Following on the footsteps of Disneyland Resort’s Downtown Disney in Anaheim, Calif., today Ridemakerz opened a store at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney here in Orlando.
Ridemakerz allows you to create and customize your own model car, choosing the body, undercarriage, tires, wheels, decals and other accessories (each with their own price tag). In addition, you can add radio control ability, which in my opinion is a must. The average sale, with radio control added, will range from $50-$75 depending on how many add-ons you choose.
Here’s a video from today’s Ridemakerz grand opening including a complete walkthrough of the process of customizing your own car as well as interviews with Downtown Disney vice president Keith Bradford, Ridemakerz CEO Larry Andreini, and Hollywood custom car design legend Fireball Tim:
I had the chance to build my own Ridemakerz car today (for free, as part of the opening). My design would have cost around $75, including remote control ability and two sets of add-on accessories.
It took me around 10-15 minutes to go through the process of choosing all the parts and while I felt somewhat overwhelmed by it, I did enjoy it. The options are endless and result in literally millions of combinations you could come out with.
I nicknamed the style of my car “gothic sci-fi” as I chose an all-black body with “pirate” skull wheels, purple/black tires, and a “jet pack” accessory kit. Here’s a look at it:
Upon driving it around my house for a while, I found that the top speed of around 14mph is far too fast to be driving around inside a house, but perfect for moving around speedily outside. Apparently I frightened my cat indoors as well – another reason to take it out.
I also found that turning does not work as well as I would have liked. It seems that if I am telling the car to move forward or reverse, it doesn’t want to turn until I let up on the forward/back joystick and then press the left/right stick before proceeding. It’s a bit of an annoyance but not terrible.
In the end the quality of the build is solid and I came away with a much more personalized car than I would have if I had spent $75 to get an off-the-shelf RC car at a toy store. If you’re a fan of cars or remote control toys, I’d definitely recommend a trip to Ridemakerz, but be prepared to not leave under $50.
One note: Don’t expect to walk out of the store and start driving your new RC car around Downtown Disney. It isn’t permitted. You can drive it around the store after you’ve purchased it but you’ll have to put away the controls before heading out into the Downtown Disney streets.
The new store occupies most of the first floor that was formerly the home of the Virgin Megastore. The second floor remains closed off for now.
Ridemakerz is a temporary “pop-up” store, currently scheduled to remain open throughout the summer. Afterward, if business does well, the store may move to a permanent location elsewhere at Downtown Disney, just as it is currently doing following a successful test run in California’s version of the popular shopping area.
More photos inside Ridemakerz and from today’s grand opening: