The history of what would eventually become Toy Story Mania began in 2005 when Imagineers Ken Raffety and Robert Coltrin were working on the Radiator Springs expansion of Disney's California Adventure . As the duo felt that they needed to create another new attraction for Radiator Springs, they began to develop an attraction that would be interactive, like the new Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters attraction in Disneyland.
In order to make the attraction more interactive however, the Imagineers also took inspiration from a DisneyQuest attraction called Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold  . On the Pirates attraction, guests shot toy cannons at an interactive screen, which then incorporated them into a ship battle. Raffety and Coltrin both thought that the shooting device used on the Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold would be a good addition for their new attraction  . After being inspired by the Midway games located on Paradise Pier in Disney's California Adventure, Coltrin and Rafferty came up with an attraction that would be "traditional midway games that you can ride through, hosted by Toy Story characters" . After developing the attraction in August and September 2005, Bob Iger green lit the new ride for construction  . Imagineers also showed the head of Pixar, John Lasseter the idea, which he loved . When discussing the choice of the Toy Story characters, Imagineer Ken Raffety said:
After the project was green lit, Imagineers went to the Los Angeles County Fair to play Midway games and see how they worked . Their next task was coming up for a ride system to use in the attraction. Although initial plans called for a system similar to Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters, which had all the guests moving in one direction at the same speed (similar to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin in Walt Disney World), Imagineers quickly realized that this ride system would not meet capacity demands. In order to solve this issue, Imagineers created a completely new ride system that allowed guests to rotate 360 degrees while utilizing different interactive screens.
Promotional image of Toy Story Midway Mania!
Due to the popularity of the attraction within Imagineering, Disney eventually decided to also bring the attraction to the (then) Disney-MGM Studios. Fortunately for Imagineers, the attraction fit almost perfectly into one of the abandoned sound stages in Pixar Place (the sound stages were formally used as part of the walking potion on the Backlot Tour). In order to have the new attraction blend in with the rest of Disney's Hollywood Studios, John Lasseter suggested having the facade of the attraction be based on the Pixar Studios. During the development of the attraction, Imagineers frequently tested the attraction themselves. According to Imagineer Sue Bryan:
The attraction finally opened as Toy Story Midway Mania! on May 31, 2008. Since Toy Story Midway Mania opened, the attraction has seen a relatively few number of changes. In conjunction with the release of Toy Story 3, in May 2010, Toy Story Mania was updated. At this time, "Rex and Trixie's Dino Darts" replaced "Bo Peeop's Baaa-loon Pop".. Furthermore, the character Buttercup was added to the "Hamm & Eggs" game. Finally, Trixie, Buttercup, Dolly, and Mr. Pricklepants were added to the prize scene, Lotso was added to the practice round, and the game scores at the end of the attraction were changed so that they now showed guests new categories including: 'Best In Vehicle', 'Best This Hour' . In May 2016, Toy Story Mania received a third track in an effort to reduce wait times .
On June 11, 2018, Toy Story Mania closed for refurbishment. At this time, the attraction's entrance was moved to the back of the building in order to facilitate the its transition into the new Toy Story Land. Toy Story Mania officially joined Toy Story Land when the land opened on June 30, 2018. Since moving to Toy Story Land, the attraction has been referred to as simply "Toy Story Mania" .
According the backstory of the Toy Story Midway Mania!, when guests enter the queue for the attraction, they are shrunk down to the size of a toy. To reinforce the feeling this feeling, giant game pieces, crayons, and toys including a Barrel of Monkeys, View-Master reels and Little Golden Books can be found. The music in the queue was arranged and recorded by Jennifer Hammond who recorded over an hour of music based on the scores for the first two Toy Story films .
The end of the queue for Toy Story Midway Mania! features a large Mr. Potato Head Audio Animatronic who interacts with guests. Mr. Potato Head can sing, dance, tell jokes, pick out individual guests to interact with, and even reach up and remove his own ear. In the queue, guests also receive their 4D glasses which they will wear on the attraction.
