April 28, 2014

My son'€™s eyes lit up when we walked into RIDEMAKERZ in Downtown Disney. He could hardly believe he was going to get to build his own car. His seven-year-old self seemed to grow before my eyes as he took part in making his dream come true.

We were both greeted by a smiling employee, but when she found out that my son was making the car, he became the star of the evening. Each person talked directly to him and he seemed to come alive. The first step was to '€œCHOOZE'€ his ride, tires, and rims. I helped him narrow the choice as we were on a budget and he excitedly got '€œthe red one with fire on the side, but not real fire.'€ He then picked up the stock wheels and rims that came with his ride and didn'€™t cost extra.

When all the parts were picked out, including adding an optional remote control system (additional cost), we entered the '€œBUILD'€ section. Once again, my son was the center of attention. The creative employee had him place all the parts on the board, then he told him to step back and play some '€œSimon Says.'€ My son was all ears and ready to do anything the employee told him to do. He got some quick instructions and then got to use the automatic screwdriver and snap on his tires. We mostly skipped over the '€œCUSTOMIZE'€ section in order to save some cash.

My son held up his car, neatly packaged in a special case, and seemed the happiest boy in Downtown Disney. I was pleased with the whole experience because of the way he was treated as an individual and important person. I love it when adults talk with my kids.

Things to Note:

It is very easy to spend a lot more on a car at RIDEMAKERZ than one might expect. The prices attached to the ride you "CHOOZE" range from $15 to $38 but by the time you add on special tires, rims, and custom parts, it adds up to be $55 - $115 or more. The main reason it can get up so high is that most parents (myself included) will want to pay the additional money (around $25) to make it an awesome radio controlled car. That will require buying batteries, which run from $10 (9volt and AAs) to $23 for a rechargeable set.

Despite the potential add-on costs, the end product is a high quality car that flies around via radio control and has lights and sounds. It may not be the most economical RC car on the market, but the experience of building it is part of its value.

Can't make it to Downtown Disney District? No problem! You can build and customize your car online.