Earlier this month, I was on vacation at Walt Disney World, and while Toy Story Land is always my first stop whenever we visit the parks, this trip there was a new place to explore – a playground in Future World at Epcot, themed to Toy Story 4!
This playground – which was installed as part of the park’s Flower and Garden Festival – also features Toy Story topiaries. On one side of the path there’s a grouping of Woody and Bo Peep with her sheep, Billy, Goat, and Gruff; and on the other side is the Buzz topiary.
Woody and Buzz have appeared in years past – Buzz by Mission Space, and Woody in the American Pavilion – but their faces have been updated and improved from previous iterations to match Bo’s design.
It’s interesting that Bo’s crook is wrapped like in her new look, but she’s wearing her classic dress.
How adorable are these guys? I love them.
While the topiaries are great, the real treasures are to be found in the playground itself. Geared for children age 12 and under, there are a number of activities to be found – many of which display images of the characters, both old and new.
The entrance sign reads Training Grounds. Hmm, is this a hint at some aspect of the movie? When you enter, there are a bunch of block-shaped planters as decorations, as well as monkeys that used to be part of the old Pixar Place area of Hollywood Studios. (There are also some extra parts from the fences at Toy Story Land strewn about, but I haven’t included a photo of them because they’re not all that exciting.)
In the play area, there are little bouncy rides themed to Billy, Goat, and Gruff, decked out in stickers; Buzz’s spaceship, and Rex (Buttercup is on the other side)…
… and my husband couldn’t resist.
Other characters are pictured on hands-on activities. Jessie’s looking super cute in a new-render image.
The Woody and Bo game is fun, too.
It’s not just classic characters to be discovered on the playground. There’s a silhouette image of who we know is Duke Caboom.
The real treasure, however, is found on the “Trash or Toy?” game. This board with spinning images asks you to sort between trash and toys – and some of the toys to be sorted are new faces.
Along with familiar friends, we’ve got another look at the stickered sheep.
And Combat Carl – in his Junior form – looks to be returning! While we don’t know if this is the same Combat Carl, Jr. that we saw in Toy Story of Terror, it seems that there will be multiple versions of him in the film.
But Carl wasn’t the biggest surprise of the new toys. Here, we get our first rendered look at Gabby Gabby!
It’s crazy that the first glimpse we’d get of these characters would be on a playground of all places! Just goes to show how secretive this whole movie has been so far.
Besides the fun character images all across the playground, they also play music from the Toy Story films in the background. And it’s not just instrumental, either – I loved hearing some of the Woody’s Roundup songs by Riders in the Sky! While we were there, the first few days of the Flower and Garden Festival caused some crazy crowds, so this little area quickly became my happy place in the park. I hope that, even if the topiaries get taken down after the festival is over, the playground itself sticks around for a while!
All photos taken by me. Toy Story logo and character images © Disney/Pixar.