Sunday, February 26, 2012

Liv in Wonderland

The Liv in Wonderland series is an exclusive set of Liv dolls that was made for Target starting in summer 2011.  The dolls are dressed in their costumes for the school play, Alice in Wonderland.  They all seem to have gotten leading roles.  Although the title of this release obviously refers to the Alice play, the "wonderland" part just makes me think of The Wonder Years TV show and in the back of my head I am thinking that this was how good Liv dolls were back in their wonder years.  That's silly of me, since we don't even know if Spin Master has completely abandoned the old articulated bodies, but it's just how I feel.  I miss the old days.

The good news is, these Liv in Wonderland dolls are still on the shelves at Target for $15.99 (cheaper than the Brites exclusives which are $19.99).  The Wonderland dolls went on clearance for about $10 right before Christmas, and so I assumed they were on their way out, but apparently not.  I've had mine stashed away since then and today I decided to get them out of their boxes.  I don't have all of the dolls because I never really wanted Katie.  Here are the ones I have, still in their boxes:

Liv Sophie as Alice in Wonderland.
As an aside--I love the older style boxes.  I don't know that they're necessarily great at minimizing waste, but they are very attractive and fun to look at.  They all have a front flap that can be lifted up to reveal the actual doll inside (you can check for wonky eyes!) and then there are several pictures and descriptions of the character on the inside of the flap.  There are different colorful background scenes behind all of the dolls.

Here's Alexis as the Queen of Hearts:

The inside flap.
The background behind Alexis.
Daniela as the White Queen:

The inside flap.
The background behind Daniela.
And Hayden as the White Rabbit:

The inside flap.
The background behind Hayden.
I am not going to take Sophie out of her box.  This is a strange obsession of mine.  I have all of the Sophie dolls still in their boxes.  Well, all of them except for the new Sleepover Party Sophie with the closing eyes...I still haven't found one of those with good eyes.  I am hoping to put together a nice Sophie retrospective some day.  Here's Sophie in her box:

I love her tights and shoes!
I decided to open Hayden first.  If you undo about eight pieces of tape, you can slide the plastic insert out of the box with no damage to the box or the plastic.  This is good because I can't take any good pictures of the dolls in their boxes--there's way too much glare.  So, this way you can see the set-up of the dolls as they would have looked inside the box:

The pocket watch is the most intriguing of Hayden's accessories.  I hope it opens!

There's an adorable bunny on the front.
She has such a sweet face.
I can cut most of the plastic ties and rubber bands from the back of the plastic.  I love it when I can do this because it eliminates the risk of cutting the doll's hair or clothes.

Garbage and goodies:

Hayden has an adorable outfit with a pink tulle bubble skirt, a striped sparkly bodice and fur trim:

The fur is on her tights, not the boots.
She has a shimmery pink bow tied around her neck that I think looks great:

The first thing I noticed was that her bunny ears look nothing like the picture on the box:

They're plastic and hard.
These look fuzzy and bendable.
Probably the prototype doll had those neat fuzzy, bendable ears and then they turned out to be too expensive to produce.  Oh, well.  The ears look cute, but the whole look strikes me as a tad Playboy bunny.  Playboy pretty much ruined bunny costumes for anyone under 18.

Look at all of the great details in the outfit, though:

Two-layered bubble skirt and fur-lined sleeves!
I love the gathers in the sleeves and the little bunny tail!

It's a very nicely made dress.
Underneath the dress, the elastic band of the tights gets stuck in Hayden's waist joint.  If I pull the elastic out, the joints seems a little bit loose.  With the tights still in the joint, it's good.

