Toy Story Land is the latest area in Disney’s Hollywood Studios to open and has the newest attractions in Walt Disney World – in other words, no surprise here, this was an obvious choice. Although, hear me out before you just check this one off the list and move on with your day. For this pick, I am not referring to the amazing coaster in this land (spoiler alert – we get to that one later) – I am talking about actually experiencing Toy Story Land itself.
I was not sure what to expect when we visited Toy Story Land for the first time back in July. I had heard good reviews and bad reviews – some had even said they were disappointed in it. Personally, I was amazed from the minute I walked around corner and saw Woody greeting us. Because you go through a little alley (between One Man’s Dream and the Toy Story Mania bathrooms), by the time you get to the welcome sign you truly feel like you have shrunk down to the size of the Green Army Men Toy Soldiers.
Everything around you gives you the feeling of being in Andy’s backyard – walking through the grass – looking up at Jesse and Rex in Slinky Dog Dash. It is an almost surreal feeling if you give yourself a minute to experience it and not just rush to a ride. When you look down at the brown “dirt” sidewalk and see Andy’s footprint – you definitely realize how small you are in this land.
The Landscaping is one of my very favorite things about this land. I was sad to hear cast members say that some people didn’t like it – they thought it was messy. It really made the difference for me, reinforcing the feeling that this world is MUCH bigger than I am supposed to be. If I am the size of a plastic army man, what looks like well shorn grass to Andy would look like weeds to me. (Remember “Honey We Shrunk Ourselves”? Luckily not that scary!)
The popsicle stick benches, with the stained colors of Andy’s popsicle snack, are a perfect touch. I had some time one evening to sit on one of those benches, directly across from Jesse and Rex, waiting for my family. It had been a long day and I didn’t want to give up my seat because they were hard to come by – so I stayed in that one spot for a while. Jesse and Rex are talking to each other and I was amazed at how many things they say! Even sitting for a fairly long time, I rarely heard repeated phrases and when I thought I had heard them all – they would say something new. The attention to detail is impressive.
There were so many other things I have read about that I feel like I missed on our last visit. Our kids were with us and we spent time there, but we had so many things they were wanting to do that we didn’t get to really wander around. Also, it is not a large area, and there were A LOT of people there. It was challenging to even move around.
Even though we didn’t see every detail, I have a few tips for you if you are planning a visit…
- First, get to the park early. The crowd levels changed dramatically after the first 45 minutes. We were able to go in at rope drop and rode Slinky Dog three times with no fast passes before the line was too long.
- Second, if you have vertigo – don’t ride Alien Swirling Saucers no matter how much fun they look. (I learned that one the hard way – so much fun but not worth the swirling I continued to do after I got off the ride!)
- Take time to check out the bathrooms (yeah, it always sounds weird to say, but at Disney World, it is often true) – the theming is awesome.
- Be prepared with sunscreen, water, and whatever you wear when it rains. One thing a cast member pointed out to us – there is not a lot of places with shelter. The queues are mostly outside and the counter service only has outside tables. There is not a lot of shade or protection in a pop-up rain storm.
- Eat at Woody’s Lunch Box. We had breakfast and I am looking forward to eating there again – I think it is going to be one of my favorite counter service meals!!
- Finally, watch for the Green Army Men (Persons?) They do a fun show and play games with the guests!
I will return to discuss more about Toy Story Land later – but know that it is a great addition to Hollywood Studios. Take some extra time, give into the theming, and let yourself be a kid – it is worth it!