Only a niche group of people had ever heard of a company in California called PIXAR before 1995. But 1995 would prove to be the year that put PIXAR Studios on the map. It would also be the year that birthed some of our most beloved Disney characters of all time—among others, a pull-string toy sheriff and an astronaut-type action figure. On November 22, 1995, Disney/PIXAR released the first film on which they had collaborated—Toy Story—and it was an instant success. Created with a budget of $30 million, the box office smash would go on to gross $362 million worldwide. Imagineers had to get in on the action. Hence, the birth of the attraction Toy Story Mania!, which opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort on May 31, 2008. The carnival game-themed attraction would also prove to be wildly successful, just as the feature film that inspired its creation. Ten years later, the attraction is more popular than ever, and here are 8 totally cool reasons why.
8. It’s one of the most expensive attractions ever created.
When Disney Imagineering sets out to create, build and realize an attraction, they always go all out. Imagineers are not fans of corner-cutting. That’s evident throughout the Toy Story Mania! attraction. The massive attraction was one of the biggest undertakings by Disney Imagineers in their history. And at a cost of $80 million, no expense was spared. From the ride vehicles to the props and technology used in the virtual shooting galleries, it is obvious that Imagineers were passionate about creating an attraction that would bring PIXAR’s story to colorful life.
7. There’s always a backstory.
As with most attractions at Walt Disney World, there’s a story behind the attraction. In Toy Story Mania!, the premise is that Andy has a new game called Toy Story Midway Mania!, and all the toys are waiting for Andy to leave so that they can open up the game, set it up and play against each other. They have invited us to join them. Once Andy leaves his room, the toys get everything set up, and Guests are shrunk to toy-size and join the rest of the beloved Toy Story characters for a fun competition inside a virtual world of carnival games.
6. Cutting-edge technology makes this attraction come to life.
Some of Disney’s big name sponsors are responsible for the technology used in this attraction. Parts for the ride’s control system came from Siemens AG and Hewlett-Packard. Over 150 computers are used to control the attraction, including one Windows XP personal computer for each of the 56 game screens in the attraction.
5. The queue is one of the best at Disney.
Toy Story Mania! is so popular that you’ll want to reserve a FastPass+ time for your chance to have a rootin’-tootin’ good time with Woody, Buzz and all the gang. But FastPass+ times book quickly for this attraction, so if you aren’t able to get a FastPass+ time, you’ll need to access the attraction via the stand-by queue. But that’s not a bad thing at all. In fact, the stand-by queue for Toy Story Mania! is one of the most exciting and detailed queues in all of Disney World. From the moment Guests enter the attraction, they are “shrunk” down to toy size. The proportions of props in the queue will make a person who is 5’6” tall feel about 14 inches tall. There are ViewMaster reels (remember those from your childhood?) that are almost four feet in diameter. And Tinkertoy connectors in the queue measure 24 inches across. You’ll also see a giant Etch-a-Sketch, giant crayons and a giant Lincoln log house before making your way to the ride vehicles. This is one attraction at Disney where you won’t mind waiting in the stand-by queue.
4. There are 5 fun carnival games to play.
You and your family can test your skills at five fun virtual carnival games! Board ride vehicles and use spring-action shooters, while competing to see who wins the most points. Game one is called “Hamm and Eggs,” and your goal is to knock down barnyard animals with hard-boiled eggs. Upon completion of that game, your ride vehicle moves to another game screen, where you’ll play Game 2—“Rex and Trixie’s Dino Darts”—during which you’ll use virtual darts to pop balloons, all in front of a fiery volcano. At Game 3—“Green Army Men Shoot Camp”—you’ll toss baseballs to break plates at an army men firing range. Different plates have different point values, so aim for those with the highest points! After destroying as many plates as possible, try your virtual hand at tossing rings onto the Green Alien Men in Game 4—“Buzz’s Flying Tossers.” The last game in the attraction, Game 5, is called “Woody’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Shootin’ Gallery,” and you’ll need to be a sharp shooter as you launch darts at mine cart targets. After the games, scores are tallied for your ride vehicle—it’s always fun to see who won the most points—and then brag about it for the rest of the day!
3. The ride vehicles are awesome!
Inside Andy’s room, you’ll board ride vehicles that are 20th century-inspired carnival ride trams that twist and turn along the tracks to land you right in front of your game screen. Each vehicle holds four people—two on either side—and small children can sit in an adult’s lap, as long as the safety restraint can still be engaged. Two ride vehicles are “deployed” at one time, meaning that a party of up to 8 Guests can enjoy the attraction at the same time.
2. The attraction has grown and changed over time.
Since the wildly popular attraction opened in May of 2008, it has undergone some changes. On May 21, 2010, “Bo Peep’s Baaa-loon Pop” game was replaced by “Rex and Trixie’s Dino Darts” to promote the upcoming theatrical release of Toy Story 3, which hit theaters in June of 2010. In March of 2015, plans were unveiled to add another area to the attraction to accommodate more Guests, and in May of 2016, a third track opened inside the attraction.
1. Guests will soon enter the attraction from Toy Story Land.
Toy Story Mania! will soon undergo one more change, and we couldn’t be more excited! The attraction will remain in the same place, but the entrance will move to Toy Story Land before the long-awaited 11-acre home to Woody and Buzz opens in the summer. If the fabulousness of the Toy Story Mania! attraction is any prelude to the greatness of the soon-to-open Toy Story Land, Guests of all ages are in for a real treat! We can’t wait!
While Toy Story Mania! is not the newest attraction at the parks at Disney World, Guests still rave about it as though it had just opened. And we can’t wait to experience the attraction when it becomes part of the new Toy Story Land later this year!