Toy Story Mania unofficial challenge being held to benefit charity

by Susan and Simon Veness

Jason Martin, tattoodisneydad on TikTok, has come up with a tournament that brings fans of Toy Story Mania at Disney’s Hollywood Studios together in an unofficial, guest-based competition that has a major “trophy” at stake, and will benefit participants’ charity of choice.

Toy Story Mania unofficial challenge
Photos courtesy of Jason Martin

It’s easy to think the challenge is all about winning one of the coolest trophies imaginable once you’ve seen the “title belt” Jason is offering as a grand prize, but it’s really about community involvement and supporting causes close to people’s hearts.

Jason came up with the idea of hosting a charity event that featured a variety of TikTok creators about three months ago, blending his love of the Toy Story Mania ride at Walt Disney World with a desire to have a positive impact on the community, and have fun competing with other social media personalities toward a good cause.

“A lot of people don’t realize the positive impact we can have on people’s day to day life by sharing our moments inside the parks,” Jason said. “I have always believed the purpose of my content was to share the Disney magic so many of us love and cherish, [and] this was just another way to spread that a little further.” 

The competition, which takes place in early April and is not an open event, will start with 16 players and work its way down to one winner over the course of four rounds on Toy Story Mania. Each contestant gets to choose which charity they’d like to support, and the winner’s charity will receive all the donations generated by the event.

The rules are fairly simple in this head-to-head competition, Jason says. The highest score in the ride vehicle wins the round. Players will flip a coin to decide which side of the ride vehicle they’ll sit on, which, Jason says, “addresses any small variations in the game, based on screen positioning.”

He does admit there are “expert players” among the contestants, so the highest score is not meant to be the goal. He really wants it to be about drawing attention to important charities, even though it’s true the winner will win the belt and have the “ultimate bragging rights.”

How did Jason choose the contestants? It came down to a few factors, he says. “First and foremost, I wanted people that were actively involved in the TikTok community, and post videos. Secondly, I wanted to reach outside of my normal group of friends and creators. I reached out to numerous creators and invited many people I had never met. Some of them were unable to commit, but others did. At least three are people I’ve never met at all, with another five being community members I’ve really only spent less than an hour or two with in my life.

“Finally, I also wanted to be sure that I connected with people that I felt would show up. There is a core group of creators that I am personally friends with; those are the people I invited to ensure that the event gets off the ground and runs smoothly. Ultimately, I am excited to see how the event plays out. Given the focus on charity and people donating, I want to make sure that we follow through and show them what they are supporting.”

Toy Story Mania unofficial tournament current player list  

  • @TattooDisneyDad
  • TheDapperDanielle
  • PagingMrMorrow
  • ShimmyShimmyBebop (cast member)
  • MagicBandsAndTrashCan
  • WalrusCarp
  • TheThemeParkBlerd
  • LarisaLovesDisney
  • Casmatazz (cast member)
  • EarToEarMagic
  • MrDarthMickey
  • UsPartyCo
  • DistokDog
  • Bibbidi.Bobbidi.Beard
  • DisneyAtHeartMom

There is one open spot remaining.

Toy Story Mania unofficial tournament alternates

  • Ems.HappyThoughts
  • TravelAgentHannah

Each of these alternates have offered up their husbands as back-ups, Jason said, in the event that some cast member participants are not able to clear their schedules. 

Charities players have declared as their chosen beneficiary:

  • TattooDisneyDad – Dave Thomas Foundation
  • UsPartyCo – Give Kids The World
  • WalrusCarp – St. Judes
  • LarisaLovesDisney – Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • TheDisTokDog – New Horizon Service Dogs

Why did Jason choose Toy Story Mania as the event’s field of battle? “The attraction has a realistic scoring system and built-in ride mechanics that reward players for skill and strategy. [It] also a score system that is generally fair to both players in the cart, and [it] provides a friendly environment for fun competition,” he said. “I felt that with some very basic rules in place, players would be able to feel rewarded, challenged, and have a great time being a part of the event.”

But the logistics of the ride aren’t the reason he enjoys it so much. “The look on a father’s face knowing he got the best score of the hour and is now his kids’ hero for the day; a mom watching her kids celebrate getting the armadillo score prize; and just laughter of a group of adults fighting over bonus screen and rope cord technique…there isn’t much more you can ask for out of a very organic Disney Magic Moment!” 

The ride has always been one of his favorites, Jason admitted, for its level competitiveness that (almost) all ages  and skill levels can experience and enjoy.

Toy Story Mania entry
Photo by Veness Travel Media

He also revealed a little secret that makes it fun for even the youngest visitors, or those with little gaming experience, saying, “I’ve always loved the fact that even if you hit zero targets, the game makes sure you get 5,000 points.”

So, what about that belt? It’s a wrestling title belt replica with custom engravings, which Jason had made by a trophy company that specializes in title belts and trophies.

Toy Story Mania trophy belt specs:

  • 55″ in length, to will fit around a waist or shoulder.  Fits anywhere from 30″ all the way up to 50″ waist.
  • Main plate is 11″ x 9″. 
  • Side plates are 4″ x 4″.
  • End plates are 3.5″ x 3.5″.
  • The strap is made of synthetic leather so that it looks and feels like the real thing!

It’s difficult to imagine giving such a sleek, iconic item up, but Jason is sanguine about it. “I am hopeful that the belt is something that continues to live inside of the community,” he said. “As much as I have no desire to lose it by way of winning, in the event that I am not the winner my hope is to see people challenge each other and play to win it in the future. If I had control over the outcome, I would love to see people make a $100 donation to the title belt holder’s charity of choice to challenge them at [Toy Story Mania] and attempt to win it. Ultimately, I am leaving the fate of the belt up to the winner of this first event.” 

If the Walt Disney World-based challenge goes well, Jason and some of his friend in Anaheim, Calif. will consider recreating it at Disneyland later in 2022.

And that success is looking good. Jason has already raised over $600, with another $400 expected, based on player donations yet to come in.

Jason will be vlogging the event for the public to enjoy, and it is anticipated that others who participate will do so, too.

What does Jason say he hopes participants and viewers will take away from the tournament? “I hope that this event showcases the positives of a community that brings a lot of joy to people around the world. Walt Disney World has always been a place of magic to me, but we live in difficult times for many people. My goal has always been to create content that adds value to people’s lives, and brings a focus on positivity. I am excited to showcase the different charities and share the experience with viewers. Hopefully this event can be a great way for people to see that not all content is made for views, but sometimes there is a bigger picture we could all focus on more.”

Those who would like to donate can do so via the event-specific venmo, @TattooDisneyDad. Jason will provide a screen recording and donation records following the event as proof of transparency.

Inside the updated Toy Story Mania queue in Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios

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