We conclude our inaugural coverage of Toy Story Land with a look at what to expect from Alien Swirling Saucers, Slinky Dog Dash, and Toy Story Mania at the end of the night. This is a continuation from Part 1, where we “enjoyed” dinner at Woody’s Lunch Box, along with stops at Alien Swirling Saucers with FastPass+ and Toy Story Mania in standby.
It’s 9:13pm on July 3rd and this is the walkway towards Slinky Dog Dash. There are a few people around, but the amount of already-cracked concrete is also apparent.
Here’s the same area two hours before with Slinky Dog’s standby line backed up further than what I’ve captured in this frame with a 105-minute posted wait.
By 9:15pm, the posted wait has already dropped 35 minutes from what we saw at 7:15pm.
I mentioned the unpleasant conditions at Woody’s Lunch Box in Part 1 with the seating section being overrun on top of the heat of the Florida summer with the outdoor seating. You can mitigate that somewhat by visiting later in the evening, but all of the tables with chairs are still occupied with just 75 minutes to Park close. There is easier access to the high-top tables, at least. Service continues through regular Park close, which is currently 10:30pm, and runs all the way through evening Extra Magic Hours on those nights as well.
Efficient nighttime touring follows the same general idea regardless of which theme park we’re visiting. Basically, we want to visit the attractions in increasing order of popularity/wait times, starting with the least popular attractions on our touring plan and ending with the most popular. That’s exactly the opposite of our morning attack plan. I visited Toy Story Mania first because I expected the wait there to be lower than Alien Swirling Saucers or Slinky Dog Dash. I’ll then proceed to Swirling Saucers when the wait has had an opportunity to drop there, and then ideally end the night at Slinky Dog Dash with the lowest wait possible outside of first thing in the morning. This typically works because more and more people leave the theme parks as it gets later in the evening.
On this particular evening, my plans aren’t going to go so well.
Only one of the two sides of Alien Swirling Saucers has been operating most nights since Toy Story Land opened on June 30th. In ideal conditions, the capacity here is around 850 riders per hour. Halve that when only one side is running and you’re only moving through 425 people. That’s less than a fifth of what Expedition Everest does. With the ride distributing around 350 FastPass+ experiences per hour, that means only 75 standby rider per hour will have the opportunity to ride. That’s a little more than one standby rider per minute. Not good.
“What do I know, though,” I thought, as I marched up to the entrance with the 35-minute posted wait at 9:21pm.
As I stood there, the only way the standby line moved was when people gave up and exited the line.
So after four load cycles, which took about 15 minutes, I bailed given that only ten standby riders boarded during that time.
I figured there was a decent chance that I’d be done with Slinky Dog Dash in time to hurry back over to Swirling Saucers, so I got in line for the roller coaster at 9:37pm with a 70-minute posted wait.
There are no interactive elements in the Slinky Dog queue and not a whole lot to look at otherwise.
There are a few retro details.
As the story goes, Andy has built this roller coaster using the Dash & Dodge Mega Coaster Kit, the box for which appears in the queue.
But it’s mostly just switchback.
After switchback. All of it is outdoors, at least half of it is uncovered, and none of it is air-conditioned.
Slinky’s height requirement is 38 inches, which is two inches shorter than Star Tours and Tower of Terror and the same as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom.
During normal operating hours, if you start your wait at the end of the standby queue just underneath the wait time sign, you’re looking at an actual wait of 60 to 70 minutes.
If the line stretches outside the attraction entrance, then you can safely add about ten minutes to your wait for every hundred people in front of you.
With FastPass+, you should be looking at a wait that’s less than ten minutes.
It’s hard to accurately describe the ride’s intensity, but it’s probably close to the more intense portions of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. What’s so cool about it is that Slinky is so massive (no offense, Slink) that you can’t always see the track in front of you, which adds to the sense of speed.
The vehicle is similar to Mine Train’s, though most guests will appreciate the much wider, far more comfortable seats.
Slinky was, fortunately, not built specifically for Shanghai Disney, though he was probably still assembled somewhere in China.
