Walt Disney World has announced a new “playset” coming to Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios, called Jessie’s Trading Post. This post will share the official announcement, details, and what else is on the horizon for DHS.
Here’s the official introduction from Disney: “Yee-haw, attention all honorary toys! After enjoying a rollicking ride through Toy Story Mania!, you will soon be treated to a new experience that is filled to the brim with fun.”
The backstory of this store is that Andy discovered Jessie’s Trading Post playset tucked away in the attic, and is bringing it downstairs to set up shop—full of the coolest toys and finest souvenirs handpicked by the rootinest, tootinest cowgirl.
In addition to this, Walt Disney World is currently constructing what appears to be a covered seating area at Woody’s Lunch Box. Thus far, an awning has been erected towards the back corner of the outdoor counter service restaurant, which should provide cover to a portion of the small seating area.
That is, assuming the incomplete structure isn’t actually Jessie’s Trading Post. Nothing would surprise me at this point.
Walt Disney World also provided an update on Toy Story Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant: “Also coming in 2022 to Andy’s backyard is the previously announced Roundup Rodeo BBQ restaurant! In this unique, fun, family-friendly dining experience, guests will enjoy delicious barbecue fare while surrounded by a kaleidoscope of toys, games, and playsets that Andy has brought together to create his one-of-a-kind rodeo.
“Stepping into the lobby and waiting area, guests experience first-hand what it feels like to be one of Andy’s honorary toys, before progressing into two larger dining room spaces where Andy’s rodeo takes place. Here, the rodeo will be in full swing, with western town and train station playsets mixing with surprising, playful details, like some fan-favorite Pixar characters as they’ve never been seen before!”
As a refresher, Toy Story Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant will be themed to a backyard barbecue with Andy and his toys inviting guests to participate in fun. Andy has cut and taped three cardboard boxes together to create a new rodeo arena using some of his favorite toys, games, and play sets.
Once inside, you’ll be surrounded by all of the rodeo festivities in-action as well as western town and train station play sets. And you just might spot some of your favorite Pixar characters scattered around the restaurant in the form of toys and game pieces including a toy version of Jessie riding on the back of a Trixie pull-toy and unique toy versions of Bo Peep and her sheep, all who appear to be performing in the rodeo together.
You may recall that Walt Disney World announced the Toy Story Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant would open in 2020. However, that announcement was made a few months before the closure of the parks, and even then didn’t have an opening month or season attached to it. Our expectation at the time was that it would debut close to the Christmas 2020 season given visible construction and the pace of work at that time.
Since reopening, there has been intermittent progress on Toy Story Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant. Walt Disney Imagineering filed a few permits for the interior with addresses that would match the location, and progress could be observed on the roof of the warehouse that’ll house the restaurant. It’s been fairly slow-going, though.
At this point, the concrete ‘warehouse’ for Toy Story Land’s Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant is finished and has been for months. We’ve observed occasional work on the exterior and construction crews around the project, but it’s impossible to ascertain the location’s actual progress since it’s literally a window-less warehouse.
In case you haven’t seen it, this new table service restaurant will be located to the right of what’s currently the entrance of Toy Story Land, behind the giant Woody figure and land’s marquee (you can see construction walls in the photo above). Previously, this area was home to two backstage production bungalows. These facilities were relocated with a new structure built to house Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant.
In terms of commentary, let’s start with clarification that this Jessie’s Trading Post is a store and not a play area. The official announcement is confusing in this regard, using the term “playset” multiple times but “store” or “retail” zero times.
I don’t know why Disney feels the need to get so cutesy with its announcements to the point that clarity suffers. It’s a store.
Beyond that, all of these additions to Toy Story Land are good to see but, frankly, overdue. It’s no secret that Toy Story Land was a victim of budget cuts; that much is obvious when comparing the original concept art (above) released when the land was announced versus a later update.
Even at the time, some of those cutbacks made little sense for a land that would be built in Florida…or in a theme park, anywhere. No shade? No air-conditioning? Dining capacity for about 37 people?! No gift shop?!?!
These new additions should help address all of those issues, but you’ve really gotta wonder what led to so many perplexing decisions in the first place. (The lack of dining and retail, in particular, is confusing given that both directly generate revenue.)
From a guest perspective, Toy Story Land is pretty miserable during the summer heat or daily rain showers. Giving guests even a temporary reprieve from the sun or storms in a place that isn’t the restrooms will be nice. All of this was totally avoidable, though.
Otherwise, about my only thought is, “why not have an elaborately themed Pizza Planet?!” and I’m guessing the answer to that is storytelling consistency. My retort to that response would be: “who cares.” Seriously, it’s not like Toy Story Land is the pinnacle of themed design.
To the extent that it succeeds, it does so because it’s lighthearted and whimsical fun. Being so beholden to “story” that Imagineering ignores the very obvious, very low-hanging fruit just seems self-defeating. But then, again, so did “saving” a little bit of money by not building shade, a gift shop, or more dining in the first place. So what do I know.
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