Step Into A Pixar Film IRL With Disney World's Incredible New Toy Story Land
To amusement park infinity and beyond!
Visiting the newly-opened Toy Story Land in Walt Disney World in Orlando proved to me that, contrary to what friends, therapists, and Buzz Lightyear might tell me, I’m not a sad, strange little man after all.
Because it took just the sight of a person in a full size Woody costume to make me squeal like a giddy child. Honestly, just days after my 37th birthday, I found myself begging for a hug and praying that Woody would tell me that “I’m his favourite deputy”.
The idea behind Toy Story Land - located in a customised section of Disney Hollywood Studios - is that you enter Andy’s backyard as an ‘honorary toy’, and that everything around you is a supersized version of characters, toys, and games from the movies.
It’s a smart approach. I don’t have kids, and there weren’t any with me during my recent visit, but Toy Story Land is precision-tooled to hit your inner child right in the solar plexus. This is especially true if, like me, you grew up watching and loving (and bawling along with) the Toy Story movies.
The centrepiece of the attraction is the Slinky Dog Dash, a roller-coaster ride along a brightly coloured track that winds and dips through tunnels, arches and scenes built using lovingly-curated props, toys and characters familiar from the three movies. Again, it’s designed as if it were conjured by the active imagination of a young boy like Andy.
Slinky Dog is faster than I expected: its curves and drops are steeper than you might think, but this is still a good intro ‘coaster for kids. The midway point of the ride is when Slinky Dog really kicks into gear: it pauses, reverses a bit, then shoots off again through lots of rings decorated with sounds, spinners and flashing lights.
At nighttime, the lighting on Slinky Dog track is especially beautiful - it’s like a different attraction entirely, and it offers great views of the park and its surroundings.
And if you’re a wuss like me when it comes to fast rides, you can always steady your nerves with a teeth-meltingly sweet “adult beverage” afterwards, like cotton candy rum or Jolly Rancher vodka. Mind you, it’s best not to do that on an empty stomach, so you can always wolf down Toy Story Land’s signature snack dishes like mac and cheese in a bread cone, S’more French toast, grilled cheese sandwiches, and gussied-up Pop Tart-style pastries and desserts.
The other Toy Story-themed attractions are the Alien Swirling Saucers, a spin (pun intended) on the old cup and saucer ride but with toy rocket ships instead. This is the toy that Andy won in the Claw machine at Pizza Planet in the films, and the cute little aliens (that later view Buzz as a saviour/father figure) are the ones overseeing the fun. This is a much more kiddie-friendly ride, but its whips and turns are much sharper than expected.
Then there’s the existing Toy Story Mania, which has been re-launched with a snazzy new carnival-style entrance. This 4D interactive ride whizzes you through five game stops where you use pull-string, spring-action “shooters” to lob simulated projectiles at animated targets.
Warning: this will make you ultra-competitive, and want to ride through again (and again) so you can crack the system to achieve a higher score. I did worse every time I went on. But I didn’t set it as losing - rather failing with style.
MTV Travelled With... Seven nights in Walt Disney World in Florida with Virgin Holidays, including scheduled Virgin Atlantic flights from London Gatwick direct to Orlando, and accommodation at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge from £4,485. The price is for a family of two adults and two children and is based on a standard view room on a room only basis with park tickets, car hire and all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are subject to change. Virgin Holidays is a member of ABTA and is ATOL protected. To book:, 0344 557 3859 or visit one of our individual retail stores or one of the 110 stores located in Debenhams and Next stores nationwide or visit www.virginholidays.com.