Toy Story Land opened in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the summer of 2018. Disney World’s newest land features 3 attractions (including the pre-existing Toy Story Mania), a counter-service restaurant and a couple of areas for meet & greets and entertainment. Opening Toy Story Land was an unofficial start to sweeping changes coming to the Studios. This post will cover our thoughts on each of the land’s offerings and a review of the land as a whole.
I won’t bury the lede, Toy Story Land is a mixed bag. My expectations were admittedly low going in and for the most part met. We’ll start with the positives before getting to the downsides.
Where Toy Story Land easily succeeds is the attraction lineup. Including Toy Story Mania, the land has three attractions that are all worth doing. While I don’t love Toy Story Mania as much as some, it is a very fun attraction for both kids and adults. It blends in seamlessly with the new land, both in terms of the facade and how the ride fits with the land’s story.
Alien Swirling Saucers is the type of attraction Disney World sans Magic Kingdom needs more of. Using the same ride system as Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, guests ride behind the little green aliens and zip around the track. It’s simple but a good amount of fun. Currently, the attraction has longer wait times than it’s worth but if you can find a manageable wait during the day then this attraction is a blast, terrible initials aside.
Moving on to the headliner of the new attractions – Slinky Dog Dash. This roller coaster runs almost the entire length of the land and the aesthetic works surprisingly well. Likewise, the ride is enjoyable. For being a coaster meant more for kids than adults, Slinky Dog Dash moves pretty fast and is very fun. As we’ve stated in our FastPass Guide, Slinky Dog Dash should be the highest priority and I would expect the wait times to be high for the next few years.
Another Toy Story Land positive is the counter-service restaurant, Woody’s Lunch Box. We will have a review of the restaurant before long but the food was delicious and easily becomes the best counter-service restaurant at Hollywood Studios.
Unfortunately, Woody’s Lunch Box is also where the problems begin. A new land plus good food means that the crowds for the quick-service spot will be crazy. There is not nearly enough seating around the restaurant or elsewhere in the land to cover this. It’s a big problem and leads to a logjam in seemingly random spots. There was plenty of space allocated for queues and meet & greets but for some reason this was left behind. Woody’s Lunch Box is located in the center of this new land so there isn’t a chance to expand the seating area.
Couple the lack of seating with Toy Story Land being a dead-end for the next year (before Star Wars – Galaxy’s Edge) and the walkways are extremely crowded at all times of the day. Even when the wait times are fairly low, which isn’t very often, the land feels crowded. Those crowded walkways take away from the little theming that Toy Story Land has.
The thought behind this new land was that guests were entering Andy’s backyard as the size of toys. At least, that’s what the idea was. If we’re taking this literally then the scale is pretty strange. Either guests are very small toys or the gang from Toy Story has been supersized. That is picking at nits and is probably the least of problems.
We’ll get to the problems with the concept of this land shortly but before we do, there are problems with the execution. There’s not much way around this, half of Toy Story Land in no way resembles a backyard. The concrete path going through the land and lack of grass, or anything that resembles grass, doesn’t give the land a sense of place.
It’s not all bad. Slinky Dog Dash saves a good portion of the land by stretching across half of it. The coaster’s track is a convincing ‘toy’ as are the decorations around it. Greenery surrounds over sized Rex, other gigantic toys and games. Slinky Dog Dash (and Alien Swirling Saucers) has an interesting queue full of fun visuals. The only downside here is that the sight lines aren’t great here, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is easily spotted. As you walk into the land, Slinky Dog Dash is on the right of the path along with Alien Swirling Saucers near the end of the land. I enjoy that right side of the land and think it’s convincing and inviting enough. The main path and left of it is disappointing – crowded and largely concrete.
More than anything, Toy Story Land suffers from a poor concept. Immersive lands can come in all shapes and sizes but to be inviting they generally need to be based on a place of interest. While a backyard can be pleasant, it’s not exactly adventurous or exciting. Disney knows this and that’s why the theme isn’t executed strongly, instead this looks like a well done amusement park area.
Overall, Toy Story Land added a couple of needed rides to a park void of them. Not only that, but the attractions are fun and well done. They aren’t E-ticket attractions but will be Hollywood Studios mainstays for years to come. Unfortunately, the theme of the land doesn’t match the quality of attractions. While the aesthetic of Slinky Dog Dash is visually pleasing, the rest of the land is fairly ugly and not immersive. While inside of Toy Story Land I was left wondering what could have been. Slinky Dog Dash would have been a great harbinger to an extended Pixar land, with more Pixar based attractions taking the place of the ugly left side of Toy Story Land. Instead Hollywood Studios added an average land with some much-needed, kid-friendly attractions.
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