Welcome back to Disney Stuff.
I've always been a fan of die-cast toy cars going all the way back to when I was a kid. Back then my dad traveled quite a bit for business overseas. I can vividly remember waiting for him to return from his business trips. I was, of course, excited that he was coming home but I was doubly excited because he would always bring me back something from his travels. More often than not he would pass through London and that meant a Corgi or a Matchbox car was coming my way—ones that you couldn't get in the states. Those gifts solidified my love of die-cast toy cars and I guess I have my dad to thank for the on-going collections that exist on my shelves today.
Naturally, in my world, if there's something to collect… there's probably a Disney version of whatever it is for me to collect. The Disney parks have always been a good place for die-cast toy cars. Whether it's the annual Disney bus produced by Matchbox, or the very cool Attraction Collection vehicles produced several years ago, you can almost always find a die-cast toy car of some sort in a Disney gift shop. Over the years I've collected my share of these vehicles. My kids play with some of them and some are just for display. Either way, much like Walt Disney World itself, they remind me of my childhood and that's one of the reasons I keep collecting them.
One of the more popular Disney die-cast toy car collections over the past 10 years has been the Disney Racers Collection. I have to admit, when I first saw these vehicles, I didn't love them. I'm more of a classic kind of guy and I love when a die-cast car is more of a detailed replica of sorts like the Disney bus collection or die-cast monorail. The Disney Racers are far from replicas. They're each primarily based on a Disney character and take their design cues from either the color or a specific feature of that character. From there though, the design leaves replica behind and instead heads into automotive Fantasyland. Over the years, these have grown on me and while I am far from being a Disney Racer completist, I have carved out a space on the collectible shelf for them.
Some belong to me and some belong to my sons, and I'm starting to appreciate them more and more. Of course, that means the collection will inevitably grow. Let's take a look at what we've got so far.
Most of the major characters are represented in the original series. Here's four of the Fab Five:
These were the first two that I purchased several years ago, the monorail and the Disney Transport bus. I like these the most out of all of the Racers:
Toy Story, of course, had to be represented so here are Buzz and the Little Green Man:
Cruella Deville makes a mean looking machine and is one of the cooler looking villain cars:
One of my sons picked out the Sulley truck on a visit to MouseGear—the greatest gift shop in all of Walt Disney World:
I have a soft spot for Figment and I'm thrilled that he gets his own car:
One of the latest purchases was Chip. I'm not sure why there's no Dale, but so far there isn't.
I had to make the Kermit the Frog Racer mine. It's Kermit…need I say anything more?
If you look at the photo above of the entire set of racers on the shelf, you will see a pink car and a purple car in the back row. These are not Disney Racers from the theme parks. However, they are quite similar in design and fit with the collection. These are from the Hot Wheels Toy Story 3 series and my sons keep them on the shelf with the Disney Racers, so I thought I'd give them a mention. These are not theme park exclusives. As I recall, these were from Toys-R-Us.
That's one of the things that I like most about this set of toy cars is that they are only available in the Disney parks and resorts. Currently, there are a few of the newer Star Wars series available on DisneyStore.com, but for the most part, if you want one you'll need to head to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. And they won't set you back all that much either. They currently sell for $5.95; not bad for a Disney collectible.
As far as the secondary market is concerned, there is a bunch for sale on eBay right now and they range anywhere from $1.49 for a loose car to a max of about $15.00 for one in its original packaging. Several of the collectible toy websites and secondary Disney merchandise websites out there are selling them for a wide range of prices, depending on scarcity and popularity. I've seen a few for around $40. If you're interested in collecting, I suggest getting to the parks (always a nice idea!) or eBay for the best deals.
Since 2005 they've released around 80 vehicles, including the Star Wars series. Like I said, these die-cast toys took a while to grow on me and there are still some that I just don't care for—the Tim Burton Mad Hatter and Red Power Ranger immediately come to mind. But then there are quite a few that I'm seeking out like the Roger Rabbit, the Indiana Jones, the Hades and the Haunted Mansion Ghost.
I guess I'll have to save those for my next visit to MouseGear; which, as you can imagine, can't come soon enough!
Let me know where you stand on the Disney Racers. Cool Disney collectible? Too weird? Too juvenile? As always, click on the link below; let me hear your thoughts and I'll see you next time with more of that great Disney Stuff.