Ever since rumors began swirling last year that Disney was planning on creating a land based on Toy Story filled with pre-fabricated rides, reactions have been mixed to negative. Many Disney fans felt like like this new land would be a cheap, forgettable addition to a park that needs much more than carnival rides to come back from its current half-day status, and it was certainly hard to argue this point.
However, after several months of waiting, this past week we finally got our first real look at what we might expect when Toy Story Land opens....eventually. And to our surprise, the plans for this land weren't as bad as many (including us!) had feared. Though Toy Story Land will still feature outdoor flat rides, a few key developments that were announced and alluded to in the past few days have eased our fears regarding this new area. While we won’t be able to make a final decision about Toy Story Land until we are able to walk through it ourselves (which will likely be in 2-3 years), these encouraging signs make this new land seem a little less like a quick band-aid for a broken park and more like a new place we’d like to explore.
1. Toy Story Land will be Walt Disney World's version of Cars Land
Say what you will about the Cars series of films, Cars Land is an amazing place to be. This highly-themed area is one of the most immersive lands in any US Disney park, and its easy for guests who visit this area of Disney California Adventure to truly feel, even if just for a moment, like they are really a part of a world where anthropomorphic cars come to life. While it's not quite up to the level of the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley (which essentially smashed the bar when it comes to themed lands when it debuted last year), Cars Land comes pretty close, and begs to be experienced, even if you don't particularly like the Cars films.
That being said however, you may be wondering where the Toy Story Land connection to Cars Land is. During this past week’s D23 Expo, Imagineer Kathy Mangum said that the goal of Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios is to replicate of the “feel” of Cars Land at Walt Disney World. During the Parks and Resorts panel, Mangum said, “That’s exactly how we want people to feel – like they've stepped onto the set of their favorite film … like the quaint town of Radiator Springs or, in the case of 'Toy Story,' the wild and adventurous outdoors of Andy's backyard."
This is definitely an ambitious goal, especially considering Toy Story is a much smaller world for Imagineers to work with. However, if the same amount of thought and care is put into Toy Story Land as was into Cars Land, we may be in for more of a treat than we thought!
2. New attractions will be unique to Walt Disney World
While early rumors indicated that much of Toy Story Land would be reproduced from Toy Story Playlands in Hong Kong and Paris, another surprise from this year’s D23 Expo came when it was announced that the new attractions that would be featured inside Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios would be 100% unique to Walt Disney World.
In case you missed the original announcement, there are two new rides confirmed to be coming to Toy Story Land. The first is a family-friendly roller coaster that will take guests zipping and zooming around a lengthy track that crisscrosses the land on the back of Slinky Dog. The other ride is a spinning attraction that features saucer-shaped vehicles while “the claw” dangles above.
Though these new rides certainly aren’t on par with what has been announced for Star Wars Land, they seem like fun attractions that should help lend some charm to this new land.