Pros: Brightly colored, silly, Goofy!
Cons: Loud, hard to maneuver
Last Christmas I was on the look out for a radio control toy that would appeal to my youngest son, then 2 1/2. He was fascinated with his older brother's radio control cars and motorcycles but couldn't quite manage the controls (not that his brother would let him if he could). I spotted the Radio Control Goofy Jalopy on sale at Amazon.com and decided to take the plunge.
Goofy Behind the Wheel
Right from the beginning, this toy is an appealing one for most kids (and adults). It is a brightly colored jalopy loosely connected to a black wheel base. The topless car is purple, the fenders are green, the front bumper is orange, the lights and crank are yellow, and the seat is red. Goofy, in all his goofy splendor, is perched in the front seat with the steering wheel in one hand (detached from the rest of the car). In the back of the jalopy are piles of junk - a guitar, TV, barrel, hose, blanket, and a tall, teetering pile in the center consisting of a upside down bucket, box of dishes, and a crate of apples. All of the stacked items are connected together with an elastic cord so they easily sway back and forth but do not fall down. Goofy is also held in his seat by an elastic cord and his arms move up and down easily. The whole car bounces up and down easily on the base.
Getting this car started the first time is a feat in itself. First, you have to put in 4 AA batteries on the underneath side of the car. Then you have to put a 9 volt battery into the remote control which looks like a wheel with a purple antenna sticking out of it. The 9 volt battery is a VERY snug fit - whew! After all that, you have to turn the on/off switch on the underneath side of the car to on. Ready to go? Uh, not yet. You still need to turn the old-fashioned yellow crank on the front of the car to get the action started. I can't tell you how many times we've forgotten this step and incorrectly assumed that the batteries were dead.
Get Ready for a GOOFY Ride!
Once you finally have this thing on, you are immediately assaulted by rather loud and realistic engine noises, the rattling sounds of springs that have sprung, and Goofy's voice shouting "Let's go for a bumpy ride!" The car just shakes, bounces, and rattles in one place until you push one of the two buttons on the remote control. The red straight arrow button sends the car lurching forward and the yellow curved arrow button spins the car around (and around and around ). As the car is spinning and lurching, you hear Goofy saying "Whoa! Whoa!" or "Yikes!" or "Watch out!" I can't really tell you that this car is easy to control, but I guess that's part of the fun. It is constantly crashing into things - walls, chairs, doors, my legs, etc.
This Goofy Jalopy is guaranteed to elicit giggles and shrieks out of kids and smiles from adults - for awhile at least. It doesn't take long before the loud sounds get annoying to the adult ear. Eventually, too, kids can get frustrated because they can't control the car the way they want to. My youngest son always started playing with this toy with eager anticipation and ended up abandoning it out of frustration or boredom. Fortunately, it turns off on its own after about 30 seconds if left unattended so the battery doesn't wear out immediately. We have had some problem with the battery life in the remote control, though I'm not sure why because it hasn't been played with that much.
This is a tough one. I had such high hopes for this toy. Goofy's Jalopy is definitely cute and has major kid appeal. My kids still enjoy it from time to time. However, the novelty wears off quickly with the limited phrases and maneuverability. In addition, the noise quickly becomes irritating to nearby adults. Finally, the car is just too difficult to control easily, especially for young children. I was a little surprised to find that my kids unanimously decided to put this toy in the "Give away or sell" pile last weekend as we were making room for the new season of toys. At least I bought it on sale so I don't feel too bad about it's short-lived stay in our home. In fact, Amazon.com has this toy on sale again this year. However, if you REALLY want a good deal, I know where you can pick one up on eBay this week - cheap!