This past Saturday, June 30, Wes and I had the super fun experience of being at Disney World’s Hollywood Studio for the opening day of their brand new Toy Story Land! Or as all of the cast members called it, Unboxing Day. (Isn’t that so cute??) Now, y’all know it’s not unusual for us to be at Disney, but this was actually the first time we’ve ever been to the parks in the summer (at least together), and it was certainly the first time that we’ve been to a big opening day. We knew it would be insane. We knew it would be hot. We knew that most of our day would be spent waiting in lines. But we’re just crazy enough to do it anyway.
We did not try to get to the park for rope drop. We thought about it, but we decided that the crowds would probably be at their worst first thing in the morning. (And we were right. We saw photos.) It was probably noon-ish before we got in the line for Toy Story Land. That’s right. There was a line JUST TO GET INTO THE LAND. And not a short line. It wound from the entrance to the land (by what used to be the back of Toy Story Mania- it’s now the side, since they’ve moved the entrance), through a U shape around the alley where you can meet Toy Story Characters, up the stairs and around and around the plaza in the middle of the Chinese Theatre. I’m pretty sure that it was at least a two hour line. However, we did not wait that long, because after a little over an hour, the heavens opened up, and it downpoured torrentially. Thankfully, we had umbrellas, and lots of people had ponchos, but many people had nothing. We saw an awful lot of pitiful looking people. But as the line thinned out, the cast members gave us a choice to either just go into the land or to wait in line for Slinky Dog Dash. I should mention that both of the new rides had shut down because of the rain, so it was sort of a “hurry up and wait” situation. Nobody knew when they’d reopen, and we didn’t want to stand around indefinitely, so we joined the line to just go inside the land and decided to play it by ear.
Now, let me just say that even in the rain, this land is ADORABLE. You really do feel like you’ve been shrunk down to the size of a toy and that you’ve been dropped into Andy’s back yard. A giant Sheriff Woody greets you as you enter, and then you look up to see Jessie lassoing Rex with Christmas lights atop an enormous Jenga tower. Everywhere you look, structures are built from oversized Tinker Toys, K’nex, dominoes, and popsicle sticks. The restrooms are labelled with Scrabble Tiles. Green army men are wandering around playing with the “new toys” (aka, the guests). Pixar’s Luxo Ball makes for a great photo op. And Woody’s lunchbox has been overturned to create a new restaurant. Y’all. It’s beautiful. It’s a wonderland of childhood fun.
So let’s talk about the rides. We lucked out and ended up by the entrance to Alien Swirling Saucers just as they re-opened after the rain, so we hopped in the line. I didn’t time it, but I really don’t think we waited more than 45 minutes. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was closer to 30. The line is cute. There are lots of pictures and props from Star Command, and oversized props that make for fun photo backdrops. And the ride itself is really fun! It’s nothing new; it’s not going to change you’re life, but it’s a really good example of the kind of midway ride that this land is invoking. I hear that it’s really similar to Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree at Disney’s California Adventure. You’re moving in a figure 8-ish pattern, switching platforms as you go, and whipping back and forth in your vehicle. It really slings you around! Yes, it’s more of a ride for kids, but these two adult had a really good time on it!
Toy Story Mania is pretty much the same as it’s always been, which of course, is amazing! It has a new entrance and a new line (the interactive audio-animatronic Mr. Potato Head is back!), but otherwise, it’s the same ol’ ride. I personally prefer it to there similar Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin over in MK, because it’s easier to aim and it’s more interactive.
And then there’s the new Slinky Dog Dash, the belle of the ball, as it were. This one’s the big draw. Its line is the longest, and the hype surrounding it is the biggest. We saw the wait time go all the way up to 5 hours. While we were prepared to do some waiting that day, we didn’t want to wait that long, so we walked around Hollywood Studios and rode some other things. It’s Wes’s favorite park, after all, and the Disney park with the most thrill rides. (And Star Wars! That’s very important!) But later in the night, we wandered back to Toy Story Land. The line for SDD said 135 minutes, so we hopped over to Woody’s Lunchbox, picked up a couple of house-made pop tarts, and got in the line, which immediately jumped to 180 minutes. We weren’t excited to wait three hours, but we’d done it before for Flight Of Passage, so we knew we could do it. The line, like the rest of the land, is absolutely precious. It’s like Andy has built a toy coaster set and rigged Slink up to be the cart. All through the line are plans that he’s drawn with giant pencils and crayons that are strewn about. And you walk through the boxes and see all of the instructions and everything. I seriously can not get over how cute it is!
And the ride itself is really good! As you approach the boarding area, Blake Clark’s hilarious drawl gives you loading instructions. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anything funnier than him saying “manos, brazos, pies, y piernas dentro del vehiculo.” I’ve been quoting it ever since. And the ride is seriously fun! It strikes that perfect balance where it’s mild enough for kids not to be scared, but thrilling enough for adults to enjoy too. There are bumps that are reminiscent of a slinky going down stairs. There are lots of twists and turns. There’s a section where you slow down, pull back, and re-accelerate. At the end, Weezy and Mr. Mike welcome you to the unloading platform. And at night, with the multi-colored Christmas lights illuminated, it makes it even more special. Go ride this ride!
Overall, I’m really in love with Toy Story Land. Is it Disney’s finest work? Probably not. But is it meticulously well-themed and fun? 100 percent! My recommendation would be to wait until the crowds die down a little, or at least to go on a rainy day or wait until evening to get into the ride lines, but I definitely recommend you go. It’s so fun, and will help you relive the childlike wonder of the Toy Story movies, which are still among Disney and Pixar’s greatest accomplishments.