If you have a Disney trip coming up soon, today’s ride is one you definitely want to have a Fastpass+ reservation for. If you are just dreaming about your next Disney vacation, then today will hopefully be a fun way to keep the magic alive until you can experience the ride in person.
Last week we talked about Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and I promised that this week we would cover the newer cousin to that ride, Toy Story Midway Mania! Well, a promise is a promise. It is indeed time to walk over to the midway and have fun playing games with our favorite toys! Let’s get started with our…
Know Before You Go Essential Facts
- The ride is located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- There is no height requirement
- Fastpass + is offered and highly recommended
- The fright factor is 0 out of 5
- Guests must transfer to a wheelchair
- Audio Description and Video Captioning are available
- Children under age 7 must be accompanied by a person age 14 years or older
- The ride is just over 4 minutes long
- The ride opened on May 31, 2008.
Those are the facts, now onto the fun!
Chills, thrills, games that test your skills! Why it’s all that and more, right here at Midway Mania. Come on pal, and step right up, make some noise, it’s time to play along with all the toys. Hurry, hurry, hurry. Right this way to Toy Story Midway Mania! It’s a ride that’s a game, it’s a game that’s a ride. Step right up and see what’s inside!
Did you like playing with toys as a child? Did you have a Barrel of Monkeys or an Etch-a-Sketch? Do you still know where to find Rainbow Road or the Gumdrop Pass? Did you love ladders but get frustrated by those pesky chutes? Was your desk covered with pages of colorful crayon masterpieces? Were you a word wizard in the game of Scrabble? Or, were you an engineering protege, creating marvels from a simple canister of Tinker Toys?
Well, if you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then you are going to LOVE Midway Mania. Not just the ride, but the whole experience.
Let’s get started with the queue. Currently, you will find the entrance to Toy Story Midway Mania! in Pixar Place, the street just behind The Great Movie Ride. I say currently because there is a good chance the ride’s entrance will move once the new Toy Story Land is completed. All of that construction is taking place on the back side of Midway Mania. Once it is finished, the majority of Toy Story Land will be behind the current entrance to the ride. For now, you enter on the front side of the show building. As you enter, be prepared to shrink down to the size of a toy! The Disney Imagineers have done a world class job creating a queue with giant replicas of classic games and toys. It is so convincing you may find yourself looking at the bottom of your shoe to see if it says, “Andy.” You are now the same size as his favorite toys Woody and Buzz.
As you meander through the long indoor queue, you will find the room is covered floor to ceiling in games. A giant box of Candyland greets you on the wall as you enter the room. If you look up you will see the entire ceiling is covered with game boards like Scrabble, Checkers, and Chutes and Ladders. Every square inch comes to life with familiar colors and shapes. The borders of the line itself are made up of giant crayons, dominoes, cards, and Lincoln Logs. Moving along this line you will come across the Etch-a-Sketch. Not only is it taller than you, but it comes to life with images being drawn right in front of your eyes! Pay close attention here as Etch gives you some pointers for scoring points once on the ride. You will also get to play “Guess the Phrase” as several images pop up, which in turn make a well known phrase from the Toy Story movies.
Further in you will discover the giant canister of Tinkertoys and see some monkeys have escaped their barrel and are now hanging in links up above. Eventually, you come to our friend Mr. Potato Head, who is serving as the Boardwalk Barker at Midway Mania. As the box says, “He talks and sings!” Through jokes and music Mr. Potato Head draws you in with invitations to experience the ride. You might hear a song a little like this:
He does much more than just recite the same barker script though. He can actually look at specific guests in line and talk to them. Mr. Potato Head is not your ordinary, mass produced Audio-Animatronic. The Imagineers spent more time on Mr. Potato Head than any other AA figure in history up to that point. He can say more lines of dialogue than any other AA figure, is the first AA figure whose mouth appears to move to form words and vowel sounds, and is also the first Audio-Animatronic capable of removing a piece of itself and then reattaching the piece. Just ask him to lend you an ear next time you are in line and see what happens!
Sadly, you can’t stay and play with Mr. Potato Head all day. The line will continue to move and you will have to play along. Your wait won’t be too much longer after visiting the hot potato. Soon, you will grab your 3-D glasses, climb the stairs, and finally be able to see into Andy’s bedroom.
Down below you will see the Midway Mania ride vehicles coming and going from the giant bedroom. When you descend the stairs you will be loaded two by two into the Toy Story Trams. Each vehicle holds a pair of riders on each side. Everyone gets a spring action shooter and their own score screen. Unlike Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, there is no toggle in the middle that controls the vehicles motion. Everything is programmed into the ride here and you need to be prepared to spin around quickly from game to game. This ride comes with a motion sickness warning that should not be taken lightly, more on that in a bit.
The entrance to the midway is a cut out of the giant game box. The box advertises fold-out Boardwalk backgrounds, 3-D action, five games in one set, and the chance to play against the clock to beat your own score! Inside your Toy Story Tram, your score screen will instruct you to pull the string to shoot and to put on your 3-D glasses. The time to play has come! Your first stop inside the midway is a practice round, where you shoot pies at the first screen. Here, you can get a feel for pulling the cord and aiming your spring action shooter. After this, the competition begins. The five mini-games you will encounter are:
- Hamm & Eggs
- Rex and Trixie’s Dino Darts
- Green Army Men Shoot Camp
- Buzz Lightyear’s Flying Tossers
- Woody’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Shootin’ Gallery
You will have 30 seconds at each of these stops to earn as many points as possible. The targets appear in 3-D all over the scene in front of you. Each will have a point value attached to them so it is easy to see which targets are worth the most points. When a targets are hit they fall down and are replaced by new targets. This is important to know as you and your fellow shooter can be going for the same target, but only the first one to hit it will earn the points.
