Theme Park Insider

Disney Announces Toy Story Land for Disney's Hollywood Studios, Plus Other News from D23

August 15, 2015, 3:26 PM · Disney has announced a new Toy Story-themed expansion for the Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park at Walt Disney World. The 11-acre Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World will feature two new rides, in a concept that looks quite different from Disney's exiting Toy Story Playlands at Hong Kong Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios Paris.

Toy Story Land
All concept art courtesy Disney

"You'll be shrunk to the sizes of Woody and Buzz and the other toys in Andy's collection and you will explore Andy's backyard," explained Disney Imagineer Kathy Mangum from the stage at the Disney Parks presentation at the 2015 D23 Expo in Anaheim.

The new land will include two new attractions:
- A spinner ride, themed to the Little Green Men's flying saucers, with "The Claw" looming above.

- A family coaster, themed to Slinky Dog. (We confirmed yesterday the news that a new coaster would be coming to the Studios.)

Toy Story Midway Mania will be part of the new land, and will be getting a third track on that ride, in a previously-announcement improvement to increase the popular shoot-'em-up ride's capacity. It appears from the concept art that Midway Mania might be getting a new entrance as part of the changes, all well.

Disney did not announce an opening date for Toy Story Land, which seemed to be a common theme in the presentation — lots of ambitious new projects, with very few timeframes announced.

In other news...

As for other projects around the world, Disney showed a preview of footage from the upcoming Iron Man Experience ride at Hong Kong Disneyland, the first Marvel-themed ride in a Disney theme park. Utilizing a Star Tours-type motion simulator, Iron Man Experience will take riders on a flight around Hong Kong, as their trip to the Stark Expo is interrupted by Hydra attempting to steal the world's largest arc reactor.

Iron Man Experience

Imagineer Ted Robledo introduced the clip, teasing the audience with an appearance by Iron Man himself. When neither the character nor Robert Downey Jr. appeared, Disney Parks chairman Bob Chapek came on stage to help kill time by awarding a "trip to the Avengers tower in New York" to a lucky audience member... who just happened to be Marvel creator Stan Lee, whom Chapek pretended not know, calling him "Stanley." Lee came on stage to a standing ovation from the crowd of more than 7,000.

Another surprise guest was Avatar creator James Cameron. He came on stage with Imagineer Joe Rohde to review some of the announcements about the upcoming Avatar land at Disney's Animal Kingdom, which will be called "Pandora: The World of Avatar." The new Soarin'-style 3D Banshee ride will be called "Flight of Passage."

Finally, Chapek announced that the new Soarin' Over the World movie will debut next year on the Soarin' attractions at both Epcot and Disney California Adventure.

More 2015 D23 Expo Coverage:

Replies (40)

August 15, 2015 at 3:32 PM · Wow, two major "lands" at the Studios announced today! Although I'm not surprised as they recently shuttered several attractions. Are they still keeping the Monsters Inc coaster idea though? This has literally been the best D23 Expo yet!!
August 15, 2015 at 3:39 PM · I would so love the Monsters Inc coaster!!! The minute I saw the movie, I said that would make a great coaster!!! Very happy so far!
August 15, 2015 at 3:42 PM · BOOM goes the dynamite!
August 15, 2015 at 4:01 PM · "Hey Bob we were thinking of bringing a land from Hong Kong over to the states, which one should it be?"

"Let's go with the worst reviewed one!"

"Yes sir..."

August 15, 2015 at 4:05 PM · No where exacctly are they going and what the heck is the new name for the park?!?
August 15, 2015 at 4:13 PM · Come on really ? I actually thought the Pixar place would become a Pixar place, now it's just toy story , I wanted to see Pixar combine a lot of Pixar franchises into one huge theme . Nonetheless I'm still exited for it.
August 15, 2015 at 4:19 PM · Sounds like the land is a playground and just two new rides! and includes Toy Story Mania. Wonder how the whole land is integrated. Waiting to find out the future of Muppet Vision.

