Sunday, December 5, 2010
Ultra-Rare Disney (Wild) Racers: The Jungle Book
I have been collecting Disney Racers die cast cars since the line debuted in 2002 as "Disney Wild Racers." The cars were released by Hasbro and could be found at toy stores like Toys R Us, as well as Disney theme parks. Hasbro sold the cars in packs of two, and the first ones came with vanity plates. The cars even had their own names.
Wave 3 of the Disney Wild Racers did not include the vanity plates. I could not find any of the Wave 3 releases in stores. These included Donald Duck with Goofy, Timon with Pumbaa, and the Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat. Wave 3 Racers could be found on eBay pretty easily (that's how I got mine).
Some special Disney Wild Racers were released for the 2003 Disney film, "The Jungle Book 2." The Team Shere Khan Transport featured a Shere Khan Big-Rig with two Shere Khan cars: The Tar Tearin' Tiger (orange) and Striped Speeder (white). Note that "Shere Khan" is mis-spelled on the box.
I never saw this set in the stores, but I think it may have been sold through the Disney Store. I got mine on eBay, of course!
The Shere Khan Big Rig Transport has got to be the rarest Disney Wild Racer ever.
Wave 4 of the Disney Wild Racers was announced, but never released. They were:
Woody with Rex (Toy Story), BEN and Long John Silver (Treasure Planet) and Baloo and Shere Khan (The Jungle Book).
Woody was just released (finally) as part of a Disney Racers box set at the Disney Parks for the launch of Toy Story 3. Rex is still not available. The Treasure Planet ones will probably never be released. Baloo has yet to be released.
Shere Khan was available in the Jungle Book 2 set, and the orange version of the car was sold at Disneyland and Walt Disney World as part of the re-named "Disney Racers" line, which is no longer associated with Hasbro.
Another Jungle Book set was sold for the release of "The Jungle Book 2." The Escape the Snake Playset featured a Bagheera car called "Midnight Cruiser." This set could be purchased at Toys R Us.
The Bagheera car was also later available through the "Disney Racers" line at the Disney Parks.
Here's the Kaa looping track, along with pictures of the Hasbro Disney Wild Racers.
The Disney Catalog sold the Escape the Snake Playset, too---with an exclusive car!
The Be-Bop Burner was only available with this set (it's just the Bagheera car with a different paint job).
Some of the Disney Wild Racers that were sold exclusively as part of a set were eventually re-released at the Disney Parks under the Disney Racers brand (the Hydra car and the Steamboat Willie car, for example).
The Disney Racers line is still going strong. Check out the Disney Blog for more about the Disney Racers line.
Of course, I have a list of suggestions for Disney Racers:
Dumbo, Casey Jr. Circus Train, Timothy Mouse, Pink Elephant, Beast, Gaston, Cogsworth, Lumiere, Yeti (Everest and Matterhorn), Splash Mountain (Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Brer Bear, Vulture), Peter Pan, Tick Tock the Crocodile, the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Monstro the Whale, and a Country Bear Jamboree set. It would also be nice to see Robin Hood, Elliott and Lady and the Tramp, and Sebastian and Flounder. There's lots of Disney characters to choose from!
Of course, Spider-Man and the Marvel Universe characters seem logical for the Disney Racers line.
I'll bet Disney Princess Disney Racers would do well with girls, as would Marie from the Aristocats.