Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Frozen" Dolls from J.C. Penney and The Disney Store: A Quick Update!

Well, I got distracted from the review I was working on by the arrival of a few J.C. Penney Frozen dolls that I ordered right after my Singing Elsa review (did I mention I was obsessed?).  This will be a brief post, but since I recommended the J.C. Penney dolls in the comments section to several of you (with incomplete information) I wanted to post a summary of my observations as soon as possible.

My understanding was that the J.C. Penney 12" Frozen dolls are exactly the same as the dolls being sold at the Disney Store, just wearing simpler outfits.  That's what it looked liked in the pictures, anyway.  This is not the case.  The dolls are actually different in ways that I think are important.

At the risk of inflicting Frozen overload, I will (quickly!) show you my 12" Elsa from J.C. Penney.  I will also show you the basic differences between the Animators' Collection toddler Anna from the Disney Store and the version of young Anna that is being sold at J.C. Penney.
Here is the Animators' Collection Anna...and her friend:

Animators' Anna from Frozen
Animators' Collection Anna from Frozen (Disney Store).
The scramble for Frozen dolls has only increased since my last post.  The Disney Store is now sold out of all Elsa dolls, but has the plush Anna and Kristoff and the vinyl Kristoff.  The hope is that they will re-stock in March when the DVD is released.  J.C. Penney is sold out of many of their Frozen dolls at the moment, too, but they seem to get them back in stock more regularly.

I bought the J.C. Penney Anna and Elsa for $10 each (they're $12 if you buy only one).  I think the Disney Store versions cost $16.95.

I'll start with my J.C. Penney Elsa and show you the main differences between her and the 12" Elsa doll that was for sale at the Disney Store (you can see a review of the Disney Store Elsa here).

Here are both dolls in their boxes.  I will keep the J.C. Penney doll on the left:

Elsa doll comparison
J.C. Penney Elsa (L), Disney Store Elsa (R).
The boxes are the same size and have the same construction. A good way to tell one from the other (if you're looking at small pictures on eBay or something) is to peek at the bottom of the box.  If there's no picture of Elsa, it's a J.C. Penney doll.  Also, the J.C. Penney doll has more pink in the background.

The dolls have exactly the same face mold, which is why I assumed that other things about them were the same:

JC Penney Elsa dollDisney Store Elsa doll
J.C. Penney                                                                                                  The Disney Store

The shorter hairs around my J.C. Penney doll are much wilder than they are on the Disney Store doll:

JC Penney Elsa doll
J.C. Penney doll with crazy hair.
  The Disney Store doll's eyes also look wonkier.   These things could just be flukes.  

Disney Store Elsa doll
J.C. Penney                                                                                                  The Disney Store

Here's a close-up of the Disney Store doll's right eye:

Disney Store.
Below is one of the J.C. Penney doll's eyes.  The eyes are almost identical.  The painting style is the same, but the Disney Store doll's eyes are a lighter blue.  It's hard to tell if this color discrepancy is a consistent difference between the two versions.

The J.C. Penney doll has a black line under her eye, too.
My J.C. Penney doll has something brown stuck to her left eye--a small factory defect. 

The faces of these two dolls are very similar, but I slightly prefer the J.C. Penney doll's face.  Her eyes look clearer and more focused with her darker irises and additional eyeliner.

J.C. Penney doll.
The bodice and sleeves of the dresses are the same.  With my dolls, J.C. Penney Elsa's neckline looks different (a little higher), but that's just because of a small variation in how the fabric was cut.

J.C. Penney                                                                                                  The Disney Store

When I inspected the sleeves, I got my first hint that something was different with the J.C. Penney doll.  These are not typical Disney Store doll hands:

If you are looking at the dolls up close, the best way to tell them apart is that Disney Store Elsa has a much fancier train on her dress.  J.C. Penney Elsa's dress has a train just like the one Singing Elsa is wearing.

J.C. Penney                                                                                                  The Disney Store

I de-boxed the J.C. Penney Elsa to get a closer look at her arms.

The body on this doll is not the highly articulated body that the Disney Store Frozen dolls have.  This Elsa has rubbery legs with click knees (like the non-Frozen Disney Store princess dolls this year) but she has unarticulated elbows and wrists.

Everything about her body is identical in shape to the current 12" Rapunzel, except for her arms.

