I’ll admit it; I know I’ve let this blog slide for the past few months. It’s not for a lack of love for Toy Story, though – if anything, it’s because Jessie’s cut from the Walt Disney World parks and Toy Story 4‘s second delay kind of put me in a fangirl tailspin. Since my last post, my family and I made a trip to Walt Disney World (which, by the way, isn’t all that magical when your favorite character is missing), and I’ve been focusing my efforts on fighting to get Jessie reinstated. But there have been a few little snippets of Toy Story news since then, so I thought I’d catch up and share what’s been going on since November…
Andrew Stanton Explains Toy Story 4‘s Delay
This past October, it was announced that Toy Story 4 had been pushed back yet again, and instead of being released in June 2018, now fans would have to wait another year, until June 2019, with Incredibles 2 taking its former slot. Pete Docter provided an update on the film’s progress in November. In December, Pixar Director Andrew Stanton spoke to Collider about the studio’s films, including the reasoning behind the second delay for the new Toy Story sequel:
One of the things though is you’re obviously involved with Toy Story 4, and I know that they recently changed the release date. What was the reason? Was Incredibles 2 just further along?
STANTON: It was a combo of… Because we’re always like this, we hate when we have to announce because we just basically want to keep sliding the date of release of the movies until the stories are just right, because we don’t want to compromise on that. And Toy Story 4 just needed more story time and Incredibles was moving along faster, so we realized we could do a better switch.
It’s still disappointing that we have to wait another year, especially as the hype is starting for Cars 3, and once upon a time, June 2017 was the original release date for Toy Story 4. But I know the extra time will only make the movie that much better, so I’m trying to make peace with it. That’s all us fans can do, really – that, and try our best to be patient!
Toy Story Land Progress Continues
Progress on Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios is slow (as is any progress at Walt Disney World these days), but it is happening! On February 1, Mickey Xtreme posted some aerial photos showing the ongoing construction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and there have definitely been some new additions since the last update I shared in September.
The grey concrete structure in the rear is for the Slinky coaster, as are some of the footers that have been placed in the ground adjacent to it – supposedly since these photos were taken, at least one segment of track has been installed as well. The pair of comma-shaped structures are where the Alien Swirling Saucers ride will be. And the row of short pillars, lining the wall next to the parking garage, is presumably to support whatever will be built to block the view of the structure from inside the land.
The long peach-colored building to the right of the image is Toy Story Mania, and judging from the extension of the construction fence leading up to it, it appears that work on the reconfigured entry in the rear of the building may begin soon, if it hasn’t already. Also, it’s unclear what the bump-out at the bottom of the picture is for, although I’d speculate it’s just where the walkway will be to Star Wars Land.
There have been recent rumblings on WDW Magic’s forums that some positive additions could possibly be made to the Toy Story Land lineup, including an improved dining facility. (All that is currently planned is a quick-service counter with outdoor table seating.) The fan community hasn’t exactly been complimentary about all the cutbacks Toy Story Land has received in the past year – taking out the originally-announced Woody’s Roundup section and presumed Al’s Toy Barn gift shop, along with many of the land’s immersive details – so I hope that Disney has taken note and decided to at least add a few elements back in. One of the things I hope is part of the plan, more than anything, is a dedicated meet and greet location, where fans can meet not only Buzz and Woody, but Jessie too, because…
Sign the Petition – Bring Back Jessie!
I posted several articles last fall about Jessie being cut from character meet and greets at Walt Disney World. In the time since then, I’ve sent repeated emails to Guest Relations and the WDW President, spoken to people in person, and continued to post constantly on social media, pleading for her return – all to no avail. And I’m not alone – I’ve heard from numerous friends and strangers alike that they’ve also reached out to WDW on Jessie’s behalf, yet WDW management continues to ignore the wishes of guests. To make matters even worse, I have recently learned that she has been cut from the Toy Story meet at greet at Disney California Adventure as well. Jessie is sadly underrepresented in ALL the American Disney Parks.
I became even more frustrated with the situation when my family and I were at Walt Disney World, and we witnessed five Green Army Men out at one time at Hollywood Studios – not in association with their show, just greeting guests. At one point, two of the five were standing around doing absolutely nothing. Are these secondary characters, who barely even appear in the third film and have no presence at all in the series’ subsequent specials and shorts, of more value than the franchise’s female lead? Couldn’t two or three of them be replaced with Jessie? Prioritizing such minor characters over a main female character sends a terrible message to girls everywhere – girls who don’t see themselves in the typical princesses who have taken over the Disney Parks. The tomboys, cowgirls, and free spirits need representation, too.
So, since all other avenues have proved fruitless up to this point, I’ve set up both a Facebook page and a petition to further the cause of Jessie’s reinstatement. And my fellow Toy Story fans, I need your help! Please like the page on Facebook, sign the petition, and share both with anyone you know who might be willing to help! Fans need to have a voice, and our voice needs to be heard. Jessie never gives up. Jessie finds a way!