Toy Story Midway Mania in Cast Member Previews

| May 6, 2008

Whenever Disney develops a new ride, show or attraction there is always a lot of testing and reworking to make sure it is perfect for when guests arrive. One of the final phases of testing is called Cast Member Previews and, as the name suggests, Cast Members (aka Disney employees) will experience the attraction to help work out any kinks or problems. In most cases the Cast Member is allowed to bring family or friends along for the ‘ride’. This not only provides Disney with some valuable feedback on how the ride, show or attraction functions and feels without having to impact the guest experience but it allows Cast Members a sneak peak before the general public experiences it.

Toy Story Mania at Disney Hollywood Stories is currently in Cast Member previews and I have some first hand info from someone who had a chance to experience this latest attraction. The following information was provided by the guest of a Cast Member and we are very grateful they decided to share this with us.

When you first enter the ride queue there are pieces from various children’s board games.



As you wind your way through the queue you come to Mr. Potato Head. He talks and reacts like Crush (from Turtle Talk with Crush) or the ‘Monsters’ (from Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club) but instead of being computer generated he is three dimensional and looks very ‘real’ – like he could walk towards you and shake your hand. He tells jokes, asks people questions and interacts in a very cool way.

At the end of the queue line you have to climb two sets of stairs as you walk through the building. You pick up a set of 3-D glasses before you make the climb. Finally you go down a set of stairs and a CM assigns you to a line. There are lines numbered 1-8. The ride vehicles for this ride have a front and back. Two seats in the front and two seats in the back. The people in the front seat actually sit ‘back-to-back’ with the people in the back seat. Something that surprised me is that this isn’t a continuous loading ride like Buzz Lightyear. The eight cars are moved to a ‘testing’ area for you to practice shooting your ‘cannon’. These cannons have a string on them and you have to let the string come back all the way before you can shoot again. It happens quickly.As you go through the ride there are different point-value targets. There are separate screens for the front and back passengers each themed with characters or scenes either from or inspired by the Pixar film Toy Story.   You can see your total points in your car like Buzz.

The cars go through numerous screens that change. The items you shoot change as well. Some of the areas are a fun house, then a Barnyard where you shoot eggs at the targets. Then onto Pop and Win, Popping Balloons (Little Bo Peep is there). Next is Shoot Camp where you shoot balls at plates, then Buzz Lightyear Flying Tossers – shoot rings at aliens. Next is Rooten Tooten Shooting Gallery – more balls at targets.

Finally you come to a large screen where it shows you your total. Then as you are leaving there are two screens with the high point totals for the day.

There is a single rider line. The handicapped entrance is on the main level (no steps). Most shocking is it doesn’t dump you out into a gift shop.

I really enjoyed it. I will be back for more.

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  • UrsulasShadow

    Cannons with strings on them…I guess I’d have to see it to really understand how that’s supposed to work.

    Since I’m not a Buzz Lightyear ride fan, this one doesn’t sound like one I’d be really thrilled to ride. I also have to assume there’s something a little more handicap-accessible than 2 sets of stairs up, and one set down.

    Great review of the preview, though…gives you a good idea of what it will be like.

  • mommyceratops

    I LOVE Toys Story!! I can not wait….one amazing sober day as Buzz sat crying “I am Mrs. Nezbeth!” I fell in love – that was my 499 time to watch it.

    Thanks John!!

  • annette_va

    Thanks so much for the review! I can not wait to experience this attraction

  • safetymom

    The handicapped access is on the first floor.

    To shoot the cannon you just pull the string and aim. It really is simple. You aim and pull the string.

  • DebbieT11

    I’m loving the theming of the queue…. looks like fun for us “boomers”!

  • Roxy217

    Thanks for the review! I think we are heading to WDW in August so I am sure all the “bugs” will be worked out. My little guy LOVES Buzz so this will be a real treat. Amazing that there is not gift shop! I am sure it will be close by – - my kids have radar for that stuff!

  • wildeoscar

    less toy story, more high school musical…

    get you head in the game.

  • wishspirit

    LOL at WO!

    I have to say it sounds like a great addition to the park, and a nice way to entertain the queues!

    the gift shop thing is amazing! Very unlike Disney!

  • calypso

    While we were @ Disneyland in early April they removed some of the panels around the ride entrance so people walking by could see/hear Mr. Potato Head in action. It was really cute — so I’m assuming rides at both locations will be similar. Happy we’ll have something new to try during our August visit to WDW.

  • WaltD4Me

    I love the que line too. The ceiling is a Scrabble board!

    I can’t imagine how the shooting and string thing is going to work either…is there something attached to the string???

    I’m not a big fan of the Buzz ride either, but I think this sounds like a way advanced version of it and much more interactive than Buzz.

    And a HS version WOULD be nice, I wouldn’t mind shooting things from a cannon at that group at all! LOL!

  • disneybridein2k3

    I’m so excited about this new ride!
    Thanks for the preview John – I wish there was somehow a way I could convince DH that we needed to go before the podcast cruise…
    guess i’ll have to be patient.

  • mandymommy4

    I too am a HUGE TS fan, saw it 3 times in the theaters! I can’t wait fro them to return in 3D!
    Can’t wait for passholder previews! The kids are gonna love it, Thanks for the info John!

  • tinkbutt

    I can’t wait to ride this ride I hope it is open to all guest in 13 days!!!!
    thanks for the story John!

  • safetymom

    The string goes into the cannon. You just keep pulling the string to shoot.

  • Cyrano

    Thanks for getting the scoop on this :)
    Mr Potato Head looks way cool.

  • UrsulasShadow

    So, the cannon does not SHOOT string? The string is just a trigger for the cannon? What does the cannon shoot, then?

    I think I’d really enjoy a HS version, too…actually, why don’t they put those cannons on the IASW boats???

  • georgemoe

    The cannon shoots “video” pies, rings, etc. at multiple targets. The string is just used to reset the trigger or shooting mechanism. Nothing physical leaves the actual cannon.

  • safetymom

    Nothing actually leaves the cannon. You aim and what you are firing appears on the screen.

  • UrsulasShadow

    You know, if I had read the blog a little more closely, I would have figured this out. The string threw me. Thanks for the explanations.

    Soooo, what should we shoot in IASW?

  • LilGMom

    I am hoping that the AP sneak peeks happen next week as I’ve read. We’ll be there starting on Sunday and I’d love to see this ride, it sounds right up our alley!




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