Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Review of the 12" Tangled Rapunzel from the Disney Store

I'd like to review a few more of the Rapunzel dolls I bought during my crazed Tangled obsession last month.  As a bit of an aside, the first Rapunzel doll I ever bought was actually Robert Tonner's 16" Rapunzel, who was an FAO Schwarz exclusive in 2008 (way before the Disney movie).  This doll was expensive ($200) and massively disappointing.  I actually sent her back to the store.  Her hair was thin and uneven and her outfit was of poor quality for such a pricey collector's doll.  She was nothing like the exquisite FAO Schwarz Cinderella Rose exclusive.  Anyway, the Tonner company redeemed itself big time with the Disney Showcase Tangled Rapunzel, but she's pretty expensive.  What about a Rapunzel doll in a more affordable price range?  Well, both Mattel and the Disney Store have a variety of 12" Rapunzel dolls based on the movie, and these range in price from just under $13 to about $30.  I prefer the Disney Store version of Rapunzel, mostly because her face is unique and more reminiscent of the quirky movie character.

When Tangled first came out, my niece got one of the $12.50 12" Disney Store Rapunzel dolls, and I was very surprised and impressed by the doll's articulation and quality.  I immediately bought one for myself, of course, but for some reason I have never taken her out of the box.  I was looking at the Disney Store the other day and noticed that the newer version of this Rapunzel doll is actually a bit different from the original.  This demanded further investigation.  I ordered the newer version and in this review I'll de-box the newer doll and compare her to the older Rapunzel...and I'll also compare her to the Ever After wedding version of the same doll.

Disney original 12" Rapunzel doll (L)  and the current version (R)
Some things to note even before I get anyone out of the box: the original Rapunzel comes with Pascal the chameleon, a paint brush, a hair brush and 17 inches of hair with sparkly tinsel in it.  The box is bell-shaped and fancy.  The newer doll does not have any accessories, and her hair is only about 12 inches long and tinsel-free.  Her box is very plain.  The dresses are also different, but both are clearly recognizable as Rapunzel dresses:

 Here's a close-up of the Pascal figure.  He's really cute:

The newer doll can still be found on the Disney Store site for $12.50, and is sometimes on sale for even less than that.  The older doll is much harder to find.  

The newer doll comes in a simple plastic box with a cardboard back:

You can get into the box pretty easily by cutting the tape all around three sides of the plastic front:

Right away, I noticed that there's something wrong with this doll's dress.  Look at the bodice:

It's easy to get distracted by all of the glitter, but look at her chest.
The gathering in the middle is uneven and so she's a little, uh, lopsided:

As you might expect, it's a pain to get the doll detached from the cardboard.  The hair is held in place with a half dozen plastic bands and some thread.  The doll herself is secured to the backdrop with two wires, and the outfit is held in place with several of those tiny plastic ties that you have to be really careful not to pull on or they rip the dress:

Here she is fresh out of the box:

The next thing I noticed is that she has glitter from her dress stuck everywhere, especially to her legs, which have a more rubbery texture than the rest of her body:

Rapunzel's magical glittery leg stubble.
That glitter does not come off easily.  I tried washing her legs with water and brushing them with a dusting cloth, but that glitter is stubborn.  I think I'll have to pick each piece off one at a time, or better yet--just ignore it.  What I want to know, though, is why (if the glitter doesn't come off her legs) is the glitter somehow getting everywhere else in the house?  On my face?  In the car?  On the dog?  If purple glitter ends up stuck to one of my son's faces at school, I'm gonna be in trouble.

The hair is really long and lovely.  I think it was a good choice to remove the glittery tinsel from the hair for this edition.  Some of the Monster High dolls have tinsel highlights, and it does make the hair harder to brush and manage.  Rapunzel's hair is soft and silky and easy to brush.  It has a few crispy areas near her face, but is otherwise loose and smooth. There's a gap in the hair in the back of her head because of how she was secured in the box:

After brushing, the gap is pretty much gone:

Her face had a few shiny parts (probably residue from the hair product) but these were easily removed with a damp Q-tip:

The bigger problem is that she has some strange face paint.  First of all, the freckles on the right side of her face are much lighter than those on the left side of her face.  Also, she has green in her eyes.  Not in her irises, but around the whites of her eyes.  Her sclera.  It's especially bad in her left eye:

She has a bad case of greeno-sclero-itis.
Seriously, though, what is that?  I mean, there's no natural physiological reason for her to have green in the whites of her eyes unless she's got a raging infection (eew!), she's got a weird form of jaundice (don't Google that), or she's an alien with green tears and she's crying.

