SEE BUENA VISTA, Florida – For children in the mid-1990s, Disney's Toy Story Land offers the opportunity to visit the imaginary world in which they grew up. For her parents, it brings back sweet memories of a magical time of toys and fantasy. And for everyone else, the new theme parkland offers a whimsical experience from the moment a sixty foot statue of Sheriff Woody greets guests as if they were honor toys in Andy's backyard.
The new 11-acre country, inspired by the movie "Toy Story", opens for the public on Saturday at the Disney Hollywood Studios just outside Orlando, but an opening ceremony was scheduled for Friday. It is one of the country's most anticipated theme park openings this year. And it continues Disney's tradition of bringing movies to life. Last year, Pandora World of Avatar was opened in Florida Theme Park. Next year, Disney Parks here and in California will open "Star Wars" countries.
But Toy Story Land's visitors will never really look at Andy, the human boy who owns the toys of the "Toy Story" movies. According to the story of the park, he was called in by his mother and left his toys – and you – in the backyard.
"As in the" Toy Story "movies, the toys come when people go away to live," said Dave Minichiello, executive creative director of Toy Story Land. "We've tried to include most of the moments and characters in the 'Toy Story' films in the new country."
But you'll find other favorite characters – Sheriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, Slinky Dog, Mr. Potato Head and the Green Army Patrol – in the colorful countryside, along with two new rides: Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers. They join the already existing Toy Story Mania ride, which is one of the most popular attractions of the Hollywood studios since their debut in 2008. Toy Story Mania gets a colorful new entrance in the new Toy Story Land.
Guests "magically make a transition," seem to equal the size in a toy because of the scale of attractions, Minichiello said. In fact, he added, "They are about the size of the Green Army men."
The Green Army men of the film are referred to here as the Green Army Patrol. They have been updated to be more complete and diverse – including female characters. They also interact with guests in the park, saluting and even playing fun games like "Sarge Says", inspired by the classic children's game "Simon Says".
In addition to the rides and characters, the Woody's Lunchbox offers some modern-day twists on classic foods. There's the cheese three-cheese sandwich, a brisket melt, old fashioned soda floats, and other refreshments that can be ordered from Andy's vintage lunchbox and thermos.
The park has basic colors and larger-than-life versions of classic toys such as magic cubes, colorful cootie beetles, Scrabble letters, building blocks and Tinkertoys. There are also benches built by Lincoln Logs.
"We wanted to do this for all generations," Minichiello said. "If you go through, you'll probably discover a lot of toys that you played with as a kid."
There's something for everyone, said Tom Vazzana, Show Director of Toy Story Land Entertainment. "Buzz and Woody and Jessie … are on the avenue," interacting with guests, stopping at photo opportunities and signing autographs.
Toy Story Land is the result of a collaboration between the Disney Imagineers and their storytelling partners at Pixar Animation Studios, said Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, experiences and consumer products.
"This new land will be guests in the wondrous world of Woody, Buzz and their friends," said Chapek, "and invite all to experience the joy of being a toy."
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