The very first of the Toy Story Toons shorts and my personal favourite of the three.
I think what makes this one the best for me is that all the toys get to have a part in it. Whereas Partysaurus Rex was focused on Rex and a lot of fun new toys, and Small Fry is about Buzz and a lot of cool fast-food meal toys this one is all about the toys as a group making the best vacation ever for Barbie and Ken.
I love all the situations they make up to mimic the events Ken wanted to go on. The fish tank and TV deep sea diving set up and the surfing in front of the puzzle box kind of hark back to the old film techniques of rear screen projection and matte paintings; and the fact that those effects can look really cheesy on low budget 70s films works because Ken himself certainly likes vintage 70s outfits and such.
There’s a lot of funny gags in the short from everyone dressed up as Hawaiian wildlife to Ken flying off the skateboard and crashing through the paper sunrise. Really watching the short for me is kind of like a vacation itself. There’s no race to get home, there’s no villain, and outside of Ken’s initial disappointment about not actually going to Hawaii there’s no negative feelings here. It’s nice to see the toys just relaxing and having fun. I love seeing everyone’s plans before Ken and Barbie arrive too. Rex and Trixie with their online gaming profiles, Pricklepants and the hilarious audition, Potatohead being resourceful to do two things at once, and the return of Woody and Slink playing checkers against each other.
This is a Pixar work so of course the animation is great and I love that they can keep using the original voice actors for the characters (except for the late great Jim Varney) it keeps a great sense of continuity between the films and the shorts.
Finally the ending scene with Barbie and Ken having their first kiss is very beautiful even though as the commentary reveals they had to take away the railing on the deck to make that final gag work, but hey I don’t mind that. In the same way I don’t mind that Woody would never have a Hawaiian shirt and hat just lying around to use for this vacation scenario. It works and I like that he wears something different for once.
Conclusion: this is a really fun and funny short and I love seeing all the toys together having a good time.