More Info

Movie Info:

  • Rating: G
  • Genre: Family Comedy
  • Runtime:
  • Studio: Disney/Pixar



Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 3 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]

From the Cover of Toy Story by Disney/Pixar:

“Before Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., and Cars, the creative minds of Disney/Pixar introduced you to Toy Story and an astonishing world where toys play while their owners are away. Rediscover acclaimed filmmaker John Lasseter’s directorial debut with Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), and all their friends in an adventure filled with humor, heart, and friendship – in a must-have Special Edition.

This groundbreaking computer-generated classic started it all and set the stage for the equally amazing Toy Story 2. Enjoy all-new bonus features – including an exclusive sneak peek at Toy Story 3, the next chapter of this exciting adventure. It’s nonstop fun for the entire family, and now on Blu-ray featuring Disney enhanced high definition picture and sound, it’s an essential part of any collection!”



Transfiguring Adoption’s Overview:

Oh, the 90s! The decade of computer animation and innovation! Long before Disney bought Pixar outright (in 2006) studio collaborations such as 1995’s Toy Story were highly anticipated and paved the way for many fan favorites we enjoy today. Throw in some fantastic vocal talents and a heartwarming soundtrack, and you have the perfect ingredients for a 90s blockbuster.

This movie can be easily enjoyed by almost all ages as indicated by the G rating due to the quick pace and colorful, slapstick humor for children and the endearing storyline and wordplay for teens and adults.

Foster/Adoptive families can benefit from this film, though foster care or adoption is not explicitly discussed. This movie features themes such as separation and reunification of a family-like unit, jealousy, identity, communicating needs, cultural awareness, and problem-solving.

** Spoilers Could Be Ahead **

How Is This Relevant To Adoption & Foster Care?

While this movie does not directly reference foster care or a traditional adoptive family, this film does have several themes that do relate to the territory. The story revolves around toys coming to terms with feelings of abandonment, jealousy, comparison, separation anxiety, abuse, and grief. Many of our children can relate to feeling all of the above and struggle to self-regulate appropriately while working through these difficult events and emotions. This movie can be used as a tool to help facilitate discussions after family movie nights to help put big abstract feelings into words and pictures for children who may not be able to directly connect feelings of abandonment and jealousy to their behaviors. This can also be a beneficial tool in talking with children already in the home before, during, or after foster placements to check in and reaffirm that children already in the home are not going to be “replaced” by foster children. As the toys learn in the end, the more the merrier!

Discussion Points:

  • Feeling Discarded and Abandoned
    The children we interact with have felt thrown away, abandoned, and replaced. Children may relate to Buzz feeling “crash landed” on another planet and trying desperately to go home. Other children will related to Woody feeling pushed aside by the shiny, cool, new housemate. Often our children will struggle with connecting their emotions to their behaviors, and this movie can allow them to see and explore these connections.
  • Problem Solving and Team Work
    Children, whether established as part of the household or new, are able to see that housemates can work through their differences and work as a team through hard situations, even if they are experiencing the same challenge differently. Children who have grown up in the system may not have had consistent examples of cooperation and compromise. Biological children may struggle with having different expectations from their new foster siblings and having to split time and attention more than they are accustomed.
  • Communicating Feelings and Needs
    This movie can also be used to help support biological children in appropriately expressing their feelings concerning new housemates and helping welcome foster/adoptive children. Biological children may not have much of a reference point for how coming into a new home/culture can feel, just as Buzz experiences culture shock when leaving “Star Command” to reside in Andy’s Room.

Cautionary Points:

  • Discussions of Being Thrown Away/Abandoned/Replaced
    Children who enter the child welfare system or adoption often deal with several emotions (i.e. – sadness, grief, anger, denial, etc.) that connect to feelings of being abandoned by their primary caregivers. These themes may help children by giving them someone to relate to. However, every child responds to trauma from abandonment or removal differently, so a caregiver should be aware of such themes.
  • Abuse and Mutilation of Toys
    Though the characters who are physically harmed are toys, they are given life and meaning in the film and appear lifelike. Some children may react negatively to the “living” toys being dismembered, blown up, and spoken to aggressively. Most of these scenes involve a human boy named Sid.
  • Mild Adult Humor
    Some of the jokes may go right over most children’s heads. However, some children may have been exposed to inappropriate subject matter ,and this may invoke inappropriate behavior. (i.e. – Mr. Potato Head removing lips and moving them toward rear end to communicate “kissing butt,” “lazer envy,” etc.)
  • Characters Pointing Laser at Toy’s Heads
    Throughout the movie, Buzz is shown pointing a lazer-beam in a weapon-like manner at various toys’ heads. This resembles a laser sight on a gun. This could be triggering for children who have been exposed to gun violence.
  • Implied Drinking/Drunken Behavior
    Children could be triggered by Buzz’s behavior in the tea party scene. Some children come from homes with substance abuse exposure or domestic violence that occurs alongside substance abuse. Though the drink is specifically referred to as “tea,” Buzz slurs speech and both he and Woody speak as if he is drinking an alcoholic beverage.

