It’s the moment all Disney fans — especially Toy Story fans — have been waiting for. Toy Story Land is officially open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Since I started at the News-Gazette back in February, I’ve written a handful of formal articles about the happenings at Walt Disney World. But the Toy Story movies have always been near and dear to my heart — so we’re taking an informal route today, as I bring you my firsthand experience at Toy Story Land.
The new, 11-acre land is located in the back of the theme park, just to the right of the old Pixar Place. A (very) tall Woody figure stands right at the entrance to greet you, voicing many of his familiar lines from the movies.
Once you pass Woody, you enter Andy’s backyard. And let me first say that it’s everything my childhood could’ve ever wished for.
Walking into Andy’s backyard is a surreal experience for any true Pixar fan. You truly shrink down to the size of a toy, as everything around you is scaled to be gigantic. Disney paid extreme attention to detail while designing the scale, and included special details throughout, such as Andy’s (giant) footprints along the walkways.
Every bit of Toy Story Land — even the trash cans — is so bright and colorful, and brings the movies to life in an extraordinary way.
A Look Inside
The addition has brought two new rides to Hollywood Studios: Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers.
Now, I’m not much of a coaster girl, so I opted out of Slinky Dog Dash. But I only heard positive feedback from those who did ride. The most popular review I heard all day was that the coaster travels much faster than expected. It twists and turns, and, even though it’s fast, it provides a very smooth ride and is great for both kids and adults. Riders must be 38 inches tall.
The ending brings a big surprise, as Wheezy stars in a performance of the classic Toy Story hit, “You’ve Got A Friend In Me.”
The waiting queue for Slinky Dog Dash is really something to see, whether you choose to brave the coaster or not. There are so many unique and unexpected details from the movies within your wait time. For example, you can see giant displays of board games (like Yahtzee), a structure of Rex’s box, price tags from Al’s Toy Barn and much more.
The queue for Alien Swirling Saucers is similar to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at Magic Kingdom. A statue of Buzz Lightyear greets guests at the front of this ride, also voicing some of his own familiar lines from the movies.
The scene of the ride is set inside of a play set that Andy won at Pizza Planet. The aliens have powered up their flying saucers and are ready to take you for a spin, as they swing back and forth with each turn.
I rode Alien Swirling Saucers at night, which only made the ride more fun. The night ride lights up with multi-colored spotlights to go along with the interstellar soundtrack.
There’s not much to compare this ride to at Walt Disney World. However, I did hear some other media persons say it’s quite similar to the Cars ride at Disneyland California. Riders must be 32 inches tall.
Toy Story Mania, a 3D shooting game that recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, remains open.
Woody’s Lunch Box is the place to eat at Toy Story Land.
The walk-up, quick-service window features American cuisine; although, you won’t find your standard Disney chicken nuggets or hamburgers here. Woody’s Lunch Box offers a menu full of “lunch box” themed specialties, including sandwiches and snacks.
You can even grab a specialty beverage, like the Mystic Portal Punch or an ice cream float in a souvenir Alien sipper. And for the adults, beer and Grown-Up’s Lemonade.
Though Woody’s Lunch Box was not open during the media preview event, I definitely plan to try it out during my next trip to the park. The grilled three-cheese sandwich is definitely calling my name, and so is a souvenir alien sipper.
Woody’s Lunch Box is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Outdoor seating is available.
There might not be any indoor stores in Toy Story Land, but there are several outdoor booths for you to buy all of your favorite Toy Story merchandise and Toy Story Land memorabilia.
You can find miniature figures of Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers; apparel, such as T-shirts, tank tops and baseball caps; and, of course, accessories like the Slinky Dog and Alien headbands. I personally couldn’t leave without purchasing a little Alien plush.
You can’t leave Toy Story Land without meeting the stars of Toy Story, themselves; Buzz Lightyear, Sheriff Woody and Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl are available for photos and autographs in designated meet-and-greet areas throughout the day.
You might even catch Sarge and the Green Army Drum Corps, offering live interactive entertainment.
Admission to Toy Story Land is included in general theme park admission, including annual passes, park hoppers, one-day tickets and more.
For more information on Toy Story Land, visit https://disneyworld.disney.go.com and search “Toy Story Land,” or visit https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/hollywood-studios/toy-story-land/.