Toy Story Land opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on June 30th, 2018 to big crowds. We were in California and had extended our trip so that our first day back in Orlando (and Toy Story Land) was July 1st. By waiting just one day, lines became much more moderate – we experienced the land as I expect it will be most days during the summer as opposed to opening day craziness. Our first visit was from afternoon to closing, with a break to get out of the land to cool down.
Toy Story Land is 11 acres, almost the size of Cars Land in California but with a very different experience. There are three attractions each and both lands are based on Pixar franchises. Alien Swirling Saucers is similar to Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree – but the similarities mostly end after that. Toy Story Land has no indoor restaurant, no indoor queues except for Toy Story Mania and no indoor shopping experience. Toy Story Land does have terrific theming and fun attractions. Here are my tips to make the experience more enjoyable. I have been adding more info on subsequent visits, so keep checking back!
Woody at the front of Toy Story Land
1 – Book a Fastpass+ for Slinky Dog Dash as Tier 1 – Slinky Dog Dash wasn’t that much busier than Toy Story Mania on July 1st, but the Toy Story Mania queue is air conditioned and will be a much more comfortable wait during the day. At night, Toy Story Land shines and my advice would be opposite – wait for Slinky Dog Dash and enjoy the nighttime lighting. I don’t recommend a Fastpass for Alien Swirling Saucers, it’s cute and fun but it’s the least of the three attractions for Tier 1.
2 – Pack an umbrella and plenty of water – If you are visiting during the day and especially during the hottest 6-7 months of the year, the umbrella will really help for both the sun and any rain you might encounter. We have had a lot of both this week. The Slinky Dog Dash outdoor queue was especially hot, we only waited a total of 1 hour and 15 minutes on the first ride but 25 minutes of that was in direct sun before entering the covered (not indoor) queue. Cover up with a hat, sunblock, whatever you would use to beat the heat for your trip.
3 – Don’t expect Slinky Dog Dash to be a kiddie coaster – I am sure some guests will see Slinky Dog Dash and skip it, thinking it’s like the Barnstormer at the Magic Kingdom. It isn’t. The ride is unexpectedly fun, I heard gasps from guests not expecting that. After riding each time, all I heard was excited talk about how great the coaster was. The height requirement is 38 inches. An added bonus both from the Slinky Dog Dash and from the ground is a view into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge that is expected to open later next year.
Slinky Dog Dash
4 – Use Mobile Order for Woody’s Lunch Box – It was much easier ordering on the app and not waiting in line. The food wasn’t ready immediately, but it was quicker and easier.
Cash register at Woody’s Lunch Box
5 – Dine at off times at Woody’s Lunch Box – The food we ordered was overall very good, from the BBQ Brisket Melt to the Tomato-basil soup. But trying to snag a table was a challenge, there is very limited seating and a lot of “seating” is actually standing at tables – that is what we ended up doing. It felt like there were several groups vying for each table, and this wasn’t during the busiest time of the day. So if you are wanting to eat at this newest location (and you should try it), go as much at a non-busy time as you can. At the end of the night, some friends ordered food and there were plenty of tables, making for a much more relaxed experience. Woody’s Lunchbox also includes adult beverages for those looking for them. I will have a review of the restaurant and show theming details soon. I personally preferred lunch/dinner to breakfast, which we had on our second visit to the land.
Our first meal at Woody’s Lunch Box
6 – Plan to stay for evening – I mentioned that Toy Story Land looks great at night. A lot of guests were bringing in tripods to capture that, and it was fun seeing the fireworks while on Slinky Dog Dash. The coaster has special lighting and is worth riding both day and night. It also has been a lot less busy at night, which is nice in conjunction with not needing to worry about shade.
Lights at night
Jessie and Rex
7 – Enjoy the Green Army Patrol and the Green Army Drum Corps – The Green Army Patrol may enlist you to play games, and the Green Army Drum Corps entertains a number of times during the day. We have seen both now.
Green Army Patrol
8 – Shop for Toy Story Land merchandise, but not in Toy Story Land – There is little shopping to be done inside Toy Story Land itself, with a few kiosks selling ears and such. If you are looking for Toy Story Land and/or Pixar merchandise, head to Reel Vogue on Sunset for a larger selection. The shop is now themed to Pixar and Sweet Spells closed a few months ago for that. You can find merchandise elsewhere in the park as well. The store at The Little Mermaid also currently offers all Toy Story merchandise.
Toy Story Land hat
9 – Ride Alien Swirling Saucers – If you’ve ridden Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree at Disney’s California Adventure, this will be familiar. I personally prefer Mater’s for the music, also Alien Swirling Saucers feels a little toned down (I am not sure if it is). Guests must be 32″ to ride.
Our video of Alien Swirling Saucers
10 – Meet Toy Story characters – On the day we were there, I think the meet and greets were in the former Pixar Place but are now moved into Toy Story Land with Woody, Buzz and Jessie.
Jessie, Woody and Jessie figure with Rex in the background
11 – Pose with giant figures – There was a pretty long line for guests to pose with Woody at the entrance to Toy Story Land. The large Buzz Lightyear is near Alien Swirling Saucers and there is a large Pixar Ball too (among a variety of photo opportunties).
12 – Enjoy the details in the land – There are so many fun details and many that I probably haven’t even found yet, but fun elements include seats that look like dominoes and restroom Scrabble letters.
A bench themed as dominoes
13 – Don’t forget Toy Story Mania – Toy Story Midway Mania opened in 2008, I was there for a preview and it’s been a favorite attraction of mine ever since. There is a new entrance and the third track that was added two years ago (has it really been that long?) has kept lines much more moderate than they were before that. Pixar Place should be fully closed soon, the new entrance looks very different than the former one so don’t forget it’s there!
Toy Story Mania
14 – Book a table service restaurant outside Toy Story Land for lunch or dinner – Cool down with an extended meal at a table service restaurant. There are some decent ones in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, including The Hollywood Brown Derby and Mama Melrose.
The only other Toy Story Land location I have been to is Toy Story Playland at Walt Disney Studios at Disneyland Paris. This is pretty different from that location in that this actually is a decent sized land while Toy Story Playland feels more like a walkway with rides. While I have seen it written online that Toy Story Land is small, it really isn’t. The land is almost comparable to Pandora and Cars Land and the walkways are wide. Hopefully we will see some expansion in the form of a store or restaurant in the future, maybe some extra shade. For now, I expect Toy Story Land will end up being an early morning and late evening park for the most enjoyable guest experience.