Toy Story Mania review

Since 2008, Toy Story Mania has been a hotspot for all guests at Walt Disney World. The Midway Mania themed attraction takes you directly into the world of Andy’s toys and their shenanigans. You have now joined their world as you shrink down to the size of a toy, put on your glasses, and compete against your party for the highest score.

Let us dive into the ins and outs of this ride and everything you need to know before heading to it. Would it be something that you would be interested in doing on your next trip to Walt Disney World? 

Where is Toy Story Mania?

Hollywood Studios is the park that is in a massive up and coming stage right now. There have been so many changes that have been arriving in the park the past few years. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has been on the minds of Disney fans for the past four years, and now it has come to life in the heart of Hollywood Studios and Disneyland in California. 

However, before Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land arrived in the summer of 2018. The land “shrinks” you down to the size of a toy and brings you into a toy’s world in a place that is made to look like Andy’s backyard. Toy Story Land is located in the back of Hollywood Studios, and Toy Story Mania is located to the left of the entrance of the land. 

The queue of the ride starts on the outside and works its way inside. In my experience, the line itself usually starts whenever you’re inside, meaning that it’s short enough where you don’t necessarily have to wait outside, at least too long. In the Florida heat, this is a huge bonus. The only time you really have to wait outside is during times that have high crowds. 

The high crowds are during the middle part of the day. I would say this starts around 10:30 to 11 in the morning and lasts until about 6 at night. There are times where it can get less crowded earlier in the afternoon, such as around 4 because guests need a break and will go back to their resorts. If you hit Toy Story Mania during the less crowded times, the line should be even shorter. 

However, to be honest, the best time to hit it would be the first thing in the morning. This is when everything is least crowded and more people are going to be going towards the new rides and the rides that fill up fast. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Slinky Dog Dash, for example, will have a bigger guest flow, so Toy Story Mania should be more open. This way you can ride it and knock it out of your list of amazing things to do that day! 

Fast Past+ or No?

A Fast Past+ for Toy Story Mania is, honestly, the call of each particular guest. In the past, before Toy Story Land opened (and now, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge) my family and I have always reserved Fast Passes. This was because it was, arguably, the most popular ride in Hollywood Studios. The line was always really long, and unless we headed there first thing in the morning, the line would always be at least two hours long. 

However, now that Toy Story Land is open, Toy Story Mania does, unfortunately, become a little overshadowed by newer attractions in the land, such as Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers. Not to mention, Tower of Terror and Rock n Roller Coaster, which are at the other end of the park and have always been super popular. I have not been to Disney World since the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, but I can imagine that the line for Toy Story Mania is now even shorter because most of the guests are heading to Galaxy’s Edge instead. 

Before you start feeling bad for Toy Story Mania, less crowds is actually a great thing for the typical Disney guest. If you have never experienced Toy Story Mania, now is the time to do it because of the smaller crowds in its area. 

The last couple times I have been there, we have no bothered to reserve a Fast Past+ for it because the queue had been reduced to an average of forty-five minutes. It might go up to an hour. It honestly just depends on the time of day. The middle of the day is the most crowded in any Disney park, so I do not suggest waiting in that line, especially if there are other attractions in the park you would like to do. Here are some tips on an early morning in Hollywood Studios.

What also depends is how guests are feeling. What I mean is, if guests are tired in the middle of the day or later in the day, a forty-five minute or one hour wait might not be so bad since most of the que is inside. The air conditioning and the break of rushing around might be nice. Also, in retrospect, a forty-five minute or an hour wait at Walt Disney World really is not that bad. 

If you would like to get a Fast Pass+ for Toy Story Mania, it is still worth it, especially if it is one that you are very excited about. It is a very fun ride and is still an attraction that can be Fast Pass+ worthy. Here are some tips on getting a Fast Pass+ for Toy Story Land. This article, not only gives tips for Toy Story Mania, but for all the attractions in the new land, like Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers, and Woody’s Lunchbox.

Editor’s note: Disney World has phased out their Fast Pass program in favor of Disney Genie+, a new paid ride reservation system.

The Ride Itself

The entire queue is a beautiful replica of Andy’s room from the movie. If the entirety of Toy Story Land is Andy’s backyard, the only attraction that has an inside queue would obviously have to be Andy’s room. Where else would we go if we were Andy’s toys right? 