This doesn't necessarily foreclose Cars Land, but making it Pixar Place would be more logical if they were going that route.

August 15, 2015 at 4:29 PM · I'm a bit worried about this announcement. Whilst its great that they are putting in something new, and the themeing should be great, the attractions sound a bit like Toy Story Land in Disney Hong Kong.

The Star Wars land sounds awesome, but I think every new development needs to be just as good. I think a new e-ticket is required here too, and a trackless system dark ride would fit perfectly.

August 15, 2015 at 5:44 PM · That coaster looks pretty sweet... not a kiddie coaster by any means. A good solid family ride is perfect for this land and this park. I am glad Toy Story Land turned out to be different from HK and Paris. A much better version if you ask me - at least from the concept art.
August 15, 2015 at 5:51 PM · I was expecting DHS to get more of a general Pixar Land rather than just Toy Story, but the project still looks pretty good. I'm really glad to see that they appear to have completely redesigned the area from the ground up instead of just copying the highly underwhelming version Paris and Hong Kong have. Given what this land contains, I'm thinking Toy Story Land may be targeted for an opening in the next 2-3 years (probably 2018 to avoid competition with Avatar and Frozen) while Star Wars Land is a longer project. I hope it opens sooner rather than later...I don't want to keep delaying a Florida trip.
August 15, 2015 at 6:07 PM · I too was hoping for more Pixar rather than just Toy Story. However, since Lights Motors Action is still operating, that should be ample space for the Incredibles or Monsters Inc whenever they finally dump that show.
August 15, 2015 at 6:22 PM · Wow. Nobody will ever recognize Hollywood Studios in a few years time. I'm really happy with both the Star Wars and Toy Story Land announcements, although I really was hoping it would be Pixar Land, since I am not a huge Toy Story fan to begin with.

Still, the family coaster is a great idea! Not everyone wants inversions, and if they do, they can walk themselves on over to Rockin Roller Coaster, which I feel should get refurbished, by the way. The Slinky Dog coaster is larger than I first caught on to, as I didn't notice upon first glance that it extended all the way to the top of the image.

I have a question about the straight area with the rings. It looks like a perfect spot for a mid-ride launch, similar to what Cheetah Hunt does over at Busch Gardens Tampa. Still, I think this will be the coaster for families that 7 Dwarfs Mine Trains should have been, and it'll be an outstanding addition to the park!

The spinner...eh. Just a throwaway.

This is going to be so amazing though. Considering it'll be a cohesive 11-acre land, rather than a mismatched jumble of random shows and attractions, I couldn't be much happier.

Thank goodness it's not a copy of the two Toy Story Playlands! That was my biggest fear.

Disney's Hollywood Adventure is going to give Magic Kingdom a run for its money.
Avatarland will really boost Animal Kingdom's attendance numbers as well.


EPCOT? Come on, you old giant golf ball, you! Step up your game!

August 15, 2015 at 6:48 PM · C'mon guys, stop drinking the Disney kool-aid. We're talking about two "lands" (Toy Story and Star Wars) that could have gone into any Disney park, aren't really representing a distinct existing place from the films, and are made up of movie franchises well-represented at WDW and abroad. That's soft-ball stuff to me.

Diagon Alley, Radiator Springs, and Hogwarts were impressive to me, because I had an emotional attachment to the place: I wanted to go there from minute-one. If we were talking a Mos Eisely area or Cloud City or Monstropolis, or somewhere seen on film, I would be impressed. Right now, I'm interested in the Star Wars area, but have no emotional connection since I know it was just created for convenience (not story, since stories don't take place here yet). Meanwhile, the Toy Story one looks too generic. Toys in a yard? Yawn.

August 15, 2015 at 7:38 PM · Gabriel you took the words right out of my mouth. It's unfortunate they didn't put this much effort into New Fantasyland and the mine train.

I'm not sure why people want a Pixar place. That would be a mishmash of themes in the old studio fashion that even Universal studios has moved away from. This is a cohesive theme with nice family attractions. Well done Disney!