Her wig matches the outfit and is in keeping with Hayden's typical overall look.  It is a natural golden blonde color with pink highlights.  I like the twisted details on the sides, but the back is a bit ragged:

The twisted strands reveal some of the wig cap and the underlying painted hair:

The shoes are very plain and monochromatic, but the fur-trimmed tights enhance their look:

That pocket watch does open (yay!) but has a tendency to fall apart (boo!).  It's still a really fun accessory:

Hayden's face paint is very pretty and dramatic.  She has a lot of glitter in her eyeshadow and on her lips.  I had to be fairly picky when choosing her at Target, because that glitter can run amok.  In several of the dolls, the lips had glitter on one side, but not the other, or the glitter was way too heavy...or too faint to be interesting.  I love the application of glitter on my Hayden:

I like the wig Hayden comes with, but I decided to try one with purple streaks.  Purple also looks good with her outfit:

Hayden is a great doll.  I think her outfit is clever and creative and has some wonderful details.  The only real downside to this doll is the unavoidable Playboy comparison.  She seems like a real bargain at $16, especially compared to what that amount of money will get you with the newer Liv dolls.  Hayden is only $5 more than a Liv for Color extremely basic minimally articulated doll.  This Hayden is in a completely different league:





I was thinking I might only de-box one of these dolls today, but I was so impressed with Hayden, I decided to open another one.  Here's Alexis:

I love this Alexis' dark skin tone.  She's really beautiful.  She comes with a crown headband and a ...flamingo.  A flamingo?

What on earth is up with the flamingo?  I looked at every single picture on Alexis' box and I found absolutely no indication of what the flamingo is for.  What is it?  A garden ornament?  A pet?  It doesn't appear on the box.  Is this a part of the Queen of Hearts' character that I am not aware of?  I mean, it's cute, but...

It's a poker-straight plastic flamingo with strange feet.
Flamingos are the new chihuahuas?
The flamingo matches Hayden's outfit really well.
I finally had to turn to Google to resolve the flamingo issue.  Apparently, the Queen of Hearts plays croquet with Alice, and they use flamingos.  As mallets.  They hit balls with the flamingos' heads.  Yikes!  This part of the story escaped me, I guess.  Maybe I was repressing it.  But still, why are the feet that funny shape?  Mysteries, mysteries.

Moving on.  Alexis' dress is very elaborate.  It has a black and red sparkle striped mini skirt with a lined train attached at the back.  The train is lined with a contrasting yellow imitation silk material with red hearts.

There's a huge red bow on one sleeve and a sparkly heart accent on the bodice.

The heart shape is a nice accent for the bodice, but this heart seems a little bit gaudy and over-the-top.  I guess this is a costume, so gaudy and over-the-top is fine.

It's very thin, stiff material.
The back has a messy seam, but the frayed edges can be easily tucked inside:

The dress was held into the box with one of those plastic ties.  You can still see the hole where the tie was:

I wish they wouldn't put those ties in the clothing.
Here's how the whole dress looks off the doll:

Alexis' shoes have more detail than Hayden's shoes.  These black boots have nicely painted gold hearts and shoelace eyelets.  The shoes are really hard to get off.  I thought I was going to break Alexis' foot...or my fingers.

Nice black fishnet stockings.
Alexis' hair has a different texture from the other Liv wigs.  It feels like mohair.  It is very, very soft, but doesn't have the shine that some of the other wigs have.  I like mohair wigs, so this texture works for me.  The bright red streaks against black look fantastic:

Alexis also has a lot of glitter in her makeup.  She has a tiny red glittery heart next to her left eye:

Lots of sparkle in her lips!
The hair looks messy from the back.  She has small strands of hair twisted back into her ponytail, and the ends of these twists don't quite reach up to be held down by the elastic band:

The hair is also arranged into what look like ringlets, but they're out of control:

Octopus hair!
I tried brushing the hair, but it just went completely frizzy:

Old Barbie hair.

Hmm.  I'll have to come back and try something else with that hair, but for now, it's ok.

