This week, Walt Disney World has been hosting an “Awaken Summer” event to promote the new offerings coming to the parks this summer and beyond. Toy Story Land was among the coming attractions presented, and Imagineer Kathy Mangum took the stage to share a few more little snippets of information about the project.
Although we still don’t have a estimated opening date for the land, the most significant new details provided today were the names of the rides: Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers. (Let’s get real though, we’re all going to say “let’s ride Slinky” or “let’s go on the Aliens” when we’re actually there.) The official descriptions of the two new rides, from the Disney Parks Blog, read pretty much like the announcement from D23 last summer:
The first – Slinky Dog Dash – will be a family coaster attraction you’ll want to ride again and again. The attraction features a coaster track that Andy has built all over his backyard using his Mega Coaster Play Kit, but as you know, he has a pretty amazing imagination, so he’s combined it with some of his other toys, according to Imagineer Kathy Magnum.
On Slinky Dog Dash, you will zip, dodge and dash around many turns and drops that Andy has created to really make Slinky and his coils stretch to his limits.
An updated concept video of the Slinky coaster was shown, and you can see it pass other elements of Toy Story Land in the background:
Although no new images were shared of the Aliens’ ride, we did find out a little more about it:
The second all-new attraction in Toy Story Land will be Alien Swirling Saucers. This attraction is designed as a toy play set that Andy got from Pizza Planet, inspired by the first Toy Story film. Aliens are flying around in their toy flying saucers and trying to capture your rocket toy vehicle with “The Claw.”
As you rotate around the toy planets and satellites as part of the game, you’ll swirl to the beat of fun “Space Jazz” music developed just for this experience, Mangum said. The music, the lighting, and the sound effects will add to the flurry of your adventure while “The Claw” looms ominously over you.
Lastly, it was announced that the third track to Toy Story Mania will finally open at Hollywood Studios on Memorial Day weekend. Barring any delays with its opening, I will be at WDW the following week and will report on any changes to the queue or the ride itself.
One thing, however, was not mentioned today, yet is clear in the updated concept art that was shown: the Woody’s Roundup section is most definitely missing, replaced only with a Woody statue in the lower right of the image. Again, whether this is merely oversight in the artist’s rendering; a placeholder while plans for that section of the land are solidified; or proof that the land’s grand entranceway is gone for good, only time will tell. If it is in fact a cut, it’s disappointing that a land that was supposed to feature the same level of immersion as Cars Land – as stated by Kathy Mangum herself last summer – has been scaled back so far as to lose the attention to detail that could make it truly special.
I know I’m biased when it comes to anything Toy Story, but I believe that Pixar’s first and best-known franchise deserves better than what it appears to be getting at DHS, where it’s being treated as a second-class side note to Star Wars. With all the slashing of budgets and plans that has been going on lately within Disney Parks, though, I’m thankful we’re still getting Toy Story Land at all. That being said, it’s common for elements to change as a project progresses; so I’m holding out hope that when the land finally opens, we might see some positive additions to the landscape or maybe even just a few of the cut details reinstated. Stay tuned for updates as I learn of them!
Photos and video © Disney Parks and Disney/Pixar.