The 11-acre Toy Story Land is the first new land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in more than 20 years, and it officially opened to the public on June 30th!
The idea behind Toy Story Land is that you’ve shrunk to the size of a toy and placed in Andy’s backyard. Throughout the land are giant replicas of Woody and his friends. Fences and light poles are built as if made of K’Nex pieces topped with Tinker Toys. Game pieces from Candyland make up height requirement poles. My favorites were the benches that look like they’re made from popsicle sticks.
The new land offers three rides, several character meet-and-greets opportunities, and a quick-service restaurant. Contrary to Disney custom, there is no gift store, but plenty of Toy Story merchandise (headbands inspired by aliens and Slinky Dog toys, fashion accessories, and T-shirts) is available at two souvenir carts. The carts are nicely themed, especially the one looking like the Fisher Price Play Family Camper.
Slinky Dog Dash is a long, outdoor roller coaster that looks like Andy built it out of Tinker Toys. Themed to Toy Story’s Slinky Dog, the ride has lots of turns, dips and hills but no loops or high-speed curves. While it’s not as forceful as Disney’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the roller coaster is more intense than the Seven Dwarfs Mine train. Thankfully, it’s not as rickety-rackety as the Barnstormer! Slinky Dog Dash has a 38″ height requirement. The queueing area of the ride is nicely themed, but, unfortunately, it’s completely outdoors with no shade from the sun.
Alien Swirling Saucers gets its theme from the movie’s vending machine aliens and their obsession with “the Claw.” The ride experience is milder than the Magic Kingdom’s Mad Tea Party, but if you’re prone to motion sickness you might reconsider riding. The ride has a 32″ height requirement and is a good alternative for kids too young to ride Slinky Dog Dash.
Toy Story Mania! is an interactive shooting gallery much like Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, but in Toy Story Mania! your vehicle passes through a totally virtual midway, with booths offering such games as ring toss and ball throw. Each game booth is manned by a Toy Story character who is right beside you in 3-D glory, cheering you on. The ride opened with two tracks in 2008 and received a third track in May of 2016. It’s now incorporated in the new land. The ride is extremely popular and much fun for the entire family. There is no height requirement.
FastPass+ and how to make it work
Disney’s Hollywood Studios uses a tiering system to restrict the number of FastPass+ reservations you can have at its headliner attractions. All three Toy Story Land rides offer Fastpass+, but they’re all in the same FastPass+ tier, meaning 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 as possible. Guests who have purchased park tickets and are staying on Disney property can make Fastpass+ reservations 60 days prior to the day of their visit. Annual passholders and guests with a valid park ticket staying off property can start reservations 30 days out.
As with all new attractions, Fastpass+ will be hard to come by and practically impossible to get if you come unprepared. So, when the park opens, make a beeline for the new land, and then ride any ride you can for which you do not have a Fastpass+. Wait times, especially at the two new rides, will, for a long time, run to infinity and beyond! If you’re staying off property, beware of early morning hours for Disney resort guests, as they will have access to the park one hour prior to official opening time. Above is a sample of a Fastpass+ reservation for the Tier 1 Slinky Dog Dash ride and two popular Tier 2 rides.
Woody, Buzz and Jessie greet guests throughout Toy Story Land on a daily basis. These character meet-and-greets also draw lines, but they will be nothing compared to the rides. Sarge and the Green Army Man Drum Corps proudly march through the land several times daily. As they’ve done in the past, they play “Sarge Says” and are on the lookout for willing cadets for their interactive boot camp. Are you ready to become an official recruit in Andy’s Backyard?
Food and drink
Woody’s Lunch Box is a walk-up, quick-service eatery that serves Toy Story-themed specialties, such as S’more French toast breakfast sandwiches, Totchos (a bowl of potato barrels/tater tots with brisket-country gravy and scrambled eggs), fruit tarts, and soda floats.
It’s themed around the idea that Andy has used his vintage Woody-themed lunch box and thermos to set up a quick-service window. A number of tables with umbrellas provide seating. If Totchos and fruit tarts with icing are not what you want for your child, healthier options are available elsewhere at the Studios. Kids, however, love this food. I recommend the Monte Cristo with raspberry jam.
Where to stay
If you want to keep the theme going and the budget under control, check out Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort (with nightly rates starting at $99/night), and ask for a room in the Toy Story section. If money is not an issue, consider Disney’s New England-style Yacht Club Resort (with rates starting at $401/night). The resort offers boat service to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and is only a short walk away from the park.
For a stay off Disney property, check out the Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Lake Buena Vista. The big draws here are the 405-square-foot rooms, each with a separate children’s area. The kids’ area sleeps two to four children in one or two sets of bunk beds. The separate adult area has its own TV, safe, hair dryer, and mini-kitchenette with fridge, microwave, sink, and coffeemaker. Rates start at $125 per night. Kids ages 12 and younger eat free at breakfast and dinner from a special menu at the on-site Applebee’s restaurant.
For more on Toy Story Land, visit its official page here.
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