Thursday, June 20, 2013

The "Rapunzel" and "Mother Gothel" Disney Store Dolls for 2013

Simultaneous to the wonderful Twice Upon a Year sale (thank you for the tip, Astroasis!), the Disney Store updated their site with the 2013 princesses.  If it weren't for Kate's comment about this release in the Our Generation review, I wouldn't have noticed in time to bring a few of these new dolls with me on vacation.  Because of the big sale, all of the classic princesses (including the new ones) were $10 each.  I've said this before, but I'll say it again--I've yet to find any other doll on the market that can deliver equivalent quality for this price.  Assuming, of course, that the quality of Disney Store princesses hasn't changed much since last year.

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:

New Rapunzel Disney Store doll
The Disney Store's "Rapunzel" and "Mother Gothel."
So, I have to start by saying that my family rarely travels.  We have too many pets.  And yet, somehow this year we seem to be going on a lot of amazing adventures all over the place.  This time, we are in the Caribbean with my husband's family, celebrating a milestone birthday.  We're on a pretty small island, so there aren't too many dolls to be found.  There is this one life-sized doll we found at a local deli/bakery/bar, but I'm not sure I want to blog about her:

The Drunken Mermaid.
 She does have an awesome little Chihuahua companion, though:

It's the official "Yo quiero Taco Bell" dog!
I am so glad that I brought along my own dolls to review.  Their boxes didn't make the trip very gracefully, but the dolls themselves look fine.  The boxes are made out of plastic with a simple blue and gold cardboard backdrop:

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?
Rapunzel does not come with any accessories, nor is she wearing any shoes.  Rapunzel doesn't wear shoes in the Tangled movie, so this is fine, but all Rapunzel dolls should come with a brush.  No question.

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:

Disney Store Rapunzel 2013

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):

Disney Store Rapunzel 2013

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.  

 New Rapunzel Disney Store doll

Here she is showing off her glitter-coated click knee rubbery legs: 

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.

Stealthy glitter.
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):

Rapunzel comparison Disney
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.

New Gothel Disney Store doll

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.

Mother Gothel Disney Store

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:

New Gothel Disney Store doll

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.

New Gothel Disney Store doll

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:

Giddy up.
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.
The pointy shoes are nice and fit the doll's feet really well:

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:

Mother Gothel Disney Store

Mother Gothel Disney Store

Mother Gothel Disney Store

She can't get into much trouble here because she is seriously outnumbered by Rapunzels.

New Gothel Disney Store doll
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:

Disney Store Rapunzel 2013

Disney Store Rapunzel 2013

Disney Store Rapunzel 2013

Disney Store Rapunzel 2013

Disney Store Rapunzel 2013

Disney Store Rapunzel 2013

Is that Pascal there on the wall??

Disney Store Rapunzel 2013

Disney Store Rapunzel 2013

New Rapunzel Disney Store doll

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.  

Mother Gothel Disney Store

Disney Store Rapunzel 2013


  1. Oh; I love her new face!:D I think it is much prettier than the other ones. Maybe Disney Store ran out of "hillbilly" legs and they used some leftovers from the other dolls?(: Love this review and the pictures are amazing! The last one with Rapunzel and Gothel on it is just too funny! You did a great job again, Emily! And I hope you have a great holiday!

  2. what a pretty face!also loving Rapunzel's glittery legs,hahahha :)

    Mother Gothel is awesome too!not nice hair rooting,but her face...tells everything!

    have a great holidays!

  3. Hello from Spain, I really like your photos comparing the dolls. I like the new doll but I prefer the articulated legs. Mother Gothel is authentic ... Keep in touch

  4. LOVED this review!! :) I've been anxiously awaiting my Disney Dreams Rewards card so I can order the new Rapunzel and the new Belle. :) I really love the newest Rapunzel's face, and like you, I'm glad they don't have the same horrid legs as last year. But also like you, I wish they'd worked on their articulation instead of abandoning it.