The arms have a nice shape, but the missing joints are a huge disappointment for me.

JC Penney Elsa doll
Can anyone identify this arm?  Is it used on any other Disney dolls?
The stiff wrists make it very hard to get Elsa dressed again. Those fragile sleeves snag on her thumbs--just like with Singing Elsa:

Arm articulation might not be a big deal to a lot of people--especially not to children.  However, since I have seen both the J.C. Penney Elsa and the Disney Store Elsa selling on eBay for $40 and over, I think it's important to know what each doll offers.  I wouldn't pay $40 for the J.C. Penney doll, but I might pay that for the Disney Store doll if she's truly sold out for good.

I love this doll's face, but her hair is out of control.

JC Penney Elsa doll

Taking the hair down was a very similar experience to taking Singing Elsa's hair down, although it is nowhere near as hard and crispy on top as the larger doll's hair was.

The hair is soft, silky, and quite long.  

The rooting is a little thin, though:

Because the styling gel is not as thickly applied on this doll as it was on Singing Elsa, I was able to just brush most of it out rather than giving the doll a boiling hair wash.

JC Penney Elsa doll

Here is J.C. Penney Elsa with the Disney Store's 16" Singing Elsa:

The shorter strands of hair can be braided in with the longer hairs to restore a tamer version of the original style:

JC Penney Elsa doll

Here's a summary of the differences between the two 12" Elsa dolls:

J.C. Penney 12" Elsa
The Disney Store 12" Elsa
Pinkish background, no picture of Elsa on the front
Blueish background, small picture of Elsa on the front
Plain glittery train (just like Singing Elsa’s dress)
Elaborate snowflake design on the train
Face paint
Darker blue eyes with eyeliner (?)*
Lighter blue eyes (?)*
No elbow or wrist articulation
Click knee joints with rubbery legs
Elbow and wrist articulation
Hinged knees and ankles
$12, $10 if buying 2 or more.

*Could be simply due to painting variation, not a reliable difference between these two dolls.

Toddler Anna Dolls:
The differences between the toddler dolls offered at the Disney Store and J.C. Penney are a bit more obvious, even from the online pictures.  However, I was still curious about how the $20 J.C. Penney doll compared to the $24.95 Animator's Collection girl.  Here are the two dolls in their boxes:

Disney Store Animators' Collection Anna (L), J.C. Penney Toddler Anna (R).
For this comparison, I will keep the Disney Store doll on the left:

Toddler Anna Dolls

The faces are completely different.  They don't even have the same head mold.  The Disney Store Anna has side-glancing eyes and a closed-mouth smile while the J.C. Penney doll has forward-facing eyes and visible teeth.

Animators' Frozen Anna DollJC Penney Toodler Anna Doll
The Disney Store                                                                                                  J.C. Penney

Here's the J.C. Penney doll up close.  My doll has a wandering right eye.  Her expression looks very blank compared to the Disney Store doll's impish grin.  She doesn't remind me of the adorable movie character anywhere near as much as the other doll:

JC Penney Toodler Anna Doll

Animators' Frozen Anna Doll
Please, please pleeeeease can we build a snowman?
I prefer everything about the Disney Store doll's face.  Her eyes are a darker teal color and she has more subtle iris detail.  I appreciate her randomly scattered, natural-looking freckles.  I like her slightly raised eyebrows and hopeful expression.  

The J.C. Penney doll is cute, but she looks very generic to me, with nowhere near the personality of the Animators' doll.  I would be curious to compare both of these dolls to the Anna toddlers sold at Target and Toys R Us, but I'm not sure I need another toddler Anna in my house.

The Disney Store                                                                                                  J.C. Penney

The dresses are also completely different.  The Disney Store dress has a decorated bodice and a satin skirt with a floral print hem.  The J.C. Penney doll has a plain bodice and a satin skirt with a glittery tulle overlay.  The Disney Store dress is more accurate to the movie:

The Disney Store                                                                                                  J.C. Penney

JC Penney Toodler Anna Doll
J.C. Penney toddler Anna dress.
The Disney Store doll has removable white tights and detailed slippers that match her dress.  The J.C. Penney doll's legs are painted lime green to make it look like she's wearing tights.  Her shoes are unadorned.

The Disney Store                                                                                                  J.C. Penney

The J.C. Penney doll's skinny legs and painted tights.
I did not get the J.C. Penney doll out of her box. She doesn't really evoke memories of the movie the same way that the Disney Store doll does.

