I am in love with Toy Story Land. I have always loved the story, characters and imagination behind the whole Toy Story franchise, so when I heard it was getting its own land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios I was very excited to see what the Imagineers would do with it. And I must say, not only was I not disappointed, I was really blown away by the details! Here are 10 things you should know about Toy Story Land for your visit.
10. The Drinks & Snacks
Even if you are not visiting Toy Story Land during a meal time, you should plan to stop by Woody’s Lunch Box (which is adorable—notice the shape of the animal crackers compared to the prizes in Toy Story Mania). Here you will find some really delicious and fun snacks and drinks. My top recommendation is the Mystic Portal Punch (Powerade Mountain Berry Blast with lemon-lime and tangerine) to go with the Raspberry Lunch Box Tart (raspberry marmalade stuffed pastry coated in strawberry fondant). Both are fairly light & fruity. I found the Mystic Portal Punch to be very refreshing. If you are in the market for an adult beverage try the Grown-Ups’ Lemonade Cocktail (Three Olives cherry vodka, lemonade and black cherry puree). And if Raspberry is not your thing the Chocolate-Hazelnut Lunchbox tart is a sweet & rich alternative (chocolate-hazelnut stuffed pastry coated in maple fondant with candied bacon).
9. The Yard
The whole premise of Toy Story Land is that Andy went to his backyard and set up these elaborate “toys” and play sets with his imagination. The Imagineers did an excellent job with the details to really make it seem like you’ve been shrunk down to the size of a toy when you enter. Notice the wooden fence along the perimeter that separates the land from other areas but gives you that sense of scale as a small toy. The horticulture department did a great job choosing plants that reinforce that sense of scale and replicate grass as you would find in a backyard. Look down on the paths as you walk through—they look like muddy patches in the yard and you will find Andy’s footprints walking through them. Those footprints are huge to make the scale convincing. Take a look around at the light poles and other details and what materials Andy used to make them like Popsicle sticks and straws—that Andy is one creative kid!
8. Green Army Men
One of the best things about Toy Story Land is the life that the Green Army Men bring to the area. You will see them throughout the day performing routines and interacting with guests. We had two memorable encounters with them this summer when we visited just a couple of weeks after the land opened. The first was running into one Green Army Man near the souvenir kiosk as we were buying a bucket of Army Men—after putting my 6 year old through a few paces he offered to autograph the bucket making it even more memorable. Then later that night as we were exiting one last ride on Toy Story Mania we noticed that there were some more life-like Green Army Men lining the exit path. Every now and then they would leave their statue-like posture to greet someone along the path, much to their surprise.
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7. Toy Story Mania Secrets
Are you a Toy Story Mania Ace? Or do you struggle and wish you could increase your score? Did you know that there are many secrets to the game to reveal “Easter Eggs” and extra point earning opportunities? Some require you to work in tandem with your riding partner to achieve. If you want to know more you can do a Google Search for “Toy Story Mania Secrets Walt Disney World” or “Toy Story Mania Strategy.” Here’s one tip for the Little Bo Peep Balloon scene. When playing with a partner notice the 5 Balloons at the top corners (they have a water effect when popped); each person should pop 4 of the 5. Then try to time the last one at exactly the same moment—if you do you will get 2000 point balloons raining down. If you just clear all 5 each you will get a rain down of 500 point balloons.
With the current tiers of FastPasses in Disney’s Hollywood Studios you get to choose 1 from the Toy Story Land attractions. And if you plan to ride Slinky Dog Dash, that should be your priority. Right now it is a hot commodity, so you have more luck if you are a guest of a Walt Disney World resort with the 60 day FastPass window for the entirety of your trip (starting with your arrival date). With this, if you can look toward the end of your trip for a Hollywood Studios day & choose FastPasses for that day first you may have more luck. If Slinky Dog Dash is unavailable it is sort of a toss up. The Toy Story Mania lines move faster now with 3 track options available, but it is a more popular ride than Alien Swirling Saucer (for good reason—it is much more fun & more involved that the Saucers).
5. Mobile Order!
Here’s a tip: mobile order anywhere and anytime you can! At Woody’s Lunch Box in Toy Story Land it is really important. You can go on to the My Disney Experience app and place your mobile order to skip what is usually a very long queue with limited space and registers—Woody’s Lunch Box is a very popular quick service eatery. You can quick order those snacks or drinks from #10, or your full meal. Your app will let you know when it is ready and then you can head over to the mobile pick up window to get your food. It saves precious time (& sometimes patience).
4. Visit in the Day Time & Night
Like all Disney Parks and Lands, Toy Story Land has a distinct appeal during the day and an entirely different character at night. So, if you can, I recommend visiting at both times. During the day you can take in all of the details with plenty of light. At night, the lighting in the area makes it magical. The Christmas Tree lights Andy has strung up around the yard have a playful glow, and the primary colors throughout the land show up well in the dim lighting. Then there are the lighting effects on the attractions—the moving lights along the track of Slinky Dog Dash make it even more fun whether you are observing or riding.
3. Vintage Details
The toy details all around Toy Story Land from the souvenir kiosks to the fixtures remind all of us of fun childhood memories. The vintage touches the Imagineers used hit home for many of us. I love how the height “stick” on Slinky Dog is a game piece; or the bathrooms spelled out with Scrabble pieces; the straws and Tinker Toys holding up Light fixtures; Rex’s box on Slinky Dog Dash with the Al’s Toy Barn price sticker; the Little People Vehicles as souvenir stands; Just so many perfectly scaled details to make the land work from a sense of nostalgia to reinforcing that we are Toy Size now.
2. Meet Woody, Jessie and Buzz
Toy Story Land is THE place to meet your favorite toy pals. One queue forms to meet Woody & Jessie together—take advantage of this opportunity. And another queue features Buzz. Our last meeting with Buzz was fantastic—he went into “Spanish” mode and swept my friend off her feet with a dance. Each spot has PhotoPass photographers to capture the moments.
1. Pro Tip: Best times to ride Slinky Dog Dash
If you are not able to get a FastPass for Slinky Dog Dash you may be discouraged by the length of the lines. Here are my tips. First (best) option is to get to the park well ahead of the advertised opening time so you are at the head of the pack for “rope drop.” Walk with purpose (following the Cast Members) straight to Toy Story Land and get queued up for Slinky Dog Dash. Normally they are keeping Slinky riders to the right so that you fall right into line (you don’t want to walk past it and have to back track to the back of the line). Another good option if you don’t have early risers is to go at the end of the night—either right as the park is closing (be sure to get in line before closing time), or while many people are waiting to watch the Star Wars fireworks. The lines can be a little lower during this time.
What are your favorite things about Toy Story Land?