    I love your pics of Rapunzel and Mother Gothel in the Caribbean...such beautiful shots! :)

  5. It's weird because I also have the mother gothel doll, and mine isn't bowl-legged at all, though she does have a bald patch.

  6. Woo hoo, a new post already! I love it when you post on holiday. It makes me feel like I have travelled somewhere too :) I would love to go to the Caribbean. We don't travel much either right now. I hope that you and your family are having an amazing time and that the birthday person is feeling suitably loved and spoiled.

    I am very interested in this review because I would love to complete my daughter's collection of Disney princesses for her and I really enjoyed the film Tangled. (I had to bribe my boys with lots and lots of popcorn to watch it with me). I think that I would actually prefer your Mother Gothel. Since watching Snow White and the Huntsman I have become quite attracted to the evil characters. How I would love a doll of the Evil Queen from that movie. Her outfits were mind blowingly amazing. None of the Rapunzel dolls seem to quite capture the spunk of the movie character and that glitter would drive me nuts!!

    I am looking forward to seeing the new Merida. Have you seen that there has been criticism that Disney was planning to make the new doll slimmer and more sexualised than the original character? There has even been a petition asking Disney to reconsider the changes as many parents see Merida as a more positive role model for their daughters. Hear hear!

  7. Hello Emily! So beautiful Photo session! I loved!!!


  8. I love the Gothel doll! I don't understand why her character is a villain though. I saw the movie and she seemed sweet and caring (except the kidnapping a princess part). I hope you'll manage to find more dolls from the series and show pictures, it's interesting to see how different versions compare. Of all your Rapunzels, I like the boxed one most, then this one.

  9. I need to get Gothel! She's beautiful, the new Rapunzel is very pretty but since i have last years edition I don't need this years lol. I don't like to get doubles of dolls..I too wish and really wish that they would have worked on the articulation of the legs.

    1. I forgot to mention, about the glitter all over the clothes. Have you tried taking a lent roller and just rolling it over the outfit to see if that would remove the loose glitter? I haven't tried it but I've been thinking about it lol!

  10. I'm sure the glitter would be easy to remove with something like nail polish remover, I've used the same method on Barbies of mine with glitter specked legs before. I love seeing your pictures for these dolls, all of the Gothel shots had me cracking up, especially the last one with her and Rapunzel. xD

  11. You're welcome!! :D Always happy to help out!

    Wonderful review, as always! I loved all the pictures... especially of baudy ol' Mother Gothel and her unladylike sitting XD And the one of her being watched by one of the Rapunzel Gang.

  12. Just some things I've learned with my mother gothel doll (though I got her back when she had rubber legs)

    I'm not 100% if your doll is doing this but my gothel's bald spot is highlighted because her hair was tied into two pigtails when they packaged her in the box. Even after tying her hair together with a ribbon for months it still springs back into two unattractive clumps. I finally just held the hair together until it looked natural, threaded a hand needle with black thread, and loosely stitched her hair clumps together. It's pretty, easily reversible, and you can hide all the stitches inside her hair!

    Also, she looks great with the original Meridas cape! :) love the review!

  13. Thank you so much for reviewing them! I was especially interested to see how the new Rapunzel stacked up to the previous ones. She looks great, and Mother Gothel is probably the best one they've had so far!

    Like you, though, I wish they'd tried to improve the other legs instead of reverting back to the click knees :(. Maybe I'll get Rapunzel and swap her head to a LIV or Barbie Fashionista body.

    Gorgeous pictures, too. Aw, I'd love to be in the Caribbean right now... or Hawaii.

    Thank you again for the awesome reviews!


    P.S. I first saw the post about the new releases on BeastsBelle's blog and decided to leave a comment for you, but she deserves credit for posting about them in the first place. ;)

  14. Lovely review. I think this is my favorite Rapunzel of the ones you've released from their plastic. I like her face and dress best. It's a shame about her legs, but she's so charming otherwise that it doesn't faze me very much at all.

    Also: are her feet pointed like she's supposed to be wearing heels? If so, that's odd; they should've made her flat-footed if they weren't including shoes.