Here's Alexis next to my Moonlight Dance Alexis so that you can see the difference in skin tones:

Queen of Hearts switched sides and is on the right.
Here she is next to Brites Alexis (left).  The skin tone is very similar between these two.  I bet you could get away with a head swap:

I actually like the Brites Alexis' face better.
Here's a comparison of their arms.  I think the Brites skin tone is slightly lighter, but I am not sure if it is the orange makeup playing tricks on my eyes.

Queen of Hearts on top, Brites on the bottom
The hair was bothering me, so I decided to take down the ponytail and wet the back of the wig to see if I could fix the frizz.  I think it made a big difference:

Much better.
Nice controlled curls.
Alexis is another really nicely made and fun doll.  Everything about her is well-coordinated and creative.  I even like the strange flamingo.  He makes me giggle...but only if I forget the part about whacking croquet balls with his head.  Gulp.  I have a small urge to remove the heart from the bodice of Alexis' dress.  It's a tiny bit overkill for my taste and the material seems cheap.   I just worry that the stitches would leave holes in the bodice that would look bad.  Knowing me, I'm probably better off leaving it alone.

Hayden and Alexis look great together.  I can see the school play shaping up!

Not surprisingly, I decided that Daniela should come out of her box, too.  I think Daniela is my favorite of the Liv characters.  Not all of the Daniela versions are good, but when Daniela is done well, I think she's done really well.

I think this Daniela is done really well:

The contrast between her dark eyes and the silver in her hair and outfit is really nice.

Unlike the other dolls in this series, Daniela has a glittery sheen all over her face.  The newer Sleepover Party dolls have a similar shine to their faces, but I don't think it works for them.  Are they supposed to be sweaty?  Wet from a shower?  I don't know.  On Daniela as the White Queen, the shimmer is just part of her stage makeup.

She also has the glitter in her eyeshadow, but doesn't have it on her lips.

She has big, sparkly earrings that look great with her dress:

I think the streaks in her hair are white, but they look silver.  It's a really nice effect.  I often think dolls with white streaks in their hair just look like they're going prematurely grey, but for some reason this wig really works.

Daniela's outfit is the simplest of the three I've looked at up close.  It is a silver net dress with lining in the bodice and an asymmetric hem:

I need to cut that tag out of there!
Underneath the see-through tulle skirt, Daniela is wearing shiny silver tights.  I am not sure I love the tights.  On the one hand, they give a modern twist to a dress that runs the risk of being plain and predictable without them.  On the other hand, they are a glaring statement against an outfit that is otherwise fairly understated and ethereal.  Maybe they could have gone with faintly opaque patterned tight instead?  Something with snowflakes?

Her silver boots have an interesting design, but no painted details:

Daniela's accessories are also the least interesting of the three dolls I've opened.  She has a plain white crown headband (sprayed with glitter):

And she has a plain white scepter (sprayed with glitter):

The scepter doesn't look anything like the one on the box, which is too bad:

Making Waves Daniela is my favorite Liv doll:

Wearing a Monique wig.
 Let's see how the two compare:

I might still prefer Making Waves as an all-round nice-looking doll, but the White Queen Daniela has a dewy, magical look that I find appealing for different reasons:

She looks very sweet and innocent next to Making Waves.
Despite having a relatively plain outfit and simple accessories, Daniela keeps up with the other girls in this set because of her overall look.  She has an innocent serenity about her and the contrasts between light and dark look beautiful.  She might not be as versatile a doll because of her shiny face, but in this role, the makeup is appropriate.  I think she might be my favorite of the three.


Bottom line for this release?  These girls are a reminder of what Spin Master could be selling for $20.  Despite small flaws like a ragged hem or a frizzy wig, I love every last one of these dolls, and now I wish I had Katie, too.  There is a creative unifying theme to the whole set, but the theme allows for wonderful variation and individuality in the characters.  Each dress has an imaginative design and fun details.  The wigs are all quite different, and yet they share common features like the streaks of color and the small twists.  The glittery face paint on these dolls makes them different from most other Liv dolls.  The makeup is very nicely done and the dolls have lovely, appealing faces.  The accessories, while basically just cheap plastic, are amusing.  They work really well as props and enhance the school play theme.  I can totally picture a child using these dolls to incorporate a large drama production, with all of the associated excitement and preparation, into their Liv doll games.  That would be really fun.

