I was tempted to order several of the new princesses. Cinderella will have to join my collection at some point, of course, and I am also curious to see how the new Merida compares to her first release predecessor. I am surprised by how tempting I find this year's Snow White doll, too, even though she is my least favorite princess. I like Snow White much more after watching some of the charming ABC television series, Once Upon a Time, in which Snow White is a spunky, rebellious character.
Above all, I was anxious to see Disney's ever-changing Rapunzel doll, and so she is the one I purchased first. She arrived in the mail just in time to stow away in my luggage for our summer trip. Mother Gothel insisted on coming along as a chaperone:
|The Disney Store's "Rapunzel" and "Mother Gothel."|
|The Drunken Mermaid.|
|It's the official "Yo quiero Taco Bell" dog!|
Rapunzel is adorable. It looks like her head mold has been changed again:
Mother Gothel looks amazing, too. In fact, I think she looks way better than her promotional pictures.
The backs of the boxes are very similar. Each has a small description of the character against a purple background.
Here is Mother Gothel's description up close:
I get what this is trying to say, and the play on words is cute, but the phrasing is awkward. Maybe they could've said, "She hopes to evade old age by using Rapunzel's magical healing hair, but will find that there's a serious wrinkle in her plan."
Under the description of the character, there's a photograph of the other available Tangled dolls:
|Rapunzel and Flynn|
(and a Sleeping Beauty sticker for some reason)
Rapunzel's description is fine, but they could have edited it down to, "When she leaves the tower for the first time, Rapunzel begins a journey that will untangle many secrets to her past."
Under Rapunzel's description, there's another "also available" photo, but it's the same photo as the one on the Mother Gothel box. Huh. It seems like there wasn't a lot of time put into designing the boxes, but that absolutely fine with me, especially if it keeps the price of the dolls under control.
|Shouldn't this be a photo of Mother Gothel and Flynn?|
Next to the doll, there is a small cardboard oval with a picture from Tangled and a QR code. The code advertises a link to a movie clip:
|Very cute picture.|
I scanned this code and got a very short movie segment with no sound. The lack of sound could be the fault of our internet connection or device, but the movie was also confined to a tiny oval screen that made it hard to watch. This isn't worth the loading time wait.
One of the things I was very curious about with this doll is what kind of legs she has. The first two Rapunzel dolls had rubbery legs with internal click knee joints, but last year's Rapunzel had hard plastic legs with hinged knees. You can see lots of pictures of the first two dolls in this review, and the 2012 doll in this post. You might recall that the 2012 hinge-kneed dolls had some difficulty sitting in a princessly fashion.
Without even de-boxing this princess, I can tell that Disney went back to using the rubbery legs:
And, as with all rubbery legs, these legs are glitter magnets:
Rapunzel is secured to the cardboard with a wire tie around her feet and plastic ties in her head and in her dress. She also has plastic strips holding her hands in place and thread controlling her hair. It takes a few minutes to get her out.
This Rapunzel's hair is shorter than all of the previous dolls' hair by about two inches. Her hair falls almost exactly to floor length and no further:
Here's a picture of last year's doll for comparison:
It's possible that Disney shortened the hair in response to the pleas of desperate parents who had grown weary of brushing out the knotted hair of their children's Rapunzel dolls. If that's the case, then I'm definitely happy for the change, but I do prefer the hair when it drags on the floor a little bit. The added length makes the hair much more dramatic.
This doll has a great face. Her head is slightly larger and rounder than the heads of the previous Rapunzel dolls. Her smile still doesn't have the movie character's endearing overbite, and her eyes aren't as green, large or expressive as her namesake...but it's still a very sweet face:
I braided her hair to get it out of the way:
The eyes are teal green, but they are very thickly rimmed in a darker forest green and have large black pupils, so they look fairly dark overall. She has nice freckles and natural pink lips (with glitter stuck to them):
Her eyebrows and eye makeup are a light ginger brown. She has a faint mint green tint at the top of her eyeballs, but nothing like the green-eye syndrome of some of the earlier Rapunzel dolls.
Here are the two other Rapunzel dolls I have for comparison. This is the second release Rapunzel:
|With green eyeballs and frosted lips.|
And this is last year's doll:
|New face mold without a lot of character.|
The new head (far right) is my definite favorite.
I'm not even sure where all of the glitter is coming from on this dress. I also have glitter all over my hands and face that is hard to get off. It must be from the silver glitter design on the skirt, but before I de-boxed her, I would have said that this doll has much less glitter on her than the previous years' dolls.
The dress is a shortcut version of the movie dress. It's missing the sheer longer part of the sleeves, it doesn't have any lace detail along the neckline, and rather than having scrolled borders along the overskirt, the overskirt is has a silver glitter scroll pattern all over:
The overskirt is attached to a plain purple panel in front:
The skirt material is similar in design to the fabric used on the Jakks Pacific Princess & Me Rapunzel doll, although the 12" Rapunzel's skirt is paler and feels much less stiff.
