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Beating Buzz: A Guide for People with No Skill

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Your journey begins here. Photo - Erin Foster
Your journey begins here. Photo – Erin Foster

Confession time: Although I work as an editor for a major video game strategy guides publisher, I am terrible at video games. The last video game I remember beating was the 1991 release of Duke Nukem. As a result, things like Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin in the Magic Kingdom don’t hold much attraction (pun intended) for me.

But like anyone with a competitive spirit, when I go on an attraction that has some sort of competitive slant to it, I want to do my best. After a little bit of Google-fu, I found many articles about Buzz Lightyear ride tips claiming to have the secrets to max out the ride score. But how would they work in reality? I compiled a team of non-experts, snagged a bunch of FastPass+ selections, and headed on in.

Meet your test team: Julia (hey, that’s me!). Age: “remembers the 1980s distinctly”. Video game experience: Mostly theoretical, but see also the bit about “remembers the 1980s”. No one can beat me at Pong, mainly because I can’t find anyone who still plays it.

Erwin (loyal husband who wonders what he got himself into). Age: “older than Julia, but much more hip and groovy” (people still say hip and groovy today, right?). Video game experience: Competitively casual. Currently playing: A marathon run of the Kingdom Hearts series. On a stressful work day, Katamari Damacy comes out of the vault to help that competitive nature.

Lily (bringing the cute). Age: “almost five” (and counting the days until her birthday). Video game experience: Not really into video games, but loves her iPad apps. Did manage to beat her dad at Wii bowling once. Could probably beat her mom at Wii bowling every time.

Now that you’ve met the team, here’s the game plan:

We did two rides each. In one car, Lily and I would work together to see how high we could get her score. In the other car, Erwin would use the techniques that I scoured from the Internet to competitively get the highest score he could.

In theory, hitting the left hand of the robot (circled) provides big points. If it is in this lower position, it is almost impossible to hit, however. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)
In theory, hitting the left hand of the robot (circled) provides big points. If it is in this lower position, it is almost impossible to hit, however. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

Specifically, there were five techniques that were mentioned time and time again:

  1. Hold down on the fire button instead of clicking it again and again.
  1. Hit the farther (left) arm of the Robot in room 1 for 100,000 points.
  1. Hit the top spot of the Volcano in room 2 for 25,000-50,000 points (sites varied on the amount of points they assigned to it).
  1. Hit the bottom of Zurg’s spaceship in room 3 for 100,000 points.
  1. Hit the mysterious “black box” in the speed tunnel for 100,000 points.

Many Internet hint sites said that by following those simple instructions, “anyone” could max out their score at 999,999.

Ride 1, Lily and Julia: My instructions to Lily were to hold down on the fire button and I would “assist” with the aiming and spinning of the vehicle. Immediately, this plan ran into a snag. If she could reach the button to hold down on it (which required a decent amount of finger strength for a four-year-old), then I couldn’t aim for any low targets. That meant that the only high-point target she could reach would be able to hit would be the Robot arm when it was up or the Volcano. Unfortunately, the ride effect of the Robot was not working on any of our rides, and the high-score point spot was stuck in a low and inaccessible position. Because we were “working together” to aim and shoot, we had little luck hitting either it or the Volcano. We spent most of the ride attempting to hit the high-point targets, and as a result, we ended up not hitting much of anything until the last room.

Final score: A disappointing 9,300.

Skilled players may have good luck with the top target on the volcano (circled). People with no ability to aim should skip it. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)
Skilled players may have good luck with the top target on the volcano (circled). People with no ability to aim should skip it. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

Ride 1, Erwin: As mentioned, because the Robot arm wasn’t moving, it was almost impossible to get the gun at an angle where the high-value target could be hit. Because he spent so much time trying to get that, he essentially left the first room with a negligible score. He had better luck with the Volcano and the Zurg spaceship, but was not able to find the mysterious Black Box on any of his rides.

Final score: An average (for him) 260,000

Ride 2, Lily and Julia: This time, I would hold the fire button and then assist her aiming in the general area of targets, but she would select what she was aiming at. This made her feel that she was doing more on the ride. We skipped the impossible-to-hit Robot and didn’t manage to hit the Volcano. What we did go for were the targets that were incredibly close, and because we were actually hitting targets, we were doing better on score. Halfway through, the ride stopped in Room 3 right in front of the high-point target at the bottom of Zurg’s spaceship. I helped her aim right for it, and we let the points roll in. Before the ride stop ended, we had hit that elusive 999,999.

