The best movies are made up of scenes that are perfectly placed together to make for an excellent final product. Most movies stumble and have at least a few scenes that just don’t live up to the rest though. The same is true with theme parks. All theme parks are made up of sub-sections, generally called lands. Since you’re reading a theme parks blog then I’m guessing you probably already knew that. Many of these lands are spectacular, some are far from it. In our new series, we’re going to take individual lands one post at a time and answer some questions about them.
While this isn’t quite the deep dive into lands that we’ve done before, I’ll provide the bare bones information about the land as well as my overall opinion. We’ll also use these posts to talk about theme both throughout the area and within the park. Throughout the series, all of the posts will use close to the same questions. Let us know in the comments if there are questions that we should add!
After starting this series in DisneySea’s amazing Mysterious Island, today we’ll move to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the fairly new Toy Story Land.
What is your (short-ish) review of Toy Story Land?
Toy Story Land has some decent optics, with a couple of above-average attractions and stellar food but it falls apart when looking a little bit closer. The details were overlooked and the land as a whole seems to be missing some very common sense ideas. If you come for the rides, things will be just fine! If you come for anything else then I think you’ll find disappointment.
What’s in the land?
Toy Story Land is moderately sized, thanks to a couple of large attractions, and fits in a decent amount. Here’s what’s inside:
- Slinky Dog Dash – The land’s most popular attraction, this family coaster takes guests on the back of Slinky and zips around the backyard. It’s a fun attraction (especially with two launches) for the family although not overly inspired.
- Toy Story Mania – This interactive attraction was in the park long before the land was. Guests take part in short games, somewhere between Wii and carnival games, and try to rack up points as the ride vehicle slings them around.
- Alien Swirling Saucers – This ride system, which is similar to The Scrambler at a local fair, seems to be Disney’s new preferred spinner ride. Alien Swirling Saucers (don’t use acronyms here) is like Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree on the West Coast but without any of the character.
- Woody’s Lunch Box – The land’s counter-service restaurant makes up for a lack of seating with some delicious grilled cheese sandwich options. A good place to go for food but it’s lacking in atmosphere.
- Green Army Men – The entertainment in the land comes in the form of Green Army Men either performing a boot camp or performing in a drum corp. This isn’t a scheduled performance generally but is easy to happen upon.
- Meet & Greets – Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie and Bo Peep all meet guests throughout the land, although the characters can change seasonally.
What is Toy Story Land’s backstory and theme?
Opening in 2018, the land’s theme and backstory is simple. Guests have been shrunk down to the size of toys and are in Andy’s backyard. There are many nods and homages to the historic movie franchise throughout the land that will likely get fans excited. Ultimately the land fails from a theme perspective due to both the idea and execution. As far as the latter goes, the area simply doesn’t feel like a backyard. There is very little greenery and the whole land feels paved. Just from a basic comfort standpoint, there is next to no shade in Toy Story Land which is problematic in the Florida heat. Simple issues like that persist and would have been easy to fit into the story.
The more philosophical question when it comes to Toy Story Land is whether the concept is a good idea. For as popular as the film franchise is, not many people are longing to go into a backyard. Many guests can do that without having to leave their own property. The best lands transport guests to somewhere whimsical and where they want to go. From that perspective, Toy Story Land’s backstory and theme never stood much chance no matter how many friendly characters and colors there were.
What is your favorite part of the land? What’s the most memorable aspect of it?
The most memorable aspect of the land is probably riding behind Slinky Dog’s head on the coaster. Riding on his back is somewhat transporting and it’s a good time. As for my favorite part of the land, I’m a pretty big fan of the BBQ Brisket Melt from Woody’s Lunch Box. It’s one of the best counter-service options in Hollywood Studios. I also enjoy beating people on Toy Story Mania!
Were there parts of Toy Story Land that you didn’t like?
Did I mention the lack of shade? If I was actually a toy, I’m pretty sure my plastic would melt during the summer months. There are other issues. Alien Swirling Saucers looks cheap and doesn’t add anything of substance to the land, although the park is desperately in need of smaller attractions like that. At the risk of making this a list, I also wish Woody’s Lunch Box had about twice as much seating. My biggest gripes have to do with the theme and story but those are the most practical frustrations with Toy Story Land.
How does the land coincide and transition with the rest of the park? Does it make the overall park better or worse?
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a mix of different franchises and lands so, in that way, Toy Story Land doesn’t stick out in a bad way. There’s some other Pixar around the park so the inclusion of Toy Story Land inside of a park that seems dedicated to movies(?) fits in. Where it does fall apart is in the transition from the land into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. There are a few reasons for this, most notably it’s that Toy Story Land looks cheap and toon-ish while Galaxy’s Edge looks anything but that. The contrast is startling and certainly doesn’t help Toy Story Land’s cause.
As far as making the park better, I think Toy Story Land mostly succeeds. I’m sure you can tell that I’m not a big fan of the whole concept but it’s hard to overlook the three attractions and counter-service restaurant TSL brings to the table. Those are things that Hollywood Studios desperately needs. While I think a different land or a more well executed Toy Story Land would be better options, it’s hard to argue that the park would be better if Toy Story Land didn’t exist.
Where would you rank Toy Story Land in relation to the others in the park?
Well, let’s see here. Galaxy’s Edge is certainly superior and so is Sunset Boulevard. Unfortunately, Hollywood Studios really has some duds in Animation Courtyard and Grand Avenue. Toy Story Land is better than those. Overall, I think it’s in the middle of the pack. For now I’d place it 5th out of 7th, giving the edge to both Echo Lake and Hollywood Boulevard over Toy Story Land simply because I like the atmosphere and theme of those two areas more. Toy Story Land is a lot closer to third place than it is to last place though.
What do you think of Toy Story Land? Do you like our Land Exit Surveys? Would you add anything? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below. Interested in a trip to Walt Disney World? Check out our Planning Guide to help you along the way! If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Land Exit Survey