Or, maybe Pascal is secretly, gradually, transforming her into a chameleon?

The older version of this doll has the strange green in her eyes, too, but it is a bit more subtle or less lopsided or something.  I don't find it quite as noticeable:

It's earlier in the transformation.
Aside from the defect in the bodice of the dress, and its tendency to rain glitter everywhere, this is a fun, glitzy interpretation of the classic purple Rapunzel dress.  It has a satiny dark lavender skirt overlain with glitter-covered purple tulle:

The bodice has a false corset that is also heavily dosed with glitter. The puffy gathered sleeves have little purple stripes on them, and the neckline is finished with some simple lace:

I can't get that silly pink bow to lay flat.

Even through the unopened box, you can see that the dress on the older Rapunzel doll is both more detailed and more accurate to the movie dress.  This dress has filmy half sleeves under the striped cap sleeves, and also has a lovely floral ribbon border where the two sleeve fabrics meet.

First edition Rapunzel
Rapunzel has the classic 12" Disney body, but her head is larger than the other Disney princesses.  Here she is next to my Belle:

Belle is wearing the Snow White wedding dress  (thank you, Elizabeth!), which I adore.
She has 11 points of articulation, including bendable wrists (yay!) and the internal click knee joints (like the Fab Faces My Scene Barbie).  Her legs are made of a different material than the rest of her body.  They are more rubbery in texture, and the increased friction from this material makes it difficult to pull clothing over her hips.

There's nothing wring with my hips.
She has a hard plastic body and slightly bendable vinyl arms.  She has excellent flexibility in her hips, although the hip joint movement is not very smooth because of the sticky texture of the leg vinyl.

The knee joints don't bend as much as a regular knee joint (or a Liv knee joint), but they do increase the posing options a bit, and they allow her to sit down.

The legs are so bendable (especially below the knees) that the doll really needs a stand.  I could not get her to stand on her own:

The wrist movement is slightly limited.  She can touch the top of her head, but not her face.

Her body has a nice level of articulation without being unruly.  This seems like a good mix for younger children.   

Here's a lineup of similarly sized dolls so that you can see Rapunzel's relative proportions:

From left: ITBE, Rapunzel, Barbie, My Scene, Stardoll
From left: Liv, Rapunzel, Monster High
All of these dolls are very similar in size.  Rapunzel's dress looks best on the Liv dolls (perhaps because of the larger heads on both dolls).  The scale of the dress seems a bit large for the ITBE and Barbie dolls:

Disney princess is the new haute couture.  It is.  Really.
Green-eyed Liv Katie makes an excellent Rapunzel, especially with one of the extra-long Liv wigs:

The quality of the long wig is pretty bad, by the way.  It is thinly rooted, feels cheap and sheds like crazy!

With Viveca's chameleon.
Liv clothes hang a little loose on Rapunzel, especially in the chest:

But the Stardoll dress...

The My Scene dress...

...and a regular Fashionista Barbie dress all fit very well.

The only shoes that fit Rapunzel are the Barbie Fashionista shoes:

Here are some pictures of Rapunzel back in her own dress:



Her hair is really easy to braid:

Because she didn't come with Pascal, I substituted Chelsea's friend Viveca's chameleon, Chami:


I am going to leave the original Rapunzel in her box for now, but here are the two dolls side-by-side:

Original Rapunzel on the left, newer Rapunzel on the right.
So, of these two 12" Rapunzel dolls, which is the better buy?  Here's a breakdown:

Dress: The original Rapunzel's dress is better.  It has more detail and doesn't shed glitter everywhere.  I like the newer dress, though.  It is pretty and looks like a Rapunzel dress.  I'll assume that most of these dresses do not have a defective bodice like the one I got.