    I love the Mother Gothel doll; she has so much personality! I especially love the pictures of her wearing her shoes. I would be tempted to buy her just for her distinctive face if I felt she would fit in at all with the rest of my dolls (she wouldn't).

    Thank you also for opening your comments to "Anonymous" replies. It's so frustrating to want to leave a comment on a great post and not be able to.

  15. Hi Emily,
    I decided to tell you this in a comment on your latest post to make sure you'd read it :)
    I'm really sorry for not paying any attention to you blog lately. There've been lots of problems in my life over the past few weeks. My grandfather died, my grades are getting lower and someone hacked my account on one of my favorite websites. I think you'll understand why dolls weren't on my mind for a while.
    I hope I can keep up your posts from now on, soon summer break wil start and then I'll have all the time of the world!
    Now for the review.

    The mermaid in the beginning made me laugh so hard, he/she/it really looks drunken hahahhahaha
    In the comparison of the three dolls next to each other, I think I prefer last year's doll. I especially like the hint of pink in her eyeshadow . As for the dresses, I much prefer the dress of the premiere Rapunzel, then I like 2013 Rapunzel's dress and the other two are both so so.
    I love the Mother Gothel doll. Her face looks amazing and full of character. She doesn't look like a 10 dollar doll at all. Her hair is also beautiful, too bad she's bald on top, luckily it isn't that noticable from the front.
    It's really bad that Rapunzel's leg broke. I've had this with one of my Hi Glamm dolls, it's really frustrating.
    Anyway, thanks for this review Emily, the comparisons were really interesting and the pictures were awesome. I especially liked the Pascal picture! :D

    Also, something I want to mention, I found a disney store w.i.t.c.h. doll at the thrift shop last week!
    It's this one:

    Her hair was really, really, really horrible. I had to comb it for several hours and wash it like three times. At one point I even started thinking about cutting the whole thing of O_o
    I'm glad I didn't though. It still looks like a dog chewed on the ends and it's really course and frizzy. I put it up into a knot and I don't know how I managed it (sometimes I just try some weird stuff with my doll's hair and it ends up looking fabulous) but it looks really awesome now.
    She came with three pieces of the outfit on the second picture (the long skirt, blue shirt and blue shoes) and it looks great on her. Thank God for the thrift shop!

  16. Another fun review, my comments will be geared toward being a Disney Store online customer. I have purchased a few dolls from the website Disney Store and can say will all honesty they have been stellar. Everything from letting me know when my item is shipped to how the items are packed. I also love the Disney boxes with some of the fun artwork on the inside. I agree Emily, I really love the dolls too.
    Your review is a treat as always, Tina

  17. Oh my days, you are so funny! I love your photos and the captions, the amount of your knowledge, the actual reviews, your biology-lessons, how passionate you are about dolls... You're amazing.

    I started coming here for the Monster High doll reviews, not interested in any other doll whatsoever (honestly, I dolls in general used to terrify me. No kidding), but I begun to read your other posts as well, and what do you know... You seriously have the best blog I've ever read. You make everything seem really interesting and fun, and I feel like I'm absorbing every single word you write, slowly turning into a huge doll geek wether I want it or not. The sheer amount of stuff I now know about specific dolls that I'm not even half passionate about makes me feel like a total creep.

    Anyway. Love your blog. You rock, never stop. Stay excellent!

  18. I couldn't help noticing that Mother Gothel's ankles are jointed. That's pretty rare for dolls. How well does she stand flat-footed?

  19. I love so much the pictures you take!! Are so wonderful! :) And I also like your reviews! when I was waiting my Rapunzel of tonner doll i visited you blog every day to see your pictures hehe and now, after seeing this post, i think i'm gonna buy this Rapunzel doll too (I was so determinet not to buy her... because I was sure it was exacly the same as the last year one and i have to many Rapunzels... XD)


  20. You know, after seeing your Rapunzel broke her knee I can't help but try and find her everytime you put her as comparison to other dolls. It's like trying to find Waldo.