I did not make a comparison chart for these two dolls, either, since almost everything about them is different.  They have essentially the same hair, but that's about it.

Here are a few more picture of the Animators' Collection Anna from the Disney Store:

Animators' Frozen Anna Doll

The back of her dress has a big green satin bow:

The hair on both dolls feels nice, but the style is inaccurate to the movie.  Young Anna had low, straight ponytails, not curly high ones like this:

I tried to fix the style to make it more accurate, but the hairs near the top of Anna's head are too short to make a really low ponytail.  I might straighten the hair and try again at some point.  This doll will probably show up on the blog again at some point.

Animators' Frozen Anna Doll

Of course, Anna wanted to build a snowman, and even though the snow here is very icy and hard to pack, I just couldn't say no to her.

Animators' Frozen Anna Doll

Bottom line?  In my opinion, and at normal retail prices, the Disney Store dolls are both better options than the J.C. Penney equivalents.  The Disney Store toddler Anna doll seems significantly nicer.   The differences are not as glaring when comparing the 12" Elsa dolls.   Despite the J.C. Penney doll's reduced articulation and simpler clothing, she still has the beautiful Disney Store face and nice hair.

The toddler dolls are different in almost every way.  Since both of the Anna dolls I showed you here are still in stock, and the Disney Store doll is only $5 more expensive, I would unequivocally recommend the Disney Store's Animators' Collection Anna over the J.C. Penney equivalent.

Evaluating the two Elsa dolls is more complicated right now since the Disney Store version has been sold out for so long and all of the Elsa dolls are going for very high prices on the secondary market.  If we assume that the Disney Store Elsa will be re-stocked at some point, then I think she's worth waiting for.  The fancier dress alone makes her special.  For me, the articulation differences in these dolls are a huge deal, but they may not be as important to kids.  I was dismayed to see that the J.C. Penney doll is lacking arm articulation.  The leg differences are less critical to me, but still worth noting.  While the hinge-kneed princesses can't sit very elegantly, I still prefer those joints to the fragile internal joints on the rubbery-legged dolls.  Still, I would rather have the J.C. Penney Elsa than any of the Mattel Elsa dolls...and if you can find her for $12, that's an amazing steal given the scarcity of this character.

I hope this helps those of you who are searching for these hard-to-find dolls.  

JC Penney Elsa Doll


  1. remember that the dolls are for children and they are not ta destallistas as an adult, for them everything is so beautiful dolls are good for JC Penney destructive children well

    1. You're absolutely right! I think the J.C. Penney Elsa has a beautiful face and for $10-12, she would probably make a child very, very happy!

    2. Your right about that. Is only buy the cheaper one for a small child. I found a DAC Rapunzel at a thrift store and boy was it in bad shape. The dress was missing. It was probably ripped to shreds. The doll was filthy and the hair was atrocious. I had to cut about 4 inches off. I find it hard to believe people give such beautiful dolls to small destructive children. I'm including myself in that. I destroyed so many of my dolls as a small child.

  2. Another thing in the JC Penney dolls' favor is that the Disney Store versions are sold out online (except for Kristoff). The only DAC Frozen doll left is Anna.

    My girls and I are heading out for a birthday trip this weekend, and The Disney Store is one of our planned stops. Since Middle Gal and Little Gal wanted to buy Anna and Elsa fashion dolls there, I called ahead to see if any would be in stock. The Disney Store we're going to has NO Frozen dolls except Toddler Anna. Also, the Disney Store fashion dolls are going for a pretty penny on eBay (some of them over $100!). So if a local JC Penney's has them in stock, your readers might want to consider settling for a less articulated version.

    Of course, the second wave of less-detailed DS Frozen fashion dolls (with at least articulated arms) should show up sometime this summer, so it's not like there will never be Frozen dolls available again at the Disney Store. I'm super glad I picked mine up when I did, though, as I prefer the more articulated versions of the dolls, and I like the detail they put into the outfits on the original versions. I do think I like your Penney's Elsa doll's face a little better than the DS one, though. :)

    1. I worry that the re-stocked dolls in March (if there are any...) will be simpler, perhaps without the detail on Elsa's dress? Fingers crossed that they get some of the first wave dolls back in stock before the new versions come out this summer!

