This is so cool!
A new shop called Ridemakerz opened today (3-25-10) at the Westside of Downtown Disney. Located in the building previously occupied by Virgin Megastore, Ridemakers offers kids of all ages a new experience in retail shopping.
At Ridemakerz, guests can custom build their very own radio-controlled vehicle. As ZEO (CEO) of the company Larry Andreini said during the grand opening ceremony today, Ridemakerz was inspired by Build-A-Bear Workshop. But instead of creating a custom animal, kids can create custom automobiles. And with all the body styles, colors, tires, wheels, lights, and sounds available, it is estimated that there are more than 649 million possible build combinations – not including the individual decal placement.
Here we see Larry Andreini and Downtown Disney Vice President Keith Bradford officially opening the store with a ribbon, err, chain cutting ceremony.
In the center of the store are four souped-up "real" cars to drool over. The Corvette was actually used by the team of Dale Earnhardt Senior and Junior at the “24 Hours of Le Mans.” This is the world's oldest sports car competition in endurance racing, and held annually since 1923 near the town of Le Mans, Sarthe, France.
Also on display around the shop are a number of the Ridemakerz vehicles you can duplicate or improve upon with your own imagination.
The process of customization starts at the Chooze Station. (Notice the use of the letter Z.) Here you pick up a basket to carry your options as you make your way around the store. You also select your vehicle body type at this station. There are cast members throughout the store to answer questions and help you with your selections. There is a basic price for a car, which I’ll go into later. But just like in real life, it’s the options that jack up the price. All of this is clearly marked so there shouldn’t be any confusion.
There are over 70 body types to chooze from. Here are some of the available models: Chevrolet Corvette C6.R and C6RS, Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, Ford F-250 SuperChief, Dodge Ram, Scion xB, MINI Cooper S, and Dodge Viper. There are also retro hot rods, fire engines, and a number of trucks.
At the Sonicize Station you select the sound you want your car to make. There are five options and push buttons allow you to listen to each. These include electric guitars, city beats, sirens, whistles, squealing tires, and revving. Once you make your selection, a cast member will give you the appropriate computer chip to be inserted into your car later.
Next we move to the Mobilize Station to pick up our tirez and wheelz. Since not all wheels fit every car, a cast member is on hand to help you make the right choice. The selections are mind boggling.
At the Motorize Station a cast member will open up the packaging and store it for later recycling. Here you decide if you want your vehicle to be Free-Wheel or Radio-Control and given the appropriate chassis.
Now it’s time to move to The Pit and assemble your vehicle. Here a cast member will arrange all of the parts for you in a logical order, then start the clock. You’re now being timed to see how fast you can put your car together. Required tasks include screwing the chassis to the body, inserting the wheels into the tires, and attaching the tires to the car. Here are a few pictures of me taking this all very seriously.
It’s at the Customize Station that you can really personalize your car. Hundreds of options like specialty lights, spoilers, side pipes, hood scoops, blown engines, roll bars, decals and more are just begging to be added to your vehicle.
Be sure to save all the packaging acquired at the Customize Station. You’ll need it when you pay. At the check-out counter, your new baby will be placed in a nice carrying case.
I attended the Grand Opening via a press invitation. For a first hand experience, Disney and Ridemakerz allowed me to create my own vehicle at no charge.
I have never been cool – and I gave up trying years ago. So instead of selecting a hotrod or Corvette, I picked a MINI Cooper to customize cuz I think they’re cute. Here’s how it turned out.
Once I got home, I added everything up and the price of my car came to $90. This includes the radio-control and rechargeable battery.
The basic price for a car is $10 to $32 depending on the body and paint style chosen. Radio remote control can be added for an additional $25. And custom accessories range in price from $2 for grill guards to $15 for spoilers and hood scoops. The vehicles are approximately twelve inches long or 1:18 scale and are easy to assemble with snap-on components that do not require glue.
DO NOT. I repeat. DO NOT take your son (or husband) into this shop unless you plan on buying a car. This store is addictive. I also think this store offers a great bonding opportunity for fathers and sons. I saw a number of dads helping their boys build their car with big smiles on their faces. And I could tell it was difficult for them not to jump in and take over the project. Just for the record, there were a number of girls thoroughly enjoying themselves at Ridemakerz.
Ridemakerz is currently at Downtown Disney for a limited engagement. But when I spoke to Disney VP Keith Bradford, he told me that it’s hoped that this shop will become a permanent participant at Walt Disney World, either in its current location, or someplace else. I hope so too!
Ridemakerz is located at the Westside of Downtown Disney and the hours of operation vary from day to day.
For more information (and online shopping), check out their website at www.ridemakerz.com
The previous post in this blog was Signs at Walt Disney World - The Answers.
The next post in this blog is Discovery Island Shops at Animal Kingdom.