The dress opens in back with a short strip of velcro:
Here are my three Rapunzel dolls so that you can see the variety in the dresses. This picture does not include the premiere Rapunzel doll...she's still in her box (and has the nicest dress):
|Second release Rapunzel, 2013 Rapunzel, last year's Rapunzel.|
Here's an old shot of the premiere Rapunzel, still in her box:
The bodices on all of the dresses are very different. On the left is the second doll's defective bodice and on the right is last year's darker purple glitter bodice:
The new doll's bodice has an ornamental ribbon corset and short striped puff sleeves:
Here are the skirts from the other two dolls (the second release doll is on the left and last year's doll is on the right):
And the new doll's skirt again for comparison:
The construction of this dress is fine. There are no holes or defects in the dress that I can see:
The ribbon corset detail is stitched down (not glued) and the hem of the neck is re-enforced with a tulle strip. The bodice is quadruple-stitched to the skirt:
This doll has the same body as the first two Rapunzels:
Here's a comparison shot of the three bodies. The difference in head size is especially noticeable in this picture:
|second release doll, newest doll, last year's doll.|
The new doll has the exact same legs and articulation as the second release doll. I understand why the plastic hinge-knee legs were abandoned, but it's frustrating to me that Disney would go right back to the old rubber leg design. Why not just try to improve the plastic legs a bit more?
|Back to the same old tricks.|
Now, let's take a peek at the Mother Gothel doll:
She comes with shoes and...plastic legs! This is strange. I guess there was no concern as to whether Mother Gothel could sit like a lady or not.
She has a great character face. I think she captures Mother Gothel brilliantly.
Her green eyes are pretty wonky, but for some reason I don't notice this in real life. It is especially apparent in pictures. She has a sly half smile that could just be the result of uneven paint, but it has a wonderful effect. It reminds me of Jane Seymour's beautifully lopsided smile.
She has heavy metallic gold eyeshadow and arched, fierce-looking eyebrows. Her lips have a clear gloss, but it isn't perfectly applied and smudges up towards her nose. I think that overall she has a fantastic face:
She has a neat profile, too:
Mother Gothel's hair looks good and is very accurate to the movie--right down to the three tight curls on her forehead. It has the texture of fine yarn, or maybe poodle hair.
The rooting job on this hair is peculiar. While the hair looks and feels very thick, the rooting is almost exclusively done around the edges of the doll's hairline. There is very little hair on the top of the head:
There is this one little sprout of hair right in the middle of the head, but it's very lonely:
Her outfit consists of a red satin dress with a sash, and a black shiny cape. The dress is very true to the movie--it is just missing the gold trim around the neck and the gold lining. The cape, however, should be much more voluminous. The movie scene that stands out to me is at the end, when Mother Gothel is pushed from the tower. In that scene, the cape is memorably full and dramatic. It's a shame to skimp on the cape, but I have to keep reminding myself that this is a $10 doll.
The cape has shoulder seams that allow for a snug fit, but no other notable details.
The red dress has a nice shape, with a square neck and bell sleeves.
The sash does not encircle the doll's waist, but is a half loop that is sewn to the sides of the dress.
The part of the sash that hangs down in front is a separate piece of material that is sewn in under the gold plastic hoop:
The dress closes in back with velcro. This dress is a little ratty around the edges in the back.
Mother Gothel's legs are protected from the dark dress with a tissue paper skirt:
Under the tissue paper is the full glory of this hinge-kneed bowlegged woman:
So, while Rapunzel was granted the ladylike princess knees once again, Mother Gothel seems doomed to sit like a hillbilly:
But, to be fair, Mother Gothel can do this...
...and after only a day of posing, one of my Rapunzel's click knee joints snapped. I have never had this happen before, but when these joints break, that's it. The doll is ruined.
|Take the old horse out back.|
I'm not sure these shoes add any elegance to her demeanor, though:
She reminds me of another doll on this island...
Anyway, the hinge knee body isn't terrible, but again, I wonder why Disney just went back to an old body rather than exploring improvements for these plastic legs.
How about just copy Liv's legs and call it done?
Here are a few more of my favorite pictures of Mother Gothel:
She can't get into much trouble here because she is seriously outnumbered by Rapunzels.
|Rapunzels around every corner.|
It's not every day that I get a chance to photograph dolls in the Caribbean, so here are a few more last pictures of Rapunzel enjoying this sunny, breezy tropical paradise:
Is that Pascal there on the wall??
Bottom line? I love Disney Store dolls. They are so inexpensive and yet they consistently offer a solid level of quality and character. Both Rapunzel and Mother Gothel have a lot of play value for their $10 sale price.
Mother Gothel has thinly rooted hair with a huge bald patch over most of the back of her head. For some reason, though, the odd rooting pattern doesn't detract much from her appearance, or from the authenticity of her hairstyle. It doesn't look like thinly rooted hair most of the time. This doll also has plastic legs with hinged knee joints like the princesses from last year. This gives her an exaggerated bowlegged stance and an inability to sit nicely. However, because she's a villain doll, these features actually add to her crude persona.
Rapunzel has a new, broader face on a slightly larger head. The new face is sweet, with an expression and coloring that are my favorites among all of the Rapunzel dolls produced so far. Her hair is shorter than her predecessors, but retains a similar level of quality and thickness. Her dress is another shortcut version of the movie dress that looks fine but still falls short of the dress on the original Disney Rapunzel doll. Her body has reverted back to the original rubbery legged, click knee style. One of my doll's knees broke on the first day of play, making me wonder why Disney wouldn't have invested a bit more time in trying to perfect the newer plastic legs. It just seems like a step backwards.
I have had a ton of fun with both of these dolls and wouldn't hesitate to order more from this wave...especially if they are on sale. As always, despite small flaws and quality oversights, Disney delivers enough personality for the price to keep me coming back.