Final score: Maxed out at 999,999, but without the emergency stop, we would have been around 300,000

It is possible (with luck and a great ride stop) to max out the score. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)
It is possible (with luck and a great ride stop) to max out the score. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

Ride 2, Erwin: This time, while he attempted to hit the high-point targets, if he found that they just weren’t working for him after a second or two, he went for other targets to increase his score. He skipped the broken Robot, but got several hits on the Volcano. He wasn’t in a position to hit the Zurg spaceship the way we were, but poked around the room to hit other targets during the ride stop.

Final score: An impressive 783,800.


I asked Lily which she enjoyed more, and while she enjoyed maxing out the score, she had more fun just doing it “on her own”.

For Erwin, I asked if he felt knowing where the high-point targets were helped with the game. On the other hand, just focusing on the high-point targets meant that he was scoring one big score and nothing else for an entire room. He found he did better trying for a couple seconds on a big target, and if it wasn’t working, going for “targets of opportunity”.

Thankfully, there are targets that are very close so that anyone can hit them. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)
Thankfully, there are targets that are very close so that anyone can hit them. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)


I needed to go back one more time for some photos for this article, and as I went through, I tried to see what I could score on my own. I would take the necessary picture in the room, and then go for any target I felt I could hit in the first room, snapped the next picture and focused on up-close targets in the second room, and then snapped the final picture and focused on the target at the bottom of Zurg’s spaceship.

The end result? While I didn’t max out the scoreboard, it was far better than I had done in previous rides.

Final score: 565,700.

So what’s the secret to getting the best score possible on Buzz if you aren’t a professional gamer?

* Holding down the button all the time does work better than clicking it again and again. It is difficult for young children, however, and letting them press the button again and again is its own fun.

* If you are riding with a young child, try to put them in positions for easy up-close scoring opportunities, and assist them with aiming, especially if your ride vehicle stops and you can get them focused in on a high-point target.

* If the Robot in room 1 is not moving, skip trying to hit it and go for anything that is accessible.

* If you find you are able to hit the Volcano in room 2, catch it coming into the room and then rotate backwards to hit it on the way out. If you can’t hit it almost immediately, focus on other targets, including the closer ones that are easy to hit multiple times. After all, hitting a 10,000 point target six times is more valuable than hitting a 50,000 point target once!

* Almost anyone can have luck hitting the Zurg spaceship target in room 3, so if you are riding with a child, “help” them get that target to improve their score and let them do it on their own for the rest of the ride.

If you only hit one target in the ride, make it this one (circled). Fairly easy to hit and big point value. A perfect non-skilled target! (Photo by Julia Mascardo)
If you only hit one target in the ride, make it this one (circled). Fairly easy to hit and big point value. A perfect non-skilled target! (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

* Hitting the black target box in the speed tunnel is very much hit-or-miss. If you manage to hit it, keep your aim steady and rack up the points. If not, just enjoy the ride. The black target box is located on either side of the exit, at the point where the spaceship animation stops and then moves to the other side. Try spotting it on a first ride through, and then you know where you are looking at.

One other tip that I think should be on everyone’s list: Have fun. Yes, getting a high score is a wonderful rush and provides bragging rights, but the real fun of the game is spending time with your family.

Got any other tips or tricks to try? Maxed out the score? Share your experiences in the comments!

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Julia Mascardo

Former writer, editor, and social media manager of TouringPlans. Embarking on new adventures with husband, kid, and cats.

17 thoughts on “Beating Buzz: A Guide for People with No Skill

  • A great breakdown of fun, but frustrating attraction for me! I’m usually a pretty good gamer, but Zurg manages to defeat me quite handily. I’m going to try these tips in about a month!!

  • I have only ridden the WDW version of Buzz twice and found it rather hard to beat with the mounted guns. I do visit Disneyland Paris a lot. The Paris version is very simiar to the ones in California, Hong Kong and Tokyo. The fun thing is that there are two (as far as I know) hidden targets. Namely on the two Zurg animatronics in the ride. In the middle of the armorvest of Zurg there the letter Z is featured. Not a target, just the Z as you would also see on his vest in the movie. But if you hit it you get 100.000 points. Don’t know if this trick works in Florida or the other parks…

  • Did you find if it makes a difference what side of the car you’re sitting on? I’ve always wondered that…

    • Didn’t seem to make a difference where you were sitting, except in the case of a ride stop. Then there may be some targets that one seat can get and the other cannot, just due to the angle that you’re firing at. What really makes all the difference is who has dibs on the joystick.

    • I have better luck hitting the boxing glove if I am on the left (inside) seat because I am less likely to be blocked by the car in front of me. But I have little kids and they always want the inside so I rarely get a chance to try.

