Recently I took my 6-year-old son, West, to visit the new RIDEMAKERZ store at Downtown Disney in the Disneyland Resort where you can “Build Your Ride”. RIDEMAKERZ is to Radio-Control vehicles what Build-A-Bear is to…um…bears. Kids (and big kids) can build their own custom vehicle from the ground up. I knew we could blow our churro budget in this store, so West was limited to $50 for his “ride”. Keep reading to see how he chose to customize his ride.
The first choice West had to make was the body of his ride. There are about 30 different vehicles to choose from. Prices on the vehicle shells range from $10 for a generic hatchback up to a $32 Corvette.
West chose the RZ-X Black Widow for $15. It had a simple black design and included a sound effects card. (running total=$15)
After choosing the vehicle shell, we moved to the tire bins, where he could choose from the included stock black tires or upgrade to something more colorful at $8 for a set of 4. Watching his budget, West stayed with the stock tires. (running total=$15)
Next we approached the wall of rims. Stock rims are included, fancier chrome or gold ones will run you up to $8 for a set of 4. Knowing the hit his budget was about to take in the next area of the store (foreshadowing), West stayed with the stock rims. (running total=$15)
Motorize or not motorize, that is the question. While technically you can buy a vehicle at RIDEMAKERZ and push it around with human power, what 6-year-old boy is gonna want that? That said, motorizing is a big budget buster at $25, but it had to be done. This is also the time they will try to upsell you with batteries (regular or rechargeable). The vehicle comes with 4 AA sample batteries that will only last a short time and the remote takes a single 9-volt battery that isn’t included at all. We had a good stock of AAs in our camera bag, but we did pick up a 9-volt for $3. There’s nothing worse for a kid than buying something you can’t play with when you get it back to the hotel. If you know you’ll be coming here ahead of time, bring along your own batteries. (running total=$43)
The “motorizer” then made West a name badge and sent us over to the building area so West could put his ride together. There a “mechanic” helped him attach the chassis and put on the tires and rims and then tested to make sure his new ride worked.
After his ride was tested, we had the opportunity to do MORE customization. The store is all about customization, but this was our first visit and West did have a budget, so he kept it simple, choosing some flame stickers ($4) and a ground-effects lighting kit ($10). (running total $57)
I know what you’re thinking…..West went over budget! Well, it just so happens that I became a “fan” of RIDEMAKERZ on Facebook and was able to print out a coupon for $10 off a purchase of $30. After the coupon the new total is $47, plus sales tax of $4.11 for a total of $51.11, which is slightly over budget (but includes the 9-volt battery which shouldn’t really count against him…Dad should’ve been more prepared).
West really likes his new ride and we had a great time playing with it when we got home. I’m not overly impressed however, with the the range of the remote or the life of the batteries. The part I do like is that when he gets bored with his current ride (he’s 6…he WILL get bored with it) we can go back and add some new things to his existing ride without having to buy an entire new one. On this trip, we barely scratched the surface of customization. He could go back and change the sound card ($3), add an engine or hood scoop ($2.50), a fancy bumper ($2-$4), roof top lights ($3), side pipes ($3.50), a spoiler ($2.50), new stickers ($4)…oh, yeah….we’ll be coming back.
Also – for all of you on the east coast, a RIDEMAKERZ store will be opening up at Downtown Disney in Walt Disney World later this month. For now, it is planned to be a temporary location, but should be around at least until fall.