Age Level
5 and up
Good value at $15.99.  Much better value than the comparably priced newer dolls.
Lots of creativity in the theme and design of these dolls.  The wigs are very nice, the articulation of the bodies is excellent and the details in the clothing are fun and unique.
Good.  A fair amount of plastic waste, but very visually appealing.
No. This is a play doll.
The stage makeup makes this line slightly less versatile than the average Liv doll, but their excellent articulation and the wide variety of clothes and wigs that they can wear makes them quite versatile.

Take a bow, Spin master.


  1. Yes the flamingo is in fact part of the Queen of Hearts' character! I don't know if it was omitted in the Disney film, I've never seen it, but I guess the Livs are based on the actual book :D
    Alexis is my favourite, her dark skin and all the red in her outfit go together wonderfully. Incidentally, if you're interested in getting rid some of the eyeshadow or lipstick glitter on any of your dolls, I've found that usually it can be carefully scraped off with a sewing needle without any damage to the eye paint. :)

    1. I love Alexis, too, with all of that lovely red--so hard to choose a favorite! Indeed, the Disney film had characters whacking balls with flamingo heads. Ow! ;)
      I surprise myself by liking the glittery eyeshadow as much as I do, but I never would have thought to take a needle to it! Wow. How did you have the courage to try that the first time? It's neat to know that it worked. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Great review Emily!
    I would have LOVED to purchase these girls, but they were too expensive for me. (20$ when they first came out)
    Your review was very detailed and covered many details that I didn't initially see!

    1. Thank you, Jason! That's right--they did use to be $20 when they first came out. $15.99 is better, but still a lot if you also have to pay shipping. Keep an eye on them, though...they seem to be getting cheaper and cheaper.
      I hope you get one some day!

  3. I really like this Liv Wonderland series so much! My only problem is that if I get one I'd want them all to complete the set -- five dolls! :O I don't have any Liv Sophies yet so I'll snap her up if I ever see the Alice in person and just pine for the others until I get over it, haha. (It's really not that bad, I just have to fight my completist mentality sometimes.) Love those stripey tights.

    1. Oh, I so feel your pain about the completist mentality. I am notoriously awful about things like that. Too many conversations in my house go something like this:
      Husband: Why do you want that one? Don't you have one similar to it?
      Me: I know, but if I get this one, then I have them ALL.
      Husband: Why do you want to have them all?
      Me:, well, because then it's a complete SET. You know. Like a complete set of wrenches or something.
      Husband: Sigh.

      Sophie is awesome, though. Excellent one to have if you can only get one.

  4. Another great review. I had four of these girls but hadn't deboxed them yet. After reading your review and seeing your girls liberated from the boxes, I had to let mine loose as well. They really are wonderful. After purchasing a few Moxie Teenz over the weekend, I am reminded how much more I like the Liv dolls. Now, if only the Liv girls were a bit taller like the Moxie Teenz. LOL. Can't have everything!

    Thanks for your insights, as always.

    I am hunting for the Katie from this series--if you see one, holler! :-)

    1. Thank you, Kathleen! Aren't they fun out of the boxes? I am glad I got mine out, too. I am searching for Katie myself and was just at Target today with no luck. They had lots of Haydens and that's it. I might head to another nearby Target tomorrow. If I find, one, I can grab one for you!

      I think Spin Master should give Liv a big sister, then we can have everything. :)

    2. Big sister = great idea!!

      As for Katie, I've now been to four Targets in my area with no luck. One had all Alexis in Wonderlands; one had all Haydens. The other two didn't have any of that series. I'll keep looking as well, and would gladly pick you up one if I find them. I'll keep you posted.

