyone can try instead of the standard hot dogs, chicken nuggets, or hamburgers found at every quick service theme park restaurant.
My only negative comment on Toy Story Land as a whole (and seems to be the consensus from everyone that has experienced the land) is the lack of shade, especially during the summer heat of Central Florida. The only places guests can receive air conditioning inside Toy Story Land would be Toy Story Mania queue or the restrooms. Everything, including the queues for Toy Story Land’s attractions, is outside! I believe Disney has helped fixed this by adding covering with umbrellas throughout most of the land, however it still is not enough. I think Disney should invest in some fans with misters to help cool guests off like we’ve seen in many theme parks. Perhaps also having more water fountains could keep guests cool as well. Thankfully, the other future additions to Disney Hollywood Studios will be mostly indoors with the exception of the marketplaces of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (more than likely).
My suggestion is that if you plan to visit Toy Story Land in the summer months of Central Florida pack sunscreen and extra water bottles. Also, take that much needed afternoon break away from theme park to help you cool off. I see too many people nowadays (especially in the summer) trying to spend their entire time in the park and becoming exhausted and frustrated from the heat and needing a much required break.
Overall, Toy Story Land delivers its promise made by Chapek and Mangum at the D23 Expo three years ago, and will prove to be an important addition to Disney Hollywood Studios. This 11 acre land is just the beginning of the re-imagining of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The all new immersive ride Mickey Minnie’s Runaway Railway will open next year and the most immersive land in any theme park, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, will finally open late fall of 2019.
DISCLOSURE: Matt is a full-time Cast Member will the Walt Disney Company so any opinions expressed are that of him and not of the Walt Disney Company. For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on Instagram, Twitter and “like” our Facebook page, too.