On Toy Story Midway Mania! guests wear 4D glasses and board their ride vehicles in order to enter various Midway games which are hosted by Toy Story characters. Each mini game lasts approximately 30 seconds. After each round guests receive points, which are cumulative. The games featured in the attraction are:
Pie Throw Practice Booth- Guests practice throwing virtual pies at targets. This mini game is used to introduce guests to the technology used in the attraction and awards no points. Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and Jesse from the Toy Story franchise appear in this mini game.
Hamm & Eggs- In this mini game, guests enter a barn room where they throw eggs at various targets. The character Hamm from Toy Story makes an appearance in this mini game. The game also features the character Buttercup from Toy Story 3.
Rex and Trixie's Dino Darts- In this game, guests shoot darts at various balloons. The game is set on an island, as volcanoes and comets explode in the background. The characters Rex and Trixie make an appearance in this mini game. Rex and Trixie's Dino Darts was added to the attraction after the release of Toy Story 3 in 2010.
Green Army Men Shoot Camp- In this game guests shoot baseballs while attempting to break various plates. The Green Army Men make an appearance in this mini game.
Buzz Lightyear's Flying Tossers- In this mini game, guests toss rings over the Squeeze Toy Aliens. Buzz Lighyear also makes an appearance in this mini game.
Woody's Rootin' Tootin' Shootin' Gallery-In this mini game, guests shoot suction-cup arrows at various targets. This mini game lasts the longest, and features different scenes. Woody, Bullseye and Jesse make appearances in this mini game.
In order to get more points on Toy Story Midway Mania! there are certain targets that guests should shoot in each scene.
Hamm and Eggs
In the corner of the screen (the side depends on which screen you are facing), shoot the fox that is on top of the hen house. After the target is hit, the house opens and guests can shoot the chickens inside which are worth either 1,000 or 2,000 points.
Also, if guests shoot the two pigs, which are located on the fence, a cat is revealed. The point value of hitting the cat increases after each hit, going from 500, to 1000, 2000, 2000, 2000.
Rex and Trixie's Dino Darts
Rex and Trixie's Dino Darts
If guests shoot the six lava balloons, the volcano will erupt, spewing 500 point balloons.
After performing the above trick, guests can also shoot the balloons on the two comets located in the upper corners of the screen. If the balloons on the comets are shot three times, large comets with multiple balloons will come crashing into the middle of the screen.
Green Army Men Shoot Camp
Right after the beginning of the game, two plates worth 2000 points shoot up into the air. If both teammates hit the plates, a flurry of other high-value plates appears.
Buzz Lightyear's Flying Tossers
If guests hit all eight of the alien ships before one of them can re-spawn, the ship in the scene will launch. Its launch will reveal a monster that opens its mouth, allowing guests to shoot their rings into it. Each ring is worth 500 and then 1000 points per shot.
Woody's Rootin' Tootin' Shootin' Gallery
If guests shoot the plunger, knocking it into the saloon doors, a bunny will pop out along with eight targets on top of the building. Four of the targets are worth 500 points while the other four are worth 1000.
In the mine cart scene, following the first three targets, a bat appears who is worth 1000 points if hit. If guests hit the three mine carts again, a second bat will appear, this time worth 5000 points. If guests successfully hit both bats, all of the mine carts will come out, with each cart being worth 5000 points.
In the game’s final scene, guests can hit the large target repeatedly. The point values of the target increase from 500 to 1000 to 2000 points.
Toy Story Midway Mania! was the first attraction that Disney Imagineers created in two parks simultaneously.
The mural found in Toy Story Midway Mania!'s queue is the largest mural painted in Disney World since EPCOT Center opened in 1982 .
The group Riders in the Sky wrote the little songs that the Mr. Potato Head Audio Animatronic sings.
Guests break over one million virtual plates on Toy Story Midway Mania! every day.
The Mr. Potato Head Audio Animatronic can say more lines of dialogue than any other Animatronic that Disney has ever created. He is also the only Audio Animatronic who can remove a piece of himself (his ear) .
When creating Toy Story Midway Mania! Imagineers had to wear 3D glasses when art directing the back lite paint elements .
If you want to see the patent for the technology used on Toy Story Midway Mania! click below