Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Scott And Carol Present: A Ride With Woody, Buzz, Jessie & The Gang!

Courtesy of Walt Disney World

Toy Story Mania at Disney’s Hollywood Studio is a carnival games fantasy brought to life. Toy solders are festooned outside the building. The journey begins with a fanciful walk through Andy’s room and the memories of many of the games and toys we played with as children, long before video games were even thought of in the creative mind of Noland Bushnell. Monopoly, Candyland, Chutes & Ladders were represented, as well at Lincoln Logs, Gliders, and even a Viewmaster.

Remember the Viewmaster; before color television looking at scenes through the forced binocular vision was the only way many people were able to see far away places. Many magazines were not printed in color so having a Viewmaster was the next best thing to being there. Here in the queue, an extra-large Disneyland reel hearkens back to a simpler time when electricity wasn’t a necessary component of entertainment. Everything is scaled to make an adult feel just over a foot tall.

A huge balsa wood plane brings back memories of how well it flew, and also how it rarely survived a landing. With one this big, maybe I could have climbed aboard and directed it away from the trees. Probably not, but it does make one wonder what might have been possible if things were different.

Everything is way larger than life, to help guests feel more like children again. The monkeys have escaped their barrel and are hanging from every available appendage. A giant-sized animatronic Mr. Potato Head makes a “spudtacular” effort to learn to know the guests, with trivia questions and asking people where they were from. He says, “It's a ride that's a game. It's a game that's a ride, Step right up and see what's inside."

Once you are seated on the ride vehicle, you need to put on the 3-D glasses. After a brief practice round, you enter the games. The games seem to be constantly changing. You stop at a station, play the game, and when the countdown clock goes to zero, your vehicle goes to the next station. The vehicles have four guest seated back to back, and the entire vehicle rotates so everyone gets their turn at every game.

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

There are five different games after the practice round. Sometimes you are throwing pies, darts, and hoops. You try to knock down the dolls with baseballs. The realistic sounds effects matched with occasional blast of air like when a balloon is popped intensify the action. At one station guests are sprinkled with water while hearing a simulated splash. Every game has a special target, called an “Easter Egg” that triggers the appearance of more targets so riders can increase their scores.

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

The 3-D effects are different from game to game. Some of the broken articles appear to fly back past the shooter after they are broken. Different audio effects multiply the sensory experience for the riders. Everyone’s scores are tallied and displayed on a screen so they can compare themselves to the daily high score. Even the monthly best is up for review. It has been estimated that over a million virtual plates are broken every day in Toy Story Mania.

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

The world’s largest Golden Book is there, aptly titled “Tin Toy,” as you get off the ride vehicle. With no age or height limitations, everyone can ride Toy Story Mania. Many thanks to Walt Disney World for making it possible for us to bring you this story, May you soon feel small in line for Toy Story Mania.

For those interested Carol out scored Scott, but neither of us was even close to the top scores of the day. Thanks to the kind folks at WDW of all their assistance.