Archive

To Infinity: Toy Story Land opening at Disney in Florida | TribLIVE.com
Travel

To Infinity: Toy Story Land opening at Disney in Florida

The Associated Press
ToyStoryLandPreview65742jpg447e5
John Raoux/AP
A statue of the character Sheriff Woody greets visitors at the entrance Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
ToyStoryLandPreview19751jpg0d6a1
John Raoux/AP
Buzz Lightyear stands near the entrance to the Aliens Swirling Saucers ride at Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
ToyStoryLandPreview76631jpg116dc
John Raoux/AP
Guests ride the Slinky Dog Dash coaster at Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
ToyStoryLandPreview78131jpgb5f5b
John Raoux/AP
A Green Army man interacts with guests at Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
ToyStoryLandPreview75825jpg0ccde
John Raoux/AP
A statue of the character Sheriff Woody greets visitors at the entrance Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
ToyStoryLandPreview46911jpg55376
John Raoux/AP
Green Army men march at Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
ToyStoryLand58533jpg79ddd
John Raoux/AP
The character Jessie pulls on a string of giant lights tangled around Rex the dinosaur at Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
ToyStoryLandPreview01002jpg8317a
John Raoux/AP
A statue of the character Sheriff Woody greets visitors at the entrance Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
ToyStoryLandPreview51854jpg3e21e
John Raoux/AP
A statue of the character Sheriff Woody, right, greets visitors at the entrance Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
ToyStoryLandPreview41290jpgc5c72
John Raoux/AP
A statue of the character Sheriff Woody greets visitors at the entrance Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
ToyStoryLandPreview18404jpg0236f
John Raoux/AP
Buzz Lightyear interacts with guests at Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
ToyStoryLandPreview06440jpg58b2f
John Raoux/AP
Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — For children of the mid-1990s, Disney’s Toy Story Land offers the opportunity to visit the imaginary world they grew up in. For their parents, it brings back sweet memories of a magical time of toys and make-believe. And for everyone else, the new theme park land offers a whimsical experience from the moment a nearly 20-foot statue of Sheriff Woody welcomes guests as if they are honorary toys in Andy’s backyard.

The new 11-acre land inspired by the movie “Toy Story” officially opens Saturday at Disney’s Hollywood Studios just outside Orlando. It’s one of the most anticipated theme-park openings in the country this year. And it continues Disney’s tradition of bringing movies to life. Last year, Pandora-World of Avatar opened at the Florida theme park. Next year, lands themed on “Star Wars” open at Disney parks here and in California.

But visitors to Toy Story Land will never actually lay eyes on Andy, the human boy who owns the toys in the “Toy Story” films. According to the park’s story line, he’s just been called inside by his mother, leaving his toys — and you — scattered in the backyard.

“As in the ‘Toy Story’ films, when the humans go away, the toys come to life,” said Dave Minichiello, executive creative director of Toy Story Land. “We’ve tried to include most of the moments and characters in the ‘Toy Story’ films in the new land.”

But you will find other favorite characters —Sheriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, Slinky Dog, Mr. Potato Head and the Green Army Patrol — in the brightly colored land, along with two new rides: Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers. They join the pre-existing Toy Story Mania ride, which has been one of the most popular attractions at Hollywood Studios since it debuted in 2008. Toy Story Mania gets a colorful new entrance in the new Toy Story Land.

Once inside, guests “magically make a transition,” appearing to become equal in size to a toy, said Minichiello. In fact, he added, “you are about the size of the Green Army Men.”

The movie’s Green Army Men are called the Green Army Patrol here. They have been updated to be more inclusive and diverse — including female characters. They also interact with guests throughout the park, saluting and even performing fun games like “Sarge Says,” inspired by the classic children’s game “Simon Says.”

In addition to the rides and characters, the Woody’s Lunchbox eatery offers some modern-day twists on classic foods. There is the three-cheese grilled cheese sandwich, a brisket melt, old-fashioned soda floats and other refreshments which can be ordered from a walk-up window fashioned out of Andy’s vintage lunchbox and thermos.

The park features primary colors and larger-than-life versions of classic toys like Rubik’s Cube, colorful Cootie bugs, Scrabble letters, building blocks and Tinkertoys. There are also benches built from Lincoln Logs.

“We wanted to make this for all generations,” Minichiello said. “As you walk through you’ll probably discover a lot of toys you played with as a child.”

There’s a little bit of something for everyone, said Tom Vazzana, show director for Toy Story Land entertainment. “Buzz and Woody and Jessie … are out on the avenue,” interacting with guests, stopping for photo opportunities and signing autographs.

Toy Story Land is the result of a collaboration between the Disney Imagineers and their storytelling partners at Pixar Animation Studios, said Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney parks, experiences and consumer products.

“This new land will place guests inside the wondrous world of Woody, Buzz and their pals,” Chapek said, “and invite everyone to experience the joy of being a toy.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.