We don’t have time to go through each of the 5 mini-games in detail, but each is unique, with their own types of targets and ammunition. For example, your shooter will send darts flying at Rex and Trixie’s Dino Darts, but rings will be tossed at Buzz Lightyear’s Flying Tossers. The variation from one stop to the next keeps the game challenging and fun.
Of course, you are probably listening and asking how do I achieve the high score? Well, it is a little more complicated than that of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. My best piece of advice? Start doing push ups right now. Seriously, you need some upper body strength to achieve the super high scores. There is not a simple trigger to hold down the whole time on this ride. Instead, there is a little ball attached to a string that feeds into your spring action shooter. Pull the string and that fires one shot. Pull faster and more shots are fired. Pull as fast as you possibly can for 30 seconds and your arm will be burning. Do this 5 times and you will wish you had a sling for your arm the rest of the day. Oh, did I mention you need to be accurate while performing this non-stop firing frenzy? Well, there in lies the challenge of Toy Story Midway Mania!
Here is a quick run down of the top targets in each game.
- Hamm & Eggs: Look for the hen house in the bottom corner and shoot the fox worth 500 points. He will then be followed by two hens, worth 1,000 and 2,000 points.
- Rex and Trixie’s Dino Darts: Shoot all 6 lava flow balloons and the volcano will explode with new balloons, each worth 500 points.
- Green Army Men Shoot Camp: Coordinate with your partner to simultaneously shoot the 2,000 point plates that appear on opposite sides of the screen. If successful, a tank will shoot out 6 plates, each worth 5,000 points.
- Buzz Lightyear’s Flying Tossers: Coordinate with your partner to take out all 8 aliens in the rocket ship before any can re-spawn. If successful the rocket ship will take off revealing the mouth of a robot. When the mouth is open targets from 500 – 2,000 points will be exposed.
- Woody’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Shootin’ Gallery: Coordinate with your partner to take out all 7 targets on the screen before any can reappear. If successful the screen will fill with new bullseyes worth 1,000 and 2,000 points.
With all of these tips, be sure to repeat the process as many times as possible in the 30 second span.
If you want a really comprehensive guide to each high score target click here.
So, there you have it! Your guide to conquering the midway and becoming a midway maniac!
The interactive queue, 3-D game play, and immersive Toy Story environment have made this one of, if not the most popular ride in all of Walt Disney World. For this reason, waits of 60 minutes or more are common. However, something is happening this Memorial Day weekend that may help with that. As we launch this podcast, the ride is only days away from opening a third track. This will greatly increase the ride capacity and hopefully make multiple rides on Toy Story Midway Mania! a reality. It is believed that the new track will feature the same 5 games as those found on the current 2 track version of the ride. So, while you don’t want to get your hopes up for new game play, you can get your hopes up that you can play those games more than once.
I have always utilized a Fastpass+ on this ride as even arriving at rope drop is not enough to avoid long waits. As soon as the park opens, the wait time usually shoots up over 60 minutes and doesn’t come down for the rest of the day. Add to this the fact the ride is closed about an hour before the park’s official closing time and you can’t even hope for a last minute ride aboard Toy Story Midway Mania! The reason the ride has to close an hour early is that the Star Wars fireworks are shot directly over Pixar Place making this a no fly zone for guests during the Galactic Spectacular. Again, that could all change in a few years if the ride’s entrance is moved to the other side of the building. For now, I’m usually forced to get my one ride in using a Fastpass+, or wait in the long line for a second or third go. Hopefully, with the addition of the third track, we will see those wait times fall faster than Andy’s toys when humans approach. Check our Facebook page and website as we will keep you updated once the third track is open.
Before we go, I do want to talk about the my personal experience on Toy Story Midway Mania! I had heard tremendous things about this ride before my first visit to the midway. The long lines alone were a testament to how incredible it must be. So, I was pretty excited about that first ride. After all, I’ve always enjoyed Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and this was touted as a newer, cooler version of that ride. Well, first off, I have to say the queue blew me away from the start. The sense of nostalgia with the classic games and toys is off the chart. The ride is worth it just for the queue alone.
As for the ride itself, I found it to be a lot of fun. However, I stepped out of my Toy Story Tram vehicle and felt a little queasy. Plus, my arm was throbbing from the rapid fire spring action shooter. I had to go get a cold drink and sit down for a minute to get my bearings straight. To put this in perspective, I can ride Star Tours- The Adventure Continues, or The Twilight Zone Tower or Terror 3 times in a row without any problems. I can even handle the inverted loops of Rock’n’Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Yet, there was something about the combination of 3D glasses and spinning from game to game that messed with my equilibrium.
Now, I have been on the ride multiple times since that first go and each time I find the queasy factor to be less and less. When I go now I can enjoy the ride and still feel like eating afterwards. That being said, my arm is still tired every time I go! I’m not sure I could handle back to back rides on Midway Mania, which got me thinking.
This, along with Soarin’, is my mom’s favorite ride. My mom does not do roller coasters and she will not get on Star Tours with me anymore because of the way it makes her feel. She is a breast cancer survivor and as a result does not have a tremendous amount of upper body strength. So, what is it she loves about this ride and how does the strenuous firing motion not bother her? Well, I decided it best to ask her those questions. Now, she lives a few hundred miles away so I’m going to call her up. Check out the audio above for my mom’s perspective of Midway Mania.
Have you had fun being the size of a toy and exploring Toy Story Midway Mania! I sure hope so! I know I have. It is my pleasure to come here each week and explore a Walt Disney World ride with you. Next week we are going to change things up a bit and look at one of the nighttime shows in WDW. That should be an illuminating experience.
Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope that you have a great week and until next time, make each day a ride worth taking!