Accessories: The original Rapunzel has Pascal, a paintbrush and a hair brush.  Of these, Pascal is the only thing that I think is really necessary, although with all of that hair, having a brush is also a good idea.  The newer Rapunzel has no accessories.  She should at least have Pascal.

Face: The face paint is very similar.  The older Rapunzel's lip color is pinker and the newer Rapunzel's lip color is more lavender or light purple.  Both have strange green tints on their scleras.  My newer Rapunzel has some minor factory flaws in the face paint.

Hair: the original Rapunzel has longer hair with tinsel "highlights" in it.  I like the way this hair looks, but the shorter, tinsel-free hair of the newer Rapunzel is probably better for kids.

Not to over-complicate things, but there's yet another 12" Rapunzel option that is currently available at the Disney Store for a slightly higher price.  The Ever After wedding Rapunzel, which retails for $22:

There's a lot of talk about how this doll isn't accurate to the chronology of the movie.  She has the long blonde hair with the flowers from the birthday scene, but she's wearing her wedding dress.  Not to give away the whole story or anything, but let's just say that by the time Rapunzel gets married, she has a completely different hairstyle.  I am often a stickler for details like this, but this doll doesn't bother me.  I can totally understand a little kid wanting Rapunzel's long golden hair and the beautiful flowers from that fantastic scene at the palace and her wedding dress.  All together.  It's like the Ultimate Fantasy Rapunzel doll.

She's essentially just the same doll as the basic version I reviewed, above, but she has a different dress and slightly different face paint.

She has a plastic golden tiara with a wedding veil attached, and 8 little colored plastic flower clips in her braided hair.


Her dress is gorgeous.  It's a bit poofier than the movie dress, but it looks wonderful on her.  The dress has a cream colored bodice with a printed golden sun pattern on the front and gold ribbon trim:

The skirt is two-layered, pairing a cream brocade style overskirt with a light pink satiny underskirt with printed gold leaves and flowers.

The flowers are a brilliant accessory.  Everyone wants to recreate that scene from the movie, and these little flowers are simple, easy to use and they look great:


The only differences between the wedding doll and the basic doll (besides their clothing) are in the color of their underwear:

Basic Rapunzel on left, wedding Rapunzel on right
The hair is the same length and quality.  No tinsel in either doll's hair.
...and a slight difference in the color of their lips (the wedding doll has pinker lips).

Basic Rapunzel on left, wedding Rapunzel on right.  Wedding Rapunzel has that same green tint in her eyes, but not quite as much as the basic doll.
To increase the versatility of the wedding doll, you can buy extra outfits for her ($12.50).  The outfit sets comes with a brush, a tiara and a giant Pascal (attached to a paint brush):

The pink dress is my favorite:

Wedding Rapunzel.
Wedding Rapunzel.
The green dress looks nice with her eyes:

Wedding Rapunzel in the extra green dress.
Wedding Rapunzel in the extra green dress.
So, which of these two do I recommend?  That's a tough call.  Tangled fans will probably want the purple dress, although it deviates enough from the movie dress that perhaps its collectibility is diminished.  Aside from the price tag, I like everything about the wedding doll a little bit better.  Her dress is more elaborate, she has those fun flowers in her hair, and I prefer her slightly pinker lip color.  I am a bit biased because of the flaws on my basic Rapunzel doll.  Her freckles are off, her eyes are too green and her dress has a lopsided top.  This is probably just bad luck, but it does make me worry about quality control.

Wedding Rapunzel (L) and the newest basic Rapunzel (R)
So, it's a close race, but I like these three 12" Rapunzel dolls in the following order:
1. Original Rapunzel in purple dress with accessories
2. Ever After Rapunzel in wedding dress with flower clips--especially with the extra outfits.
3. Newest Rapunzel in purple glittery dress

I think all of the versions of this doll are cute, though, and would be happy with any one of them.  For her $12.50 price tag, even the newest basic doll with no accessories is a good buy and a fun doll. I like owning her as an adult and she would have been a dream come true as a kid.   For younger children, I suggest keeping the long hair braided at all times.  Despite being soft and smooth out of the box, this much hair is sure to tangle if left to its own devices.

