Toy Story Land is open and it is amazing! From the stains on the Popsicle stick wall to Andy’s giant footprints, Disney has created a land that truly feels like it could be Andy’s backyard. The main complaints that I’ve heard is that there isn’t much shade, everything is outside, and that there isn’t much seating. I am convinced that all of this is on purpose. Here is why.
Let’s start with almost everything being outside. The simple answer is that it’s supposed to be a backyard, of course everything is outside. I think that there is a little more to it than that. When Pandora – The World of Avatar opened in May, 2017, guests rushed to the area when it opened and stayed. The crowds were insane. I wanted to go to Windtraders a couple of days after the land opened, but there was a two hour wait just to get inside the store. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios there is plenty of Toy Story Land merchandise for sale, but in the land it’s sold at kiosks. You can get what you want and then move along. The fact that there isn’t a set store really helps to keep the crowds moving. If you want to take your time to look the items over, you can find plenty of merch in other stores. These stores do have air conditioning, so you can take your time and enjoy a break from the heat.
I think that the same is true of Andy’s Lunch Box. It’s supposed to have a backyard picnic feel, which means that you’ll eat at picnic tables outside. Again, in Pandora people tend to spend a lot of time inside Satu’li Canteen on hot days. Without an indoor seating area, people won’t linger, and the tables will open up for other guests. The same is true for the queues for the two new lines. Since they’re outdoors, some people will think twice about getting in line in the heat of the day. It all has to do with crowd control.
There are benches in Toy Story Land, but there aren’t really all that many of them. Again, my guess is that this is to keep people moving. They want you to walk from one end of the land to the other, see everything, then hit the rest of the park. If there are a lot of benches then guests will hang around longer, and it will be more crowded.
What about shade? Of course Disney could have created giant trees to shade the whole area (if they can create floating mountains they can create anything) but that would distract from the feel of the land. This is totally my opinion, but I think that giant trees to provide shade would just be weird. I don’t think that there is a good way to bring more shade into Toy Story Land that would keep with the theme. Look at Andy’s footprints, then imagine just how large the trees would have to be. It wouldn’t work.
If you’re visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios this summer when the heat is at its worst, my advice would be to stop by Toy Story Land either first thing in the day or in the early evening. Carry water with you. Make sure you visit the rest of the park as well, including the shows so that you’ll have a place to sit down for a while. Buy your Toy Story Land merchandise in a store in the front of the park. Just don’t complain that Disney didn’t “plan things out well” with Toy Story Land, because it is exactly how they want it.