IMAGINEERING
Yesterland

Toy Story
Midway Mania
Times Three


Same Ride / Different Look

Most Yesterland articles are about things that are gone—but not today. We’ll look at a very popular attraction that’s been “cloned” for three parks, but has been “packaged” differently at each location.

Let’s compare how they look. Which do you like best?

Werner Weiss, Curator of Yesterland, May 24, 2013

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2007

Construction wall at Disney California Adventure in 2007


Toy Story Midway Mania! is about to mark the fifth anniversary of its opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (May 31, 2008) and Disney California Adventure (June 17, 2008). And it won’t be long until the first anniversary of its opening at Tokyo DisneySea (July 9, 2012).

At each of the three parks, the attraction is in a land that’s entered through an arch.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Pixar Place arch

Let’s begin our tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida. Toy Story Midway Mania! is located in a part of the park that was originally designed to serve as an actual production facility for movies and television.

Guests enter Pixar Place by walking under a “Pixar Studios” arch similar to the one at the entrance to the Pixar Animation Studios campus in Emeryville, California. There’s nothing charming or “magical” about Pixar Place. Fortunately, the attraction itself more than makes up for the shortcomings of the area.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Entrance to Toy Story Midway Mania!

The attraction’s entrance and queue put guests into a world of giant toys. There’s no attempt to explain to guests why they are now the size of green plastic army men. It’s enough that the groundbreaking animated feature Toy Story (1995) was made at Pixar Studios.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Too late for a FASTPASS

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Tokyo DisneySea, Toy Story Midway Mania! is a FASTPASS attraction. At Disney California Adventure, it isn’t.

Even though Mania opened in 2008, many guests at Hollywood Studios still make a beeline for this attraction’s FASTPASS machines as soon as they enter the park. By an hour or two after the park opens, FASTPASS tickets are gone.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Indoor queue

The good news for guests who don’t score a FASTPASS is that the standby queue is clever and entertaining. The bad news is that the line is often at a standstill because of how FASTPASS works.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2008

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Mr. Potato Head

FASTPASS guests miss most of the queue. They even miss the animatronic Mr. Potato Head, which is a shame. In Florida, Mr. Potato Head serves as entertainment for guests in line, not as a barker outside the attraction.

The ceiling includes giant game boards for SCRABBLE and Chutes and Ladders. Game boxes serve as walls. Game pieces and cards are strewn about.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Chutes and Ladders board ceiling

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Candyland game box wall

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: “Yesterland” reel

One of the strewn items is the View-Master reel that features Disneyland’s Tomorrowland as it looked in the late 1960s.

Except on the busiest days when the line can extend outside, the whole queue is indoors and climate-controlled—a very good idea in Central Florida.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Disney California Adventure: Paradise Pier arch

Now let’s continue our tour with Disney California Adventure. Toy Story Midway Mania! was first significant enhancement to the park’s Paradise Pier section.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Disney California Adventure: Victorian exterior

Housed in a detailed early 20th century amusement pavilion, the innovative ride replaced a row of cheap-looking stucco box buildings for Malibu-Ritos, Pacific Ocean Photos, and Strips, Dips ’n’ Chips.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Disney California Adventure: Mr. Potato Head

Animatronic Mr. Potato Head entertains Paradise Pier passers-by, not just guests in the standby queue. In fact, there is no standby queue—just a queue—because there is no FASTPASS here.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2008

Disney California Adventure: Initial queue with umbrellas for shade

Unlike the queue in Florida, the queue in California does not shrink guests and surround them with oversized toys.

When there’s a normal 40-minute wait, the queue begins with switchbacks defined by chains, with large umbrellas for shade. It all looks rather temporary, but it’s been that way since 2008.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Disney California Adventure: Main queue

The queue continues in a roofed section with ornamental details appropriate to the period. Posters provide previews of the games and offer hints on how to play. Unlike Florida, the line generally keeps moving quickly because there is no FASTPASS merge.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Disney California Adventure: Toy Story Midway Games play set

In the room where guests return their 3-D glasses, observant guests will discover that they have been part of a Toy Story Midway Games play set. In other words, the premise is explained after the ride, not before it. It’s a clever detail.

Considering that the California and Florida versions of Toy Story Midway Mania! are the same actual ride, were built simultaneously, and opened just weeks apart, it’s amazing how differently they are presented. The Imagineers had to fit them into locations with completely different themes, and this called for two different approaches.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Tokyo DisneySea

Photo by Robert Parker, 2013

Tokyo DisneySea: Toyville Trolley Park arch

Finally, let’s cross the Pacific Ocean to Tokyo DisneySea. The newest version of the ride, called Toy Story Mania! (consistently without “Midway”), is located in the new Toyville Trolley Park addition to the American Waterfront.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Tokyo DisneySea

Photo by Robert Parker, 2013

Tokyo DisneySea: Old fashioned amusement park architecture

For Tokyo, the Imagineers have taken their inspiration from the heyday of New York’s Coney Island. As in California, it’s a theme park using an amusement park as its theme. This time the architecture is more fanciful, recalling Luna Park in its prime.

In the photo above, look for Mr. Potato Head.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Tokyo DisneySea

Photo by Robert Parker, 2013

Tokyo DisneySea: Toy Story Mania! entrance

The Tokyo version uses the Florida approach for the queue. Here’s how the official Tokyo Disneyland Resort website explains it:

Entering the attraction through Woody’s wide open mouth, Guests will find themselves in Andy’s room which is strewn with board games, puzzles and other toys. But the toys all look gigantic because the guests have “shrunk” to the size of a toy.

Best of both worlds!

Toy Story Midway Mania at Tokyo DisneySea

Photo by Robert Parker, 2013

Tokyo DisneySea: Bullseye’s Carnival Corral

Toyville Trolley Park is a mini-land with carnival games at Bullseye’s Carnival Corral and shopping at Slinky Dog’s Gift Trolley, in addition to Toy Story Mania!

Toy Story Midway Mania at Tokyo DisneySea

Photo by Robert Parker, 2013

Tokyo DisneySea: Toyville Trolley Park lit up

As impressive as the daytime photos are, the nighttime photos are even more spectacular.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Tokyo DisneySea

Photo by Robert Parker, 2013

Tokyo DisneySea: The “8-meter-tall face of Woody” at night

Okay, Disneyland Paris. Now it’s your turn. Walt Disney Studios Park needs this ride too.


Click here to post comments at MiceChat about this article.


DCA Then & Now, Part 1
Carousel of the Sea
Home


© 2013-2014 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated February 21, 2014.