Thursday, September 18, 2014

Princess Malucia from "Barbie and the Secret Door"

Like my previous reviews of the Kitty Surprise toys, this is a post that I didn't plan on writing.  During one of my "research" outings a few days ago, I saw a doll in the Barbie section that stopped me in my tracks.  I'd never seen this particular doll before, and she intrigued me to the point that I put everything else on hold so that I could take a closer look at her.  Judging by other pictures that are cropping up on places like Flickr, I am not alone in my reaction to this character.

Let me back up, though.  The doll I'm talking about is "Princess Malucia," the antagonist in the recently-released Barbie movie, Barbie and the Secret Door.  Why is this doll so interesting?  Well, she's a relatively new Barbie character with a new face, which is newsworthy enough, but the reason I had to buy her is that her face bears a striking resemblance to the Ever After High characters:

Barbie's "Princess Malucia" flanked by Madeline Hatter (left) and Poppy O'Hair (right).

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Puppy Surprise Problems

I had such a fun time with my Kitty Surprise cat, Snow, that I decided to buy one of the new Puppy Surprise toys, too.  I was especially interested to see the dalmatian character, "Gigi," because she is advertised as having two "magic" babies with eyes that can change from open to closed with the application of cold water.  That sounded fun and intriguing to me...even though I was warned that the effect wasn't great.

This will not be a full review of Gigi and her puppies, but just a quick description of this toy and some of the things that were different from what I experienced with Snow and her kittens.  

Two puppies from Puppy Surprise, "Gigi."

Monday, September 15, 2014

New Kitty Surprise by Just Play

Once again, I got sidetracked from another review I am writing because of a routine stop at Toys R Us.  I don't regularly check the stuffed animal section at this store, but the other day there were no new dolls to look at, and so I wandered into some less-frequented aisles.  To my amazement, I saw three pink boxes with Kitty Surprise plush inside!  I absolutely love surprises, and so this is one of my favorite toys of all time.

The "Surprise" line of stuffed toys started way back in the early 1990s with vinyl-faced plush dogs, cats, ponies, bears and bunnies that came with an undisclosed number of babies in their bellies.  The original animals were released by Hasbro.  Playskool (a division of Hasbro) re-introduced the line in 2005 with a few changes.  The new animals (only cats, dogs and rabbits this time) did not have vinyl faces and resembled more typical stuffed toys.  A couple of years ago, I looked at some of the Puppy Surprise toys that were made by Playskool in 2005.  Those toys didn't last long on the market, and so when they were discontinued, I figured we had heard the last of this brand.

As it turns out, the line has now been turned over to Just Play (whose Doc McStuffins doll I recently reviewed), and the design has gone back to a vinyl-faced version similar to that of the original toys.  So far, there are only dogs and cats in this new collection.  I found several of the cats at my local Toys R Us, and thought the pink and white kitty, "Snow," was especially cute:

Kitty Surprise Just Play
Kitty Surprise "Snow," by Just Play, $24.99.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

BeForever Mini Doll "Kit" by American Girl

Just a few days shy of a year ago today, I reviewed the mini Rebecca and Kit dolls from American Girl.  Little did I know back then that these dolls would be re-designed and re-released within the year.

At the end of August, American Girl released a re-imagined version of their Historical line called BeForever.  This maneuver seems designed to help modern girls feel more connected to characters from the past.  In the advertising, there's a big emphasis on values that transcend generations.  There are also new collections of girls' clothing that incorporate themes from the historical dolls into modern designs.

What does the BeForever change mean for the actual dolls, though?  In the 18" scale, the new dolls are largely the same as the old Historical collection dolls, with a few noteworthy changes.  First of all, two of the characters (C├ęcile and Marie-Grace) were discontinued.  Another character (Samantha) was brought back from the archives, and all of the re-released girls got new outfits.  I learned early on from many of you that the new versions of the mini dolls had different face molds and full vinyl bodies, so I was especially interested to see these smaller dolls in person.

I ordered BeForever mini Kit and mini Rebecca because I have the older versions of these dolls on hand for comparison.  I also chose these two because they have different face molds--giving me the chance to see two of the new faces.  Rebecca was backordered (she finally arrived today) but Kit shipped right away and is ready for her review:

BeForever Kit mini
New BeForever mini Kit (with old mini Kit in the background).

Saturday, September 6, 2014

New "My Life As..." Dolls from Walmart

What a week this has been!  I apologize for not being present in the comments section recently, but I have been reading and appreciating every comment--or at least every comment that isn't spam (did you guys see those crazy ones last week?  Whoa).  There have been a few minor changes here on the blog that I'd like to mention.  First, I had to shorten the format of my feed as part of a time-consuming battle against someone stealing my content.  What a drag.  However, on a positive note, I am on Twitter now (@ToyBoxEmily) and am paying attention to my poor neglected Facebook page (about time, right?).  So that's all good.

Anyway, last week I was working on a different review when I got an email from Nonna (of Mommy's Doll Club).  She told me about the new My Life As dolls at Walmart and asked if I had seen them.  I actually did see these newcomers during my Sparkle Girlz quest, but dismissed them pretty quickly because I wasn't crazy about the new faces at first.  Nonna bought one of the new girls (a redhead!) and made some neat observations, tempting me into purchasing my own doll for a closer look.  At the same store where I bought my doll, I found another exciting My Life As release that I will show off at the end of the review.

I never would have written this review without Nonna's tip, so I want to start the post by having her share some of what she found with her doll (My Life As a Party Planner, redhead), before I review the doll I chose (My Life As a School Girl, brunette).  Thank you so much for the inspiration, Nonna, and congratulations on your beautiful new blog!

New My Life As doll, "School Girl" (left) and older My Life As doll, "Outdoorsy Girl" (right).

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

2013 and 2014 "Ariel" and "Merida" from the Disney Store--A Joint Review!

The Disney Store tends to release their new versions of the Classic Princess dolls every summer, and I have been slow this year in taking a look at the new lineup.  I assumed that Anna and Elsa would be generously re-stocked (and perhaps re-designed) as part of this summer release, but I am amazed to see that the Frozen dolls are still only fleetingly and unpredictably available online.

All of the other Princesses are readily available, and there are even some new deluxe sets that look appealing.  I have plans to review the Rapunzel Deluxe Talking Doll set that I bought, but today I am going to look at two of the redheaded Classic Princesses--Ariel and Merida.

I am always curious to see what differences there are in the Disney Store dolls from one year to the next.  Some years the releases are very similar to their predecessors, but other years bring big changes--like new face molds, or (as in 2012) completely re-designed legs.  Last summer I chose Rapunzel and Mother Gothel to review, so I don't have the 2013 Ariel and Merida dolls here for a direct comparison.  Fortunately, my friend Morgan (who you met in the first Fusion post) has both of these dolls and agreed to help me write up this review.  Morgan will show you the 2013 Ariel and Merida, I will show you the 2014 dolls, and then Morgan will end the review with a side-by-side comparison.

2014 Ariel Disney Store
2014 Classic Ariel from the Disney Store.