Description And Comments

Toy Story Mania! ushered in a whole new generation of Disney attractions: "virtual dark rides". Since Disneyland opened in 1955, ride vehicles have moved past two- and three-dimensional sets often populated by audio-animatronic (AA) figures. These amazingly detailed sets and robotic figures defined the Disney Imagineering genius in attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, and Peter Pan's Flight. But for Toy Story Mania!, the elaborate sets and endearing AA characters are gone. Imagine long corridors, totally empty, covered with reflective material. There's almost nothing there ... until you put on your special 3-D glasses. Instantly, the corridor is full and brimming with color, action, and activity thanks to projected computer-generated (CG) images.

Conceptually, this is an interactive shooting gallery much like Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, but in Toy Story Mania!, your ride vehicle passes through a totally virtual midway with booths offering such games as ring tossing and ball throwing. You use a cannon on your ride vehicle to play as you move along from booth to booth. Unlike the laser guns in Buzz Lightyear, however, the pull-string cannons in Toy Story Mania! take advantage of CG image technology to toss rings, shoot balls, even throw eggs and pies. Each game booth is manned by a Toy Story character who is right beside you in 3-D glory, cheering you on. In addition to 3-D imagery, you experience various smells, vehicle motion, wind, and water spray. The ride begins with a training round to familiarize you with the nature of the games, then continues through a number of "real" games in which you compete against your riding mate. The technology has the ability to self-adjust the level of difficulty, and there are plenty of easy targets for small children to reach. Tip: Let the pull-string retract all the way back into the cannon before pulling it again.

Finally, and also of note, a new generation of "living character" audio-animatronic figures was introduced in the preshow queuing area of Toy Story Mania. A six-foot-tall Mr. Potato Head broke new ground for an audio-animatronic character by interacting with and talking to guests in real time.

Touring Tips

Much of the queueing area for Toy Story Mania! is across the pedestrian walkway from the attraction's entrance. The queueing area is mostly covered, which is good, but it's not air-conditioned, which is very bad, with the temperatures escalating into the 90s and higher. Not roasting in this oven is a great incentive to experience Toy Story Mania! in the early morning, before it gets crowded.

As you might expect, Toy Story Mania! is addictive, and though it's great fun right off the bat, it takes a couple of rides before you really get the hang of the pull-string cannon and the way the targets are presented. To rack up a high score, you must identify and shoot at high-value targets: Low-value targets are larger and easier to hit, while high-value targets are small and often moving. Toward the end of the ride, the top score of the day and the top all-time score are posted.

Toy Story Mania! is one of the park's most popular attractions and gets jammed about 20-30 minutes after the park opens. If you're a newbie and you'd like to ride several times in order to gain experience and get your skill level up, consider making the attraction your first stop after the park opens.

The challenge of seeing Toy Story Mania! without a horrendous wait is a hot topic among Unofficial Guide readers. But since Cars Land's debut, waits have become much more manageable, especially in the early morning. Still, you should make this a priority after securing Radiator Springs Racers Fastpasses. If you've experienced the extreme waits that always accompany the Orlando clone of this ride, rest assured that Anaheim's operations keep the line here moving much more swiftly.

Toy Story Midway Mania! Wait Times

This chart shows you roughly how long you'll wait for Toy Story Midway Mania! when you visit on a day with a given Disney California Adventure Crowd Level. The blue bars represent the average "peak" wait time (that is, how long the line will at its busiest). The bottom and top black lines represent the range of peak wait times to expect (for you fellow nerds out there: it's the 5th percentile and 95th percentile of peak wait times). Please note that these are estimates, and for a better forecast for your travel dates, see Toy Story Midway Mania! Wait Times.

Special Comments

Not to be missed.

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Touring Plans with Toy Story Midway Mania!

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