Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Travel

First look: Preview of Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Land opens to the public Saturday at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, an 11-acre play land designed to look like visitors have been shrunk to the size of toys and are set loose in Andy’s back yard.

The park opened the attraction Thursday to the media for a preview. The Tampa Bay Times is there today. Check back for photos, videos and updates.

WHAT’S NEW

You can almost make a game of all the classic game pieces that show up as scenery. There’s a door that looks like the Wild card from an Uno deck, dominoes and popsicle sticks are turned into park benches and a towering Jenga set has Andy’s toy dinosaur on top. And it’s all on a giant scale.

There’s a 20-foot Woody at the entrance who periodically calls out, "Hey howdy, hey!" Under every bush and tree you’ll find gigantic game pieces — from Scrabble tiles and checkers to a towering Jenga set with Andy’s toy dinosaur on top — and Tinkertoy street lights illuminate the way. Green Army Men — and Green Army Women — march around throughout the day, and they will sometimes stop to lead the crowd in interactive games such as "Sarge Says," not unlike Simon Says.

There’s a family friendly coaster, Slinky Dog Dash, that puts riders on Slink’s back as he curls over hills. One bonus is you get a great view from the top of the coaster of Star Wars Land under construction nearby and set to open next fall. Weezy the squeeze-toy penguin serenades riders as they leave.

The little green men known for cooing in unison, "Oooooooooh, the Claw," are featured in Alien Swirling Saucers, where spinning vehicles make you feel like you are trapped in an arcade game. People who get nauseous on the tea cup ride in the Magic Kingdom will be relieved that this one isn’t as dizzying.

FLORIDA THEME PARK GUIDE 2018: Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens and more

WHAT TO EAT

Woody’s Lunch Box is a quick service joint that looks like a kid’s lunch box turned on its side, propped open with a thermos, and transformed into a lunch counter. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a twist on classic American fare, like hot Monte Cristo sandwiches and tater tot nachos called tatchos. Desserts include a Hazelnut Lunch Box Tart garnished with icing and caramelized bacon, and lots of soda floats.

Not-for-kids drinks include beer, hard cider and a cocktail called Grown-Up’s Lemonade ($9.25) that includes cherry vodka, Odwalla Lemonade and black cherry purée.

WHAT’S IMPROVED

The theme park has upgraded the entrance to Toy Story Mania, the ride in which passengers fire pull-string cannons during big-screen digital carnival games. The queue has been rerouted so guests enter on the Toy Story Land side of the building, and not the Pixar Place side, starting Saturday.

Toy Story Mania is one of the most popular attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, with FastPasses snapped up well in advance even on moderately crowded days. The park added a third track in 2016 to stem what had become its biggest bottleneck.

EXPECT LINES

Save time in line at Woody’s Lunch Box by using the Mobile Order feature on the Disney park app to order in advance.

Long lines are predicted, since new attractions draw crowds. Disney’s Animal Kingdom saw a 15 percent spike in attendance last year after it opened Pandora — the World of Avatar, with some people waiting five hours to ride Flight of Passage.

The Touring Plans website, which uses computer algorithms to predict crowd sizes and ride times, estimates waits of 200 minutes for Slinky Dog Dash, but expects it to settle down to a mere 120 minutes in August. The Alien Swirling Saucers ride may have a 150-minute wait, the website estimated.

Both rides offer FastPasses, and people staying at a Disney resort can get one up to 60 days before check-in.

Disney has planned for the crush by opening Hollywood Studios one hour earlier, at 8 a.m. and closing two hours later than normal at 10:30 p.m. starting Sunday before the July 4 holiday.

Admission is $102-$122, $96-$116 ages 3-9, 2 and younger free. disneyworld.com.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at swynne@tampabay.com. Follow @SharonKWn.

     
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