Tips for riding Toy Story Mania! at Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Mania!

Now that Toy Story 3 is out, it’s time to talk about my all time favorite ride at Disney; Toy Story Mania! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This attraction combines fun elements of my childhood with my competitive personality and makes me live for the one time in my bi-monthly trips I get to enjoy this ride.

When I enter this ride, I feel like I am walking into my toy closet as a child. As the line queue winds through the attraction on its way up to the beginning of the ride, I feel like I have been transported back in time. All of my favorites are here: Candy Land, Lincoln Logs, Chutes and Ladders, Mr. Potato Head, and even oversized, larger-than-life crayons. It is a kid’s (and adult’s) dream. The vibrant colors, the sheer joy of knowing I WILL beat my last score, and just enjoying the atmosphere with other people in line, puts me in a blissful place. Not every line at Disney does this for me; I can promise you that. I have, however; met some of the nicest people at this ride, and the line never seems as long as it says. With that said, there are a couple of rules to go by when going on Toy Story Mania! to make your experience the best it can be.

  1. First (and most importantly), go early in the day! I can’t stress this enough. Do not wait until later in the day to come over to Hollywood Studios thinking you will be able to hop right on and ride. This ride gets long very fast and stays long all day.
  2. Once you enter the park, go straight to this ride. Don’t even stop to Fast Pass Tower of Terror or Rock ‘n Rollercoaster. Rockin’s line moves quicker than any other and you will still be able to get a good time if you Fastpass it after Toy Story Mania! 
  3. If you are thinking of Fastpassing this ride and waiting until later to ride it, you might want to reconsider. This ride has a tendency to break down occasionally and it may take 45 minutes or longer to reset. While resetting, they typically do not allow people to wait inside the building. This means that even with a Fastpass, you may still end up waiting for a while to ride.
  4.  Do not make the mistake of thinking you are in line for the ride, only to find out 20 minutes later that you are actually in line for the Fastpass machine. Both lines can be long! You have to walk past the Fastpass booths to get to the ride line, which is to the left of the entrance as you are looking at the door.  
  5. Accuracy vs. total score. If you are going for a high score, keep pulling the trigger (string). You will not be penalized for missed shots, so keep on shooting.  
  6. Ride secrets for higher scores. Each of the arcade games has its own secret tips to release higher scoring targets. Here are a few of them.

The Barn. Shoot the fox in the lower left corner to release a flock of high-scoring chickens in the same corner.

Plate Toss. Shoot both ‘jumping’ plates to initiate a screen full of high-scoring jumping plates. Once the screen clears, four jumping plates will appear. Along with your partner, shoot these four plates. If successful, the mountain will lift to reveal a tank.

Alien Ring Toss. Put rings on all eight of the aliens in the center spaceship before they reappear. If you do, the spaceship will take off to reveal a super alien, worth a whole lot of points.

Woody’s Roundup. Shooting the bullseyes will make them blossom into a tree of targets. Shoot all of these quickly to initiate new high-value targets. Also, Shoot the small bat near the top to activate a new really high-value target.

After going on this ride, I think you will see why it is one of my favorite rides in all of Walt Disney World. Whether you are competitive like me or just there to sit back and enjoy the ride, I believe this ride will soon be in your list of top attractions too. Enjoy.

Discover the magic of Walt Disney World® Resorts and parks on a Walt Disney World® Family vacation, and share the joy of Mickey Mouse and company with your kids. Let Ears of Experience plan the perfect Disney trip for you and your loved ones. Contact us today at 1-877-80MOUSE. We look forward to sending you on the magical vacation of a lifetime.

A Cool Way to Wait in Line, by Kid Expert, Nattie

Rock 'n Rollercoaster Queue Ticket

Recently, I went to Disney for Spring Break. Of course, the lines were bad. Some of those rides were Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, and Rockin’ Rollercoaster. When my Aunt Amy and I went to go wait in line for Rockin’ Rollercoaster, something had changed. Nobody was in line, but it looked like there was an entrance to a big lot. At first, I thought the ride had broken down. But no, it was a giant waiting area, because waits were so long! So we went in and they gave us a number. The number had a letter and a number. Our number was C6. They would have this giant screen that named the numbers. When we walked in the number was B9.

