Toy Story Land Announced for Disney World
At the 2015 D23 Expo, Toy Story Land was announced for Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. This expansion does not have a timeframe, but will add two new Toy Story attractions, and also expand Toy Story Mania to increase its capacity.
The premise of the land is to shrink guests to the size of a toy to enter the land, where there will be areas to explore in addition to the attractions. The attractions will include a family-friendly roller coaster where guests board Slinky Dog’s back for a ride on a “coaster kit” toy that Andy has built in his play area (think Gadget’s Go Coaster or Barnstormer). The other attraction will be an Alien saucers attraction, with the little green aliens from the movie taking guests for a spin in their very own flying saucers (think Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree).
These attractions are actually totally different than the ones located in the other Toy Story Playlands. On the plus side here, they are less vertical, so Toy Story Land should not be visually intrusive from other areas of the park. Additionally, the concept art shown at the D23 Expo made it appear that the land would be decently landscaped, and that would make a big difference in how nice it feels. Hong Kong Disneyland’s land is in a lush area that extends into the mountains, and it feels far nicer than the nearly identical Toy Story Playland in Paris that’s basically located on a slab of concrete.
The location of the expansion was not stated, but with free space adjacent to Toy Story Mania, it would make sense to connect it to that, with Toy Story Land essentially replacing Pixar Place. At present, this is only speculation, though.
One thing that does surprise me is that no opening date was announced for this land. If Disney so desired, this could easily open in 2016. I’m not saying the land will, but there’s no reason a Christmas 2016 grand opening is out of the question–especially given how badly Disney’s Hollywood Studios needs attractions.
Toy Story Playland, the incarnations of this area in Hong Kong Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios Park (in Paris) are incredibly divisive. They seem to be very popular with the general public and casual fans of Toy Story, but very unpopular with serious fans and those who value themed design.
I have previously stated I’m not a fan of Toy Story Land, but do not mind it coming to Walt Disney World under these circumstances. I think the lands are incredibly unimaginative and wholly fail to push the creative envelope. Frankly, I was shocked and disappointed to hear that this was the most exciting announcement for many people.
To those people, I would point out that the attractions in the existing (and future) Toy Story Lands are simply “off the shelf” carnival rides, meaning they aren’t “Imagineered” in the traditional sense, but rather purchased from a third party vendor that sells this type of basic carnival attraction to a multitude of amusement parks. From there, they are decorated in a style of Toy Story.
No matter how the land is marketed, this is not like “stepping into the world of the toys.” It’s stepping into a carnival environment that will be dressed up to fit a Toy Story visual motif. This is “theming” in the same sense that All Star Movies is “themed”, that is, not themed at all, but decorated instead.
Quite simply, Imagineering has and can do much, much better. They can create actual worlds that immerse guests, like Cars Land…and like appears will be done in Pandora and Star Wars Land, both of which appear to be ambitious projects that feature Imagineering at the top of its game.
However, Toy Story Land is what it is likely not due to a lack of imagination or ambition by the Imagineers on the project. Rather, due to the fiscal and practical realities of a huge expansion like the one about to occur at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This park needs new attractions, and it needs a lot of them. It also needs a lot fast.
Toy Story Land is both cheap and fast to build. In a world of finite budgets, it’s a cheap way to balance out a costly (both in terms of time and money) Star Wars Land to make sure Disney’s Hollywood Studios gets enough attractions to really flesh out the park. It also gives the park more kid-friendly attractions, which are sorely needed.
No doubt, kids will love Toy Story Land. As I say frequently, though, kids love playing in cardboard boxes and eating boogers, so saying “kids will love it” is somewhat meaningless. Still, I understand why some people are excited for their kids to see these lands–I totally get that, and I am not criticizing that reaction. After all, a big aspect of the Disney experience for many is seeing the reactions in the faces of their kids or making family memories. This will definitely be a popular land for making family memories with small children.
Ultimately, I view Toy Story Land as somewhat of a necessary evil. It is a totally lame and lackluster land, albeit a land that will fill a valuable role for families while allowing a larger chunk of budget to be allocated to Star Wars Land (which Disney announced earlier in the day for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland). All of that makes me fine with it, even if I know the Imagineers could do so much better if they were given a blank check to fix Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
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Do you think this is a good addition? Are you excited for this, or do you think Disney could do better? Does it make you more “fine” with it if spending less on the ‘kiddie’ rides means more money to spend on that Millennium Falcon for Star Wars Land? If you have other ideas, questions, or thoughts, please share in the comments!