Wedding Rapunzel in the extra dress.
Newest basic Rapunzel
Summary (newest basic Rapunzel doll)

Age Level
3 and up
Very fairly priced at $12.50.
My doll has some quality control issues.  Her dress has a lopsided seam and her face paint has some noticeable flaws.  The hair is great and the articulated body is very nice.
Lots of plastic.  The cardboard backdrop is riddled with plastic holders and ties.  It took some fiddling to get this doll out.
I’d say no, because of the quality, but Disney items are almost always collectable.
The Disney dolls are sold only with princess clothing, and this limits their versatility.  Rapunzel’s flexibility as a character is limited because of her really long hair.  However, because this doll can share clothes with Barbie and some other popular dolls, I can see her taking on some more modern personas.
Recommended.  I love the Disney dolls.  I like this Rapunzel despite her factory flaws.  I recommend the wedding doll slightly more, but the basic Rapunzel’s price tag can’t be beat. 

Wedding Rapunzel in her own dress.


  1. They are all very cute, and their hair looks gorgeous! I was surprised at how articulated all the princess dolls are, and it looks like there is already a Merida doll on the Disney site that I'm definitely going to get!

    1. I was really excited to see Merida, too! She's awesome. I hope the movie is as good as it looks. :)

  2. Psst, the dress on your Belle doll is the Snow White wedding dress, rather than the Pocahantas dress.

    This latest round of Disney princess dolls is mostly based on that glittery skirt element. Even Mulan has it, which is totally unlike her original dress. I'm holding off on getting any of the "basic" princess dolls until they come out with a line that doesn't feature that glitter. I'm interested in getting one or two of the 17-inch singing dolls, thinking the dresses might fit Tonner's Antoinette.

    When I bought Belle's fashion pack earlier, I found the worst thing was that scented hair brush. I'm sensitive to smells (and other sensory imputs, for that matter), and that scent was over-powering. Thankfully, the fashions were worth putting up with the smell for awhile.

    1. Oops! Thank you for the correction, Elizabeth! :)

      I agree--the glitter is a bit over the top, especially for Mulan! I like the glitter on Snow White's dress, though, for some reason, even though it is totally Ice Capades. Maybe blue glitter makes me think of cupcakes..?

      I have been eyeing those 17" dolls, too. I don't think they have the same level of articulation, though, which is too bad. But that would be SO awesome if the clothes fit Antoinette and Cami!

      I didn't notice a smell in the accessory pack...do they all have scented brushes? I don't usually care for that kind of smell, either. Totally unnecessary.

  3. I would have loved to see short haired rapunzel, if only because there aren't any short-haired princesses!

    1. The collector's edition wedding doll and the 5" mini wedding doll both have the short hair. It looks great! I am hoping they'll make another version of the 12" wedding doll that has short hair in the next round. That would be perfect.

  4. Hello from Spain, I like Rapunzel's clothes Stardolls. The last picture of Rapunzel dress is beautiful. Congratulations on this doll. Keep in touch.

    1. Thank you, Marta! I like Rapunzel in the Stardoll dress, too. It gives her a nice modern look. :)

  5. The whole green sclera thing made me laugh. Get House on the case, if anyone can figure that one out it's going to have to be him :) Seriously there is no reason.. graphically.. for her eyelids to be casting -green- shadows. The eyelids aren't green and transparent.. The sclera aren't supposed to be ever so slightly green either as we already established. So huh. Hm. A very weird choice by the designer. It wouldn't bother me either though, outside of obsessively wondering just what was the designer going for with this. OCD.
    As always loving these reviews. Disney fans would probably not like me for this, but I have bought clearance 12" Princesses before to use as body donors. The Fashionistas are technically better (though not by much these days as they lost the torso joint), but the Princesses have some properly pale skin tones, which the Fashionistas didn't until Raquelle showed up.