      J.C. Penney Elsa does have a nicer face, doesn't she? I wish I knew if that was a fluke, or if the lighter eyes on my Disney Store doll are typical.

      Have fun on your birthday trip! :D

    2. I think your worry is justified...ever since I got my original Tangled dolls and saw the difference in the later releases, I've been careful to always snag the dolls when they first come out. One of my readers mentioned that he noticed the Hans dolls didn't have as much detail on their jackets, and that was around a month ago! :( I'm hoping for more first wave dolls too (especially for my daughters), but I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

      The differences in the faces might not be a DS Elsa has the same coloring. I guess you could always body swap the JCP head to the DS body. :}

  3. The Disney Store's Animators' Collection are my absolute favorite dolls they offer! My personal favorite of the dolls is Rapunzel, but I would also love to get my hands on the Anna and Elsa dolls. They are the most precious little dolls and it's almost a little sad to see any other Disney Princess toddler doll next to the Animators' Collection because they are so stylistic and detailed almost anything pales in comparison. Also I really feel the prices for what you get are hard to beat. I've always felt the Disney Store has very fair prices.

    1. Oh, I totally agree! I love Rapunzel with her sweet, slightly worried face! I was very surprised by the difference between these two toddler Anna dolls. The short reviews I read online suggested that they were much more similar.
      I think you are absolutely right that other toddler-style dolls pale in comparison to the Animators' series...and that the price is very fair.

  4. Hmm... From the looks of it, I think the arms used on JCP Elsa are the ones from the latest Disney Parks dolls. Actually, I think they reused the entire body? The lack of articulation and splayed out fingers reminds me of that particular line. Which was a bit of a disappointment when I got my Belle doll since the Parks line cost more and are exclusive to the DP. I'm not sure if they're exactly the same though, I'll get back to you on that once I find her.

    I totally understand your worry about the Disney Store restock dolls in March, by the way. At first I thought they wouldn't be redesigned till summer, but since the packaging for the Anna toddler doll has changed from the standard Frozen merch design to the AC's design.... Yikes. Minor detail that has nothing to do with the actual doll, I know, but I think it's worth noting. Especially since the detail of these dolls is what made them so popular in the first place. Plus sometimes collectors like to keep them in the boxes.

    The biggest cause of my worry is that my dad has asked his friend/client to ship Anna and Elsa to me, though. Shipping from the US to Singapore is so expensive but I want them badly because of their detail. It'd be really upsetting if they went through all of that trouble for anything less than what they think I'll be getting. Sigh. Oh well. Even if they might look simpler, at least they'll still have their pretty faces for all to adore.

  5. Yay, more Frozen dolls! I think the body used for the JC Penny Elsa is the same one used for the Disney Parks dolls, sold at Disneyland. They come in fancier dresses than their Disney Store counterparts, and have the same face molds, but I quickly lost interest in them when I got a good look at the body. I guess the Disney Store dolls have spoiled me with their nice articulation and relatively low price. Thanks again for the review!

  6. My Ariel doll has those exact arms and hands!!!!!!!!! She has a non-removable tail, with lots of painted on flowers, and when you push a button the tail moves around!

  7. Oh boy, I have got to see this movie!! I think that all of the dolls associated with it look very cute, as does your snowman ;) I particularly love the dresses from this movie. I am a big fan of the Disney Animator's Collection dolls. I got Jasmine for my daughter this Christmas. She is still a little young for it but I love it and will have to get more.

  8. I have both the Disney Store Elsa Classic doll and Toddler Doll. I prefer Elsa than Anna, but that's just my opinion. I find it quite disappointed that the company did not decide to remake the doll. I'm sure many people would spend their whole pay check on the Frozen line. I heard they are MUCH higher quality than some of the other dolls. I love the animators dolls more than anything else, but I have to say out of Merida, Rapunzel and Elsa, Elsa takes the win. She is perfect and is wayyy more character accurate. I also would like to mention I got many Frozen things for Christmas and I was very disappointed because the stuff I was going to buy later were gone! ):

  9. The jc penney elsa is rather interesting...though it can be a good alternative for children that cant wait until march for the new batch of frozen dolls. I have to say though,after theres a second batch of frozen dolls,the only way to get a detailed 12 inch elsa/anna doll is through the disney park dolls.
    The disney park dolls features detailed and altered versions of the princesses,(with the exception of mulan and pocahontas because there aren't any disney park dolls of them) the CGI princesses have their 1st wave dresses instead though. But I have to note that all of them has the same articulation as the JCP dolls.(maybe those were where the arms came from?)

