Toy Story Midway Mania is an interactive 4-D attraction, located at three different Disney Parks. The version I am featuring in this post is found in Disney’s California Adventure next to Disneyland. It was opened on June 17th of 2008. We rode it in 2013.
Have a look at the attraction poster:
Featured heavily on the poster above is Mr. Potato Head, and for good reason. He is the Barker for the attraction. And what is a Barker? A barker, most commonly found at a carnival, is a person who attempts to attract customers for the entertainment event in question. And how do they do this? They exhort passing ‘marks’ (or ‘suckers’) by announcing attractions of the show, and emphasizing variety, novelty, beauty, or some other enticing feature to be found within the venue. He or she may even conduct a brief pre-show, introducing performers and describing acts to be given at the feature performance.
In this case, the Barker is an Animatronic potato.
I kid you not. You can see him below:
This animatronic is huge! He interacts with the guests, making jokes and sometimes selecting specific people in the queue to talk with. I was once selected by Mr. Potato Head but didn’t realize he was talking to me. I finally heard him saying “Hey, you in the red shirt!” but was too late to respond. He just went into his joke and moved on to more responsive ‘marks’. My loss!
The coolest thing though is that the animatronic was voiced by none other than the original performer of Mr. Potato Head, Don Rickles.
We enjoyed our visit to Disney’s California Adventure and riding Toy Story Midway Mania. I would have enjoyed getting a higher score, but what are ya gonna do? Well, if you’re me, you console yourself by buying something. So, I bought:
For just $22.99 I was able to purchase this fantastic drinking mug in the likeness of the Barker Potato! His hat is removable. This feature substitutes for the actual ability of the animatronic Barker Potato being able to remove his ear. That’s why his hand is on his ear forming the handle of the mug: it anticipates the removal of the ear.
This feature of the animatronic character failed quite often and so YouTube is filled with videos of the ear being dropped.
I like the level of detail for this mug, as it includes Mr. Potato Head’s backside flap!
This is part of the Disney Parks line of merchandise. But this wasn’t the only piece of Toy Story swag you could buy to commemorate your visit or to celebrate your high score. Oh no, you could also get:
His and Her t-shirts. How awesome is that?!?
Yes ladies and gentlemen, step right up and get yours today! Or back in 2013, when these pictures were taken. You can time travel… right?
But wait, there’s more! If you click the link entitled Taking Silly Pictures as Disney, you’ll see me picking Mr. Potato Head’s nose. Hey, it was pre-COVID. It was acceptable back then!