    1. Yes! House would be able to get to the bottom of the green eye syndrome for sure! LOL! That's awesome. :)

      The princesses do have a very nice skin tone--no one could blame you for body swapping. Whose heads are you putting on those bodies?

      I love the idea of piles of clearance princesses, BTW. That could be a whole children's book series or something. "The Clearance Princesses Find True Love" or "The Clearance Princesses Find a Cure for Green Eye..."

    2. Lol! We do need the adventures of Clearance Princess and maybe also of her cousin, Thrift Store Princess. I put one playline Barbie Ballerina on a slightly modified Cinderella body. Looks a bit big headed since the Princesses are so petite (narrower shoulders than Fashionistas I believe) http://www.flickr.com/photos/alru/6219292355/ :)

  6. I think the green in her eyes is supposed to be eyeliner but they failed at it. The tinsel on the original doll is pretty but it is more suitable for if you plan to display the doll than if it is for play.

    1. Yes, I agree! I like how the tinsel looks, and I like how it reminds me of the scenes from the movie when Rapunzel's hair glows, but I also know it causes trouble for little kids.
      For me, it's perfect. ;)

    2. That makes sense. It's like when she put on her eyeliner, she got too much in the waterlines.

  7. I recently purchased wayyyy too many (LOL!) of those Disney princess outfit packs for my various Barbie and Liv dolls to wear, but you know, for $10, they really are quite cute, and fortunately they don't *all* have glitter everywhere! I ditched the hairbrushes and the pets--the former for the smell, the latter to give to my nieces to play with.

    The Snow White wedding costume is one of my favorites. It has that 1960s vibe, doesn't it? Simple, straight lines. I can almost see my mom in it.

    1. Now that I know how well these clothes work on Liv dolls, I think I might be in that same boat with you, Kathleen! Katie's not giving Rapunzel her dress back, so something has to be done. And the price can't be beat.

      And you're absolutely right about the Snow White dress--it's the vintage vibe that makes it so appealing. I find it to be a nice, understated contrast to some of the glitzier, over-the-top wedding dresses out there.

  8. I adore Tangled and really want a Rapunzel doll, but so far they haven't made one which in my eyes looks very true to the movie. I feel they get her face wrong - her cheeks need to be chubbier and her mouth slightly goofier. However, after reading your review and seeing how beautiful she looks I might just invest!

    1. Hello there Sweetie!
      Yes, I absolutely agree. But I might suggest possibly looking into an OOAK Rapunzel? I'm sure there are many artists who can restore her to her beautiful accurate goofy loveliness. <3

  9. I think I would go for the original, personal opions though, anyway, I was just looking for an acurrate dress and long hair.

    1. And also, thanks, this really helped my decision.

  10. Where can I buy the original rapunzel doll (left)

  11. Have you guys by any chance looked into the new Rapunzel bride doll? She has short brown hair and a golden essence to her dress. I am considering buying her but I thought to confront you first.

  12. Where is the Comb/Brush?

  13. OMGOSH!!!
    Some time ago I bought a nude Rapunzell in a second hand market, and then I bought an Ariel with a Rapunzel dress. Just to make the Rapunzel look alright, I dressed her with the dress Ariel was wearing. Turns out she, along with the dress, is the FIRST Rapunzel doll ever released (the one you haven't unboxed yet)!
    Thanks to you I recognized her (and I only spent like...5€ between dress and doll, now that's lucky). I'm gonna keep her.
    Also, very good review, as always, glad I found you :).

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Have you seen the 2015 version of Rapunzel? Her dress seems to be almost as detailed as the dress of the first version doll.
    I can take some photos, if you need them.

    Thank you for this review, all of your reviews I've read are great and very useful for a collector like I am.

    I like that the wedding dress is double layered, it's a detail I really appreciate in any dress that's made that way (and I dislike the fake double layered dresses that are actually plain front panels).
    But the wedding doll had to have at least some soft brown in her hair. Maybe not a shortcut style as in the short movie, since I think it's too short (and Rapunzel's extra long hair is her iconic detail), but at least a light brown mixed with blond, or all brown. I had liked her a lot in brown hair.