I was recently invited by Disney to come to San Francisco – the invitation started out like this:
We would like to invite you to a very special Disney, Pixar & ABC hosted event in March – exclusively for our top Bloggers! This trip will include the release of Disney/Pixar’s CARS 3, the new Disneynature film BORN IN CHINA and the new ABC toy-competition series THE TOY BOX!
I’ll be telling you all about my adventure over the next several weeks and will start today with The Toy Box!
Premiering tonight (April 7 at 8 p.m.) on ABC, The Toy Box is definitely something you should not miss! I laughed so hard throughout parts of the episode I screened that the tears were streaming and my belly was aching!
A multicultural singing doll, wacky worm, party cannon and more compete in the first episode for a chance at the grand prize on the series premeire of ABC’s The Toy Box!
The Toy Box is similar to The Shark Tank for toys and kids are the sharks! The show brings amateur toy creators face-to-face with the best toy judges there could be – kids! But first, the hopeful inventors have to get past a panel of grown-up judges who will assess the cost and marketing potential of their product. Each inventor that doesn’t make the cut is given constructive criticism on what to do in order to improve their product. The toys that make it through that first set of judges head into The Toy Box!
The grown-up panel includes Jen Tan, Pixar Creative Director of Consumer Products; Dylan’s Candy Bar owner Dylan Lauren; and, toy guru Jim Silver. Each episode is hosted by Eric Stonestreet (Cam from Modern Family) and nothing can prepare you for his comic come-backs and interaction! The kid judges are: Sophia Grace Brownlee (The Ellen Degeneres Show), Aalyrah Caldwell (Uncle Buck), Toby Grey (The Unexpected John Cena Prank) and Noah Ritter (The Ellen Degeneres Show).
Let me tell you about my favorite kid – Noah Ritter! This little kid has the ability to make you laugh until your sides hurt! I foresee a great future for this child!
The kids get to decide which toy moves on to the finals. The toys and their creators get to showcase their product for an opportunity to bring their toy to life with Mattel. The winner of each episode will move to the finals and in the last episode all the winners will compete against each other to have their toy concept be the final chosen product! The final winning toy will be manufactured by Mattel and available to buy right after the finale airs exclusively at ToysRUs.
What I absolutely fell in love with is the fact that this show is true family entertainment. While I watched and laughed, I knew my granddaughter would fall in love with the show. I also knew my husband would love it! I know we will have a great time watching each episode together and it’s because it’s good, honest, open, family fun. I like the idea that it’s going to create an emotional connection to a toy. Knowing who created it, what they sacrificed to create it, and how they came up with the idea makes you care about each inventor and cheer them on.
This week’s episode of inventions includes:
- Arya Ball – a reimagining of the soccer ball with special surprises inside.
Inventor: Babak from Carlsbad, California
- Wacky Worm Racing Game – a racing game where players dressed in a worm costume race to cross the finish line. Inventor: Cedric from Orlando, Florida
- Niya Doll – a multicultural doll collection who sings and speaks in multiple languages. Inventor: Darla from Columbia, South Carolina
- Swurfer – a backyard swing inspired by a surfboard. Inventor: Rob from Charleston, South Carolina
- Party Cannon – a party game that launches toys, prizes and candy. Inventor: Rick from Miami Springs, Florida
No spoilers here, I won’t tell you who moves forward in the competition but I will tell you the inventor I was rooting for didn’t make it. I guess I don’t think like a kid! (insert heavy sigh!)
After screening the episode that premieres tonight, we were fortunate to spend some time chatting with Jen Tan, Pixar Creative Director of Consumer Products and one of the adult mentor judges. What a delight she is!
A graduate of the two year toy design program at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Jen began her career with Disney Consumer Products, and after one or two other spots landed at Pixar. She became involved with the show when the producers approached Pixar looking for someone to be one of the mentor judges.
Jen let us know that when judging the toys, she looks at what she would like for her own daughter. She looks for the toy that allows creativity and imagination in children. Toys that aren’t all high tech. Toys that just let kids have fun. Toys that will stand the test of time and a child will be happy playing with over and over again. What a great way to look at it. So many of today’s toys are techie type toys that don’t allow children to grow with creativity and imagination so knowing that this is something Jen looks for is exciting.
As one of the first level of judges on The Toy Box she is required to make a decision on the spot. She gets no previous look at the idea, the person or the concept before taping. This is something she found difficult since you are listening to a toy creator talk about investing his/her life savings or his/her child’s college fund into the idea. She found it very emotional at times after hearing some of the stories behind the creations to make a quick decision as to whether or not the inventor would move forward. Fortunately, the exposure itself, even if a toy creator doesn’t move forward, may help some of these creative inventors!
The Toy Box is from Mattel, Hudsun Media and Electus. Michael Rourke, Chris Grant, Drew Buckley, Richard Dickson, Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, Julia Pistor, Susan House and Hamilton South are executive producers.
I hope you will all take the time to watch this new show tonight! I know you won’t be disappointed! After watching, be sure to come back and tell me what you think!
I was provided an all expense paid trip to San Francisco for the purposes of this review and event. All opinions are my own.