Toy Story Land has been open at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios for a few weeks now, and we love everything we are seeing, learning, experiencing and reading about this fun new toy town! If you’ve already visited, you know what an exciting place it is, and if you’re still planning your visit, you’re in for a treat—and several really fun surprises! Here are 10 super awesome things about Toy Story Land that make it so special!!
10. The characters
One of the best things about Toy Story Land is that Woody, Jessie and Buzz all have a place where they can greet Guests, sign autographs and pose for pictures with their adoring fans. Before Toy Story Land opened, the only way to be sure to see Jessie was in a parade at Magic Kingdom. Guests could meet Woody and Buzz at PIXAR Place, but the queue was a bit crowded and the line was usually lengthy. Stop by and greet your favorite Toy Story pals near the new entrance to Toy Story Mania!
9. The attractions
There’s no denying the two new attractions at Toy Story Land—Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers—are smash hits! Who wouldn’t want to take a ride in Slinky’s coils around the coaster track Andy built? And it’s pretty amazing to ride in a crazy swirling spaceship with a Green Alien Man at the controls!
8. The “special” places to sit and take pictures
One of the best places to see some fun and creative props, benches and fun walls for those Instagram pics is along the exit to Toy Story Mania. When you exit the attraction, there is a pleasantly designed walkway that takes you through part of Andy’s backyard—apparently the part that doesn’t get tidied up too often because there are so many fun toys along the way. Sit down on a bench made from a wooden train track. Take a selfie or pose with your besties in front of the fence made from pastel-painted popsicle sticks. You’ll see green army men with a helicopter made from K’Nex building toys, and the spool of kite string from the old entrance to Toy Story Mania is along the path too!
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If you’re a PIXAR junkie, you are familiar with the term “A113.” A113 is a classroom at the California Institute of the Arts. Many of its alumni are PIXAR animators who learned in that very classroom. It carries so much value to the animators, that they have found a way to hide it in every single PIXAR film. In Toy Story, A113 is on the license plate of Andy’s mom’s minivan. It’s inscribed on the front of the underwater camera used by the scuba divers in Finding Nemo. It’s on a plaque on a wall in Up. So it makes sense that A113 is hidden in Toy Story Land. Near Woody’s Lunch Box, you’ll see alphabet blocks that show A, 1, 1, and 3. Or you can use the A on the block and the values of the three dominoes behind the block which—you guessed it—have values of 1, 1 and 3, respectively.
6. Hidden dates
There are some dates cleverly hidden in the new Toy Story Land that carry significance to Disney and PIXAR fans all the world over. If you look at the six dominoes standing up behind the PIXAR ball near the exit of Toy Story Mania, you will notice the first domino has a value of 2, the second has a value of 3, and the next four dominoes have values of 1, 9, 8 and 6, respectively. If you take those values and make them into a date, you’d get 2/3/1986, which is the day PIXAR was officially created. On the bar code of the Dash and Dodge Coaster Kit at the queue for Slinky Dog Dash, you will notice the numbers read 231986 (again the PIXAR inception date), followed by the numbers 1011971, which stands for October 1, 1971, the day Disney World opened. Pretty cool, huh?
5. Nods to characters from Toy Story and Toy Story 2.
If you’re familiar with PIXAR at all, you know that its animators like to “hide” things in their movies that are either remembrances of other PIXAR films or that hold significance to the animators themselves, such as dates, times, etc. PIXAR calls these things “Easter eggs.” (Makes sense—you have to look and search to find them sometimes.) And because Toy Story Land is a proverbial feast for the eyes, you may already be on visual overload, so we will reveal a few of those Easter eggs here.
When you head into the stand-by queue for Slinky Dog Dash, you will walk under a gold medal that has a digital readout for the wait time for the ride in minutes. This lets you know about how long you can expect to wait in line for the attraction. No big deal, right? But before you rush to the ride, take a moment to look at the back side of that medal. It has the words, “Buster 234 Main Street” printed on the back. That means it’s the dog tag that belongs to Andy’s pet Buster, which the family received on Christmas morning at the end of Toy Story.
Then when you stop in at Woody’s Lunch Box for a quick bite, you’ll notice some animal crackers inside the huge lunch box that Andy’s mom packed for him. Those animals happen to be Jessie’s critters from the Woody’s Round-Up Show that we see for the first time in Toy Story 2. (Those critters also make an appearance in Toy Story Mania.)
4. Pizza Planet makes an appearance!
Although we were hoping the restaurant inside Toy Story Land would be a resurrected version of Pizza Planet, Imagineers felt differently, and we love Woody’s Lunch Box! But Pizza Planet isn’t gone completely. There are nods to its memory in a couple of places at the Alien Swirling Saucers attraction. When you first enter the queue, you will notice two figures standing guard, each holding a round object very similar to a pizza. The same guards are at the entrance to Pizza Planet in the first Toy Story movie. You will also see artwork along the queue that resembles pizza toppings (mushrooms and the like). The triangle panels in the attraction are made to look like slices of pizza. Pizza Planet—we haven’t forgotten you!
3. The Green Army Men talk!
Before there was a Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we could still get our Toy Story fix at PIXAR Place, just past the Walt Disney Presents attraction. And you’ll probably remember the Green Army Men roaming about the area from time to time. And although they would interact at times with Guests, they never spoke. But at Toy Story Land, not only do they speak, but they pose for selfies with Guests, sign autographs (although there’s no official meet-and-greet), and they even perform in an Army Marching Band! I’d say the Army Men have finally come out of their shells!
2. Hidden Mickeys
It wouldn’t be a Disney World land without some hidden Mickeys here and there, and the Imagineers delivered. No spoilers here (they’re called “hidden” for a reason!), but we can tell you that there’s one inside Woody’s Lunch Box, one in the queue for Toy Story Mania, one in the queue for Alien Swirling Saucers and one in the drawing on the wall of the loading area for Slinky Dog Dash. How many can you find?
1. Every toy has a story.
Every Cast Member inside Toy Story Land is no longer referred to as a Cast Member. Rather, they are referred to as toys. And every one of them has a “toy story.” If you want to know what their stories are, simply walk up to a Cast Member—uh, toy—and ask, “What’s your toy story?” You will be impressed with the imaginations of these toys. Some of them are from Al’s Toys Barn. Others came from online companies. The stories are limitless! And so are the opportunities for fun at this amazing and fascinating new land!