It’s Your Turn:

  1. Have you ever felt like Woody and felt like another toy was taking your place? What did that feel like? What did you do?
    Caregiver Note: This is a good question to open the floor to discussion. This question will also encourage introspection, meaning that children connect feelings to behaviors. This is a valuable skill that, if practiced often, will serve them well as they grow and form relationships with others.
  2. Have you ever felt like Buzz, crash landed onto another world with no sign of familiarity? How did you feel versus how you acted?
    Caregiver Note: This is a good question to help connect feelings to behaviors. Remember, children from the child welfare system develop survival behaviors in their original cultures and may not realize why they do specific things (i.e. what need the behavior was formed to address) or why some behaviors that achieved needs before don’t work in your home.
  3. Why was it so important for Woody to return to Andy as his toy? Why was it important for Buzz to return to Star Command before learning he’s a toy?
    Caregiver Note: It’s interesting to see how children can pick up on these things. For both established children and foster children, they may point out themes of family and returning to a place they felt they belong.
  4. What do you think would have been a more cooperative/considerate way for Woody to discuss with Buzz their roles as toys? Or for Woody to express to the toys how he felt?
    Caregiver Note: For both biological children and foster/adoptive children, this will help foster discussion on using appropriate means to communicate needs. This would be a good avenue to discuss using “I-statements,” Active Listening, and “I Think…/I Feel..” to aid in problem solving through effective communication. I used a similar avenue for my child when she was about seven and was amazed how quickly she caught on between discussing these terms and modeling these myself when conflict occurred in the house. She’s nearly fourteen now, and I’ve overheard her coaching her peers with this as well!
  5. How do you think the other toys could have supported Woody to help the transition? How could Woody have better handled Buzz’s learning he is a toy?
    Caregiver Note: This seems like a stretch of a question, but if we seriously consider how Woody reacted to all the changes, we will notice how a few toys egged on Woody from the moment Buzz’s rocket-box crash landed on Andy’s bed. Mr. Potato Head and Hamm both appear to love to take jabs at Woody and feed into his insecurity. This can be a great discussion on how humor can be good and healing but also be used to tear others down. Woody also tended to lash out at Buzz with passive-aggressive (or just aggressive) humor as well and mocked Buzz for his belief that he’d be going home to Star Command. In both of these questions, children can discuss and practice reading social emotions and the power of words.
  6. Do you know someone like Sid? How did his choices affect the family members and toys around him? Has there been a time where you felt like Sid?
    Caregiver Note: Though Sid is easily portrayed as the villain, some of our children may relate to trouble-making Sid. Children often develop survival behaviors that make sense in the contexts the behavior was formed but make no sense outside of that context. We don’t see much background for Sid in the film, but there are a few hints throughout the film that Sid does not get much attention or supervision from his parents. We see him acting out for attention in picking at his sister and how he mutilates toys. Sid also appears to have a lot of focus on garnering control. Watch how he “interrogates” Woody in his room, and you’ll slowly notice book guides on interrogation and other items related to “bad cop” type instruction. This can be a good discussion on how Sid’s behaviors, while very maladaptive to social functioning, do not mean he is doomed to be a “bad kid.” Sid may have a caring adult in his life who can help him learn better ways to communicate his needs (like Woody and Buzz are learning) and control his actions to help him reach goals that are acceptable to the rules of society.
  7. What did Woody do well when talking Buzz through Christmas morning?
    Caregiver Note: This will not only end the discussion on a positive note but will also help biological children to open discussion about welcoming a child in the home. This can also help established foster/adoptive youth turn thoughts towards welcoming a newcomer as Buzz is also feeling some fear of change and rejection here as well.
  8. How can a foster family (both children and adults) help foster children adjust when “There is no sign of intelligent life anywhere?”
    Caregiver Note: Encourage your family to think of different ways to make a new child comfortable in the home the first few weeks. This would be a great time to discuss how children from foster care may not conduct themselves the way your household may and to be prepared for differences. If you have taken a cultural awareness class in your pre-approval or post-approval classes, some notes from those may be helpful. Remember, culture can refer to a variety of factors and not just race/ethnicity.
  9. ACTIVITY: Role play how Woody and the toys could have better welcomed Buzz. Then, role play how Woody and the other toys could have better communicated about Woody’s feelings and supported one another.
    Caregiver Note: Children of all ages learn best by doing. Even the smallest children are better able to remember what they have learned if they say it, sing it, and act it out themselves. Make it fun! Dress up or make a cowboy hat and space helmet as a family so that different family members can take turns. Make sure to applaud and praise the children for strengths in their “performances.”
  10. ACTIVITY: Make a “Welcome List” as a family.
    Caregiver Note: As a family, create a to-do list for welcoming a new child into the home. Have your children contribute ideas and have items for every member of the family. Again, make it fun with lots of colors and pictures to decorate. These can include items like helping the child unpack, giving a house tour, showing where the “best” toys are, having the foster child’s bed space ready and clean, introductions with family pets, etc. Keep this with your paperwork and refer to it during family meetings before and after placements so as a family you can determine what helped more or if something should be added. Children love to contribute and this is a great way to give direction for that desire to help.

Buy From Our Links and Support Transfiguring Adoption:

Transfiguring Adoption is a nonprofit organization seeking to nurture growth in foster and adoptive families by giving a HOOT about their families. Transfiguring Adoption does not intend for its reviewers nor its review to be professional, medical or legal advice. These reviews and discussion guides are intended to help parents to better be able to connect and understand their children who come from traumatic backgrounds.


Lost Password

Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.