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Geppetto’s Toy Store now a Candy Store

The “Wishing Star” store in Fantasyland is more commonly known as Geppetto’s Toy Store or Puppet Store. That’s because that’s what was sold there. You know, like in the movie Pinocchio, where Geppetto owns a toy store. Alas, over the years it has not been… Read More »Geppetto’s Toy Store now a Candy Store

Build-A-Car store RideMakerz Debuts at Orlando Downtown Disney

Custom ‘Rides’ are assembled by RideMakerz store staff.

A new store has popped-up for a limited engagement in Downtown Disney Westside at Walt Disney World that aims to make model remote control cars as customizable and fun as build-a-bears — Ridemakerz. Not a coincidence since the same company is an owner of both store concepts. A Ridemakerz shop has been open in Downtown Disney in Anaheim, since 2009 and is looking to expand its offerings there.

The Ridemakerz experience invites guests into the ultimate car customizing shop where they can build a one-of-a-kind radio control car or “RIDE”. Between bodystyles and colors, tires and wheels, lights and sounds, accessories and decals, Ridemakerz estimates there are more than 649 million possible build combinations, not including individual decal placement.

CEO Larry Andreini presents a check to the Boys & Girls Club, some of whom were invited to make their own cars at the grand opening

“Ridemakerz delivers a high-octane experience and one-of-a kind fun,” said Downtown Disney Vice President Keith Bradford. “We’re excited to add Ridemakerz to our existing portfolio of unique offerings at Downtown Disney. It fills a niche our guest’s have been looking for.

CEO Larry Andreini and Downtown Disney Vice President Keith  Bradford cut the ‘chain’ to officially open the store. (Denny Hamlin raced car in the background)

The store occupies the old Virgin Record Mega-Store location, which has become something of a showcase location for temporary exhibits. The space isn’t really made for that sort of role. So eventually they’ll have to totally remodel this location for a new long-term tenant. But in the meantime, this is a better use than to just let it sit empty.

The good thing about occupying the huge space is that they can add something of a mini-auto show for full size cars. Eight world-class show cars are on display, including a Chevrolet C5.R racecar built by Pratt & Miller Engineering for General Motors. The display also features an F150 NASCAR Pace Truck and Dodge Ram from the personal collection of legendary car customizer Chip Foose, as well as a MINI Cooper from the private collection of famed movie car designer Fireball Tim Lawrence.

Chip Foose (l) and Fireball Tim Lawrence were at the event and later suggested designs for the cars and signed autographs, a nice touch.

“The Ridemakerz brand and this shop, in particular, are close to my heart,” said Foose during an autograph session at the grand opening on March 25th. “I learned about car customizing from my Dad, and now I get to help pass that experience on to fathers, sons and families across America.” Foose also serves as an advisor to Ridemakerz.

“The Ridemakerz experience is pure fun, and the process is designed to spark creativity, encourage collaboration and build confidence,” says Ridemakerz ZEO (CEO) Larry Andreini.

A sample of some available ‘Ridez’ styles.

In a nod to real-world car culture, Ridemakerz has agreements with several automotive manufacturers to offer versions of today’s most popular cars in its line-up. Guests, or “Customizers” can choose from the Ford Mustang and F-250 Super Chief Alternative Fuel Concept Truck, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R and C6RS, Dodge Ram, Challenger, and Viper, MINI Cooper S, and Scion xB. Retro hot rods, fire engines, racecars, cab-over tow and dump trucks, and many more favorites are also available.

Many more options are available.

Complete RIDEZ range in price from $10 to $32, depending on 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, spoilers and hoods scoops to $15 for themed kits that include a wide range of complementary accessories. RIDEZ measure approximately 12 inches long, or 1:18 scale, and are easy to assemble with snap-in, snap-on components that do not require glue.

I had quite a bit of fun with testing out the remote control cars for myself. The controller provides a decent amount of control for the price and the cars are very durable. Of course, this was indoors, your mileage may vary on surface streets. The prices are very affordable considering what you get. The question for visitors will be how to get their custom Ridez home.

More photos of the store below the jump:

Read More »Build-A-Car store RideMakerz Debuts at Orlando Downtown Disney