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First Thoughts: Toy Story Land Soft Opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Confession: I wasn’t that excited about Toy Story Land in the months leading up to its opening.

::ducks for cover::

Don’t get me wrong, I was eager for another new space. And for life to return to Hollywood Studios. And to eat everything at Woody’s Lunchbox.

And the Toy Story franchise is one of my all time favorites. I’ve watched them all more times than I’d care to admit. The incinerator scene in Toy Story 3 might have triggered more of my tears than any other animated film in recent history. (Well, other than the starting montage in Up that I was dumb enough to watch while pregnant.)

But two kid-friendly attractions in a land that lacked the overwhelming beauty and vastness of Pandora or Galaxy’s Edge didn’t have me chomping at the bit. I knew I’d be there with everyone else in the opening days, largely for FOMO reasons – but I wasn’t falling over myself about it.

Do I take it all back after being lucky enough to hit the soft opening of Toy Story Land yesterday evening?

I kind of do.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not Flight of Passage. I didn’t get off Alien Swirling Saucers (I need to come up with a PG-rated abbreviation for that attraction) or Slinky Dog Dash speechless, much less near tears like I did after my first banshee ride.

But it was just……FUN. There are people looking at the land as a whole and its attractions and saying that they look like an Imagineered carnival and my only response is….that’s the point, my friends. It’s not supposed to be complicated. It’s supposed to be Andy’s backyard. Let it be that and you’ll have the chance to love it. Ask it to be Pandora and you’ll leave wanting…well…Pandora.

My 5 and 7 year olds loved every minute. It’s bright and energized and dripping in the sort of attention to detail and clever bits that Disney does so well. You step into that land and you are just a toy in a land of bright colors and lights and the characters that we have loved for decades. I mean – even the restrooms are fun…

Slinky Dog Dash was smooth and tame enough for my 5 year old but quick and surprising enough to have me laughing and screaming in parts. And with a height requirement of 38 inches, even my tiny youngest can ride. Alien Swirling Saucers (with an ultra low height requirement of 32 inches!) had all 3 of us belly laughing as we whipped around in our 3-eyed vehicle and listened to the songs we knew so well. It’s just good clean fun and as a mom of two little boys often looking for a destination that we can all completely enjoy together, it hit the mark. I absolutely love that there’s a place like this in WDW now.

So if you couldn’t tell, I’m a big fan. We’ll be back – soon and often. And with mobile ordering available at Woody’s Lunch Box, you can expect me to be rolling out of there with a complete menu review soon. So stay tuned.

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