    3. I had exactly the same experience yesterday at my other Target--lots of Alexis and Hayden, nothing else. Huh. The hunt continues!! ;)

  5. I got lucky with my local Target. They had 1 Alexis left and I got her!
    PS in the original Disney Animated movie, the Queen and Alice did use flamingos as mallets. Hedgehogs ( or are they hamsters?) where used as balls. The Queen's card guards where used as the hoops. FYI this is also in the books.

  6. Hi from Canada! I'm Pippa, I'm 12 and I love your blog. Your review for the Fab Faces doll was hilarious. It made me laugh so hard my dad thought I was crazy!
    I'm a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland, so these dolls are particularly appealing. :) I think all of them look great. I like Sophie and Hayden the most, but I like all of them too. I love Hayden's face, and her costume. I don't think kids who would be playing with them would make the jump from bunny ears to playboy, so that's not a problem. I love Sophie's costume the most though. Please take her out of the box and review her too, please! It would make my day (whatever day you do it)
    In the books, The Queen plays croquet by using flamingos as mallets, hedgehogs, and the guards do back bends to act as the hoops. Alice has trouble with it because her flamingo won't straighten out and her hedgehog keeps crawling away, so she stops playing for a while and talks to the Cheshire cat instead. I wish they had one of them dressed as the Cheshire Cat! They only have Alice, The Queen of Hearts, The White Queen and the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter, right? They should have had the Cheshire Cat, the Mock Turtle and the Dormouse too. Either way, the dolls are fantastic, as is your review!

    1. Yes, I agree about the Cheshire Cat, not so much the Dormouse or Mock Turtle, though. I wasn't such a fan of those guys. I found the Mock Turtle to be very weepy and the Dormouse to be pompous and annoying.
      Anyways, I agree, I loved Hayden's face and adored Sophie's costume. Emily, you definetely should take Sophie out of her box and review her!
      I'm a doll collecter too, and I have all 5. I have a diarama of them. Alice falling through the hole, the Mad Hatter having Tea, The White Rabbit checking the watch, the Queen of Hearts playing croquet and the White Queen is just standing there because I don't know enough about her. Oh well! Whatcha gonna do!? Anyways, love your review Emily! My Alexis had very stiff hair so I boiled it but I never actually read how to do it, so I screwed it up. I just put her into a pot of boiling water like it was a hot tub, but her whole face got in the pot so her face kind of melted. She still looks normal though! :)

    2. Thank you, Pippa and Abby! Pippa--thank you so much for the detailed description of the croquet scene! I can totally picture it in my head. It does seem like the Cheshire Cat is conspicuously missing from this group of dolls (make Jake could have been the cat??), but I'll have to admit that I don't know the other characters well enough to miss them in this set. Abby--I'd love to see your diorama. That sounds so perfect. These are my very favorites of the Liv dolls and I am trying to figure out how to display mine in just the right way.

      Anyway--thanks to the two of you, I have an idea for how to get Sophie out of her box and into a review of a neat new product... ;)

    3. Hi! It's Pippa. :) In a perfect world, Jake would have been the Cheshire Cat. I also think that maybe instead of giving Sophie a little rabbit, they could have given her her cat, Dinah, who she talks about a lot in the book. But I'm just being persnickety because I like the books so much. ;) In their pictures, they really do look perfect. I don't have any though.
      Are the Liv dolls discontinued in Canada too? I've seen some in Zellers and Toys R Us, but only the sleepover ones and the twist and dance ones, which I don't want.
      I can't wait to see Sophie in an other review! I wonder what the product will be... :)
      Sorry this is so long!!

