Disney Stuff - Tokyo Disney Resort Cruiser

by Chris Barry, contributing writer

Welcome back to Disney Stuff.

It's happened again! I've found yet another Disney collectible that I'm crazy about. Once again, a quest has begun, a quest to complete a collection. This time, my Disney interest has taken me farther from home than ever before, to the Tokyo Disney Resort. There's a whole universe of collectibles to explore from the non-American Disney resorts, but I've never felt the need to crack open that market. I've got plenty to contend with right here at home. That changed recently, however, when I stumbled across a series of die-cast metal cars that are for sale exclusively in Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.

How I wish these were driving around Walt Disney World. Photo by Chris Barry.

I've long been a die-cast car fan. My childhood was spent playing with Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars. My dad traveled extensively when I was a kid. He was always passing through London and would bring my brother and I a new authentic English Gorgi or Matchbox car upon his return. I always waited anxiously for him to come home, but I also couldn't wait to see what new car he had found for me.

That passion has never really dwindled, and only intensified once I had kids of my own. My daughter has a great collection of the original Disney Pixar Cars die-cast vehicles boxed away in her closet, and my sons have a ton of cars in various toy bins throughout the house. You could say that I've lived vicariously though them, but the fact of the matter is I have my own collection of cars as well.

As the resident adult-kid in the house, I still have and cherish many of the cars that my Dad bought me from England. Nowadays, we're an all Volkswagen family, so I've got a nice set of VW die-cast cars, mostly vintage Beetle and Microbus models, my favorites. Naturally, my worlds eventually collided when it came to Disney. I've covered several different collections of Disney die-cast vehicles here on MousePlanet before. There was the Attraction Vehicles collection, the newer Disney Racers series, and a more generic mix-up of Disney Die-Cast Vehicles.

Here's a comparison with the typical die-cast vehicle available here in the U.S. Disney parks. Photo by Chris Barry.

I was doing some online poking around while I was writing the Attraction Vehicles article and found this Disney Resort Cruiser made by Tomica for the Tokyo Disney Resort. Tomica has been making die-cast vehicles for the Japanese market since the 70's and are as household a name as Matchbox or Hot Wheels are here in the states. From what I understand, just about every kid either has or has played with a Tomica car in Japan.

These cars are much smaller than what you usually find today in the U.S. parks. They're much more akin to the classic Matchbox car. What I liked most about this bus was the level of detail, the vintage look of the bus itself and the quality. It's extremely well made and even has a suspension.

The front view of the Tokyo Disney Resort Cruiser. Photo by Chris Barry.

The rear view of the Tokyo Disney Resort Cruiser. Photo by Chris Barry.

I guess all the toys in Japan are also made in China. Photo by Chris Barry.

The thing that thrilled me most though, was the fact that they come in a small little box. Most toys today are packaged on a cardboard backing and sealed in by a plastic bubble usually referred to as a "blister pack." Something that always stood out about Matchbox cars was, as per their name, they came in a small cardboard box. As you can see these die-cast vehicles come in small cardboard box as well.

A modern toy in a classic box. Photo by Chris Barry.

To me they're a flashback to my childhood. I have vivid memories of going to the stationary store with my mother, picking a car by number from the big display case and being handed a small box with my treasure inside. Major kudos to whomever made this packaging decision at Tomica.

As I stated in the opening paragraph, these cars had me at hello! I need to find more and lucky for me, there are plenty of them out there. Tomica has been downright prolific when it comes to putting out these vehicles. Many are fairly detailed replicas of actual park vehicles like my bus, the monorail, the Jungle Cruise boat and more. Others are a bit more creative and fictional. Here's a link to a site that shows a decent number of the most recent editions. With very little searching, you can find these for sale on Amazon, eBay and many other collector sites. Prices range from around $10-$13 and up, way up for the more limited releases or hard to find models. Of course, if you find yourself in the Tokyo Disney Resort, you can just buy yourself one off of the shelf - and maybe a few for your "writer friend" back home!

According to the price tag on the back of the box, this car cost around $5. Photo by Chris Barry.

So…here I go again. I've got one, and now I need a few more! I'll be searching for sure. If anyone out there finds a good lead on some of these, please drop me an email and let me know where to look.

That's all for this time around. As usual, I'd like to hear what you have to say about these very cool Disney cars. Click on the link below; let me hear your thoughts and I'll see you next time with more of that great Disney Stuff.