As the only place in Walt Disney World where guests can experience an attraction from the perspective of a toy, Toy Story Mania is easily one of the most popular rides in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Walt Disney World. Guests walk into the world of Andy’s bedroom and immediately are immersed in a nostalgia of toys we all remember from childhood, like Chutes and Ladders, checkers, Viewmaster reels, Lincoln logs, Crayola crayons, and Battleship. The larger than life toys scattered throughout the queue set the scene, and soon guests board their vehicle and get a chance to be part of a new game. As the ride vehicle spins from screen to screen, guests get a chance to play five different carnival-style games and rack up points at each stop using a spring-action shooter. These games are played with 3D glasses and include amazing special effects, like water sprays when you virtually pop a water balloon or a puff of air from a flying object. Check out these nine amazing facts and secrets before your next spin on Toy Story Mania.
1. A Disney First
When Toy Story Mania opened in Walt Disney World in May 2008 and then in Disneyland in California in July 2008, it became the first ride to premier at two Disney parks simultaneously.
2. The History
“Toy Story” was inspired by Tin Toy, a 1988 short film created by John Lasseter. Tin Toy is based on the idea of what happens when toys come alive. A Little Golden Book version of Tin Toy can be found by the attraction’s exit. As Imagineers were creating this attraction, they played real life versions of the carnival games to make sure the virtual versions were as realistic as possible.
3. Changes and Expansion
This attraction opened in 2008 with two tracks, but by 2010, the ride was changed to add in characters from the “Toy Story 3” movie, including Buttercup the unicorn and Trixie the dinosaur. Since its opening, Toy Story Mania had become extremely popular. Long lines were the norm, and a FastPass was almost a necessity. A third track was added in 2016 and integrated into the existing ride system to alleviate the long wait times.
Over 150 computers with multiple networks are necessary to run this five-minute ride. Not only do the computers control the movement of vehicles along the tracks, but they also are necessary to track each pull of the spring-action shooter. This attraction uses a combination of gaming technology, projection techniques, and new computer technology to calculate a guest’s score and accuracy percentage every time the ride vehicle leaves a game and moves on to a new one.
5. Universal Appeal
Without any height or age restrictions, Toy Story Mania holds appeal to all ages of guests. Several of the higher value targets in the games are placed at the eye level of younger guests, making it easier for them to see. Regardless of your age or skill level, the attraction is designed so that each guest walks away feeling successful and happy with how they played.
6. Easter Eggs
If you’re ready to raise your score, keep an eye out for the Easter egg, or hidden target, in each of the games. These targets can trigger the appearance of a special higher value target. For example, in Rex and Trixie’s Dino Darts, breaking all six lava balloons will trigger the volcano to shoot out balloons worth higher point values.
7. Work as a Team
Along with the same lines as aiming for the Easter egg targets, working as a team will unlock even more points. At the Green Army Men Shoot Camp, if both players hitting the 2,000-point gold plates, more high-value plates will pop up for you. It’s important to be accurate too. Low accuracy slows your ability to earn points.
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8. Hidden Mickeys
Toy Story Mania has its fair share of Hidden Mickeys. When you’re in the loading area, look at the back of the oversized Tin Toy book. Near the spine are images of Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. Another good one to spot is the Green Army Men Shoot Camp game. A large white plate lines up with two smaller plates behind it to form a classic Mickey.
9. A New Land
With the continued popularity of all things Toy Story and the Toy Story Mania attraction, Disney is creating an entire land in Hollywood Studios dedicated to Toy Story. The backstory will be that guests are entering Andy’s backyard and interacting with their favorite characters from Toy Story. Attractions slated for this new area include a Slinky Dog family coaster and a ride involving alien flying saucers. We can’t wait until this new land opens in Summer of 2018.