Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin Ride Review

4.7

Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is home to countless iconic attractions, but few experiences capture the imagination quite like Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Based on Disney and Pixar’s beloved Toy Story franchise, this fan favorite ride invites guests to blast into the cosmos for an interstellar shooting adventure alongside one of the most heroic space rangers in the galaxy.

Table of Contents

Ride Information

Average Wait Time: 45–60 minutes. As a very popular family ride, Buzz Lightyear tends to have long standby waits most of the day. These queues can exceed 90+ minutes in peak seasons.

Height Requirement: None! Riders of all ages and sizes can enjoy Buzz Lightyear. Check out our Disney World Height Guide!

Single Rider: No single rider line is offered. All guests must wait in the standby or Lightning Lane queue.

Ride Duration: About 4 minutes. This score-based ride through space is short but sweet.

Genie+ and Lightning Lane Access: Buzz Lightyear is available through both Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane services to skip the regular line. Demand is high to access Buzz via these programs.

Rider Switch: This attraction does offer rider switch for groups with young children who do not meet the height requirements.

Disability Access: Guests requiring wheelchair access or other accommodations through DAS (Disability Access Service) can receive a return time to ride Buzz Lightyear with shorter wait times.

Location: In the heart of Tomorrowland, near Space Mountain, the PeopleMover, and the Carousel of Progress.

Early Entry: Yes – Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is open during morning Extra Magic Hours offered to Disney World hotel guests. This is a great time to ride with low crowds and walk-on waits.

Best Times to Ride: As soon as the park opens, during parades or fireworks, or late at night are good times to find lower crowds and queues for Buzz Lightyear. Otherwise, take advantage of Genie+, Individual Lightning Lane or DAS to avoid long standby lines.

History and Design

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin first opened in 1998 alongside the release of Disney and Pixar’s animated film “Toy Story 2” featuring the beloved space ranger character. Let’s explore the inspiration, creation, architecture, and layout that makes this attraction so special.

Inspiration and Creation

Imagineers wanted to build an interactive dark ride that leveraged Buzz Lightyear’s intergalactic backstory for a new Tomorrowland attraction. Guests could now blast away at targets and immerse themselves in Buzz’s world of space travel and adventure. The ride vehicles even resemble the recognizable white and green space cruiser Buzz flies in the Toy Story films. Walt Disney Imagineering and Pixar Animation Studios partnered closely to turn the computer-animated Buzz Lightyear character into a fully dimensional audio-animatronic figure. This advanced figure greets riders in the queue and later appears as the evil Emperor Zurg, arch nemesis to Buzz.

Architecture and Layout

Buzz Lightyear was constructed in the previous location of the slow-moving Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover ride. This space was completely reimagined and rebuilt to house this new high-capacity dark ride system. Guests wind through queues and pre-show areas before boarding their XP-37 space cruisers, supplied by the Space Ranger Spin Manufacturing Facility. After maneuvering into the ride vehicles, the automatic lap bars secure each rider and the scoring system activates.

Riders then blast off into the starry cosmos, spinning and twisting through various alien worlds to shoot laser cannons at targets. Buzz Lightyear animatronic figures and bright neon lights immerse guests as they put their space ranger skills to the test. The ride concludes with a speedy slot car-style track segment, avoiding Emperor Zurg and his Z-rays in a climactic finale. Guests then disembark to view their mission score and galactic rankings on video screens nearby.

Ride Experience and Tips

Now let’s dive deeper into the actual ride experience and some tips for maximizing your score on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin:

Queue and Music

The long queues for Buzz Lightyear wind through bright white corridors covered in space ranger insignia, planetary diagrams, and comic-style posters. There is plenty to see and do while waiting in line, including an interactive play area for kids. The musical score mixes futuristic synth tunes and the iconic Buzz Lightyear movie theme song at a cheerful, energetic tempo.

