Last November was my first time back to Disney World since my program ended in 2015. It was also my first time experiencing the new Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
This was a land I was so excited to visit, I had read so much about it in the lead up to the trip, and honestly, I think it was even better than anticipated! We visited the land twice, once on a Wednesday morning, and once on a Sunday morning, which was our last day. Crowd levels were relatively low on the Wednesday (I think most people had rushed to Galaxy’s Edge) but crazy on the Sunday (the only super busy day of our trip really), so I think that did affect our experience.
The other thing that affected our experience (in a good way) was the fact that we had managed to grab Fast Passes (a pre-booked spot on a ride) for both Midway Mania and Slinky Dog Dash, the most popular rides in the land, and probably 2 of the most popular in the park. This meant that we didn’t have to worry about waiting for hours for the rides, and could enjoy our time walking around.
I think one of the greatest parts of TSL are the tiny details- the premise of the theme is that you are shrunk to the size of a toy and walking around Andy’s backyard, and everything is giant! It’s so cute and well themed- everything is made of toys or other things you’d find lying around like pencils or popsicle sticks. Everything is brightly coloured and you can spot giant statues of the characters around the land (such as Woody greeting you on the way in!)
There are 3 rides currently in Toy Story Land. We didn’t ride the Alien Swirling Saucers, as it looked very much like the Tea Cups in the Magic Kingdom. Toy Story Midway Mania has been at Hollywood Studios since 2008, but to be honest I had never ridden it, due to it always having such long lines! So I was very excited to have a fast pass, and we loved the ride! My partner works with computer games so having a giant ‘real life’ version was so much fun! The ride is an interactive 4-D experience where you wear 3-D glasses and ride vehicles that spin similar to the Buzz Lightyear ride in the Magic Kingdom. There are 5 mini games where you aim toy cannons at various Toy Story related objects on screens.
We then had a Fast Pass for Slinky Dog Dash on the Sunday, which we were very grateful for, given the standby line was craaazy long! This is a medium sized rollercoaster and it’s amazing! It was faster than I expected it to be, but such a smooth ride, and all the toys are adorable! I would definitely put this at the top of the Fast Pass list, and I bet it would be a great ride to try at night time with all the lights.
Foodwise, at the moment there is Woody’s Lunchbox, with Roundup Rodeo BBQ to join it as a table service option. We shared a breakfast bowl at Woody’s Lunchbox (which my partner has pointed out, might be better named Andy’s Lunchbox?). I was prepared to not think much of this restaurant, as I hadn’t heard great reviews, but I really enjoyed our experience. I think we were there at a good time, it wasn’t super busy so we were able to grab a table (a common complaint is that there isn’t much seating and it’s all outside). The breakfast bowl was really yummy and I’m looking forward to attempting to recreate it later in the month! The restaurant is really cute and well-themed as well, I loved the little Babybel cheese seats!
Character-wise, the characters were around a lot, it was great! We saw the army men march through which was really fun, and Buzz, Woody, Bo Peep and Jessie were all available to meet in their Christmas outfits. We met Jessie, who is one of my all-time favourite characters, and the interaction was amazing! She was really engaged and the character attendant was great at ‘interpreting’ for us.
I can see where there could be improvements though- a lack of shade would definitely be a problem in the summer heat, there aren’t a lot of places to sit, and while the merch carts are cute, a full store might be an opportunity to shop in air conditioning, and allow for more products. The Roundup Rodeo might help alleviate some of these problems, while also offering another dining option- I think it’s fair to say that dining is not Hollywood Studios’ strong suite.
But ultimately, for us I think it was a great experience, we enjoyed the food, rides and characters a lot. I look forward to visiting again!