Did you know that Disney has created a big Toy Story presence in almost every one of it resorts around the world? They may not all have full-blown “Toy Story” lands, but it seems Buzz Lightyear, Sheriff Woody, Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl and the rest of the gang resonate with audiences across the globe!
Which Toy Story land is worth the trip? Let’s take a look.
According to a number of our friends who have been lucky enough to visit all the Disney Parks worldwide, the difficult part about comparing the Toy Story Lands is that for the most part they’re very similar. Which one you think is “best” probably depends more on how you feel about the rest of the park than the actual land. As our blogger Jeanine Yamanaka says, “The first time you see one, you’re like, ‘Ooh, this is kind of cute.’ Then you go to the next one and think, ‘Wow, this is really similar to the one they put in the last place.’ By the time you get to the fourth one, you’re all, ‘I can’t believe they cloned these things this many times.'” Let’s see if you agree!
Toy Story Playland – Walt Disney Studios, Disneyland Paris
We’ll start our look overseas, with Toy Story Playland in Walt Disney Studios in Disneyland Paris.
This area opened in August 2010, a little more than a year before its cousin in Hong Kong Disneyland. The two playlands share the same three attractions — Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin, RC Racer, and Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop — and have a similar layout. The Paris version is very compact and seems to be almost jammed into the park.
Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin is a “caterpillar”-type ride, not a true roller coaster, that features our favorite stretchy canine taking some some loopy laps as he tries to catch his tail around a dog bowl filled with rubber bones.
The RC Racer attraction is billed as a “thrilling, gravity defying race, speeding back and forth on a soaring U-shaped track”, while the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop is very similar to Disney California Adventure’s Jumpin’ Jellyfish. It suspends you in mid-air and bounces you up and down a few times, offering some nice views of the park — if you don’t mind dangling!
You’ll note that a lot of the theming ideas — giant Tinker Toys, Christmas lights strung around the area — are similar to the other Toy Story lands we’ll be looking at.
Hong Kong Disneyland’s Toy Story Land opened in 2011. As we said earlier, this land is almost identical to the land in Walt Disney Studios, with the same attractions: Slinky Dog Spin, RC Racer, and Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop.
Those familiar with Toy Story Land in Walt Disney World, will recognize this welcoming figure.
One difference, though, is that Hong Kong’s land has two entrances!
The Hong Kong land seems larger and more open than Paris, and while the layout is similar to the land in Paris, flows more naturally.
Hong Kong’s Toy Story Land also features a gift shop and snack location that Paris does not have. The area offers lots of over-sized toys to play with, and a number of photo opportunities, including photo backdrops and the “Barrel of Fun” character meet-and-greet area. Toy Story characters are available there during most of the park’s operating hours.
Shanghai’s Toy Story Land is slightly different from its counterparts. The land has Slinky Dog Spin, but RC Racers has been re-themed to Rex’s Racers, with a giant Rex figure stationed in front.
Rex towers above the land here, dominating the skyline, and the half-pipe of the attraction can be seen nearly anywhere you stand in the park.
In addition, Shanghai has switched out the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop for a clone of Disney California Adventure’s Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. Here it is called Woody’s Round-Up. That Mater attraction seems to be popping up in quite a few places, each time with a different “skin” to match its surroundings.
A bonus at Shanghai Disney is that they also have a Toy Story-themed hotel! This is the equivalent of an All-Star value hotel in Walt Disney World.
You would certainly have sweet dreams in a room with the familiar Toy Story decor, wouldn’t you?
The hotel has a Toy Story-themed counter service spot and a cute gift shop hosted by that stinker, Lotso the bear.
Toyville Trolley Park – Tokyo Disney Resort
While Tokyo Disney doesn’t have a true “Toy Story Land,” it does have a Toy Story area. It has been shoehorned into the American Waterfront area of Tokyo DisneySea and has a Coney Island feeling to it. It seems to exist just to frame the park’s very popular version of Toy Story Mania, which opened here in 2012.
Even though there’s no Toy Story Land, Tokyo Disney will soon have its own Toy Story hotel. It announced in 2018 that the new accommodations will be ready in late 2021 or 2022.
The adorable Alien Swirling Saucers, the third attraction in Disney World’s land, is another re-themed version of California Adventure’s Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree.
The Florida land is very heavily themed with amazing details that really help you become immersed in the story. You see some of these details in the other parks, like Andy’s giant-sized footprints embedded in the pavement. The main complaints about the Disney World land is that it’s rather small, so that you feel a bit closed in. There’s only one entrance, and there is very little shade or air-conditioning.
So aside from the three attractions, what does Disney World’s Toy Story Land have? A few carts selling merchandise, some cute, themed restrooms, and only one place to eat, Woody’s Lunch Box, an open-air, quick-service place serving up fairly limited breakfast and lunch/dinner menus. That’s soon to change, though. Disney recently announced the addition of a new full-service restaurant for the land. Called Woody’s Roundup BBQ, it will be a character meal that offers, guess what? BBQ.
Disney World’s land also has a good variety of character meet and greets. Buzz is stationed pretty regularly near the entrance of the land in the shadows of the Slinky Dog Dash coaster. Woody and Jessie meet throughout the day in front of Toy Story Mania, and the Green Army Squad (not just men any more!) makes impromptu appearances in the land, sometimes harassing unsuspecting guests, other times marching through loudly with a drum corps. Bo Peep recently joined the characters here, with the launch of the Toy Story 4 film. She’s usually appearing with Buzz in front of Toy Story Mania.
So glancing back over this list do you notice something missing? Disneyland Resort! Interestingly enough, the Happiest Place on Earth does not have its own land dedicated to the Toy Story franchise. It does, of course, have Toy Story Mania, but Disneyland has embraced Pixar on a much larger scale and recently reimagined an entire land to the animation pioneer — hence Paradise Pier is now PIXAR Pier, with not only Toy Story Mania, but Jessie’s Critter Carousel (another nod to Toy Story), Pixar Pal-A-Round, the IncrediCoaster, and the recently opened Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind.
So… after taking all of this into account, which Disney Park do you think boasts the best Toy Story land? For my money, it’s the one in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, especially once the new BBQ restaurant opens.
But I sure wouldn’t mind sleeping in a Toy Story-themed hotel!
What about you? Which Toy Story land appeals to you the most? Have you visited any of the others outside the U.S.? Do you plan to? Let us know in the comments!
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