'Kid Expert' Nattie at Rock 'n Rollercoaster

The lot was so big. Lots of tents were set up for different activities. They even had vendors in the front. So while you were waiting, you could enjoy a drink or two. After we had a drink we passed a crowded tent. A man was standing on a stage, playing games with waiting people. It was pretty tough to get in, so we skipped that one. The next tent had Beetles ‘Rock Band’! I went over and found the place of lead guitarist (I can’t play a real guitar). I played that with Aunt Amy and some other kids. We jammed out and had a great time. Before we knew it our number was next. We said goodbye to our “band” and headed for the entrance. I thought the whole experience was fantastic. I think that Disney was thinking well towards their guests. I also think that they should do it more often during crowded times. I had an enjoyable time in the waiting area, and some day, they may have it on every ride!

Rock 'n Rollercoaster Queue, Rock Band

Discover the magic of Walt Disney World® Resorts and parks on a Walt Disney World® family vacation, and share the joy of Mickey Mouse and company with your kids. Let Ears of Experience plan the perfect Disney trip for you and your loved ones. Contact us today at 1-877-80MOUSE. We look forward to sending you on the magical vacation of a lifetime.

Things Many People Overlook, Part I. By Gil Pohl

I am going to be writing about a few of the attractions I feel many people overlook when visiting Walt Disney World® Resort.  These attractions may not be the fastest, flashiest, or the most exciting at the park, but if you take time to visit these, it will make your trip to Disney even more magical. 

In my opinion, the most overlooked attraction in all of WDW is the “One Man’s Dream” on Mickey Avenue at Disney’s Hollywood StudiosTM.  I believe if it were not for Walt himself, the many things that make my life a little brighter would never have happened.  There would be no Happiest or Magical places for one to go and just leave the rest of the world behind.

 “One Man’s Dream”, now sponsored by D23 (the Official Community of Disney Fans), opened October 1, 2009 and displays over 400 items from the Disney Company Archives.  When visiting this little corner of the Studios, I usually spend a quite 30 – 40 minutes checking out the displays such as the Disneyland Castle model, the camera stand used to film “Steamboat Willie”, plans for Project-X (the Florida Resort), and many other little pieces of Disney History.

 At the end of this self-guided tour, there is a small theater that shows a short 15 minute film about Walt Disney.  This is a must-see for any true fan of Walt Disney. 

So, on your next trip to the Walt Disney World® Resort, make sure you contact Ears of Experience to help you get the most out of your trip. And when you visit Disney’s Hollywood StudiosTM, be sure to take some time to visit “One Man’s Dream”.  I know I will be visiting it again during my December trip.

Discover the magic of Walt Disney World® Resorts and parks on a Walt Disney World® family vacation, and share the joy of Mickey Mouse and company with your kids. Let Ears of Experience plan the perfect Disney trip for you and your loved ones. Contact us today at 1-877-80MOUSE. We look forward to sending you on the magical vacation of a lifetime.

D23-What I should have been doing this month, by Gil Pohl.

For the first time ever, Disney brought everything Disney under one roof, even if that roof was a very large one.  Disney hosted the D23 Expo (D for Disney and ‘23 for the year the Disney Company started) at the 800,000 square foot Anaheim Convention Center September 10-13.  The Expo covered Disney animation, movies, TV, and most of all the Disney parks. 

Because I could not be there this year and my overwhelming interest in everything to do with Disney parks, I spent as much time as I could following the happenings on the internet.  Thursday and Friday were busy days for D23; but Saturday was the day I looked forward to most.  Saturday was the day that D23 had scheduled a lot of time to discuss plans for Walt Disney World.

Rumors have been flying around the internet for months about the two big projects that might be coming to WDW and to the trill of us park lovers both where officially announced on that Saturday.

The first is the reworking of the Star Wars attraction at Disney Hollywood Studios.  Star Tours has always been one of the great rides at Disney, but the ride is getting dated.  I can remember that a few years ago when I was watching the pod racing scene from the first of the three new Star War movies I told my wife; “They should remake the Star Tours ride with this as the theme.”  While after years of waiting, the dream is coming true and during my 2011 trip to the World I will be experiencing it in 3D.