  • Some really competitive people may be mad but there is another high point target in that first room with the robots that is very easy to hit and keep on hitting. As you are leaving that room and just after you pass the robot on your right aim up. There is a giant thing over head that looks like a fly swatter. Aim for that target as you go backwards into the next room. Just make sure you turn around quickly to get that volcano. I can literaly hit no other target the entire ride and still max out just in the first room if your timing is right.

    • That one is a great suggestion. For whatever reason, the first room is so much sensory overload for me, that (unless the joystick is malfunctioning and you have to hold it to make sure you don’t start drifting), I forget the possibility of turning around backwards.

    • If you’re talking about the target I think you are, then you can start hitting it on your right as soon as you enter the room. Actually almost as soon as your gun becomes active, before you even get into the room. The closer you get, the easier it is to have a good angle to hit it.
      You’re talking about the large robot on your right, near the far end of the room, and whose “hand” is angled to face almost straight down? That one is definitely 100k.
      The challenge with the Zurg target in room 3 is that the way the guns are mounted, you normally can only hit it as you are entering and as you are leaving the room. When you’re closest to it, the guns won’t pivot enough to be able to hit it.
      In the former “speed room” at the end, the trick is to watch the moving Zurg, and when he stops briefly, you can see a small black dot on the wall near his “Z”. That’s the sensor. Keep firing in that general direction, although you won’t be able to see it most of the time. That one is less than 100k, I think, although I’m usually maxed out by the time I get there, so it’s difficult to tell. (Usually shooting from the second gun by then, and my aim is not nearly as good.)

  • I usually just hit the volcano as many times as I can and then hit Zurg a few times on the way in and turn and hit him a few times on the way out. That’s usually all I need to max out. I have found hitting the boxing glove is tricky because it is very common for one of the players in the car in front of you to have his head in the way 🙂 Rather than stress on it I just focus on the volcano.

    • My husband had great skill hitting the volcano–and I’ve never hit it. Would it be sad to include “hit the volcano target” on a Disney bucket list?

  • You’re missing at least 2 other 100k targets that I know of. I’m no gamer (but very competitive!) and can max out most every time.

    • One I didn’t include is one at the top of the carousel thingy in the volcano room that I’ve been told is 100K. I’ve never been able to hit it, so I was going by the “pictures or it don’t count” criteria. The claw/flyswatter one (mentioned below by Stephanie) is a good one to hit, except that I’m terrible about turning the vehicle around to go for targets. On a future ride, I’ve thought about turning the car backwards from the beginning and riding backwards the whole way to see if I can get a bigger score.

      Over the years, there have been some really high-point targets that got so popular that they were either deactivated or reduced in point value. What I’d *love* to see is that every day *all* of the point values change. To me, this would really improve the attraction. You’d never know where the high-point targets are, so every time it would be a competition filled with lots of dumb luck.

      • I’m pretty sure that’s *not* 100k. I think I’ve hit it a few times, and haven’t gotten the big points. I meant to include my targets in my original post….sorry to keep everyone hanging!!! LOL.

        Anyway, the flyswatter thing in the 1st room has been mentioned…I can usually get it twice. And if you leave that room backwards, the targets on the back of the robot arms are worth some good points, though I don’t think 100k.

        Also, in the Zurg room, there is (was? I can’t see it in your picture) a target on the green ‘cap’ over Zurg you can get coming into and leaving the room.

        Note: it’s been a few years since I’ve ridden, so all info could be wrong!

  • I can’t believe that Erwin married a non-gamer. 😉

    Seriously though, great article. I didn’t know about the black box. I’ll have to try it.

    • Thankfully I was just skilled enough that the first time we met, I was able to completely demolish him on the college’s Mortal Kombat arcade game. This was because I insisted on playing with Sub-Zero and knew how to chain enough moves that he was never able to get a shot in, and at 50 cents per game, we weren’t going to do a lot of re-matches. So he didn’t find out that I’m pretty pathetic at video games until much later. 😉

      I’ve hit the black box once back in the day through dumb luck and as the result of being stopped in the tunnel for a few minutes. On a typical day, I can’t hit it to save the universe.

  • I had the opportunity to do a VIP tour a few years ago. Apparently it is a source of pride for the guides to be able to max out both guns at the same time. For someone who usually scores in the 100,000-200,000 range, seeing our guide max out both was one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen!

    • I just….I can’t….whoa. The “good thing” about it is that unlike TSMM, once you hit that magic 999,999, you’re done racking up points for the game. So I guess the trick would be to try and max out the first gun as quickly as possible and not score anything on the second gun, and then just do the second gun as the first one is already maxed out. But still…

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