It’s a game that’s a ride and a ride that’s a game! Toy Story Midway Mania! (TSMM) is one of the most fun and interactive attractions located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The interactive experience that is offered is a trend that Walt Disney World is moving towards, and to me, it is the best to date. The premise of the attraction is that the guests are shrunk down to toy size and Woody, Buzz and the gang are putting on a carnival while Andy is gone. The toys are using a brand new toy that Andy has received for a gift, and they spare no expense in making it a one-of-a-kind experience inside Andy’s room.
The attraction really does start as soon as you enter Pixar Place, which is themed after the Pixar Studios campus in Emeryville, California. As soon as you walk under the Pixar Studios sign, you have left Hollywood Studios and have entered the exciting, lively world of Pixar. Look around once you have entered the area, you notice that everything in the area is very large, and it appears that the guest’s have been shrunk down to the size of a toy. It becomes very clear from the moment you step into the Pixar Place that the land is very whimsical, bright and is designed to bring out the child in everyone.
If there is ever a time to slow down and take a look at what type of detail Imagineers put into the parks, TSMM is it. For starters, the sign at the start of the queue is so detailed and exciting. The whole sign is constructed with a combination of things such as scrabbles pieces, crayons, cards from a deck, a spindle of string, a spatula and so much more.
The fun and excitement definitely does not stop once you pass under the entrance sign because there are toys everywhere inside the show building including the ceiling! If you had not noticed that everyone has been shrunk down to toy size outside in Pixar Place, you will quickly realize it now. There literally is every type of classical toy you could ever imagine including Candy Land, Scrabble, Barrel of Monkey’s, Chutes and Ladders and so much more. Try and make it a goal to find your favorite growing up because it most likely will be in the queue area!
One of my favorite toys in the queue are the View-Masters. The size is of the toy is amazing but the best part is is the pictures, which are spectacular! Make sure to keep an eye out for the Disneyland View-Master as it offers some great views of the iconic park. By far the highlight of the queue is the Mr. Potato Head Audio-Animatronic that acts as the Carnival Barker. The interactive Mr. Potato Head sings, converses with guests and can even remove body parts and put them back on! As one of the most advanced A.A.’s ever built, everyone will be amazed when they come across him.
Once you have picked up your 3-D glasses you know you are finally getting closer! To me, this attraction is the best use of 3-D in all of Walt Disney World, and once you have been on TSMM, you will understand why. The 3-D effect is incorporated into it so smoothly and adds a great deal of interactiveness to the attraction. After picking up the glasses, there will be a staircase that leads you to the next part of the show building, and I love this room as well. This room is the loading area, and it is clear now you are Andy’s room because the walls are covered with the iconic Toy Story blue sky and puffy white clouds wallpaper. Construction of the loading area looks to have been done rather quickly by Woody, Buzz and all their friends because it looks like they grabbed whatever they could to put together this carnival ride!
Finally, it is time to hop on the ride-vehicle, and get the show underway. Each vehicle seats four people. Two people in each row with their backs facing each other with a tall divider in-between. Each guest has their own spring action toy cannon that shoots via pulling a string. Here’s a tip for those who have not been on TSMM, change shooting hands throughout the game because your wrist and hand will get tired. The first set of targets that the vehicle comes across will be a practice game that allows guests to get a good idea how the game works, but after that, it’s time to play! Each game booth has a different theme to it, and you are shooting at different targets. Cheering you on throughout the attraction will be characters such as Woody, Buzz and the Green Army Men.
The best part of the game is that it is catered to every age level and gives everybody the chance to rack up as many points as possible. Some of the targets are larger that offer the less-experienced shooters a better chance to score and there are small targets to give the sharp shooters a true battle. Besides the amazing 3-D effects, Imagineers have also added 4-D technology that brings so much more excitement to the game. For example, when shooting at balloons in one of the booths, they will pop and there will be a rush of air that shoots toward you. The Imagineers really did not miss a thing in designing this attraction.
The final thing that adds another level of excitement to the game is that it is also a competition. As the shooting continues, your score is being racked up, and at end of game, your score gets compared to the best score in the vehicle, best score for the current hour, best score for the day, and best score for the month.
Tips For The Attraction:
- Although lines are always long, waiting in the non-FastPass line is a must for everyone. There is so much going on in the queue that you will not regret it.
- During game play, aim for smaller targets as it will rack up more points quicker!
- If you love anything Pixar, this is your attraction. Everywhere you look there is a reference to Pixar movies.
(‘Mr. Potato Head’ photo from the personal collection of Kendall Foreman. All others ©Disney.)
I love Pixar Place and hope the rumors of the large expansion are true! Comment below and let me know what you love about TSMM, or what you hope may be added to the amazing area!
Alex Larson is currently a college student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, he has loved Disney since he was born. Making annual trips to Walt Disney World since the age of three, the parks have become a very special place to him. His love for the parks is due to the memories he has had, attractions, the endless things to explore, the food and the sense of happiness every Disney fan feels while there.