It feels like things are really starting to pick up lately in the Toy Story world – Toy Story Land will be opening at Walt Disney World in less than 12 weeks, and with Incredibles 2 hitting theaters in just two months, we’ll soon be hearing more about Toy Story 4. Some new info has come out over the past week, so here’s a roundup of those updates!
Toy Story 4
A fun image has been circulating across Disney and Pixar social media accounts lately, of a “4” logo made out of post-it notes at the Pixar studios. All of these posts – on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook – have confirmed the June 21, 2019 date we’ve had for the film since October 2016. One was even tweeted by director Josh Cooley himself:
There were a lot of gloom-and-doom remarks made after Stephany Folsom was announced as the movie’s writer in January – not based on her writing skills, but based on the assumption that she had only just come on board at that time, inevitably causing another delay. After searching through earlier social media posts, however, it seemed as if she might have been working on it for a while, and I continued to hold out hope that things were in fact running as they should be. I think it’s safe to say now that this reminder – which has been so widely published over the past week – can be seen as reassurance that Toy Story 4 is definitely, finally, drawing close to its release.
An insightful article was also shared recently by Fast Company, regarding John Lasseter’s “sabbatical” as a result of allegations of misconduct back in November. In it, those close to Pixar offer assurance that his absence has not impacted production, nor will it have any sort of negative effect in the long run, should he not return:
Pixar has a well-oiled management and creative system in place that makes Lasseter’s presence less crucial. Catmull still oversees broader business matters… and the Brain Trust directors—including Pete Docter, Brad Bird, and Lee Unkrich— have all been groomed to make movies with the Pixar touch.
“I don’t know if there’s any one person there that would want to be John Lasseter,” says Craig Good, a camera artist who worked on several Pixar films, including Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc. “But I don’t know if Pixar actually needs a John Lasseter. I think as long as management doesn’t lose sight of the fact that it’s a creative-driven studio, I don’t know whether it makes a difference” who’s in charge.
Besides, Pixar isn’t just one person:
“The quality of Pixar films is the result of the talent and vision and direction of hundreds of top-notch artists and technicians,” adds Stephan Bugaj, who was a technical director on Cars and The Good Dinosaur. “One person may mean a lot to the investment marketplace and the media, but in terms of making really great films, any guy is just one guy. There are hundreds of people who all come together to make that happen.”
And the studio is managing just fine without him:
Life at Pixar is “business as usual,” says one filmmaker who recently visited the campus. Projects are humming along smoothly even without Lasseter, who split his work weeks between the Disney lot in Burbank, and Pixar’s Emeryville headquarters.
We’ll find out in May, when the previously-stated six months are up, whether John Lasseter will return to the studios or retire quietly. I wish him well, and hope for a positive resolution in all of this – but regardless of the outcome, I’m not concerned about Pixar’s future, or the future of their films currently in the works. After the long, bumpy road we’ve been on waiting for Toy Story 4, I’m excited to see what’s in store for us in the coming months!
Toy Story Land
We’ve known for a while that the dining location in Toy Story Land will be called Woody’s Lunchbox, and today the Disney Parks Blog shared what the menu in this quick-service location will be like! The dishes are intended to draw from traditional favorites, and I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised by the variety. It all looks delicious!
There are several breakfast options…
And some lunch offerings that I can’t wait to try…
If you must eat a little healthier at Disney…
But be sure to save room for dessert!
There are side dishes as well – tomato basil soup, vegetable macaroni salad, potato barrels, and Mini Babybel snack cheese – along with kid-friendly sandwiches. Alcoholic beverages will be available, too. I’m glad there are so many good things on the menu – with all the time I’ll be hanging out in Toy Story Land, I’ll have a chance to taste it all!
Also today, five new Pixar Magic Band designs were launched on the Shop Parks app and on the shopDisney site – and one of them is Toy Story! There has only ever been one very basic Toy Story band offered, since Magic Bands first launched back in 2013, and it just featured Buzz and Woody. Now, we get not only Buzz and Woody, but Jessie, Bo, and Rex, too!
I’m so happy to see the girls represented, they’ve largely been neglected in Parks merchandise over the years. Not to mention that I love the style of the artwork on this! Here’s hoping to more great things when Toy Story Land opens on June 30 – I’ve already ordered my new Magic Band to wear on opening day!
Last but certainly not least, I thought I’d share one progress photo of the land, as posted by @bioreconstruct on Twitter:
As you can see, the landscaping is pretty much complete surrounding the Slinky Dog Dash Coaster, and the other buildings are moving along nicely. Hopefully soon we’ll see some more finished exterior wall surfaces and color going up – only 82 days left!
I’ll be sure to share any other updates as they come out. Stay tuned!
Logo photo © Pixar. Food and Magic Band photos © Disney Parks. Aerial © @bioreconstruct on Twitter.