From what I see it sounds and looks like a great land for children…To me Toy Story is a big part of Disney and alot of kids love it. I see it as Andy’s room so his toys are all out in the open and set up as if he is or has played with them…hence the track being out in the open for all to see, it may be cheesy and carnival like but I think it fits for Toy Story land and HS, and kids love seeing that.(hope they add more toys and the characters around this coaster) Where as something like Guardian of Galaxy that is going into Epcot, I see as not a good fit! I don’t really see TSL being as much for adults and teens as it is for kids so I can see them as discussed not spending as much on this and put more towards Star-wars land and or Pandora, which I think is the right choice. What I look forward to is seeing my kids eyes light up and get excited when they see the Toy Story land!!! I think the Imagineers will make it a fun and neat place for all, fingers crossed!! Maybe they will add more as time goes on who knows?!! Anyone seen any progress so far? Any opening date yet predicted?!
i have loved toy story scince i was a baby I love the Idea of a new toy story land thumbs up!!
Any update on toy story land opening in Orlando? Last time I heard 2018?
I personally, am very excited about this. Toy Story was a major part of my childhood, and now that of my son. I could care less if the rides are more “carnival” style, because it’s more about a feeling. A chance to be totally immersed in a memory is worth it to me, especially coming from a very poor family where it will take me five years to save up for ONE trip to Disney World. Only three years of saving to go.
From some of the concept art, it appears the alien ride is based on a modified Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. That makes sense to me and I can see where that would also fit the description of a modified tea cups, as teacups are a very similar ride system to Mater’s. And we found Mater’s to be a very fun ride in CA, so this would be a good addition in DHS.
I think the Slinky Dog Coaster will very much depend on execution and ride length. If done well, I could see it being a big hit and a great addition. It does have my curiosity. Not a big coaster fan myself, but could see being talked into riding it.
With some well themed shops, food, M&G’s added in, this is a reasonable land. I would say better than some of the true off the shelf kiddie lands. It may be less expensive, but I’m okay with savings here, if it means better additions overall.
And, while just my own opinion, and not founded on anything, I don’t think this and Star Wars are the only additions.
Yeah, I’m thinking it’s a reskinned Junkyard Jamboree. Part of the reason Mater’s works (I think) is because it’s just total ridiculousness. I still laugh every time we go on that. I think there’s similar potential for a bizarre, quirky attention with the Little Green Aliens, so hopefully it’s an attraction that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
I have a suspicion more is coming, too. Disney likes to spread out announcements, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them wait another 6 months or so before revealing more.
Tom, you make it sound like Slinky Dog is a small children’s rollercoaster. It is not. Jim Hill who spoke with Imagineers says think more like Seven Dwarfs mine train but much longer. It will be very detailed with many of Andy’s friends. Also, DHS does not have many young children attractions so the Alien saucer ride makes sense. Jim Hill says expect the Toy Story Land to open by 2018. Much demolition to be done. Then when this is done they will add another Pixar land next to this, similar to Cars Land.
Of course the Imagineers are going to talk it up. That’s the scripted “on camera” response. Talk to them in private, and some might be a little less enthusiastic…
I think the difference between it and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is that SDMT is really well-themed, with rock-work, sets, etc. Even if Slinky Dog Coaster is longer (which wouldn’t surprise me), it’s exposed track. I hope I am way wrong with this, and that it’s a surprise hit, but I don’t have high expectations.
Paradise Pier was supposed to be expanded of “Phase 2” of the DCA overhaul. We are still waiting on that…my concern about anything so far in the future is that all of these plans are subject to change, projects going over budget, etc.
I was at HS recently and felt like there needed to be more Toy Story things there.
I’m looking forward to the new land. I’ll be interested to see what it looks like and how it turns out.
The rides sounds ok. The rollercoaster sounds fun and I’m glad they’re expanding the current ride and the queue for that is too long!
However don’t like the sound of this alien ride. Will it feature the claw? Or will they just say “the claw” randomly and meaningless-ly in the background. It sounds like it might be as disappointing as the Simpsons Alien Ride in Universal Studios.