Toy Story fans around the world can share their favorite memories related to Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang today using #WhatsYourToyStory. To help us celebrate, Disney sent a fan-pack full of toys from Mattel and ThinkWay that really took me back to my childhood and the toys I had from the film’s original release.
If you were a kid in the 1990’s, then you probably associate ThinkWay Toys mostly with the Toy Story characters. They went on to make products for other Pixar films as well, but that initial wave of Toy Story toys will forever live in my heart. I had a special bin just for these characters, but I also included real-life toys that I had that found their way into the film, like Mr. Potato Head and My Pal 2 (the robot that says “Hey dude, what’s up?”). But my one disappointment with those toys was that the original Woody doll had a metal armature inside it for poseability, which meant that he wasn’t floppy like he was in the film. Thankfully, there was Burger King.
As odd as it may seem, Burger King sold their own version of Toy Story toys in addition to the freebies in the kids meals. Their $1 Woody doll may have lacked a real pull-string, but it flopped around just like the one from the film and it was my favorite. This also reminds me that when The Hunchback of Notre Dame came out, Burger King sold puppets of the characters like the ones Clopin uses to introduce you to the story.
Apart from the toys, my other favorite Toy Story memories come from Disney Parks. There’s a 7-year age difference between my younger brother and I and when I entered my teenage years, our parents would let us go off alone in the parks. I remember a day where a Cast Member told use about a few high-score targets in Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at Magic Kingdom and we rode it over and over until we maxed out the score and became “Galactic Heroes.”
While in college, the Nintendo Wii version of Toy Story Mania brought us closer together again. It was easy to beat, but playing the home version certainly improved our scores the next time we rode the attraction. I wish Disney would do more attraction-based video games.
Going back to the toys Disney sent, I was really taken aback by how similar this plush light-up talking alien is to the one I had back in 1995. The face sculpt is certainly more lifelike, but I had an uncanny moment of recognition when I pulled him out of the package. The Little Green Men have been my favorite characters in the films since they originally came out and it’s crazy to think that kids today just getting into the Toy Story films are playing with the toys in much the same way I did back when the original came out.
I hope you have fun reminiscing and sharing your own Toy Story memories by using #WhatsYourToyStory
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.