It’s finally here. The much-anticipated Toy Story Land has opened in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
We were invited to a media preview day a few days before the Land opened to the public, and had a chance to spend some quiet time in Andy’s Backyard before it became overrun with a lot of “new toys.”
Toy Story Land is a solid addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and adds some much needed new attractions to the park, and family-friendly ones at that.
For the past year or two, the Studios have felt more like a construction site than a theme park. And the park has been relegated to being a “half day park” since many of the attractions have closed in anticipation of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and other new experiences. (RIP Great Movie Ride.)
The opening of Toy Story Land helps somewhat, but for those expecting an immersive themed experience like Pandora, you may want to hold off on visiting Walt Disney World until Galaxy’s Edge opens next year.
That’s certainly not a knock against Toy Story Land, as it’s great for what it is. Just temper your expectations a little and realize that this is the appetizer before the main course.
Check out the podcast below for more overall thoughts on Toy Story Land, but I’ll talk about some of the new attractions and additions afterward.
Slinky Dog Dash is a great little coaster, and much more intense than I imagined. It’s definitely a notch or two more intense than the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and provides an unexpected amount of airtime. It’s hard to really call this one a “kiddie coaster,” but it’s still very family-friendly.
Alien Swirling Saucers was also a lot of fun. While it is definitely the lesser of the two attractions, I appreciated the lighting and sound effects that transport you to the arcades of the mid 1990s. I just wish we had a new and improved Pizza Planet to go along with it!
Woody’s Lunchbox is… small. It’s just a take out window. I appreciate the theming, but it’s very, very tiny and the seating is limited. I didn’t get to eat a full meal there (as the crowds were insane on Saturday) but I did try one of the “pop tarts” at the preview mixer, and they were delicious!
Toy Story Mania‘s new entrance is great! While the attraction itself is unchanged, the new theming much more accurately represents what you’ll be experiencing. It never really did make sense to me why they housed the attraction in a replica of Pixar’s office building, as it was so sterile compared to what actually awaited Guests inside.
Now, there are a few nitpicks I have with Toy Story Land.
The first is that it’s hot. Oh Lord, how it’s hot. There is very little shade, and the absence of an indoor dining area or store means there’s no easy escape from the heat. Both attractions are outside and not air-conditioned (from what I can tell.) As such, I’d say that this land is best experienced in early morning or evening.
It’s also a little claustrophobic. Granted, Disney was dealing with a very small space. But Toy Story Land is 2/3 coaster track, and is basically a themed walkway connecting Galaxy’s Edge to the rest of Hollywood Studios. Again, not a dealbreaker but it is hard to navigate when it’s jam packed with strollers.
There is no transition from the rest of the park. Disney usually “eases” people from one land to another, or at least makes the transition seamless. With Toy Story Land, you walk past very noticeable concrete and bare walls until you are finally greeted by the giant Woody sign. Hopefully this is something Imagineering addresses as work continues on Hollywood Studios.
Final thoughts: Toy Story Land a nice family-friendly addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but not in the same league as Pandora or Galaxy’s Edge. Then again, it was never meant to be.
Overall score: B