  7. Thanks to your review I was convinced to buy a Liv Doll as my very first doll. I had to go to 2 different Targets to find the Liv in Wonderland collection (I snatched Hayden at one Target, Sophie and Daniela at another..that's all I could find). I'm happy because I really wanted Hayden and Sophie...but it doesn't hurt to check out another Target to see if they have the other two girls. I'm convinced that having all 5 is a good investment...heh.
    I also saw a lot of Stardolls, some Moxie Girlz and very few Monster High Dolls left at Target....nah...I just wasn't feeling them after gazing upon Liv Dolls. How sad...I'm just starting to get into them, and they're discontinued and it's impossible to find wigs and clothing packs in stores. I'm planning on stopping by other places to try my luck on older Liv's. The dolls are just beautiful and well worth the price (you think they would be more, but I'm not promoting that they should be higher priced if Spin Master ever does decide to relaunch Liv Dolls..heheh).

  8. I love these Creative outfits <3
    I wish spinmaster would give liv dolls another try, and then listen to some of the awsome ideas fans like you have. I could imagne the girls dress up, as fairies, pirates, mermaids and so on. Maybe they could be in another school play - Peter pan maybe ;) I think something including Jake or another male doll would be great.

  9. The flamingo is for when the Queen of Hearts plays crocet (or however the heck you spell it). She used a flamingo instead of a crocet(?) pole. Hope this helped!

  10. I know what the flamingos for. In the movie alice and the queen played croquet. The mallets were flamingos. Hope this helps ;)
    And yes I know some else already said this

  11. I wish I'd discovered the Liv dolls before. I'm in the UK, found one in an Entertainer Store, & bought 3 (Mint, boxed) on ebay. They are stunning, I love the way the wigs can be changed. I'd love the Alice collection but don't know if it ever came to the UK, and to order from the US means I get charged customs duty & VAT as well as high postage.

  12. I read the books... yes the flamingo is a part of the Queen of Hearts' character. She played croquet, using flamingos instead of the mallets and hedgehogs instead of the wooden balls.

  13. Do you have any liv dolls you would be willing to sell or know anyone that would?

    1. I have Katie (with the green hooded sweatshirt & the striped shirt). That I am willing to sell. I do not have the box.

    2. Hi there Kristina. I have a KATIE AS THE MAD HATTER doll from the LIV in WONDERLAND line, a Target exclusive item. I do not have the box, just the doll & her clothes & original wig. Are you interested in buying her?

  14. Can anyone help me? I have a KATIE AS THE MAD HATTER doll from the LIV in WONDERLAND line, a Target exclusive item. I do not have the box, just the doll & her clothes & original wig. I can't figure out why I cannot find any of these online.... I can only find one new for sale on amazon for $300, but no used ones. Is that a joke? $300? Why so valuable? Is it super rare? IF so, what is my used one worth?

    1. Amazon is ridiculous--it's actually up to $400 now. Katie as the Mad Hatter is the rarest and most valuable of the Liv in Wonderland dolls, but she's not quite that valuable, at least not to me. I'd guess that you could get $50 for her on eBay (used), provided that she's in good shape (with straight eyes) and has all of her accessories. She's a nice doll to have! :D

    2. Thanks, Emily. I cannot find ANY used ones online, or any information about it. It's the strangest thing! I have searched & searched & come up with nothing. I guess I scored-- I picked her up a thrift store for $1. Now I need to figure out how much to sell her for!

  15. If anyone out there wants to buy my Liv Doll in Wonderland - Katie as the Mad Hatter -- let me know. She's for sale!!! Just reply here & let's get in touch! Thanks.

    1. Reply where? I have 40 dollars CAD to offer for Katie as the Mad Hatter- although I might be able to offer 50 CAD

  16. wspaniałe stadko słodkich i pięknych liv - szczerze zazdroszczę aż takiej ilości
    mam aż jedną w żółtych namalowanym włoskach - ale planuję zrobić z niej
    płomiennowłosą Nicole - póki co - lada moment będzie miała u mnie swój debiut...
    Dama Kier rządzi - ale to Danielka w swej mroźnej odsłonie wymiata...