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Behind the Ride: Alien Swirling Saucers

The Experience: Entering the Claw Machine

The Trick: Transitioning from Buzz to the Little Green Men

Image: DisneyAs you grow closer to the front of the line, the colors and style change. Buzz’s stronger blues and greens are less prevalent, replaced by the orange and red colors that indicate that you’re at a pizza place.

You’re now in the game called Space Crane in Toy Story, the place where The Claw chooses which alien is worthy of leaving the dome. I believe that Walt Disney himself would delight in this domed area, as it’s like an inner child come to life.

The artwork here is endearingly juvenile. Pictures of pizza toppings adorn some of the windows, which are in turn shaped like pizza slices. It’s actually a sight test of sorts, as you may notice the letter V or Roman numeral V more than the picture.

Once you reach this inner dome, it mirrors elements of the exterior of Pizza Planet shown in the movie. However, it primarily honors the interior of Space Crane in Toy Story.

Image: DisneyYou’re now inside a toy machine where a robotic crane dives down to scoop up toys and then lifts them into the air. The lucky few get removed from the machine and dumped into the sweaty hands of overly excited children, ones who have won this tricky game.

Elements of Space Crane are everywhere, whether you’ve noticed them or not. Look to the sky, and you’ll realize that The Claw has already chosen one of the Three-Eyed Aliens. It hangs from the center of the set. And its face is priceless. The Little Green Men feel a sense of euphoria when they get lifted in the air by their master.

Image: DisneyFittingly, The Claw itself looks like cut-rate plastic, as it should. Pizza Planet isn’t a place where you’ll find high-class arcade toys. And this premise is pervasive throughout the ride area.

Everything looks stubbornly cheap by design, something I worry that a lot of theme park tourists misunderstand. It's a playset that someone can win at an inexpensive family arcade. It should have an appearance that matches this concept.

Oh, and the vehicles are adorable. They even have tiny pizza slices on them to complete the theme! For that matter, the engine exhausts on the back of the spaceships come in sets of three, styled to look like the eyes of the Little Green Men! Once you see this, you really can’t un-see it.

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