Toy Story is one of Disney Pixar’s most popular franchises and naturally Disney wanted to incorporate this into its theme parks. Disneyland California is quite light on Toy Story Theming with the Astro Blaster the only real addition of the franchise to the park, although there is plenty more across the way in Disney’s California Adventure.
With the Franchise so popular and the ride being appealing to all age groups queues can be quite long so is the ride worth waiting for or using Genie+ on? We take a look in our Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters Review and see if this is a hit for the whole family or a below-par ride trading off a great franchise.
- Location – Disneyland Park – Tomorrow Land
- Type – Interactive Dark Ride
- Duration – 4-5 Mins
- Height Restriction – None
- Average Queue time – 30 mins – 60 Mins
- Genie+ – YES
- Additional Info – Interactive shooting game with a Toy Story Theme.
What is Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
The Ride is a very simple and basic Dark Ride based around a hostile invasion of the Litle Green Men’s home planet by The Evil Emperor Zurg. The Riders are Shrunk down to Toy size to help protect the LGMs as part of Star Command’s defense of the planet.
You do this by shooting targets placed around the ride’s scenes scoring points for hits and even more points for hitting lit targets. The Ride Vehicles are rotatable, using a Joystick so you can get the best aim. In the end, you will have a score and a level 1-7 equating to a Rank.
- L7 – Galactic Hero – 999,999+
- L6 – Cosmic Commando – 600,001-999,998
- L5 – Space Ace – 300,001-600,001
- L4 – Planetary Pilot – 100,001-300,000
- L3 – Ranger 1st Class – 10,001-100,000
- L2 – Space Scout – 1001-100,00
- L1 – Star Cadet – 0-1000
In addition, you have the option to have your Score Emailed to you along with your ride photo for bragging rights afterward, also the Top 100 of the day are ranked and the top 10 are displayed on a leaderboard in the exit queue.
If you manage over 999,999 and Galactic hero then you need to get your photo and score emailed to you to see your actual score as the in-ride scoreboard stops at 999,999.
As you can see the ride features heavy interactivity and as such is best enjoyed in a large group or family with friendly rivalry ensuring people go for maximum scores. As a couple, the ride can be a bit of a letdown, with the interactivity not that appealing and you just go through the motions a little. It’s not that being part of a larger group helps, just we lack the rivalry between each other to really care who wins.
The Initial queue area is outside and potentially in the sun, the entire ride is inside a building, and from the outside, the ride is very dull with almost no theming. Inside things pick up a lot. The Queue can be quite long so the excellent theming inside really helps with passing the time. There is a Large animatronic Buzz that provides a type of briefing and sets the scene. Buzz is incredibly well made and the Facial features are a real masterpiece. His Face is actually a screen that adds movie-like quality to his briefing. You might not notice this as his features are just so lifelike it’s easy to just accept it is Buzz!
The Queue line is a really good one and any time spent here with the kids will be easily passed, however, we still suggest a Fastpass. As we will see the ride experience doesn’t quite live up to the queue line and theme.
The Ride is where things fall a bit flat. Yes, the shooting element is fun, but nothing really reacts to the blasters and instead, you are really just slowly traveling around the scenes shooting targets with no real progress or impact on your shooting. The Displays are all very well put together and bright and bold, but until the final scene, the Toy Story theme seems to dry up. Yes, you are fighting Zurg and his minions but they hardly feature in Toy Story and all feel a bit unrelated.
The most fun comes really comes from the rotating ride car, where simply spinning around in circles is about the most fun we had on the ride, possibly why our scores were not exactly Galactic hero!
The final scene sees the arrival of Woody and the little soldiers to breathe a bit of Toy Story back into things, but by now we were a bit checked out. Inevitably you and Star Comand save the day and Zurk is put back in his box.
Overall the Ride lacks the sort of punch and excitement we really expect of a Disney ride. The interactive elements help but it’s not enough to save it as without them this ride would be appalling. Kids might enjoy the ride a bit more but only really very young kids as slightly bigger ones will have been brought up on a diet of video games and movies that means the lack of impact of their actions will be a big disappointment.
As we said the most fun will come if your group is competitive as outdoing your rivals is always fun. In which case to get a jump on them make sure you aim for Diamond(500) and Triangle(10,000) targets over the square(100) and round(100), look for the lit targets, and do not stop shooting if the ride stops. This is bonus time as ride stoppages do not disable targets. As the Guns are handheld the spinning of the carriage does little to help, in fact, it hinders more as it’s impossible to hit anything while you are spinning.
Really if the queue is over 10-15 mins and you don’t have Genie+ or don’t want to use it, then we think this is one to skip. Unless the age group of your party means you are struggling for other things to do (unlikely) or one of your party just LOVES Buzz, it’s just not the best use of time in the park. Let’s be clear we love Toy Story, and love the idea of the ride and the interactivity, but the ride itself just doesn’t deliver that Disney Magic.
We know Disneyland has a focus on younger audiences and rides must cater to these age groups as well, but Disney is the king of delivering fantastic rides that appeal to all age groups and this just falls short. The Static nature of the targets and the slight irrelevance to the theme all add up to a really sterile ride, that slowly crawls its way around to the fixed conclusion, We just expect so much more.
With Toy Story Midway Maina, over the way in Disney’s California Adventure, really showing how great a Toy Story-themed indoor shooting Dark Ride can be, it’s hard to really find much to praise about Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.
Have Your Say
We know our Review of Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters is one to divide people and some people are devoted fans of the ride. If this is you feel free to leave your impassioned arguments in the comments below. We don’t take any pleasure in criticizing any ride but really don’t get the purpose of this one. So if you disagree and want to sing the Virtues please feel free to sing away.