The queue is completely decked out in the classic games and toys of childhood. Believe me, you will get major nostalgia when you are in line. Classic board games like Candyland, Shoots and Ladders, and Scrabble are strewn all over the walls. A barrel of monkeys, crayons, an Etch-A-Sketch, and Tinker Toys are a few of the many toys that line the walls. The goal is to be completely immersed into a child’s world at the viewpoint of a toy, so everything is life-sized. 

You are supposed to be the size of a toy after all, so everything would seem like it was larger than life! During the queue, you will see Mr. Potato Head at some point interacting with guests and cracking jokes like a true vaudeville performer. This is my favorite part of the queue, because let’s face it, Mr. Potato Head is hilarious. He is a perfect spot in order to grab a picture while waiting in line, just don’t hold the line up too long! 

The main loading zone is in the center of “Andy’s bedroom.” You will see the footboard of Andy’s bed, his toy trunk, and numerous toys and games all along the wall of the room. Everything is big, because, remember, you are a toy! Now, something special about the ride is that there is actually another loading zone.

This sometimes can be used for all guests if needed, but usually it is set aside for those who receive “magical moments,” handicap loading and unloading, and/or media. While anyone can go to this loading zone, it is not often one gets to go to this part of the room. A huge door is present at this loading zone, because it is supposed to be the “entrance” into Andy’s room, while a huge window gives a view of the night sky outside. This loading zone is supposed to be the “night side” of the ride. 

What makes this ride more special is the interactiveness and involvement of the guest while the ride is in operation. Essentially, the ride feels like you are playing multiple midway games while a car moves you around.

Each car is provided with a “shooter” for each guest with a pull string that you use to aim towards your target, racking up your score as high as you can. You are given 3D glasses in the queue that provide a better experience for you, because the ride is mostly 3D screens. 

The reason for this is because you are playing a game with your fellow riders, trying to hit as many of the targets as much as possible. The car is moving from one “game” to another, which is why you are in a car in the first place.

For instance, one moment, you are shooting at plates, with Sarge from the movie yelling at you, “I am not your mother. Break those plates!”; then you are shooting rings at the green aliens just like at a ring toss at the fair! There are multiple games like this in the ride, and you have a certain amount of time at each one to rack up as many points as you possibly can. Each “game” includes:

  • “Practice Session”-this is so you know how to work the shooter
  • Jesse’s Farm Critters-looks just like a classic midway game
  • Dinosaur balloons-”throwing” darts at balloons “hosted” by Trixie
  • Sarge’s Plates-breaking plates
  • Green Aliens-throw rings just like a ring toss
  • Wild West theme-similar to Jesse’s critters in a “wild west town” where you shoot at classic targets
  • Last game-shoot as fast as you can at the target to rack up as many points as possible at the last minute

The time you have at each game is about thirty seconds. This seems long, and it is, but it goes by fast! One of the games near the end actually moves the car while you are supposed to shoot the targets, making it even harder! The running time of the ride is actually longer than one might think. It is about a five and a half to six minute ride, and it’s always fun because there is always a goal in mind. 

What I mean is, you have the chance to actually play a game and compete. You are involved with the ride completely. You can make it a game with whomever you ride with, and it makes for a little friendly competition! My brother and I always have the best time competing on this ride. Sometimes we make it interesting, and whoever loses has to buy the other one a Disney snack. 

When you leave the ride, the exit is even adorable. As you’re walking through an exit that’s designed like a carnival tent, you’ll see cardboard drawings that Andy has done for you, like you’ve seen in the first movie. For instance, you’ll see a drawing of Mr. Potato Head in jail and a drawing of Woody saying, “So long, partner!”

Continuing outside, there are multiple picture taking opportunities. Andy’s toys continue to line the path back to Toy Story Land, and it is really fun to explore and look at everything on your way out of the ride. Toy Story Land has even gotten into the Instagram wall game and have two walls to take pictures of: there’s the popsicle stick wall and the checkers board wall. 

These are extremely popular and people are always stopping to take pictures in front of them. All of these props and scenes in the queue and on the ride is what makes Toy Story Mania super special.

Being on the ride truly brings back a lot of memories of being a child, which is the entire point of Disney. So much nostalgia always hits whenever I am on this ride, and I have to add, it’s only gotten better with Toy Story Land as a whole. 

Who is This Ride Perfect for?

