My 4-year-old daughter Liv and I just got back from one of the best vacations ever at Walt Disney World® Resort! We visited the brand spanking new Toy Story Land inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, and had SUCH an amazing time.
It was so fun to essentially become the size of a toy. Everything in this section of the Park is giant to make you feel itty bitty. We sure made some lasting memories with just us girls—enjoying so many exciting attractions, marching with the Green Army Patrol, eating yummy snacks, and even getting to meet Buzz Lightyear himself (Liv’s favorite character)!
To make the most of your visit, I’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks—from the planning phase to day-of—to ensure your vacation is as smooth and fun-filled as possible for the whole family.
Packing Made Easy
You’ll be walking throughout the day, having a blast! So, be sure to bring a pair or two of comfortable, already broken-in shoes—and the same goes for the kiddos.
To make sure you’re prepared for all the magic, I recommend bringing a backpack to the Park to keep your hands free for fun (and carrying a baby). Bonus points if the pack can easily attach to your stroller with a hook, which can easily be purchased ahead of time. Make sure to keep a water bottle, snacks, sunscreen, wet wipes, and a poncho inside. You never know when you might need these. But don’t overpack your Park bag. You want to be kind to your back, plus leave room for souvenirs!
Have a Game Plan
It’s nice to count on your little ones getting to experience their most anticipated attractions. And thanks to Disney FastPass+*, you can secure up to three per day…in advance! Parenting is all about planning—which is why it’s a lifesaver that you can do all this prior to even leaving home. With a ticket or annual pass purchase, you can make selections 30 days before. Disney Resort hotel guests can even make reservations 60 days from their hotel check-in. You can secure your experiences online, on the mobile app, or on the same day at an in-Park Disney FastPass+ kiosk. For a complete list of experiences for tykes, click here.
To keep track of everything day-of, I’d recommend using the My Disney Experience app**. You can view your Disney FastPass+ selections, the height requirements for attractions, previews of your Disney PhotoPass photos, and even order food. The interactive maps are also another priceless feature. When your toddler tells you they need to use the bathroom with no time to spare, you can use the app to search for nearby restrooms. You’ll be ready for anything!
An Early Bird Catches the Worm
Imagine attending an (almost) empty Park, with little lines, and riding some of your favorite attractions at sunrise. We got to do just that at Toy Story Land. Since we stayed at a participating Walt Disney World Resort hotel, we took advantage of the Extra Magic Hours benefit. With a valid Theme Park admission and Resort ID, you can experience select attractions before regular Park hours. So naturally, we rode the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster—and it was unlike any experience. You can find the early hours for your specific vacation dates here.
Bonus Tip: On occasion, Disney’s Hollywood Studios allows guests to start their magical journey sooner—opening up the Park to Hollywood Boulevard. You may be able to get Disney PhotoPass pics taken, shop at select stores, and (critical to the success of any mission) grab some coffee! I was so grateful for my morning blonde roast to start the day.
Get to the Park in a Jiffy
Once your family is ready to hit the Park for a day of adventure, knowing the best route makes it effortless.
From where we stayed at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, it was only a 10-minute walk along the canal, which made it SO convenient and a beautiful stroll. But in the evening when we were tired from all the fun, the Walt Disney World® Bus Service was exactly what we needed. Just remember that while you can take strollers on board, they have to be folded. This is yet another reason to bring a backpack to carry your items. (My fellow mommas know the difficulty of trying to fold a packed stroller—impossible!)
If you want something a little more special, you can also board a boat from select Disney Resort hotels. Talk about magical!
Essentials for the Whole Family
Walt Disney World Resort has so many family-friendly amenities—from facilities to help your baby to stroller rentals for ease of traveling.
If you’re on the fence about bringing a stroller to the Park, remember that if your little ever gets tired on walks and asks to be carried, you definitely want one! You also have the option to rent a stroller for the length of your stay, throughout the Walt Disney World Theme Parks and Disney Springs. You can even save money by prepaying for all the days you’ll need it. But be sure to get there early as they can go fast.
When heading to Toy Story Land, pick yours up at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Then look out for the convenient signs by the stroller parking areas—available at all of the Land’s attractions!
Next to the stroller rentals, you will also find lockers that can be used throughout the day for a one-time charge—so you can store your personal items with ease.
And if you’re traveling with a little one, note that there are facilities in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (and within all four Theme Parks) to care for your baby. Inside Guest Relations, near the main entrance, you’ll find everything you need to feed or change the littlest member of your family.
There’s an Attraction for Everyone
When your family is ready to enjoy the magic, head to one of the three main attractions at Toy Story Land. No matter your kiddo’s age, there is something for everyone.
What’s great about Toy Story Mania! is that it’s truly for all ages. It’s a 4D action-packed game starring our favorite Disney•Pixar Toy Story characters.
But my personal favorite is Alien Swirling Saucers. It features the adorable little green aliens that swirl you around. Liv could not stop laughing during the entire ride. I think we rode this about six times. Seriously!
Then, there is the super fun roller coaster Slinky Dog Dash. As soon as you walk into the Land, you can hear Slinky Dog laughing as he buzzes by over you.
Children and adults will love it! If both you and your partner want to experience the attraction but have a little one who doesn’t fit the height requirement, you can utilize the Rider Switch, taking turns waiting with them.
Meet the Characters
Throughout the new Land, you may get the chance to encounter some of Toy Story’s beloved characters, including Sheriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl.
Also be on the lookout for Sarge and his Green Army Patrol, who will march around several times a day and play “Sarge Says” with guests. Liv had such a fun time, and it was cute seeing her up there marching with the Patrol! If you have an older kiddo, they can even join in on the interactive boot camp to see if they have what it takes to become an official recruit in Andy’s backyard.
Take a Break
After a morning of running from attraction to attraction experiencing some of our favorites, a nice break is in order. Woody’s Lunch Box in Toy Story Land is a perfect little pit stop.
I also use a break as a time for the family to reapply sunscreen and lip balm with SPF, as sun protection is super important to us!
It’s also important to eat and stay hydrated to keep your energy up throughout the day. Woody’s Lunch Box offers delicious eats!
Strike a Pose
There are so many fun photo opps at the Park, and Toy Story Land is no exception—offering the perfect colorful backdrops to capture your family memories. These are some of Liv and my top picks:
Pose in front of the Toy Story Land sign with the 20-foot Sheriff Woody statue, right at the front. Another option is standing on Andy’s giant footprint.
Liv also had a blast trying to push the huge Luxo Ball. So cute!
Reflect on the Day
After a full day at the Park, I love talking with my daughter about her favorite parts of the vacation and reflecting on all the fun. We take as many pictures as possible while we’re out, as long as it doesn’t interfere with our enjoyment, of course. And at the end of the day, we get cozy in bed or on the couch and scroll through the pictures from the day. It really is an incredible way to relive the trip. And though my feet may be throbbing, so is my heart!
There isn’t much that’s more magical than experiencing joy through your child, and I hope all of you have the chance to do so. Happy planning!
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