Toy Story Land Review: A Colorful Land Filled with Details... and Flaws

On Sunday, June 24, we had the pleasure of attending a Toy Story Land Dress Rehearsal (that's the jargon used by Disney to identify a "soft-opening" or preview of a new attraction/land) at Disney's Hollywood Studios. While we were not allowed to take photos or videos during the event, we would like to share with you our first impressions of this new themed land that will officially open to Guests on June 30, 2018.


As always, we would like to remind you that the following article includes our own, personal comments, which may vary from those of other Guests (including our Readers) based on different factors.

ENTRANCE TO THE LAND

One of the most disappointing features of the new land is the entrance. While the giant statue of Woody is certainly a nice addition to the park, the long pathway that leads to it is completely bare.

In the original plans for the land that were unveiled during the D23 Expos, Disney showed some themed buildings that were going to be built along this pathway. These buildings would have featured theme facades and would have housed a proper store and a few character greeting locations, both of which are not present in the final iteration of the land (characters will roam around the land and merchandise will be sold in a cart found near Slinky Dog Dash).


Guests making their way toward the land will have to go through what looks like a "canyon" featuring two bare soundstages and... a Disney Vacation Club kiosk (no kidding). We truly hope this issue will be fixed in the future by adding the elements that were present in the original iteration of this land.


After going through that area, though, we really enjoyed looking at all the small details that can be found around every corner of the land, including large building blocks, oversized versions of our favorite Toy Story Characters, and more.

SLINKY DOG DASH

Slinky Dog Dash really surprised us. While this new attraction features a not-so-great outdoor queue and is very short (it's about 60-75 seconds long), we found it to be a little more intense than we thought, while still being as family-friendly as other roller coasters such as Big Thunder Mountain or the Barnstormer Starring The Great Goofini.




Just like the rest of the land, the queue of this ride includes interesting details that Toy Story fans will certainly appreciate. That said, most Guests will get bored very quickly, as there's really not much to see. The majority of the queue space is filled with switchbacks and is all outdoors. The loading area is very simple but feature even more details to look at, including large boxes where Andy drew his plans for the Slinky Dog roller coaster you are about to ride.


A total of three trains where running during previews. The trains feature individual lapbars (like the trains of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train) and they are quite comfortable. Throughout the ride, Guests will hear Slinky Dog talking to other characters and to those riding the attraction (for example, during the second launch, Slinky Dog warns Guests to "hang on" as he moves backwards to prepare for the launch, and then he yells "here we go!" as the train is launched forward).


All in all, we enjoyed Slinky Dog Dash, but we wouldn't wait more than 20 minutes to ride it.

TIP: While this is definitely a family-friendly attraction, Guests who are concerned about the intensity of the attraction should definitely seat in the front, as the two main drops feel much tamer in the front (as expected). On the other hand, thrill-seeking Guests should not expect Mako-like intensity in the back rows either...

ALIEN SWIRLING SAUCERS

While Alien Swirling Saucers is a clone of Mater's Junkyard Jamboree at Disney California Adventure, there are a number of changes that we really liked. Aside from the fact that the theming is completely different, Alien Swirling Saucers includes a large roof that will definitely be needed during the summer, as it will block the sun's powerful rays and will allow the ride to continue operating even during inclement weather conditions.


The queue of the ride is completely unremarkable and features a small section exposed to the elements (with NO shade) as well as a covered section that includes one (1) interactive element that most Guests will get bored with within 3.5 seconds. We are sorry to sound so negative in this regard, but Disney and Universal have shown to be capable of creating incredibly immersive queues in the past, so we were very disappointed to notice that there was so little to see here. It appears that budget cuts were really heavy this time around.


The ride itself is very short (about 60-75 seconds) but a lot of fun. While we enjoyed being thrown around by the aliens, we have to admit that the ride is pretty rough when it starts to gain speed (we were able to feel every little bump we encountered along the way, but we still enjoyed it!).

THE LAND AS A WHOLE

While the two major components of this new land are the two new rides, there are other locations that Guests will be able to check out while visiting this area of the park, including Toy Story Mania (which will feature a brand-new entrance and a better outdoor portion of the queue), a new quick-service location, and restrooms.


One of the major issues we noticed was the severe lack of trees. This colorful land is certainly a nice addition, but we are appalled by the fact that there is literally ZERO shade in this section of Disney's Hollywood Studios. While some have pointed out that Disney might have chosen to avoid planting too many trees as they would have ruined the illusion of being immersed in a world of toys (trees would look out of scale in such an environment), we are sure that many Guests will suffer a lot this summer. During the previews we were told that a number of Guests showed signs of a heat stroke while visiting the land, and this is going to get exponentially worse once the land officially opens to Guests.

The fact that Toy Story Land has no shade is very important to keep in mind, as Guests have very few ways to cool off. Only Toy Story Mania and the nearby restrooms have A/C, so Guests could potentially spend two to three hours in outdoor locations while visiting this new land. While that is not going to be a problem once temperatures start to get milder in October, this is going to be a major problem this summer. Be sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated!

CONCLUSION


While the land has quite a few flaws (lack of shade, unimpressive queues, and short rides), we believe many Guests will enjoy the colorful and fun environment that Disney created, and plenty of families will create memories while riding together one of the three family-friendly attractions included in this area. Even though this is not one of the greatest themed lands we have ever seen, we believe it's going to please many Guests for years to come. It's all about having fun, after all.

PHOTOS & VIDEO: © 2018 Walt Disney World Resort. All Rights Reserved.

Comments

  1. What a great review! I always appreciate when a fan doesn't fawn over something. When they point out it's flaws and expect the best. It's a real shame Pixar's most famous movie got a sub-par land, though we mostly expected it considering the lacklaster reviews similar toy Story Lands have gotten.
    Seems Universal and Disney aren't exactly giving it their best these days. We can only hope Nintendo and Star Wars is where all the talent has gone to and look forward to those.

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  2. I hope that Disney builds rides for other Pixar attractions at WDW! Monsters Inc, Incredibles, franchises that deserve a great ride

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  3. Did you try any of the food & beverage options at Woody's Lunchbox?

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  4. The entrance to the land SHOULD have been through Andy's house, with props getting larger as you passed through, giving the impression of shrinking to the size of a toy by the time you reach the backyard. Would have been very easy to execute.

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  5. Typical Disney a tilt-a whirl type ride, a kiddie coaster, and no shade. Sent to much money on the character assassination of beloved Star War Characters to build a gift shop, or some type of shade. Meeehhh....

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