  10. I'm not an expert, but I'm pretty sure the non articulated arms are just what DS had in all of their regular dolls a few years ago. My old 2009 Sleeping Beauty doll (That I STILL need to send you pictures of! I'm so sorry I've made you wait for so long!) has the same arms as JCPenney Elsa. I don't mind too much because I'm used to non articulated dolls, but for the articulated diehards, I can see it being frustrating. :/

  11. Isn't it possible to put the JCP head on the Disney body?

    1. I think so--that's a great idea, and probably what I'll do! I just hope it's simple. I have never tried head-swapping with a Disney doll before....

  12. May I ask where you got the Anna Animators doll? The only ones that I can find and that I have are the Disney Store "toddler" dolls, they did not come in the Animators box. Which is how I want them, I have the entire Animators collection, I have from Frozen, Kristof is in the Animators box but, My Anna and Elsa came in the "Toddler" boxes. I ordered my dolls from! I'd love to know where you found her in the Animators version! Thanks!

    1. That's strange! I ordered Anna from the Disney Store on January 14th. My receipt says "Anna Toddler Doll," but she definitely has the Animators' box! Hmm. I didn't realize there was a difference. Are the dolls exactly the same?

  13. Hi i was wondering if it would be possible to do a head swap and put the J.C Penney Elsa head on a Liv doll body? Or is she too pale?

    1. Good idea--but I think Elsa is too pale. She looks almost white next to Liv Sophie.

    2. This is kind of a long shot, since I don't know what Elsa's skin tone is in comparison, but what about Volks Dollfie Plus body with light skin? They have some with no heads on clearance at the moment.

  14. I was also curious where you bought the anna animators doll from. I looked at the disney store online and it looks like the same doll but it has a box that says toddler doll.

    1. I'm not sure how that happened--I didn't order Anna very long ago (1/14), and I ordered her from the Disney Store online. I see what you mean, though! The box pictured is not the same as my box. Maybe they have some of each in stock at this point?

    2. Thanks - I think I will just buy the one they have on there now because it looks exactly the same. My daughter will just throw the box out anyways :) The funny thing is I chatted with the disney store this morning and they told me that the don't make any of the frozen girls as animator editions...

  15. I ended ordering the anna toddler doll from the disney store and it came today. It was the animators editions even the the website lists it as just a toddler doll. Thanks for your review. The doll is adorable.

  16. I love this blog and I wanted to ask you, how did you started collecting dolls? I love toys and I would like to start a formal collection, but I don't know where or how to start.
    I'm also planning on buying this doll if they ever restock them, I found this review really helpful.

  17. I hope the dolls are restocked before my birthday (march 23)! I have been stalking the website. I stopped asking my mom to call the store about 2 months ago :P lol. I hope they are the same dolls though! I can't wait to get them as I am also obsessed with the Frozen! Also very happy about their Oscar win!

  18. We bought my daughter a 12 inch Rapunzel doll when were at Disney World last fall, and she has the same unarticulated arms as the JCP Elsa doll. The hands are the same, too, which makes getting dresses on and off more difficult. Otherwise, Rapunzel seems just like the Disney Store one. Strange that the ones from Disney World aren't the same as the Disney Store dolls.

  19. My disney store classic Elsa has the same messy top hair as the jcp one pictured. I think these are small flaws due to the fact disney is trying to keep up in production as many people have reported small errors in packaging, items, etc

  20. Mine, form the Disney Store, also has the messy hair but has all the joints, and the greyish eyeliner, not black. I bought her on Ebay, so wanted to make sure she wasn't switched out of the packaging after I saw her hair! Thanks for posting this, glad to know I DO have the right one!

  21. The dolls arms are Disney Park doll arms. You could say that it's just an Elsa head on a Disney Parks body.

  22. Those Elsa arms look like the one on my DP Rapunzel . I was really upset when i openes her cause i thoungt she would have the same arms as the current version


  23. Nice.Thanks to you i finally decided the Elsa classic doll (disney store) was worth getting, coz i wasn't quite sure whether to get it before.


I value and welcome all opinions, but comments with abusive or offensive language will be deleted.