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    REVIEW: Summer Theme Park Exclusives

    Transformers and CARS Celebrate Their New Rides...



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    As more and more theme parks combine the latest film trends with the latest in ride technology, you can bet that there will be a lot more toys to go along with it. Merchandise sales are a major player for theme parks, helping to getting visitors through the front gates. They also mean nothing but good things for collectors like you and me.

    There were two major attractions that went head to head in Southern California this summer. The first made its debut at Universal Studios Hollywood, Transformers: The Ride. Michael Bay and Industrial Light & Magic created a state of the art motion base simulator that traveled along a track that was married to the latest in HDR 3-D film projection. The ride is very similar to Islands of Adventure’s Spider-Man attraction if you’ve ridden that.


    Being Transformers, your ride vehicle became its own character named EVAC. Hasbro produced a deluxe sized figure based on the original designs of the character and vehicle that resembles a dune buggy while the finished product is more of a theme park attraction vehicle. Due to the length of time to tool and engineer a toy like this, there was no time to make an changes nor was there time to correct the paint scheme.


    Despite the differences between the toy and finished ride, it’s a fun toy that transformers easily enough and unique enough that many Transfans should want it in their collection. Just as expanded universe has been an important part for fans of Star Wars, Evac is a character now in the expanded universe of The Transformers world.

    There are no set limits on how many Evac toys have been produced but this $21.95 action figure has been prone to sell out, making this a very hot item on eBay. If you have the patience though, this should be a toy that will be around for awhile after the initial buzz dies down.


    Not to be outdone, Disney California Adventure opened the 12-acre CARS LAND in June. The signature attraction is the Radiator Springs Racers, a massive slot car type ride through the mountains and caverns of Radiator Springs, complete with a two-car race to the end.


    Disney has so far created four colors of the Racers for sale at the park for $6.95 each. While these cars aren’t made by Mattel, they’re the same scale so collectors of one should be interested in the others.

    There are slight variations in the eyes, teeth, tail lights, but some cars may very well appear identical. There’s plenty more colors in the actual ride so it’s possible that future releases will be available after the first four sell out.


    The last exclusive toy is also from Disney California Adventure: the baby tractor from Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, a fun scrambler type attraction that whips and whirls guests around in a figure-8 while Mater sings his country songs.

    The baby tractor has a detachable trailer that can swing from side to side to simulate the ride is also available for $6.95.

    Review and Photos by David Yeh


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