• AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: 1-2 years, 3-5 years, Events

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    For the last two years, Lightning McQueen has reigned supreme in pole position on our boy’s interest leaderboard, until yesterday, when a new contender emerged victorious atop the Winner’s Podium – Mark ‘Frosty’ Winterbottom.

    Not since The Marx Brothers has there been such a crazy and fun ‘Day At The Races’, and excited as we were to get up close and personal with McQueen and Mack at the Disney/Pixar Cars Truck Tour, we had no idea just how close and personal things were about to get. Crazy close and personal.

    The Disney/Pixar Cars Truck Tour was housed in the Disney Interactive Zone inside the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit during the WD 40 Phillip Island Supersprints, which sounds like a bunch of running robot athletes racing each other without a single squeak, but is actually a full-on, high-octane V8 Supercar Racecar Event. Discounting the slot-car set Indy got for Christmas, we’ve never been this close to an actual race track before and there really is a certain vibe, buzz and thrill in the air around it.

    The Disney Interactive Zone was fenced off when we rolled up as they set up cameras for Saturday Morning Disney, but even from the other side of the fence, we got a pretty clear view of McQueen and Mack and the kids were excited. So excited, that Alice started tunnelling under the fence to get in and had to be dragged back out by her ankles. She may only be 18 months old, but there’s no barrier between her and what she wants when she wants it. And when the gates opened, it was like the starting line of the Piston Cup with Indy leading the charge as the kids filed in.

    It was a tremendous thrill (even for me), to come face-to-face with life-sized replicas of Mack and McQueen, something that stirs up the inner child in all of us. Besides our two Cars stars, there was a Trike Race Track where kids could race each other, multiple inflatable challenges and a Parents Retreat where you could sit, colour and make your own paper Piston Cup. Another section we spent a good portion of our time in, was Flo’s V8 Cafe, which was a tiny room with roads painted on the floor where Indy and Alice revelled in driving their own Cars toys from home for a good hour at least. An added surprise was a photo opportunity with current V8 Supercar Champion, Mark ‘Frosty’ Winterbottom. 

    Indy was a little overwhelmed to meet him as he expressed a few months ago that he wanted to be a Racecar driver when he grows up, and meeting a real life Champion Racecar driver was a little too much to handle at this stage. He actually shied away from a photo op even though Frosty remarked how much he loved his Lightning McQueen outfit. Alice however, was unfazed by her brush with fame. It was lovely to meet him, a dad himself with two boys at home, and he struck me as being really down to earth. And did you know, he actually voiced the Aussie car, ‘Frosty Winterbottom’, in Cars 2.

    To be honest, when I first heard about the Disney/Pixar Cars Truck Tour and discovered it was housed inside a Grand Prix event that cost around $50 a ticket to enter (kids under 12 admitted free with any paying adult), I thought, ‘why can’t this be something you go to completely separate from the Grand Prix?’ Truth be told, you could probably complete the entire Disney Interactive Zone in around 15 mins, but after experiencing it myself first-hand amid the backdrop and excitement of the Grand Prix and all that has to offer and being able to participate in the interactive zone as many times as you want throughout the day, I’d gladly pay the $50 because it’s so worth it to spend the entire day there.

    As well as the Disney Interactive Zone, there was a terrific BMX and Motorbike stunt show display that was truly mind-goggling and there was a large shed with gorgeous souped-up cars and race cars from the past, including vintage race cars from the likes of Peter Brock and Dick Johnson. Oh, how it took me back to my youth.

    As I mentioned, the plan was to spend only a couple hours there but an added unexpected bonus came our way when the good folks at V8 Supercars offered us the opportunity to do a Grid Walk. We had no idea what it was, but it sounded exciting, and it sure was. A Grid Walk is when you get to go down onto the track and walk among the cars and drivers as they prep their cars before the race. So, there we are ambling behind another racing legend, Alan Moffatt, as we make our way to the middle of the grid beside Frosty and his pit crew as they change his tyres before the race. You can actually walk in and around the cars as they do this, it’s insane and totally crazy to be that close to professional drivers without being roped off by Security Guards or anything. It was awesome and Indy LOVED it.

    Which is why now, for the last two days, he’s been running around the house at break-neck speed with his gardening driving gloves on pretending to be Mark Winterbottom and I have to keep changing his tyres every few laps as his pit crew.

    A big thanks to Fred Porter and Glennise Pinili at Life Like Touring, Disney/Pixar, V8 Supercars and Mark ‘Frosty’ Winterbottom for ensuring our experience was truly one to be remembered. And if you haven’t had the chance, check out these remaining tour dates and experience it yourself. It’s so totally worth it.

    Tour Dates:

    10am to 4pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
    Castrol EDGE Townsville 400, 8 – 10 July 2016

    10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday
    Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint, 22 – 24 July 2016

    10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday
    Sydney Motorsport Park SuperSprint, 26 – 28 August 2016

    10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday
    Wilson Security Sandown 500, 16 – 18 September 2016

    Check out more details here.

    Kids 12 and under receive free trackside admission with a paying adult. Tickets on sale now at Ticketek Australia.

    Click on images to enlarge


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    An Interview with Indy and Melmo


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