/ Saturday, September 20th, 2008

I arrived at the Studios at rope drop and made the dash to Toy Story Midway Mania for FastPasses. I immediately noticed a difference in the crowd movement after rope drop. In the past, the majority of the people made the right turn down Sunset Boulevard (towards Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n Roller Coaster) and now almost everyone kept going towards Toy Story Mania.

Once I arrived at the attraction, I was greeted by a very large line to get FastPasses. Needless to say, I was quite surprised. I had stood in lines before at Expedition Everest to get FastPasses, but nothing like this! I was in line 20 minutes waiting just to get a Fastpass. I came back to the attraction at around 10 a.m. and noticed the FastPass return times were now approaching 4 p.m. Wow!

I am going to now describe the attraction with spoilers so if you don’t want to know, stop now.

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My first experience was through the FastPass queue, but I will describe the Standby queue as you MUST experience that queue to really get the experience. It is a great queue and is one of the best – if not the best – queue out there. It is very detailed, colorful and just a great experience.

 

When you enter, you immediately realize you have been shrunk down to the size of a toy and are in Andy’s room. There are huge light sockets on the wall and eventually you start seeing oversized toys. Some of the oversized toys include large View Master reels, Tinkertoys, dice, dominos, crayons and much more.

 

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As I said before, it is an extremely detailed and immersive queue. There is even great detail on the ceiling and floor as the ceiling represents a Scrabble board and the floor a Candy Land game board.

 

You eventually come to the highlight of the queue, Mr. Potato Head, who appears close to the spot where the Standby and FastPass lines merge. I will warn you that you will not see Mr. Potato Head when using the FastPass queue. The first two times I did this attraction; I used FastPass and was not aware of this. I had my camera ready and could not find the big guy anywhere.

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This character is amazing. The projection used for his eyes was great and I couldn’t believe how realistic his lip movements looked. He tells jokes and makes comments and is very entertaining (I find this funnier than the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor). It appears that a lot of his comments are canned but I did hear him call out to specific people in line from time to time.

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After you pass Mr. Potato Head, the Standby and FastPass lines merge and you proceed up some stairs and onto a bridge overlooking the loading area. The carnival theming starts to get introduced and you descend a staircase to the loading area. [Ed. Note: There is a different route for those who are unable to navigate the stairs, and a separate loading platform for those requiring special assistance]

The ride vehicles contain two back-to-back seating areas; two people sit on one side, two on the other. You are seated on a bench with a cannon mounted in front of you and a screen in the middle between the two cannons which, of course, keeps track of your scores. Two cars go at a time and you are whisked into the attraction.

 

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You arrive at the first screen which is basically a tutorial on how the cannons work. If you have played the Pirates of the Caribbean game at DisneyQuest, you will be familiar with the operation of the cannons. Basically, to shoot, you pull a string on the back as fast as you can and with each pull the cannon fires. During the tutorial, you launch pies at targets just to get the hang of the operation and then you are sent to the first screen where your score counts for real.

Here are the various screens you are sent to in the order you will see them.

Hamm & Eggs booth – here you launch eggs at various animals such as ducks and donkeys. This one was fairly easy. The tough part is whether to try for the higher point animals which are harder to hit or to rack up points on the easier lower point targets.

Bo Peep’s Baaa-loon Pop – here you launch darts at virtual animal shaped balloons. I found this one to be more challenging than the previous game. There is a special bonus for popping a water balloon as you get a little spray of water for your efforts.

Green Army Men Shoot Camp – you shoot baseballs at plates in this challenge. I found this to be the easiest of them all and tended to rack up points here.

Buzz Lightyear’s Flying Tossers – this is a ring toss game where you need to toss virtual rings over little Green Aliens. I found this one to be the most challenging: just because you hit the alien, didn’t mean the ring would fall on top of it. This one also featured a little bonus of a blast of air for hitting certain aliens.

Woody’s Rootin Tootin Shootin Gallery – here you launch suction cups at various targets. This one is a little different as you actually slowly change screens during the game so need to make a decision at one point on which screen to shoot at. The final screen is a rush where you basically just have to shoot at one target as rapidly as possible. As you continue to hit it, the point value will increase and you will really rack up the points.

At the end the scores are tallied and you receive a virtual critter based on where your score lies. Be sure to pull your cannon string a few more times on this screen.

I have to tell you that I LOVED this attraction. I never in a million years thought that I was going to enjoy this attraction as much as I did. It was an absolute blast and the whole family just wanted to do it over and over again. I will warn you that your arm will get sore and I had to switch arms several times due to fatigue but the pain was well worth it.

We liked it so much that we made Disney’s Hollywood Studios our last park on the day we were leaving. We have always gone to Epcot on the last day but we all agreed to break that tradition for another shot at Toy Story Midway Mania.

I can’t wait to see what they do with this ride. Given the fact that so much of it is shown on screens, I am thinking they will do holiday overlays, change games and much more to keep the attraction fresh.

On your next trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, make a beeline for Toy Story Midway Mania. You’ll be glad you did!

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