It’s been quite some time since I’ve shared an update on Toy Story Land’s construction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, but that’s not because of a lack of progress. Progress has actually been quite steady, and the constant influx of aerial photos online have been difficult to choose from! But with the land’s opening less than six months away now, let’s take a look at the current state of things in Walt Disney World…
The Toy Story Land model installed at Hollywood Studios is the most comprehensive view we’ve gotten of the land to date. I was able to see the model firsthand back in October, and while it’s a great resource, it’s very difficult to photograph, being behind glass. So let’s take a look at the most recent aerials, shared by Orlando Park Pass just a few days ago, compared with some concept art and model photos Disney has shared themselves…
Slinky Dog Dash
The land’s family-friendly coaster, which features two launches, is coming along nicely. Figures of Jessie, Rex, Mr. Spell, and a Green Army Man have been added, as well as some landscaping and decorative props.
The Slinky vehicle has also begun testing on the track, as shown in this video…
Alien Swirling Saucers
This ride is a rethemed version of Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, a whip ride at Disney California Adventure. The ride system was built months ago, before the roof started to go up, so we haven’t gotten a look inside for a while. With the structure now enclosed, there’s not much new to see besides exterior elements – it’s possible the Alien ride vehicles are already in place by now.
Woody’s Lunch Box
Woody’s Lunch Box will be a quick service dining location in Toy Story Land. Themed to a Woody’s Roundup lunch box and thermos, it will offer meals as well as old-fashioned floats, and is being sponsored by Mini Babybel cheese. An entrance to restrooms can be seen to the right of the image.
Toy Story Mania
This existing favorite will have a new entrance facing Toy Story Land, and right now both the ride’s standby and FastPass queues are outside, as interior passageways are reconfigured. It has also been reported that the third (and newest) track has been closed for the rerouting process.
Walt Disney World doesn’t seem to do as much specially-themed merchandise for their lands, at least not like you see in the other Disney parks, especially Tokyo. (Pandora at Animal Kingdom is one exception.) So we don’t know a lot about how much Toy Story Land merchandise will be offered, but a few pin images have been released…
There are rumors that the park’s Sweet Spells shop will close soon to become a Toy Story themed store, which is unusual considering its location is well outside of the new land. But as Toy Story Land’s shop was cut from the construction plans, perhaps Disney is realizing their mistake a little late in the game, and trying to remedy that in one way or another.
Meet and Greets (?)
One thing we have heard absolutely nothing about is the presence of the actual Toy Story characters in the land. You would assume they would be present, but the meet and greet building was another element cut from the original plans, and it’s difficult to discern any sort of plausible location for a greeting area in the aerial photos or the model. Considering Walt Disney World’s penchant for cutbacks these days, I won’t consider anything – even a meet and greet – to be a given until it’s announced. As my readers know, I’ve been fighting for Jessie’s return to meeting guests since she was cut from Frontierland in October 2016. Most often, Toy Story is marketed at Walt Disney World as being for boys only, with Buzz, Woody, and the Green Army Men the only characters currently meetable at Pixar Place. Please help me in fighting for Jessie’s return! Sign the petition [here] and tell Walt Disney World that Jessie needs to have a permanent home in Toy Story Land, along with Buzz and Woody!
Meanwhile, in Disneyland…
On the other side of the country, Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure is currently undergoing its transformation into Pixar Pier, which will offer re-themed rides featuring favorite Pixar characters. We’ve gotten some new concept art images for that as well, and while some people aren’t happy with the overlay, I won’t complain about anything that includes a giant Jessie statue (which appears to be the same one being used for the Slinky Dog Dash coaster) and a Toy Story Carousel!
There’s still a lot of painting and detail work to be done, but I’m excited to watch everything unfold in the next few months! Hopefully we’ll get an actual opening date soon, versus the “Summer 2018” that is still being touted. Which of the new additions are you most looking forward to? It’s an exciting time to be a Toy Story (and Pixar) fan in the Disney parks!
Concept art, model, figure, and pin photos © Disney. Aerial photos © Orlando Park Pass.