7 things you’ll love at Disney's new Toy Story Land

You'll feel like you shrunk to the size of a toy at Toy Story Land, the newest land to open at Walt Disney World in Florida.

“When you walk into Toy Story Land, you’re transformed into toy-size—everything is large, and the guests are the honorary toys,” says David Minichiello, executive creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering.

That’s concept behind the new themed land, which is nestled into the back of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and that’s exactly how my family and I felt when we entered—like toys playing in Andy’s backyard. Colourful and immersive, the new land isn’t massive, but there’s lots to love.

Here’s what’s exciting at Toy Story Land.

Roller coaster surrounded by large toy blocks and a trains meant to look like Slinky Dog

Photo: Courtesy of Disney

1. Riding the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster

This steel coaster, with a vehicle that’s modeled after Slinky Dog from Toy Story, is arguably the crown jewel of Toy Story Land. It’s a smooth ride that offers a great view of the whole Toy Story area, and while it’s a family-friendly ride, it definitely offers some thrills. As an extra treat, when it’s all over and you’re waiting to disembark, you’ll be entertained by a huge animatronic of Wheezy (the toy penguin from Toy Story 2) singing “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” just as he does in the film. We rode this ride twice—my tween liked it better than Space Mountain!

Guests ride in colourful spinning spaceships

Photo: Kim Shiffman

2. Spinning around on the Alien Swirling Saucers

On this ride, guests experience being inside Andy’s alien-themed play set, in which toy rockets spin you around outer space. At first glance, it looks like a spinning teacup-style ride, but it’s gentle enough for the youngest riders (kids must be 32 inches or taller) and didn’t induce queasiness in the, ahem, sensitive grown-ups on our trip (fine, it’s me—ever since having kids, I can’t handle rides the way I used to). My five-year-old loved the Swirling Saucers and asked to go again.

Disney visitors riding the Toy Story Mania shooting game ride

Photo: Courtesy of Disney

3. Competing (and cooling down) in Toy Story Mania

Feeling competitive? Sweating your brains out in the hot Florida sun? Head to Toy Story Mania, which is less “ride,” more an indoor (read: air-conditioned) video game that’s appropriate for all ages (even young children can sit on an adult’s lap). You’ll throw on some 3-D glasses, then climb aboard a spinning vehicle that travels through virtual environments and play video games inspired by classic carnival shooting games. The queue is nearly as fun as the ride—it’s decorated with colourful life-sized toys, games and characters. This ride pre-existed Toy Story Land, albeit with a slightly different name.

Disney guests lined up for food at Woody's Lunchbox

Photo: Courtesy of Disney

4. Snacking at Woody’s Lunch box

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Woody’s Lunch Box is Toy Story Land’s quick-service restaurant—no reservation necessary. Thanks to a partnership with Babybel, you can grab something as simple and familiar as a cheese snack, or opt for a bigger bite off the menu, like the already-famous S’Mores French Toast Sandwich (the gluten-free version is rumoured to be among the tastiest GF treat in Disney). Woody’s is highly accommodating to food allergies; like at all Disney restaurants, it’s best to talk to a cast member and request the allergy menu before waiting in line.

Drummers dressed up as Army men perform on the sidewalk

Photo: Kim Shiffman

5. Watching the Green Army Men Drum Corps

Whether you’re snacking, wandering around or taking a break, your family will be entertained by a cast of characters who hang around Toy Story Land, including the Green Army Men Drum Corps, who drum in unison and had my kids wide-eyed and enthralled (me too, but I was also distracted, wondering how they handle the intense Florida heat in those costumes). Also keep an eye out for Woody, Jesse and Buzz. There may be a short lineup for a photo.

Kid looking at a Buzz Lightyear toy on a store shelf

Photo: Courtesy of Disney

6. Buying some merch!

Face it, you can’t get away with not buying merchandise when you’re at Disney—it’s all just so cute and well-made (not to mention ubiquitous)—so resign yourself to it. Toy Story Land shopping includes new toys and souvenirs like Buzz Lightyear Bubble Blower, Talking Slinky Dog, figurines, plush toys and apparel. You’ll find two retail carts among the park—shaped like life-sized toy vehicles, they’re hard to miss.

Guests walking around the entrance of Toy Story Land

Photo: Courtesy of Disney

7. Posing for photos

Someone on the Disney team clearly knows we’re living in the age of social media, because Toy Stoy Land features plenty of Insta-worthy photo opps—starting with a massive Woody statue at the area’s entrance. We also loved the popsicle stick wall, which you’ll find as you exit Toy Story Mania, and the green alien outside the Alien Swirling Saucers. Use Disney’s free Wi-Fi to upload your pics in real time.

Black Spire Outpost is the name of the village inside of the upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at both Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The village is closely associated with the geological formations that surround it. As the largest settlement on the planet Batuu, Black Spire Outpost is an infamous stop for traders, adventurers, and smugglers traveling around the Outer Rim and Wild Space. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open at Disneyland Resort in summer 2019 and at Walt Disney World Resort in late fall 2019. (Disney)

Artist Rendering: Courtesy of Walt Disney World News

8. Checking out the view of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

OK, so this isn’t an actual feature of Toy Story Land, but if you’re curious (and who isn’t?!) about the new Star Wars land that’s being built (rumoured to open in late 2019), Toy Story Land is a good place to sneak a peek. You’ll see a bit of it standing in front of Alien Swirling Saucers, or for an even better view, keep your eyes open while on the Slinky Dog coaster. Don’t know about you but my kids and I Can. Not. Wait. for it to open! Build faster, Disney!

Read more:
13 ways to save money at Disney
Everything that’s new at Orlando’s theme parks
How to do Disney (without losing your mind!)

Some of the writer’s costs were covered by The Walt Disney Company (Canada) Ltd.

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