Toy Story 4 is almost here and after seeing the film, kids are guaranteed to want to bring home some of Bonnie’s toys. Because the core characters are over twenty years old, there’s a fair chance that kids already have a Woody, Buzz, or Jessie. Disney Store gives kids and fans a reason to revisit these toy characters through a series of interactive talking action figures with “Toy Detector” technology. This series of deluxe figures includes Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Bo Peep, Rex, Bullseye, and Forky, all with phrases from the quadrilogy, including Toy Story 4. The packaging alone on these toys is impressive, with brand-specific packaging for each character or show-within-the-show, such as “Woody’s Roundup.”
When you remove each figure from their packaging, you need to switch them from solo mode to interactive mode. For the three plush characters, this involves opening a compartment and removing their voice box, which is also how you replace their batteries. The plastic figures all have a switch exposed from the outside that is easier to change. Placing the toys in close proximity to another and activating one of their sounds will start a back-and-forth conversation between the two.
Each character includes a set of phrases that can be used in solo mode, and those same phrases end up being repeated while interacting with other toys. However, while interactive with specific characters kids may discover a new phrase that can only be heard when those two toys are connected. Woody, for example, acknowledges that he’s talking to Bo Peep when talking to her and she in turn greets him by name. Below, I've reviewed each toy in detail in terms of their physical characteristics, as well as their level of interaction.
This Sheriff Woody doll features a plastic head, hands, and boots, but soft floppy arms and limbs to recreate the look of the character in the films. My original Woody doll from 1995 was made by Thinkway Toys and I remember being sad that it had metal armature throughout his body, meaning his arms and legs didn’t dangle. His neckerchief, cowhide vest, and belt are separate pieces, with nice detailing on his sheriff badge. He also comes with a removable hat and the bottom of his foot has Bonnie’s name on it. You activate his speech through his pull string. Sadly, this doll doesn’t feature any of the orginal iconic phrases like “There’s a snake in my boot,” instead opting for lots of dialogue from Toy Story 4, much of it addressed to Forky even when he’s not the toy Woody is interacting with. He has unique phrases that he shares with Bo Peep and Forky.
Similar to Woody, Jessie has a plastic head, hands, and boots and a soft floppy body with a pull string to activate her sounds. She also features glitter accents on her cowhide chaps. Her hat uses a small peg that inserts into a hole under her yarn hair to attach it to her head. The bottom of Jessie’s boot has Andy’s name instead of Bonnie’s. Most of her dialogue also comes from Toy Story 4 and the only unique phrase I could find was when talking with Woody.
The Buzz Lightyear figure at first glance looked a lot like the one I had as a child. But after playing with him, I realized he has a few more bells and whistles than mine. His wings retract and pressing the big red button causes them to expand out, with lights on the end of each and on the back of his jet pack. The blue, green, and red small buttons activate his phrases, while the laser button makes a ray sound and causes it to light up. Raise his right arm and you can also use a button in his back for karate chop action. Lastly, close the hood on his helmet and press a button on the side to lift it back up. The bottom of his right boot has Bonnie’s name on it. Buzz uses a few phrases from the first film, in addition to some Toy Story 4 dialogue. I didn’t discover any unique phrases with other characters, but he does activate some different sounds in Forky.
This Rex toy features a removable tail, bendable legs, and the button allows you to puppeteer his mouth and arms as he talks. All of his phrases are from the first film and I didn’t discover any special phrases between him or the other characters.
This Bo Peep action figure is wearing soft goods, including a removable cape that can be reversed to become a skirt. The bow on her head is also soft goods, but it is pinned on in such a way that ruins the look and a plastic molded headband would have been a better way to go. All of her phrases are from Toy Story 4 and she has a special phrase when interacting with Woody.
Forky has wheels on the bottom of his base and when you roll him forward and back, his popsicle stick feet raise and lower and he rocks side-to-side, recreating his funny walk from the film. His spork features the Pizza Planet logo on the back and details include stretchy arms, glitter glue buttons, and depth in his googly eyes. He has special phrases when interacting with Woody and Buzz.
As individual toys, each of these interactive figures are a lot of fun. They don’t all interact on the same level and in the case of Bullseye, the interactivity in Toy Detector mode is pretty disappointing. If you’re looking to start with a few figures to try them out, I recommend Woody and Forky for the best conversation. But since many of these toys are so similar to past releases of these characters, my best bet is that Bo Peep and Forky will be the top sellers this summer.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.