Is Toy Story Mania Scary?  Assessing the Scare Factor

Toy Story Midway Mania” by Steven Miller licensed under CC BY 2.0

Toy Story Mania has been one of the most popular rides in Disney’s Hollywood Studios park for years now.  But if you’re visiting Disney World for the very first time, you might be wondering: is Toy Story Mania scary?  Don’t fret—we’re going to examine this ride from top to bottom for you so you can have all of the knowledge necessary to see just how scary (or not scary) this ride really is.

How Scary is Toy Story Mania?

Untitled” by Theme Park Tourist licensed under CC BY 2.0

Let’s get right down to it.  If we were to rate how scary Toy Story Mania is on a scale of 1 to 10 (with “1” being “absolutely harmless” and “10” being “absolutely terrifying”), this ride rates a 0. It’s just not scary at all. However, it does feature some loud noises, flashing lights, and 3D technology, so it may be a little overwhelming to anyone who is sensitive to those experiences.  

So in that sense, I suppose the attraction at times can be somewhat startling for super sensitive guests, but it is not scary in the slightest.  Here’s our “scary level breakdown” of the ride various features:

Theming – Scary Level is 0: The theme for this ride can be summed up in one word: fun! Once you enter the inside queue area, you’re surrounded by giant-sized toys from Andy’s toy box. The ride itself takes you through various arcade games that you play with the “shooter” on the ride vehicle. You’ll see your game score throughout the ride, so you can compete for bragging rights with the rest of your family.

Story – Scary Level is 0:
The premise is pretty simple: you are now the size of one of Andy’s toys, and you get to play with his carnival game playset. This ride is all about just having fun and being playful.

Ride Speed – Scary Level is 0:
Toy Story Mania isn’t a very fast ride. The ride vehicles move along a smooth track, with no drops or hills. Although it does speed up slightly on a couple of turns, it’s nowhere near as fast as a roller coaster or other thrill rides.

Drops and Intensity – Scary Level is 0:
There are no drops or hills on this ride. The entire ride is smooth and level. There are some quick spinning turns, but they’re very brief. The ride vehicles are roomy and quite comfortable. 

There are a lot of bright lights, and it’s pretty noisy throughout. While these features don’t make it scary, they can be uncomfortable for anyone who has a light and/or noise sensitivity.

Age Appropriate:
Toy Story Mania is appropriate for all ages! Disney has no age or height restrictions for this ride. This playful ride is popular with guests of all ages.

Toy Story Mania Queue

The outside of the Toy Story Mania ride building is designed to look like the box for Andy’s “Midway Games Playset”. As you walk in, you realize you are now “shrunk” down to the size of one of Andy’s beloved toys, and you are wandering through his game. The queue area is incredibly detailed and is sure to bring a smile to everyone’s face. 

Disney’s reputation for outstanding theming and attention to detail is evident here. Be sure to look around everywhere, even up towards the ceiling. There are gigantic toys, games, and books anywhere you look. It’s fun to look around, and it definitely gets one in a playful mood. Little kids love seeing the oversized toy decor, and it is sure to bring a sense of happy nostalgia to most adults. It’s not unusual to hear many exclamations of “Wow, I remember I had that when I was little!”

As you progress through the queue, you’ll soon be greeted by a large animatronic Mr. Potato Head, who is acting as a carnival barker. Mr. Potato Head entertains guests by singing, telling jokes, and occasionally interacting with the people in line. Since the line can move a little slow, this is a fun distraction. 

Toy Story Mania Boarding Area

After passing by Mr. Potato Head, you’ll pick up your 3D glasses for the ride and move into the boarding area. The vehicle boarding area is designed to look like Andy’s bedroom from the Toy Story movies. The details are impressive, and fans of the Toy Story movies will be absolutely delighted. The ride vehicles are designed to fit four passengers total, with two people on each side sitting back to back. 

Toy Story Mania Ride Experience

There are spring-action “shooters” in front of each seat, as well as a small video screen that displays your game scores. The shooters (which resemble small cannons) can be moved up and down as well as from right to left so you can aim at the targets. To “shoot” at a target, there is a string that is pulled and released. It’s easy to operate even for small children. For each game, you’ll use the shooter in the exact same way; just aim, pull the string back, and release.