As you may be aware, Disney released two different versions of the Slinky Dog Dash concept art, the first of which included a number of practical effects, numerous character figures, and several different themed areas within the ride. Off in the upper right is the Green Army Man section, for example, and there’s also aliens and Hamm, among others.
Much of that ended up getting cut for one reason or another.
Regardless, Slinky Dog Dash is an incredibly fun roller coaster that just about everyone should enjoy.
During a lot of rope drop touring posts, we play a game called “Count the Smiles,” because everybody is very obviously miserable. On Slinky Dog and Swirling Saucers, virtually every single person is smiling the entire time.
Slinky is visible from all over the Land, here appearing in the distance alongside Alien Swirling Saucers as he travels home.
Seeing Slink from all over Toy Story Land is a big part of what makes the area “feel” so alive.
Here he is on another part of his journey at one of the two launches.
That’s him gliding along as we first enter the Land.
Anyway, Slinky Dog seats two guests in individual seats with individual lap bars that work the same as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
There’s nine rows with the last row experiencing the most speed and the sharpest turns. The front row offers the smoothest, slowest experience, though you may have a photobombing dog immediately in front of your face.
But that might end of being the case either way.
The experience is enhanced at night with all of the bright lights glowing all over the Land.
The fact that the ride experience is so different during the day and night complicates touring a bit.
And it may be why you’d want to use FastPass+ during the day and then return at the end of the night to ride in standby.
Or you could do the rope drop thing and use FastPass+ after dark.
With Fantasmic and the Star Wars Fireworks scheduled after dark nightly, there should be an opportunity to enjoy Slinky Dog Dash under the cover of darkness regardless of what time of year you visit.
I arrived to a 70-minute posted wait at 9:37pm and boarded my Slinky at 10:22pm, for an actual wait of 45 minutes. I was back out front at 10:26pm. The ride’s duration is just short of two minutes, but I think it “feels” longer given all that you’ll experience. You really get a sense that you’re traveling a good distance and seeing a lot of different things given the sizable footprint. It “felt” like a much more complete experience than Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Don’t miss it.
This is 10:25pm with the 10:30pm close. Guests may enter the queue up until the stated closing time, and occasionally up to a few minutes after, regardless of the posted wait, which is currently 60 minutes. Most of the queue is still full, which would mean a 65ish minute wait during regular operating hours. But since FastPass+ experiences are not distributed after official Park close, all of the ride’s capacity goes to standby, and the wait for guests that entered the line just before 10:30pm was under 30 minutes.
This is a picture of the queue taken at 11:02pm, or 32 minutes after the Park officially closed. It’s completely clear and all guests that were in line have had an opportunity to ride. That’s fantastic news for anyone able to stay out this late.
Here’s our wait time chart for Slinky Dog with July 5th and 6th added. I think that what we see on July 5th should be pretty similar to what we experience for the rest of the summer. Somewhat surprisingly, Disney is lowering the posted wait to a reasonable value at the end of the night. Often, Disney will exaggerate the posted wait to try to deter people from getting in line so they can close up shop earlier. But the 40-minute posted wait on July 5th is probably a little conservative, but not out of line.
At least at the moment, you have to go out of your way to visit Toy Story Land, much like you do at Pandora. Nobody is casually walking by Alien Swirling Saucers on their way to Star Tours (yet). That’s unlike Magic Kingdom, where you might be on your way to Peter Pan’s Flight and walk by six or seven attractions in the meantime, stopping at a couple of them with short posted waits. That fact may help reduce crowds and wait times, particularly at night.
On July 6th, with evening Extra Magic Hours attached, posted waits actually rise compared to the last hour of operation. That makes some sense given the fact that 100,000+ guests are eligible for EMH on any given day. Even 5,000 of them flocking to Toy Story Land would overrun it and that’s what we saw yesterday. It seems like avoiding Toy Story Land during the first hour of the EMH makes a lot of sense, if you do plan on attending. I’d probably head elsewhere on Friday nights moving forward.
