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Cracking the Easter Eggs on Disney's Toy Story Midway Mania

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Published: January 6, 2009 at 4:04 PM

Tuesday Park Visit: So here's the question: How high could I score on Toy Story Midway Mania?

Many Theme Park Insider readers love shoot-'em-up dark rides. I racked up a respectable (according to one Imagineer) 119,400 on Midway Mania when I rode at the ride's premiere at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World last May. But could I do better?

So I drove down to Disney's California Adventure to ride the west coast version of Midway Mania and find out.

Toy Story Midway Mania was the first phase of the California Adventure's ongoing billion-dollar-plus renovation. Work continues as the Paradise Pier area transforms from a nondescript beach-side carnival to a new Victorian-era theme. The lagoon's been drained, and the sun is off the Sun Wheel, in preparation for the arrival of Mickey's face.

The set-up's the same here on the Toy Story Midway Mania ride as in Orlando: bar-mounted "pop guns" triggered with a string pull. I'd scoured online message boards and personal e-mails and came armed with several tips on how to unlock various Easter Eggs in an effort to boost my score.

I rolled solo today, so I could take advantage of the single-rider line. The crowd wasn't huge, but Midway Mania typically runs the longest wait in the park: a posted 20 minutes today. The longest I waited was about five minutes in the single-rider line. (The hosts, to their credit, were asking odd-numbered parties if they minded a single rider joining them. When I waited the five minutes, four parties passes on me joining them. Your loss for high score advice, pals!)

Midway Mania's got five show scenes, each with a different screen and game. In the first, I'd read that the two Easter Eggs where (1) to aim for a small rat atop the barn at the top of the screen, which when hit would flip the barn and reveal more, higher-value rats, and (2) to aim for a fox on the henhouse at the bottom corner of the screen, which when hit spawns several 1,000-point chickens to target.

After hitting both, I'd recommend aiming first for the fox. I scored 6,000 points lower in this scene the time I aimed for the rat first. The target's small and far away, and the bonus rats much harder to hit than the big, close, easy chickens. There's time before the fox reappears (giving you another go at another series of chickens) to go after the rats, if you've got a good eye and keen aim.

The balloon pop scene comes next. Here, you want to aim at the five balloons on a cloud in the upper corner of the screen. Clearing the five will trigger a cascade of 500-point balloons down the screen. If your fellow rider can clear the five balloons on "their" cloud at the same time, you'll get 2,000-point balloons.

After the balloon cascade, aim for the highest-value targets on the screen, the 500-point red "apples" surrounding the large green balloons, as well as some smaller high-value balloons you'll find in the lower corners of the screen.

The plate breaking scene follows. Here, your best targets are 2,000-point plates that will appear in the upper corners of the screen. If you and the other rider both break those plates at the same time, a row of additional 2,000-point plates will appear. In addition, a tank appears in the middle of the screen that will throw 5,000-point plates, too. In between those plates' appearances, aim for as many 1,000- and 500-point plates as you can.

After the plates comes the Buzz Lightyear scene, where you try to toss rings around LGMs (little green men). I had the luck of uncovering the big Easter Egg here by accident in Orlando, when my "partner" and I ringed all the LGMs on the rocket in the middle of the screen, spawning a monster you could hit for 500, then 1,000, points a shot. I couldn't get any help from my riding companions this time, so I instead aimed for the 1,000- and 2,000-point LGMs at the side of the screen. Hit enough of these, and there's a small 5,000-point LGM in the upper corner, too. (I never did hit that.)

The final scene, Woody's Shootin' Gallery, offers two games. In the first, you're aiming for bulls-eye targets, which, when hit, will spawn additional targets, of 200, 500 and 1,000 points. The 500-point targets will spawn more 1,000-point targets, so aim for those first. Once hit, each target here will disappear, so move quickly and don't dawdle over hit targets. Keep shooting after the first game, as your car moves toward the second. You can find several 1,000- and 2,000-point targets lurking at the bottom of the screen as your car moves.

In the second part of the final scene, you aim at mine cars. As you shoot, keep your eye above the cars and blast the 1,000-point bat as soon as it appears. That will spawn a 5,000-point bat for the taking. The point value of the cars also increases with the more that you hit so keep firing away.

Finally, after the cars, a large "bonus round" target appears on the screen. Blast away non-stop, for its value increases from 500 to 1,00 to 2,000 points the more you hit it. In Orlando, I saw it go to 5,000 for another rider just as the game ended. Most riders I've talked with report getting the bulk of their points in the final scene, both due to their shooting improving over the course of the game, as well as for the many high-value targets available in the final games.

So how'd I do? Well, without consistent help from a partner who also knew the tricks of the game (the prices one pays for the short wait in the single-rider line), I couldn't crack the top scores of the day. But I increased my score on each ride, topping out at 163,200 on my final attempt.

So, Midway Mania fans, how'd you do?

Readers' Opinions

From Tim W on January 6, 2009 at 5:33 PM
thanks for the tips Nigel. these will come in ahndy next month for sure! And i think i wont share with the family. lol
From Larry Zimmerman on January 6, 2009 at 7:11 PM
My score was more like your partner's. My son's however was more like yours.
From Brian L on January 6, 2009 at 11:42 PM
my best was 218,000 + or - a few. took me all morning-noon time to get it (i was able to go on it so may times cuz it was a slow day and being a CM has its perks) and ended up being top of top 3 for a while but was knocked down to third by the end of the day. my arm started to go numb so i had to stop. very worth it tho.
From Ray Schroeder on January 7, 2009 at 12:01 PM
Great tips. Maybe next time I'll crack 100,000. I need to go to the gym to build up my arm strength. It's an exhausting ride. BTW Robert, I'm a current Tribune employee(for the moment)at one of their TV stations. Fun times.
From Russell Meyer on January 7, 2009 at 4:23 PM
We rode quite a bit last October at DCA. After a few trips through we found most of those "Easter Eggs." The most valuable one I found was flipping the barn in the egg-launching scene.

I also noticed some of the cast members asking odd number groups if the "minded" sitting with a single rider. While it seems like a nice touch from a PR standpoint, it got pretty annoying on a busier day when the single rider line took more than 20-30 minutes to get through (only slightly faster than the normal line). My philisophy is if someone doesn't mind riding by themselves and there's an empty seat available, that seat should be filled. People who don't want to sit next to a stranger should not go to a theme park.

From Robert Niles on January 7, 2009 at 4:59 PM
I wouldn't sit a single rider next to a child, would ask for a teen and would sit 'em without asking next to an adult.
From Ray Schroeder on January 8, 2009 at 11:17 AM
They eliminated the single rider line at the Studios in FL.
From Marc Ricketts on January 9, 2009 at 9:32 AM
"The hosts, to their credit, were asking odd-numbered parties if they minded a single rider joining them."

I completely disagree! New, popular attractions should not go out with empty seats if there's a body to fill them. I've never seen people asked before riding MM, and that counts single riders at ski resorts going back many years before the concept even came to theme parks.

I avoided tips on this ride before my maiden voyage, and intended to check for tips online before riding again that trip. Unfortunately, no connection at our hotel, and no wireless to be found at the DLR (unless I just never asked the right person). Still got to 169,000. Bookmarking this page for next time.

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