Gardens come alive with toys

Characters from Toy Story, such as Buzz Lightyear and Woody (above), will make appearances at the festival. Other highlights include a special edition of Garden Rhapsody, Gardens by the Bay's light and music show, with music from the movies.
Characters from Toy Story, such as Buzz Lightyear and Woody (above), will make appearances at the festival. Other highlights include a special edition of Garden Rhapsody, Gardens by the Bay's light and music show, with music from the movies.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
Characters from Toy Story, such as Buzz Lightyear and Woody, will make appearances at the festival. Other highlights include a special edition of Garden Rhapsody (above), Gardens by the Bay's light and music show, with music from the movies.
Characters from Toy Story, such as Buzz Lightyear and Woody, will make appearances at the festival. Other highlights include a special edition of Garden Rhapsody (above), Gardens by the Bay's light and music show, with music from the movies.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

This year's Children's Festival at Gardens by the Bay has a Toy Story 4 theme

A life-sized toy land has popped up at the Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay, complete with characters such as Buzz Lightyear and Woody making appearances and taking selfies with their fans.

The set-up is part of Children's Festival by Gardens by the Bay, which features a Toy Story 4 theme and runs from today until June 30.

Visitors can look forward to a host of family-friendly games and activities designed to recreate a carnival atmosphere - as the characters in the upcoming movie go to a carnival themselves, says Ms Ong Chui Leng, 52, senior director of programming at Gardens by the Bay.

"We wanted to create this mega toy land where everything is larger than life and everything people have seen in animation is brought to life."

This year's festival, which is in its seventh edition, is part of a three-year collaboration between the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and The Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia (Disney).

It also comes ahead of the theatrical release of Disney-Pixar's Toy Story 4 in Singapore next Thursday. The highly anticipated film is the sequel to Toy Story 3 (2010).

  • VIEW IT /CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL

  • WHERE: Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive

    WHEN: Today to June 30

    ADMISSION: Free, but charges apply to selected programmes

    INFO: www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/childrensfestival

Choosing Toy Story 4 over other Disney movies was a no-brainer, says Ms Ong. The timing and themes in the upcoming movie tied in with this year's key thrust of friendship for the festival.

"I think Toy Story has appeal not just to the younger kids, but also to adults and young parents," says Ms Ong, a mother of three who remembers taking her elder son to watch the first Toy Story movie in cinemas in 1995. "The starting point is always what attracts the kids."

Opening the festival are exclusive drawing workshops today and tomorrow hosted by Pixar Animation Studios artist Mara MacMahon, who worked as a character designer and character modeller lead on Toy Story 4.

Her visit marks the first time a Pixar Animation Studios artist is holding a workshop in Singapore. All three complimentary sessions - two for children and one for adults - have been fully registered.

Another first for the festival is a newly constructed track, spanning about 150m, set up between two of the Supertrees. Twice every hour, visitors can watch a 1.5m-wide marble travel along the track, which is 8.8m above ground, and weave between the Supertrees.

While the display does not tie in specifically to any scenes in the film, it harks back to the marble games of people's childhood, says Ms Ong.

Young festivalgoers can also look forward to interactive activities such as racing self-driving cars in the Buzz Lightyear-themed Star Adventurer attraction and a children's obstacle course, Bo Peep's Adventure.

At night, a special edition of Garden Rhapsody, the gardens' signature light and music show, closes each day with music from the Toy Story movies.

It takes place every day at 7.45, 8.45 and 9.15pm - with the third session an add-on to the gardens' regular twice-a-night affair.

Smartphones raised, visitors at a media preview on Thursday were enraptured as characters from Toy Story 4 were projected onto fake clouds suspended among the Supertrees.

Garden Rhapsody regularly attracts a few thousand people a night, says Ms Ong, who expects to see "much more than that" for the Children's Festival.

• Toy Story 4 opens in Singapore next Thursday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2019, with the headline 'Gardens come alive with toys'. Print Edition | Subscribe