Here’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster’s wait times on the same dates:
Those of you uninterested in the Toy Story Land rides during the morning EMH are in luck. You’ll be able to ride anything else in the Park, including Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours, back to back to back without waiting more than a moment during that first hour. It looks like there’s also potentially some time to get over to Sunset Boulevard after the morning EMH if you’re quick to Slinky, Saucers, and Mania. Slinky Dog’s wait times should prove to be longer than Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster’s moving forward.
Here’s a video of the nighttime ride. You might not want to spoil it.
So if you get in line a couple of minutes before Park close, I’d expect to wait 25 to 35 minutes most nights. That number will be lower if it’s raining and potentially higher if the ride saw considerable downtime during the day.
I ended up having just enough time to make my way over to Alien Swirling Saucers. This is 10:27pm or three minutes before the Park officially closes.
That’s a 35-minute posted wait.
The standby queue has emptied and they were sending everyone down the FastPass+ lane.
Saucers takes on a different vibe at night as well with the bright lights and neon details making for a ride that “feels” even more high-energy.
This is how I die.
I entered the standby queue at 10:28pm, and was back out front at 10:46pm, for a total experience time of 18 minutes. That’s six minutes longer than it took using FastPass+ earlier in the evening.
Here’s a reminder about what Swirling Saucers wait times look like with July 5th and 6th added:
The fact that the average wait over the last four days is under 40 minutes is a good sign of things to come. It’s pretty surprising that the wait would be that low given the lousy capacity and the newness of the attraction.
It also looks like one side was probably not operating on the morning of July 6th, given the 85-minute posted wait at 8:45am. And like Slinky Dog, posted waits actually rise during the evening EMH, making it look like visiting on a regular night is more intelligent. Plus you’ll be back at All-Star Sports that much earlier, which is always a good thing.
The late night is your best opportunity to enjoy Toy Story’s sights and sounds with few people around. This is only 20 minutes after Park close and Swirling Saucers is completely empty.
A better look at the restrooms.
Woody’s Lunch Box.
If you’re planning on visiting the Toy Story Land attractions at night, I’d try to secure Alien Swirling Saucers FastPass+ if you can. That will help guard against one of the sides going down, which will bring the standby line to a standstill. Of course, those lucky enough to score Slinky Dog FastPass+ want to do that instead, though I think my 45-minute wait for Slinky around 9:30pm would have actually been shorter than if I had stayed put at Swirling Saucers at the same time. Hopefully, both sides at Saucers will reliably run through close in the near future. But after using FastPass+ for Slinky or Saucers, you’re looking at a wait of 30 minutes or less at Toy Story Mania after 9pm. And Slinky Dog Dash’s actual wait should be around an hour at 9pm, 50 minutes at 9:30pm, 40 minutes at 10pm, and 30 minutes if you get in line a minute or two before close. That’s not bad at all.
My evening worked out okay:
- Dinner at Woody’s Lunch Box: 7:15pm – 8pm
- Alien Swirling Saucers with FastPass+: 8:06pm – 8:18pm
- Toy Story Mania: 8:21pm – 9:09pm
- Slinky Dog Dash: 9:36pm – 10:26pm
- Alien Swirling Saucers: 10:28pm – 10:46pm
I could have done better for myself by putting off Slinky Dog until 10:28pm and my wait would have been shorter at Toy Story if I had gotten in line later there as well.
I might have done instead:
- Dinner somewhere else: 8:30pm – 9:15pm
- Alien Swirling Saucers with FastPass+: 9:30pm – 9:45pm
- Toy Story Mania: 9:50pm – 10:25pm
- Slinky Dog Dash: 10:29pm – 11:05pm
That’s probably a little aggressive and I’d give myself a 15-minute cushion at Toy Story as to not run out of time before getting to Slinky Dog.
Overall, preliminary wait times look to be good news across the board. Slinky Dog Dash’s waits are nowhere close to Flight of Passage and actually come in under Na’vi River Journey. Alien Swirling Saucers is averaging under 40 minutes and Toy Story Mania continues to see a 45ish minute average wait most days. That makes things more than manageable, in my estimation. At least for those that can stay out late.
We’ll check out how things look in the early morning in the coming days and see if we can pinpoint when actual waits will be shortest during the day for those that can’t or don’t want to do the early morning or late night.