The ride vehicles take you through several virtual carnival games. Each game lasts approximately 30 seconds, then the vehicle will spin around to take you to the next game. At each game scene, a character from the Toy Story movies will be there cheering you on! This adds to the fun, but keep in mind that it also adds to the noise level. Between the game noises and the characters shouting encouragement, it can be a little bit loud.

The first game you’ll play is a practice round, just to get you familiar with how the game shooters work. The shooters don’t fire any actual projectiles; it’s all 3D video technology. Using the “shooters” is very easy, even for small children. Each of the five games is a basic “aim and shoot” game, with a different themed setting. There are targets with higher point values in each game that can release a bonus target of some kind. Some of these higher point targets are situated lower in the games, where they are more at eye level for small children.

The first game is called “Hamm and Eggs”. In this game, the characters Hamm and Buttercup will be there offering encouragement as you shoot virtual hard-boiled eggs at barnyard animal targets. Some of the animals are moving, and some are standing still. This makes it easy for even little kids to hit a few targets.

Next up is “Rex and Trixie’s Dino Darts”.  Your shooter will throw virtual darts at balloons lined up in front of a steaming volcano scene. A fun feature of this game is that you’ll sometimes feel a blast of air when you “pop” a balloon target.

From there, you’ll move on to the “Green Army Men Shooting Camp”. It’s an army shooting range, except you’ll be throwing virtual baseballs to break plates. Sarge from the Toy Story movies will be here, shouting drill instructor style encouragement at you throughout the whole game. It’s pretty funny, and you might find it hard to shoot straight from laughing at Sarge’s remarks.

“Buzz Lightyear’s Flying Tossers” is the next game. Buzz is there with a whole bunch of the little green aliens. The object of the game is to toss rings over the little aliens.

By now, you might be wondering where Woody is. The last game is “Woody’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Shootin’ Gallery”, and Woody and Jessie are there to cheer you on as you shoot virtual suction cup darts at an assortment of mining cart targets.

Once you finish the last game, don’t forget to check your score! It will be displayed on the video screen in your ride vehicle.

As you exit the ride building and adjoining souvenir shop, there is a path that leads to the rest of Toy Story Land. The fun theming continues, as the path is adorned with more giant toys.

Toy Story Mania Ride Speed

Toy Story Mania isn’t a high-speed ride. Most of the time, the ride vehicles are moving at a slow to moderate pace, speeding up only on the turns to take you to the next game. 

Toy Story Mania Drops and Intensity

This ride is fun, but it wouldn’t be accurate to describe it as a thrill ride. There are no drops or hills, and the only fast parts are when the ride vehicles turn before each game section. The turns are kind of a fast swoop, but they aren’t a sustained spinning action. This ride does require the use of 3D glasses. There are some bright lights, and it can be noisy. The noise isn’t excessive, but it could be uncomfortable for anyone (especially very small children) with hearing sensitivities.

Conclusion

At the start of this article, you were pondering the question: is Toy Story Mania Scary?  Hopefully by now, you have the answer: absolutely not.

This interactive attraction is part ride, part game, and there’s a good reason it’s one of the best rides at Hollywood Studios. The theming of giant-sized classic toys brings a sense of excited wonder to children and happy nostalgia to adults. One of the best things that can be said about Toy Story Mania is how it encourages everyone to play. It’s fun to compare scores with everyone in your family, and you’ll be tempted to ride it more than once to improve your score!

Because of its popularity, Toy Story Mania usually has a pretty long wait time. If you’re not using Disney’s Genie+ service to book Lightning Lane passes, the shortest lines for this ride will probably be in the early morning hours. Check back at times people would usually be eating lunch or dinner also; lines tend to be shorter when most people are eating their meals.

There are no age or height requirements for this ride. The Walt Disney World website states that guests who are prone to motion sickness shouldn’t ride this ride. This is probably due to the 3D glasses and the swooping turns. They really aren’t that intense, and taking motion sickness medication beforehand should be helpful.

There are wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Guests who use an ECV (electric convenience vehicle) will need to transfer to a wheelchair (cast members will have some on hand), and then they can board the ride. Some of the accessible vehicles have shooters with a push button control instead of the pull string for anyone who has limited motor skills. Talk to a cast member if you require this accommodation. 

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