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So here at Ticket Rangers HQ, we have been VERY excited for the new Toy Story Land to open in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and we have been doing lots of research to make upcoming trips to the popular new land run as smoothly as possible.
The Pixar movie themed area opened on June 30th and we thought we would do a round up of how the first month has fared. As always we will try to give lots of of hints, tips and general information that will hopefully help you if you are, like us, meticulously planning your first visit to explore with Andy’s toys!
First of all, a little run down of what can you expect inside Toy Story Land.
If you have visited Hollywood Studios previously, then Toy Story Land is behind the old ‘Pixar Place’, and if you haven’t… Don’t worry, just follow the crowds to the back of the park!
A giant Woody figure welcomes you at the entrance, and a little random TIP - he can be heard saying some of his famous catchphrases every few minutes, This is a theme that runs throughout the Land, with all the large major character figures ‘speaking’ at random intervals so make sure not to rush by!
Once inside the theming looks to be above and beyond what you could imagine even from the amazing Disney Imagineers, with the tiny little features such as trash cans made from lego blocks, and overgrown grass so you feel smaller, as always making you feel fully immersed in the land.
So the general feel is that as you walk in to Toy Story Land you are immediately shrunken down to the size of Andy’s toys and surrounded by Toy Story legends, like Buzz Lightyear and Mr Potato Head, as well as many toys from your childhood, such as the Green Army Men, Tinker Toys and K’Nex.
There are 3 rides in this area, 2 new rides which are Slinky Dog Dash and Alien’s Swirling Saucers, and the old favourite - Toy Story Mania (Midway Mania in a previous Pixar Place life) which has had a revamp.
Slinky Dog Dash is a family rollercoaster which spans pretty much the entire Land. Slinky Dog makes noises as he races round the track, and with a stop and launch half way round, it hopefully puts this new coaster up there with Expedition Everest and Seven Dwarves Mine Train for Disney thrill rides.
Alien’s Swirling Saucers is a variation on the ol’ classic tea cup style ride. Being navigated by your own Alien, you are spun and swooshed round 4 rotating floors. Another family friendly ride, with an apparently GREAT soundtrack!
Toy Story Mania is a shoot em up game, which has always been VERY popular, and is one of the Ticket Rangers family’s favourites (Phil is ridiculously competitive!).
The line has always been fantastically interactive, so I am interested to see what the revamp has added. It looks like some of the old theming from Pixar Place has found a new home there, which I am happy to see.
Now, Opening Day was apparently BU-SY! With up to a 2 and a half hour wait to just get in to Toy Story Land itself, a lot of parents’ worst nightmares were coming true - with their youngsters eating up all their phone battery watching videos of other kids play with toys. (No judgement here, we know that feeling all too well with 2 pre school children. Surprisingly, queueing isn’t a toddler’s strong point! Meaning sometimes handing over ownership of your cell is the only way to survive Disney ride queues!)
Of course, the battery munching vids meant that when they finally got inside and next to the Giant Woody sign that greets you, they couldn’t get that much sought after snapshot of their family stepping across the metephorical line...
TIP – If you have Disney’s Photopass there is a seperate queue when you reach this area, where the photopass photographer will get some professional pictures of you all together so no matter how much Youtube your little darling watches, you can still get the all important ‘WE ARE HERE (eventually)’ photograph.
Opening Day also seen ride lines hit an all time high, with reports of Slinky Dog Dash having a 4-5 hour wait in the standby line, and Alien’s Swirling Saucers topping 2 hours! Now, I am sure they are great rides, and I am very much looking forward to riding them, but our family just isn’t down for queueing that long for ANYTHING. Having a 1 year old who’s buggy is outside in Stroller Parking so needs to be carried and/or chased around a giant line of people just isn’t our idea of making the most of the Disney Parks!
Thankfully, the loooong wait times and general craziness seems to have been an opening day thing, and as the month has gone on, statistics show that the wait times for rides, although still long, are nowhere near that of the first day, mostly averaging out at peak times to approx 90-120 minute wait. Our friends have just returned (Big thanks to Kay and Luke for the brilliant photographs and top tips!) and confirmed that the times have fortunately came down. Also please remember if you are visiting over the Summer, then it is going to be busier because it is one of the most popular times of the year to visit.
Obviously if you can secure a Fastpass+ then this time will be massively cut, however, they are unfortunately about as rare as Bullseye poop. The best chance of getting a FP+ for the new Toy Story Land is by staying onsite at Disney, which will allow you to book Fastpasses at 60 days, an onsite guest privilege that visitors who are not staying in Disney property do not receive, meaning that when they come to book Fastpasses at 30 days out, they are HIGHLY LIKELY to all be gone.
Even staying onsite doesn’t guarantee you a FP+ to the hugely popular rides in this area though… Disney are only issuing about 400 FP+ for Slinky Dog Dash an hour over the summer months, which means over a 14 hour day there are only about 5600 people that will have a Fastpass+. Now compare that to the average daily attendance which comes out at usually over 30,000 visitors a day, and the maths kind of mean that to get that Golden Ticket is a rarity and you should be very pleased with yourself if you do bag one!
Another great perk of staying onsite at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel is getting Extra Magic Hours, which means you get time inside the park when it isn't open for the general public. During these first few months of Toy Story Land, (Every day until August 25th), Hollywood Studios is offering the onsite guests an EMH in the morning from 7am until 8am, at which time it is then opened to all other guests.
HINT – Use Extra Magic Hours if staying onsite to get some of the rides that will have long queues done first thing before the park officially opens if possible.
If you plan correctly and take our advice to get there for approx 6.30am, meaning you will be inside the park and able to queue directly to get into Toy Story Land when it opens at 7am, you could likely get 2 of the big 3 rides done in that first hour without a FP+.
Since there is only 1 main Quick Service restaurant in the area (Woody’s Lunch Box) the wait times for food and drinks are proving to be quite considerate, and the chance of getting a seat outside is slim.
The menu shows some nice choices for lunch such as Grilled Cheese and Smoked Turkey sandwiches, as well as some mouth watering sounding desserts, and most importantly... GROWN UP DRINKS!
Breakfast looks like it would be yummy too, with some treats such as Smores and marshmallow french toast, or more healthy options such as yoghurt and granola.
Another time saving TIP is to place your order on the My Disney Experience App, saving you having to queue in the main line to place your order. This won’t help you get a seat at busier times, but it should cut right down on the amount of time spent queueing.
Finally, for those of us with kids (and those of us without) that love to meet their heroes, Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Jessie are available for Meet and Greet, and the Green Army Men can be found wandering Toy Story Land, keeping order and even occasionally playing drums!
Overall, as expected, the brand new Toy Story Land is the busiest area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but the queue times and general hustle and bustle of the area itself has thankfully reduced lots since that opening week - Slinky Dog is approximately an hour and a half wait, which although still a long time, at least shows it is going in the right direction for those of us visiting a little later once the crowds have began to settle down somewhat.
And most importantly, hopefully we won't have to wait as long to get in here as some of the dancing, leg crossing peeps did on Opening Day...
If you are planning on visiting the new Toy Story Land at Disney World, head on over to the Ticket Rangers Ticket Finder to find the best deals on Disney World Tickets. (See all the sections at the top of this page)
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