The other big news is that the first major expansion to the Magic Kingdom in over 20 years will be starting later this year. 

Map of new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom

Map of new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom

The most popular land in all of the Magic Kingdom, Fantasyland, will be growing much larger in size and adding several new attractions.

The big new “E ticket” ride, Journey under the sea with Ariel, The Little Mermaid that is already under

Little Mermaid attraction in the new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom

Little Mermaid attraction in the new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom

construction at Disney’s California Adventure will be coming east.  Also to

Dumbo's Tent at the new Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom

Dumbo's Tent at the new Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom

be constructed is a new twin-Dumbo ride that will be part of a new interactive, three-ring circus tent.  There will also be a meet and greet area for Tinker Bell and her friends.  Plans call for a Disney Princess castle, cottage, or chateau where you can share a dance with Cinderella; celebrate Sleeping Beauty’s birthday with the Good Fairies; or join Belle in an enchanting story performance in the Beast’s castle library.

Another big addition to the Magic Kingdom will be a new restaurant to be themed around Beauty and the Beast to be named “Be Our Guest”.  Here you will be able to dine at a counter service restaurant during the day and enjoy table service at night in one of three enchanted dining rooms inside the Beast’s castle.  Additional table service dining is much need in the Magic Kingdom.

I know that I soon will be working with Ears of Experience to plan a trip to next year’s D23 Expo and looking forward to them planning trips for me to see the new attractions coming to Walt Disney World.


Welcome Gil to the Ears of Experience Team!

Gil and his wife Vicki are big Disney Park fans.  It started with trips to Walt Disney World while they where in college and has continued throughout their lives.

Gil served in the USAF for 21 years and would take the wife and two kids (Mary and Mike) on Disney Vacations between each assignment.  They where stationed outside of LA for four years and everyone that came to visit them had to have a trip to the “Happiest Place on Earth”.

When he retired on the East Coast from the USAF and the children got older, they wanted to bring friends along to share their now every other year family trip to Walt Disney World.  In order to accomplish this, a membership in the Disney Vacation Club (Boardwalk Villas) was purchased by the family.

Now that he has two grandchildren (Violet and Tyler); additional DVC points have been added and they make annual trips to WDW.  Two of his friends also have joined the DVC and this year they will be having an early December Magical Gathering of 27 family members and friends.

Vicki and Gil still do some traveling to the other Disney Parks and with their June 2009 trip to Hong Kong they have been to all five Disney Resorts.  The two of them also celebrated a wedding anniversary on a cruise on the Disney Magic.  The plans for the next few years call for a trip to WDW for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, a second cruise and a trip to Shanghai is already in the planning stages.

The Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster® Starring Aerosmith Attraction, by Guest Blogger Madison, Age 10

Guest Blogger Madison

Guest Blogger Madison

The Rock ‘n’  Roller Coaster® Starring Aerosmith Attraction is one of my favorite fast roller coasters. It has a rock theme. The beginning gets you really pumped up. First you go into a room. There is a big television screen in there. It plays a fun little show on what you’re going to do and how this whole ride is started.  Once the show is over you walk out of the room and into a place where the ride is. When it is your turn to go you get into a super long ‘limo’ and you wait for the people in front of you to go. When you are at the front there is a big screen that counts down then……TAKE OFF!

This ride goes from 0 to 60mph in about 3 seconds! It is really fast. This ride goes upside down and there are twists so those of you who get sick on a fast roller coaster…….DO NOT ENTER!!!!! When the ride starts and you go into the darkness of the roller coaster you see the start of a road. The roller coaster tracks are supposed to be a road. You go through signs and closed roads. To make it even better there is music playing at your seat!

At the end you slow down to a ‘red carpet’. There are lights and a white hood above you. You get to walk out to the gift shop and see your pictures. Best of all they let kids ‘work there’ if you want to buy the picture. The Rock ‘n’  Roller Coaster® Starring Aerosmith Attraction is one of the fastest Walt Disney World® Rides. If you’re up for an adventure, remember this ride!