August 15, 2015 at 9:19 PM · 2 new rides in Toy Story Land plus 2 new rides in Star Wars Land adds to 4 new rides. Existing 4 rides (Tower, RnR, GMR, ST) equals to 8 rides in DHS. Whatever shows are counted as attractions. We are still begging for more things to do.

Toy Story Land needs a few more flat rides at minimum. A barrel of monkey merry go around would be nice.

Star Wars Land is quite picturesque and tall. Toy Story Land is flat, sparse, and lacking. It doesn't even show where Toy Story Mania is situated. I guess we won't know where Star Tours fits either, but could the Ewok village go away in favor of the new land?

August 15, 2015 at 9:06 PM · Star Wars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!....... The rest of Disney Hollywood expansion equals THATS IT!!!!!!!??????? After seeing how amazing Shanghi is going to be, that's the best you can do here in the American parks........ So back to Star Wars... YAY!!!! ??... What the heck happened to the rest of the predicted expansions at Disney Hollywood. This is in no way close to what happened to Disney California Adventure a few years back..... Soooo this means one thing. BACK TO DISNEYLAND!!! And go back to Universal Orlando when in Florida.... In actually okay with that plan.
August 15, 2015 at 9:45 PM · I don't know what to say to you two anonymous posters bashing the plans for DHS, except that I think you will be proven wrong. Toy Story Land might not float your boat, but consider what an upgrade it will be compared to what currently sits between Toy Story Mania and Lights, Motors, Action. It's a huge improvement, and who's to say LMA won't be ending its run soon, making way for even more expansion in the future?

I am curious to see an overlay or some kind of blueprint showing us exactly where these two lands will be.

But I really can't get behind all of this negativity regarding TSL. Flat? Yes, I think it is. But Tower of Terror is already a tall landmark, just like Everest is at Animal Kingdom. Every area of the park doesn't need some 200 ft structure in it, especially as it looks like the Star Wars land will include some height as it is currently being shown.

What were you hoping for? 4 new e-Tickets at Hollywood Studios?

I'm the first to admit that I somewhat regularly have issues with WDW, and think they could and should do better. But I consider it "tough love" because I'm a huge Disney fan, and I want them to up their game and invest as heavily as possible in the Florida parks.

An arms race between WDW and UOR would be ideal, and I don't see Disney doing either of these lands on the cheap.

Now, how about you register before continuing to be Mr Grouchy Pants about these announcements, eh?

:)

August 15, 2015 at 9:56 PM · "What were you hoping for? 4 new e-Tickets at Hollywood Studios?"

No, just a few more kids rides in Toy Story Land that won't cost that much. Goodness. So you can't criticize something that should be pretty obvious. If I was asked to be shrunk to Woody sized, i am sure I can entertain myself with many toys in Andy's toy box. Too bad Disney took them away.

August 15, 2015 at 9:58 PM · The announcements are interesting, but I have to agree with the individual that said that both "Star Wars" and "Toy Story" have been well-represented in the parks. Pixar has had hits with so many films that would lend themselves to great rides - "The Incredibles" could work as a coaster, a 4-D adventure or even a dark ride.

Most importantly, I can only hope that whatever they add to the park doesn't take away one more thing from the Old Hollywood atmosphere still present on Sunset and Hollywood Boulevard. While the park may have veered away from the production studio aspect of things in recent years, it's still such a treat to be able to "time travel" to that golden era - just to walk those streets makes me feel like I'm in a dream. And while, perhaps, most of the closed attractions at the Studios may not be missed, I feel that the cornerstone of Disney, that for which it is most familiar, is the animation. It's most heartbreaking that they would close the one place in all of Disney World that truly celebrates the animation process.

