Florida Man on the Run

Toy Story Land: First Impressions

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Since the time of its announcement, I’ve been extremely excited about Toy Story Land. Hollywood Studios has been in desperate need of updates and the addition of Toy Story Land (along with Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge) would be a huge boost to the park. People have a tendency to underestimate what a great expansion can do for a park. Not only is Hollywood Studios more attractive now, but it helps pull visitors away from other parks making Disney seem less crowded overall. But that is enough on theme park logistics. You’re here to see if Toy Story Land is all it’s cracked up to be. Spoiler Alert… it is.

Toy Story Land Aesthetics

Jessie is trying to wrangle Rex!

One of the most exciting parts about new lands at Disney is the theming. While the parks have always done their best to help guests be immersed, the Imagineers have taken it to the next level in the last few years. Pandora at Animal Kingdom set the bar pretty high and Toy Story Land does its best to follow up. It isn’t really fair to make the comparisons between the two because they served different purposes for their parks. Pandora was a desperately needed major expansion to AK, while Toy Story Land is the smaller of two expansions to Hollywood Studios.

Avoiding comparisons to Pandora, Toy Story Land does an amazing job in its theming. As soon as you pass by the giant Woody at the entrance, it does everything it can to make you believe you’re in Andy’s back yard. The huge blocks, giant toys, and buildings all add to the aesthetic. Slinky Dog Dash is the best part of it all. The coaster is the obvious centerpiece of the park and it has the best theming. The coaster has one of the most flawlessly executed queues at Disney. It gives the impression that the coaster is the perfect amalgamation of two different toys. It also does a great job in its own world building with all the toy and game boxes giving you dreams of playing them yourself.

Keep your eyes out for Andy! Don’t let him step on you!

Besides Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Land does a solid job in helping you play make believe. The new queue line for Midway Mania is fantastic, with a huge Mr. Potato Head keeping you company during your wait. Alien Swirling Saucers is probably the most disappointing aesthetically during the day, but at night its neon lights and music add a fun party atmosphere. Woody’s Lunch Box is a cool nod to the backyard aspect, but isn’t anything exceptional in its own right. The food is great and the Totchos (Tater tot nachos) even come with a vegan option with no substitutions required! A huge bonus and something I hope to see Disney continue doing in the future.

There are a ton of little touches all around that are nods to Toy Story. The marching Green Army Men are one of the best entertainment troops at Hollywood Studios. I’d also recommend you keep your eyes out for the giant shoe prints on the ground. I missed those until we leaving on our second day! I don’t want to spoil all the little touches, but keep your eyes peeled (and ears open!) for them.

The New Rides

Slinky Dog looks like he is having a buckets of fun!

Though Toy Story Land features three attractions, only two of these are new to the park. Toy Story Midway Mania has been one of my favorites at Hollywood Studios for a while and it still it after the update. The two new rides are Alien Swirling Saucers and Slinky Dog Dash, both of which I loved. Rides were in desperate need at Hollywood Studios, so the two additions go a long way to making the park worth the price.

Alien Swirling Saucers is a super fun ride. My wife and I had a blast both times we rode it. That being said, if you’ve ever ridden Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree then you’ve basically ridden this as well. The two rides are nearly identical, except for their theming. Your actual time on the ride isn’t very long. I’d say that its close to what you spend on the Tea Cups at Magic Kingdom. I recommend riding it once for sure, but depending on your wait times it isn’t worth a second go around.

Slinky Dog Dash is the centerpiece of the whole expansion. The coaster is the first thing you’ll see as you walk up. It doesn’t have a traditional chain lift and that is 100% to its benefit. The two different powered launches allowed the creators the freedom to pack a punch in a small space. The first launch takes you into a big looping turn where it seems like Slinky just might not have enough energy to make it around. As you plunge back towards earth, you’ll quickly realize you’re not going to stop smiling and screaming like a kid for the rest of the ride.

Buzz stands proudly as the sun sets on Toy Story Land

The coaster twists and loops around Jessie and Rex on a tower of blocks, before coming to its midpoint. Andy built the coaster with a booster, and the second shot takes you over a big hill. The top of this hill currently gives a great view of Star Wars Land’s construction and will offer a full view into the finished area when done. After the big hill you go over some exciting humpbacks and then through the big finish. It is easily my favorite coaster in all of Disney World. The pure excitement and joy I felt while riding it really isn’t matched by any other ride at the parks. To me the combination of awesome theming and a unstoppably fun ride just can’t be beat.

Final Thoughts

Toy Story Land is really all I was hoping it would be. It breathes new life into a park that was in desperate need of it. The expansion will draw visitors from other parks and provide some relief. Slinky Dog Dash is one of the best rides that Disney has designed in years. Though most people will see it during the day, I’d say its way better at night. The rides are all lit up and it gives them an entirely different feel. I’m so happy to see such a great addition to a neglected park. I’ll certainly be planning more trips to Hollywood Studios and Toy Story Land in the coming months.

Thanks for reading my impressions of Toy Story Land. As an annual passholder, I love spending time at Disney. Though this isn’t a Disney blog, I’ll be posting more content from my trips in the future. Next up will be my review of EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival in September. If you like what you’ve read, please check out my other content. If you want to follow along in real time, you can on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter as well!

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