Shooting Targets and Scoring Points

Each rider receives their own laser blaster to shoot at targets – just pull the trigger to zap them. Aim for the center bullseye to maximize your score. Try to hit the red button targets and avoid the blue z-symbols that will deduct points. There are plenty of targets to blast throughout the ride’s twisting path through space, including in the final Emperor Zurg encounter. Just keep shooting for the highest score!

Secret Targets

  1. On the large orange robot’s left arm and hand in the first room, from your ride vehicle’s right side.
  2. On the claw target located on the ceiling/right side when exiting the robot Box-O-Bot room.
  3. On the target directly underneath where the Zurg animatronic is sitting when you first encounter him.
  4. Potentially on Zurg’s ship in the final encounter, though not definitively confirmed

Strategies to Maximize Score

Follow these tips from experienced space rangers on how to rack up over 100,000+ points on Buzz Lightyear:

  • Constantly keep firing your laser as much as possible throughout the entire ride. Every shot counts!
  • Focus efforts on the large yellow and white striped targets on the left and right. These are worth the most points when you hit the 100,000 center bonus bullseye.
  • Find and blast the secret targets hidden in hard to spot areas for bonus points.
  • Team up with others in your ride vehicle. Take turns firing, so laser power doesn’t run out as quickly.
  • Ride multiple times in a row while your aiming skills are still fresh. Practice makes perfect!
  • Identify which laser is yours when first entering the ride so you can track where your shots are going. Fire your laser in an area with fewer other lasers to make yours stand out.
  • Keep your finger pressed firmly on the trigger at all times during the ride to rack up points, even when not actively aiming at a target. You’ll get some automatic points just for constantly firing.
  • In the first room, prioritize shooting the inside of the large orange Box-O-Bot’s left arm and hand (your ride vehicle’s right side). This is worth 100,000 points per hit.
  • As soon as you exit the Box-O-Bot room, quickly spin your vehicle around to face backwards. Aim up towards the ceiling to shoot the claw target located there. Hitting this claw also earns 100,000 points per shot.
  • In the second room, shoot the top center of the large volcano prop. Each hit is worth 25,000 points.
  • When you first encounter the Zurg animatronic, blast the bottom target directly underneath where he is sitting. Another 100,000 points per hit.
  • On the planet Z scene, shoot the batteries scattered around, especially the quantum batteries that light up when hit. These are high value targets.
  • Ride early in the morning or late at night when crowds and wait times are lower. This allows you to ride multiple times in a row to refine technique.

FAQ’s

  1. What is Evil Emperor Zurg collecting throughout the ride?
    A: Batteries. Zurg is shown collecting batteries from various planets to power his “Zurgatronic Laser Beam”.
  2. Is it better to hold down the trigger or press it rapidly when shooting?
    A: Holding down the trigger continually fires your laser, allowing you to rack up more points than pressing rapidly.
  3. Where is the high-value claw target located?
    A: In the first room, look on the ride vehicle’s right side up near the ceiling to find a claw target worth 100,000 points per hit.
  4. What’s the highest possible score you can achieve?
    A: 999,999 points is the maximum score in the game. There are secret 100,000 point targets that must be hit multiple times to reach this top score.
  5. What is the best strategy for getting a high score?
    A: Focus on finding and repeatedly zapping the secret 100,000 point targets throughout the ride. Also shoot rapidly and constantly keep firing.

Conclusion

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin brings the action-packed world of Toy Story to life in a unique and immersive way only Disney can. As one of Magic Kingdom’s most beloved attractions, guests of all ages can let their imaginations soar through the cosmos alongside Buzz himself on this thrilling dark ride. Defeating Emperor Zurg and earning brag-worthy scores through skilled blasting takes both luck and strategy. But most of all, this ride through Andy’s bedroom gone intergalactic is just pure fun. To infinity and beyond!

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin Ride Review
The Final Word
Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin brings Disney and Pixar's beloved Toy Story franchise to life in an action-packed dark ride filled with spirited adventure. As one of Magic Kingdom's most popular family attractions, this immersive experience invites guests to blast off alongside Buzz himself on an intergalactic mission to defeat the evil Emperor Zurg.
4.7