Soarin’ and Toy Story Midway Mania Slated For Changes


What do you do with decreasing the wait times for your two most popular attractions at Walt Disney World? Guests know not only how quickly FastPass+ options run out for Soarin’ and Toy Story Midway Mania, but that waiting in the standby line can be grueling with waits on any day usually passing the 60 minute mark. It’s a leading reason why there is a two-tier system for FastPasses at those two parks. At Epcot, you’re stuck with deeding between Soarin’ and Test Track. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the same thing occurs with respect to Toy Story Midway Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith.

Soon a new "gate" will be available for guests boarding Soarin'.

Soon a new “gate” will be available for guests boarding Soarin’.

Well, according to my sources, much of the challenges relative to waiting in long queues will partly be relieved as Epcot’s Soarin’ has commenced work on a third theater behind The Land. Already, a number of trailers have been removed from behind that area to allow for the building of an additional theater/projection system. Currently there are two theaters already when the entire attraction is up and running. With the new movie being added where guests will be Soarin’ around the world instead of just California, it’s considered that this will help relieve some of the additional demand for experiencing the attraction.

Long lines are a big part of the wait at Toy Story Midway Mania. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Long lines are a big part of the wait at Toy Story Midway Mania. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Interestingly the same thing is being planned for Disney’s Toy Story Mania. Because of how the vehicles spin about, many guests don’t know that there are actually two track systems that carry guests through the many games. By taking over the Soundstage 1 space temporarily held by the wildly popular Oaken’s Trading Post and Frozen Funland, they will be able to add an additional track and again increase capacity. The upside of that is that more guests will experience the attraction. The downside is that many had hoped the space would be used for another attraction. The timing for this is a little uncertain. But those waiting for major changes to the Studios have become accustomed to second-guessing the timing of things.

Guests waiting an uncertain time to pay for the privilege of ice skating in the middle of summer at Disney's Hollywood Studios. This is where the additional track will be located. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Guests waiting an uncertain time to pay for the privilege of ice skating in the middle of summer at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This is where the additional track will be located. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about Frozen’s arrival at Disney’s Hollywood Studios–and its competitive implications. What started as a small meet ‘n’ greet at Epcot, has flowered into a popular meet ‘n’ greet at the Magic Kingdom, and is now a big experience wow at the Studios. And speaking of the Studios, know that the most comprehensive insight to this park is available in my newest book, Disney’s Hollywood Studios: From Show biz to Your Biz. It’s a unique collection of stories and insights that focus not just on the park, but on Disney’s own history as well as Hollywood’s own legacy.

Disney's Hollywood Studios: From Show Biz to Your Biz

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: From Show Biz to Your Biz


7 comments to Soarin’ and Toy Story Midway Mania Slated For Changes

  • […] a blog post by the very knowledgable Disney observer; Jeff Kober notes that preparation work has already commenced behind the Land Pavilion at Epcot. When […]


    very interesting! I hope Soarin’ and Toy Story Midway Mania will change!

  • Justice

    I don’t understand how the TSMM expansion works.

    The “two tracks” are rather intertwined on the ride and its not nearly as simple as extending the hallway as would be the case if Soarin added additional theaters. You are talking about a full track reroute which is far more significant and intrusive then building an adjacent theater.

    In addition, the third track would still start out at the same place, meaning you would be constrained by the same loading times. You can’t really just cut loading times in half.

    I’m not saying the rumor is completely wrong but its FAR more complex then the article makes it out to be. My guess is your source is misinformed or if this is happening its practically going to gut the showbuilding and loading platform and be a full scale redesign (highly doubtful).

    • I agree with your comments–it’s not a simple re-route, but that doesn’t mean in my mind that it couldn’t be accomplished. Is it where I would spend the money? No. I’d rather see a separate attraction go in. And yes, it’s a rumor. But the source is a fairly reliable one that has been correct for me in the past. My feeling is that with so many elements into the re-make of the Studios on the table, it stands far more in jeopardy of being done than Soarin’ which is really already underway in terms of preliminary construction. But I don’t think the do ability of the track design is what will make it or break it.

      Thanks for sharing.

  • Virgil

    I have a better idea to reduce the crush of people at both these attractions:


    My family and I have spent several weeks at WDW over the last couple years and I was saddened each time by the extreme lack of interest my kids have in spending time at either DHS or EPCOT. With FP+ and traditional FP, we can literally plan to hit everything reasonably interesting at DHS and be out of there in less than half a day. (RR, ToT, Toy Story and Star Tours) EPCOT becomes an exercise in getting my kids to hang in there long enough for my wife and I to eat our way around the World Showcase with promises of TT and Soarin on either side of the lagoon. There HAS to be something better that can be done with the Seas/Imag theater (“Daddy, who is Michael Jackson?”) and as sacrilegious as this may be, Spaceship Earth is overwhelmingly misutilizing that space and prominent location.

    I hate to say it, but if Disney doesn’t start investing in more than just Magic Kingdom attraction development, the attendance gap between Universal and Disney will continue to dwindle.

  • […] claims that Disney may be ready to move ahead with plans to expand Toy Story Mania by adding another ride system that will be built inside the soundstage area next door in order to increase guest throughput. Even years after it has opened, Toy Story Mania still has the longest line in the park, with FastPass bookings filling up shortly after the park opens each day.    So will it happen?  I can say that I’ve heard this exact same rumor for years, on and off, as the site of the proposed expansion is often pitched to be used to build other ride concepts instead… ranging over the years from a Crush Coaster or Monster’s Inc dark ride/coaster, only to be pondered to expand Toy Story Mania once again. While it would be a good idea to do this, I still have to wonder after all this time, if perhaps they couldn’t find a way to increase the number of riders per vehicle instead. The Toy Story cars are quite bulky, and I’ve often wondered if they could redesign them to be more open and seat three across instead per row, though this would also likely result in them being forced to upgrade the games to handle the extra player as well. […]

  • Jeremy

    If the new track becomes Fastpass+ only, then it could be done easily. It would basically be a totally separate attraction and will not run out of the original station. Maybe this is why they tested those few days of requiring fastpasses for every single rider. They wanted to see how to keep the line filled enough so that people are riding, while also keeping the line short enough to still be a valuable tool for fastpass users.

Leave a Reply




* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>