On a recent trip, while waiting to meet Wreck-It Ralph at the Animation building, I witnessed a six year old boy sketching in front of me. My wife indicated him, and we struck up a conversation with him and his mother. The boy had the incredible cartooning skill at such a young age that makes one take notice - especially a fellow artist. When I complimented him, he asked who my favorite cartoon character was. I told him, "Donald Duck", and he proceeded to draw me a sketch that showed ability way beyond his six years. I gave him five dollars when he presented it to me, and his face lit up, and his mother was so proud - it was the best money I'd ever spent. I asked him to autograph it before he left. As an artist, I saw myself in the child, and really felt that multi-generational Disney magic. It was one of those magical moments that brings Disney fans together, and it wouldn't have happened the same way anywhere but the animation exhibit. There may be lots of kids who want to be a storm trooper, but there are just as many little artists - and since the reality of becoming a professional droid is unlikely, it would be nice to nurture the kids who come into the park with dreams of one day drawing for them.

I say, bring on "Star Wars", "Marvel", and anything that will make people happy - but stop taking away the things that are already making people happy to do it.

August 15, 2015 at 10:12 PM · What a great day to be a Disney theme park fan! Im excited about all the projects and its gonna be wonderful following the progression. DHS will be construction wall central for a few years!

Great news, Im happy about all the announcements!

August 15, 2015 at 10:58 PM · I take back my previous concern for this area as that coaster looks like the real deal on the picture. As for concerns that this only has a couple of rides and that's not much, I'd like to ppoint out that Diagon Alley only has 1 ride (1.5 if you go park hopper). I don't say that in a derogatory way, on the contrary Universal has shown how you don't need to have stacks of rides to create an incredible theme park experience. I hope Toy Story Land is able to match this in interactivity.

I also do hope that Disney is able to incorporate other Pixar IPs into their parks.

I'd like to modify what Manny said, it's a great day for all theme park fans. It doesn't matter if you're a Universal or Disney fan (or both asI believe we all truly are), I think this is great news for us all.

August 16, 2015 at 3:29 AM · I was excited about Star Was although I still think it needed more that just 2 rides on it's 14 acers but with Toy Story Land it went down the drain. It looks cheap like all the budget hotels with oversized props. I don't care much for Toy Story and I would rather have many more Pixar Ip's implemented in that land.

Walt did a great job with Disneyland putting all his ip's in nicely themed area's and it where the RIDES that where important and the theme was build around it.

I'm still hoping for a Villains Land being announced (not the horrible tv movie stuff but the originals).

