Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to attend a special media event held at Toys ‘R’ Us in Times Square to introduce the exclusive Ridemakerz vehicles inspired by Disney/Pixar’s Cars 2, now available in stores. We have previously reported on the exclusive collection back in February, but the event afforded me the opportunity to get a hands-on look at the Francesco Bernoulli — in fact, I was even able to build and take home my own Francesco ahead of his official release.
While the Disney/Pixar collection is available at Ridemakerz retail locations, online at ridemakerz.com and ‘Imagination Park’ style Disney Stores, the Toys ‘R’ Us editions differ in a couple of important ways. The first is that the vehicles are bundled as kits (accessories also available separately) and rely primarily on Ridemakerz’ patented Snap n’ Go system, so the body is already fastened to the rolling chassis (as opposed to the full build experience at Ridemakerz and Disney Store retail locations). The kits do often provide alternate accessories out of the box, depending on the kit size, so the customization experience is still available within the single package.
The other key difference is that other than Finn McMissile and Francesco Bernoulli, the Toys ‘R’ Us paint schemes for Lightning McQueen and Mater will vary from the traditional paint schemes and will be exclusive to the toy store chain. The original paint schemes will only be available as part of the full build experience at Ridemakerz and Disney Store locations.
Most of the bodies are already available at locations that sell Disney/Pixar Cars and Cars 2 Ridemakerz cars with primary exception to Francesco Bernoulli which is expected to be available beginning June 27. Ridemakerz ZEO Larry Andreini even tipped me off that there will be a carbon-fiber version of Francesco available.
Below is our gallery of photos from the special event in which guests were invited to build their own vehicles. You’ll also find a short video below featuring the Francesco Bernoulli Ridemakerz vehicle.
Walt Disney World has released additional details for what they are calling ‘Car Masters Weekend’ at Downtown Disney West Side at the Walt Disney World Resort from May 13-15, 2011 as part of the Disney/Pixar Weekend. The event, which we first announced in early April coincides with the Walt Disney World stop of the State Farm ‘Agents on a Mission’ Tour.
Activities at Downtown Disney are scheduled to run all three days from 10:30 am through 6:00 pm and will include the following:
- Muscle cars will line the Downtown Disney promenade alongside the largest life-sized, radio-controlled replica cars ever built — which bring their big-screen “car-acter” counterparts to life for fans to meet face to face.
- Pixar Animation Studios’ “Cars” Franchise Guardian and resident car expert, Jay Ward, has been tapped to judge the Classic Car show which takes place on Saturday and Sunday.
- NASCAR fans can get a peek at Richard Petty’s racecar on display inside RIDEMAKERZ at Downtown Disney.
- The family-friendly weekend will feature special Disney-Pixar “Cars 2″ merchandise –including new RIDEMAKERZ models — and bonus entertainment.
- The 2006 Disney-Pixar Cars film returns to the big screen with a limited engagement viewing at AMC Pleasure Island 24 Theatres throughout the weekend. Moviegoers can even catch a glimpse of the new movie trailer from Cars 2, which gets the “green flag” on June 24, 2011, presented in Disney Digital 3D™ and IMAX 3D® in select theaters.
- State Farm brings Disney-Pixar’s Cars 2 adventure directly to fans with the “Agents on a Mission” tour, showcasing cars modeled after their big-screen likenesses. Guests can check out the cars and take part in a variety of “Cars 2″-themed activities, including a video kiosk, e-photo opportunities, games and giveaways. They can also enter the “Agents on a Mission” sweepstakes, which features 18,000 prizes, including a new car.
RIDEMAKERZ announced today its Downtown Disney shop at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida won worldwide “Pop-Up Store of the Year.” This is the second year in a row that RIDEMAKERZ has claimed the award presented by Chain Store Age magazine. The award recognizes RIDEMAKERZ for its creativity in transforming a 16,000 plus square foot retail venue into an auto-garage where kids and kids at heart can customize their own 1:18 scale toy vehicles, or RIDEZ.
“It’s an incredible acknowledgement for RIDEMAKERZ to win Pop-Up Store of the Year two years in a row, especially given the momentum and creativity in this rapidly expanding category,” said Larry Andreini, ZEO (CEO), RIDEMAKERZ. “Disney offered us an incredible space, and we were able to deliver a one-of-a-kind RIDEMAKERZ experience for the ages.”
Much like its fully-customizable RIDEZ, the RIDEMAKERZ pop-up at Downtown Disney – Lake Buena Vista was completely tricked out. The shop immersed customizers in a real world auto salon with show-quality cars, including rides from the personal collection of legendary car customizer Chip Foose. Additionally, a specially designed radio-control track lets customizers play with their creations on-site.
The RIDEMAKERZ pop-up at Downtown Disney – Lake Buena Vista will remain open through April 30, 2011.
Up until now, Ridemakerz has been available exclusively at its brick and mortar stores and its online site as well as offering Cars-branded Ridemakerz vehicles at the new ‘Imagination Park’ Disney Stores. But with the release of the Disney/Pixar summer blockbuster, Cars 2, all that’s about to change.
For the first time ever, Ridemakerz will soon be available at Toys ‘R’ Us locations around the nation and feature new shells for Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater to collect. In addition, Ridemakerz will be introducing shells for new characters Finn McMissile and Francesco Bernoulli. As an added bonus, each retailer will have their own exclusive Cars shells, but there will also be some overlap on the availability of the other shells.
There will be one other major difference between the Toys ‘R’ Us offerings and purchasing directly from Disney Store and Ridemakerz and that is the Ridemakerz experience. At Toys ‘R’ Us, the shells will be sold pre-attached to the standard bodies (radio controlled bodies will not be available at the Toys ‘R’ Us level), but as the parts are all compatible and interchangeable, you will have no problem attaching a Toys ‘R’ Us exclusive Cars shell to a Ridemakerz R/C body.
Below is a sampling of some of the new shells coming to Ridemakerz, Disney Store and Toys ‘R’ Us. Look closely and you may spot new decals as well, including the Cars 2 World Grand Prix detailing.
Yesterday, at the Shops at Montebello in Montebello, California, Disney Store launched its first of many new stores this year to feature its new ‘Imagination Park’ concept in which the store is designed to resemble a park full of imagination and wonder, broken down into different neighborhoods while offering unique experiences.
On hand to celebrate the day’s momentous occasion were Disney Store President Jim Fielding and stars from the Disney Channel original movie Camp Rock 2, Maria Canals Barrera, Chloe Bridges and Anna Maria Perez de Tagle.
All photos above by Jeff Lewis, courtesy of Disney Consumer Products.
Later on in the day, Stitch Kingdom’s Kelly Noble had the opportunity to explore the Disney Store ‘Imagination Park’ at Montebello experience which features an exclusive RIDEMAKERZ opportunity featuring the stars of Disney/Pixar’s Cars. For more information on the experiences one can find in the Imagination Park model, review our original report here.
Walt Disney World has officially announced that the Downtown Disney area in Walt Disney World will soon be receiving a couple of shops that have already recently made the Disneyland Resort their home.
Vinylmation will find its east coast home in D Street, an urban art-inspired shop that has already proven itself successful since opening in Anaheim just a few months ago.
DTD will also receive a RIDEMAKERZ, a place for guests to custom design and build their own radio controlled vehicles.