Everyone always wonders which rides are the best for certain people during their Walt Disney World planning. Is it alright for kids? How about senior citizens? If I get motion sick, should I ride it?

If you’re going to Disney World with kids, Toy Story Mania should definitely be on your list of attractions to visit. The visuals in it are beautiful, and it is so incredibly detailed. In my experience, I’ve always seen kids in the ride completely enthralled with classic games and toys that are life sized. They cannot believe that it really looks like they’ve shrunken down to the size of a toy. 

Because all of this is in the queue, it can help with distractions while waiting in line and helping the wait go faster. It is a ride for everyone, meaning this is a ride children can ride. It is an attraction that will get them involved by shooting at the targets, while also moving slightly fast as the car moves from game to game. 

Adults will love the novelty of everything and remind them of the first time they saw Toy Story and Toy Story 2 and even Toy Story 3.Now they can think about Toy Story 4. No matter what age you were when you saw the movie, being on this ride will make you feel like a child again. The music playing in the background is music from the movie, creating a massive feeling of nostalgia, and that combined with all the beautiful surroundings immediately transports you into the world of the toys. 

The ride is not a really fast ride, but it is one that can seem rather jerky at first. When the car moves from game to game, it can move rather suddenly, which can then make it feel really jerky at times. If you are easily affected by motion sickness, I do recommend that you do not ride this ride. It spins when it moves, and even though it doesn’t speed up super fast, the sudden movement can sometimes come off too sudden and fast.

There are no sudden drops or anything that is completely in the dark, but there are bright lights and 3D screens combined with slight spinning of a car. If you do not like any of that, then this ride is not for you. Instead, you could meet the rest of your party at the Toy Story Mania exit where you can take pictures with everyone after they are done with the ride. 

This brings up another point, which is that Toy Story Mania has something for everyone. It is a ride that everyone of all ages can enjoy together. Even if you do not want to ride the attraction, then you have photo opportunities, the opportunity to enjoy the amazing details of Toy Story Mania. 

My Perspective

Toy Story has always been one of my favorite Disney movies. It is a major bullet point in my child-hood, so pretty much anything that has to do with it, I love. Disney is all about the immersion into an atmosphere that takes you into an amazing world outside of reality for a little bit. Toy Story Mania is a perfect example of this ideal. One of the reasons I like it so much is because everyone in my family is able to ride it. 

This way, one or two people do not feel left out, and this is something we are all able to do together. I never tire of the competition that this ride evokes either. Everytime, I always try my hardest to beat the person sitting next to me.

The ride, accidentally I’m sure, actually pushes you to do the best you possibly can. At the end of it, there is a “Best in Car” score and “Best this Week” and “Best this Month.” (It is, honestly, amazing, how high of a score some people can get. It is a very stimulating ride for all of the senses, making you almost forget that there is an entire park outside.

Now, all of this being said, it is not my absolute favorite ride. While it is up there, and I love Toy Story, there are times where I will skip it if we have to make a choice. Some of this is because of new rides that have now invaded the park, or because of childhood nostalgics like Tower of Terror and Star Tours. However, it is one that is extremely fun, and if given the chance, you should definitely give it a whirl. 

Toy Story Mania may have gotten a little less crowded and a little overshadowed, but there are perks to this, in my opinion. The reason I think this is because Toy Story Land is open, and Toy Story Mania seems to have “found its place” in the park. In other words, while it made sense before, it is a lot more coherent as far as the theming. 

When inside Toy Story Mania, you feel like you’re in Andy’s bedroom, and when you go back outside, you’re in Andy’s backyard. Essentially, you feel like you’re a toy in Andy’s house, not just his room and not just his backyard. It is completely immersive, which only makes everything better. So, even though it may be less crowded because of newer attractions, the overall attraction fits right on into the land perfectly. 

This is a ride I believe everyone can enjoy and should experience at least once on a trip they take to Walt Disney World. With Hollywood Studios getting brand new stuff in recent years, the park itself is one that you need to definitely visit. When you do, head to Toy Story Mania. You will not regret it. 

Honestly, it is an attraction that has everything: amazing decorations, complete submersion, competition, fun and exuberant characters, picture spots, 3D screens, and a six foot Mr. Potato Head. Even if it is not someone’s favorite ride, it provides a fantastic atmosphere that guests of any age can enjoy. 

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