August 15, 2015 at 11:25 PM · Sorry to rain on people's parades, but honestly Toy Story Land looks like it sucks... End of story. No I'm not counting the e tickets or if they are 200 ft tall, I'm looking at how detailed things are. Disney lovers ALWAYS critzise Univeral lovers about how you can see the supports with the roller coasters at those parks. Which yes they have somewhat of a point, but here Disney World does it and no one says a thing, and in fact says that it looks amazing. I'm going to call an onion and onion no matter what. I'm a THEME PARK lover. I don't care where I get my fix at, as long as it's the best. People cut down MK all the time it seems compared to DLAND, but heck, compared to Six Flags or Busch Gardens, MK is amazing. Look, I can't wait for Avatar. It's going to be amazing I feel. It's a world that just looks fun to be in. Now compare what Avatar looks like compared to this Toy Story land looks like and it's night and day. It's not so much about number of attractions or e tickets anymore in my opinion. It's mainly all about can you totally immerse me into a completely different world. Now Harry Potter was the first to do this in a 21 century kind of way. Cars Land has also done it. Avatar and Star Wars will do it. Toy Story........ With what I see in this artist rendering of the land, not so much. It is a GREAT time to be a theme park fan. I'm excited about most things coming up. I think Frozen might be better than expected originally. It's just that I thought something more immersive and original was going to be announced at this expo for DHS other than Star Wars. Bob Iger I feel truly slipped up saying perhaps too early that DHS was going to get a name change because I feel that there should be more changes coming for a name change to feel warrant. Maybe there's more to come, but for now, I don't see a total reimagined theme park. We shall wait and see what happens. Until then, DAK here I come in 2017.
August 16, 2015 at 2:43 AM · I'm guessing this is the end of the old production studio, what's left will be razed for the new land - scenic shop, costuming, old production bungalows and my place of employment for 8 + years, the Roy O Disney Production Center. Wish I could be there when the bull dozers move in; saw it built, would like to see it go. I think TSL is a fine addition, no hater here.
August 16, 2015 at 5:40 AM · So excited to see Hollywood Studios finally getting a spinner ride. So long over due.
August 16, 2015 at 6:05 AM · I think the Toy Story Land looks really cute. It makes sense that they would make a land about just Toy Story since they are about to have 4 movies in this series. I think what I am seeing in the bottom corner is a little Woody's Roundup area. I really loved the little set from the 50s TV show in Toy Story 2. Three rides seems like what the themed lands tend to have so that isn't too surprising. I think having this area themed to one movie is better. Fantasyland is a bunch of movies crunched together, but since many of the movies are set in medieval times in Europe they kind of blend in with the castle and each other. If they made a Pixar area, it wouldn't blend very well together. Brave, Monsters Inc, A Bug's Life, WALL-E, Cars, etc. don't really have anything in common except that they are made from the same studio. Maybe they will make mini lands based on individual Pixar properties in the future.
August 16, 2015 at 7:23 AM · There seems to be an army men tower ride in the picture too. It's so strange there are no dates given for these lands to open and what they are tearing down. I wonder if this is to keep Universal studios out of the loop. Robert, what do you think?
August 16, 2015 at 8:31 AM · I had gone to the Disney Studios live action presentation at D23 in the morning, so didn't have a chance for parks & resorts. But... I happened to be in line for the Pandora preview when Joe Rohde and James Cameron walked by the line and stepped in! After Cameron previewed and left, Joe stayed around and I was able to get my picture with him at the end of the preview! Pretty cool. Not much to see except the model of the land, but it was fun to talk to Rohde briefly and hear his excitement for the construction that he said is now up to 90 feet high.
August 16, 2015 at 8:41 AM · I think we can be hopeful. The bar for themed lands has been set pretty high recently. It would seem silly to me to try to design a themed land with a major IP and not taken the time to learn from Diagon Alley. I'd also like to think they have learned lessons from opening Cars land.

It is interesting to me they seem to be building both of these lands at the same time at Disney Hollywood Studios. That's a LOT of construction at once. If the Downtown Disney construction is any indication... this could take a while.

August 16, 2015 at 9:04 AM · Toy story land seems to be launching with the same amount of attractions as Carsland did. So it could be following that same blueprint.

All in all, some exciting stuff coming to the parks!!!!

August 16, 2015 at 10:57 AM · Disney didn't say where Toy Story Land will be but air photos of DHS show an obvious area behind Toy Story Midway Mania. This is a large rectangle area, now all backstage, extending west from TSMM to the park fence next to World Drive and north-to-south from the backstage parking garage down to Lights Motors Action. The old Backlot Tour was here and all Disney needs to do is move the props items to a warehouse and bull-doze everything. Construction can be done all day because all this area is out of sight from park guests. Maybe this means it can be completed in a year or two instead of 5 years as is the current pace.
August 16, 2015 at 1:55 PM · Why go with a land based on a specific movie instead of using an entire studios library? Isn't it called Hollywood Studios? Seeing as how they're removing the animation pavilion they could have built a cool exhibit about computer animation as pixar is a pioneer in that industry.....
August 16, 2015 at 12:00 PM · Im just gonna say it, As a disney hardcore lover and an annual poassholder, I am completely underwhelmed. Weve been waiting so long and for 4 rides, most of which are rehashed rides with a new shell? and people are saying 5 years? How come Universal can kick out a better themed world such as harry potter in as little as 2 years and it takes Disney 4 years to make rides they have already made????? I wanted more, I cant lie.
August 16, 2015 at 1:54 PM · Here are some noteworthy things I'm seeing on this map.

There seems to be quite a bit of theming around the Rollercoaster, but not nearly as much as Disney's other coasters. The best theory that I can come up with is that Slinky is taking you through some sort of obstacle course inadvertantly made in Andy's backyard after one of his play sessions.

At the bottom left there is a building that looks suspiciously like Al's Toy Barn which was referenced in Toy Story 1 and makes a full appearance in Toy Story 2.This could most likely be a gift shop of restaraunt.

Right above it is a building with an orange entrance which leads into what appears to be a show building. I have a hunch that this is where the "new entrance" for Midway Mania is. Especially since the entrance looks kinda midway-ish.

Above that is a building with a...board game on the roof? Okay...

The most possible location for that spinner looks to be that building on the upper left side of the Rollercoaster with all the green and gray. Across from that is some sorta circle of...something. This could also be where the spinner is, but I don't see anything that looks remotely like a ride vehicle or "The Claw."

Above that is a little walking path which extends to what looks like a body of water. I think it's gonna be an "employees only" area.

Then of course there's the supposed Woody' Roundup Village on the bottom right.

I know a lot of people will have problems with this land. There's something about it's modesty that makes it look nice. But let me ask this to all of you Disney critics and Universal fans. And I want a serious answer. Why is that Universal builds a new land with only a spinner for a new ride and receive praise for it, but Disney builds a new land with a Rollercoaster in addition to the spinner and be called "cheap and "lazy?"

August 16, 2015 at 2:48 PM · For 38.75.131.2

Sorry, I don't understand where you're getting the bit about 4 rehashed rides. Of the 2 Star Wars ones we do only know about the millennium falcon ride, which sounds completely fresh. In Toy story there is a new coaster (which from the art looks a step above the standard blandly themed coaster fair and more in line with Rocky Mountain Railroad). The other ride does sound like a more generic spinner style (hmph - although Universal managed to put one in the Simspons area with little complaint).

If you're talking about the Avatar one being like Soaring, I think the criticism hear is a bit excessive. The new ride mechanics should make this significantly different and the Use of a large Imax style screen makes for a greatly immersive experience - not really just a new shell.

As for the time frame, nothing has been announced. We can only hope they do expedite things and try to match Universal's rapid development.

August 16, 2015 at 4:07 PM · I think it looks cool. The coaster seems as if it has 5-6 story "zones" to it, and I love the idea of Andy digging trenches for the coaster in his backyard.

As for placement in DHS, it's pretty obvious that they're reversing the entrance to Toy Story Mania, and turning the alley between the back of the Movie Ride and Mania Ride into backstage space. I'd say that this land is taking the "working studio" space and the backstage tour space for the space. I'd say the Star Wars is taking the stunt show, Muppets and up to Star Tours. This basically gives the newly thematic DHS basically three zones: Toy Story, Star Wars, and Old Hollywood.

August 17, 2015 at 3:40 AM · I've already been to the Andy's giant props park. It's called All Star Movies Resort. It's very cute and was built like 10-15 years ago.
It isn't an exciting, new, fresh idea from WDW like they are needing to announce after waiting 12 years to do ANYTHING like Disney used to do.
Most of what I see in the drawing are guests walking around to cover up all the blank space between giant props.
WDW is removing 8-10 attractions for giant props, a Six Flags Coaster and a spinner?!?
August 18, 2015 at 12:40 PM · To Mr. Anonymous above, they are closing all those attractions to build Star Wars Land, too.
I can't help thinking that the anonymous posters are on Universal's payroll. They are nearly always the most virulent Disney critics.
August 20, 2015 at 9:46 AM · Disney stock down to 101 this morning, that's around a 15-20% decline in the past couple of weeks. No stock bounce from the D23 announcements.
August 21, 2015 at 7:53 AM · So if Tomorrowland is not getting Star Wars does that mean it will get Tron. Maybe Guardens of the Galaxy can replace Buzz Lightyear. Tomorrowland needed Star Wars at WDW and DL. I don't think George Clooney and Captain EO can save it.

I guess it's going to stay as a cheaply themed Fantasyland with characters not quite timeless enough for Fantasyland like Monsters inc and Stitch. It's a joke that Disney has kept Stitch encounter open for this long. Save Tomorrowland

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