Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Disney Store's Anna and Elsa from the Movie "Frozen"--A Guest Review!

I bought the Disney Store's "Anna" doll many weeks ago. Even though the Frozen movie hasn't been released, I could not resist this doll's red-headed, freckled face. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the time to write a review yet, because too many other exciting things have been happening in the doll world. Imagine my happiness when Julia emailed to ask if she could do a guest review, and the doll she wanted to review was...Disney Store Anna! To make it even better, she has Elsa, too. I am so grateful that she came along at just the right moment to make this review possible. I'm going to turn most of the review over to Julia, but I'll chime in at the end with a few of my own observations--you know, after Julia has done all of the hard work. Over to you, Julia!

Hi I’m Julia, giving a guest review of the Anna & Elsa Classic Dolls by Disney.  To begin I hadn’t considered writing a review so you won’t find Anna in her box.  I’m quite impatient when it comes to “releasing” them.  This is my first doll review so I hope y’all enjoy!

Anna and Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen.
Frozen is the newest Disney animated film that is set to be released on November 27th and is rated PG.  The movie revolves around two sisters, Anna and Elsa, the details however I am very carefully avoiding.  The story is loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.” What I have seen so far has me completely in love, with Anna especially.  When Disney releases a new princess movie they also release an amped version of their Classic dolls.  These dolls generally have more details, are more movie accurate, and include more pieces.  They currently retail for $16.95, $2 more than than the regular “classic” line and are not included in the 2 for $10 each promotions.  

As the eldest, Elsa should go first.

Elsa is absolutely stunning and its hard to believe this is a Classic doll.

Here she is, clearly suffocating in her box.
The box is clear plastic on the front and sides with a snowflake/flower hybrid border.  The background is Arendelle in spring.

Anna attempts to help free her sister.

With the cardboard back partially removed there are two big wire twisties, 3 plastic tabs, and 4 of those little plastic |--| looking things that generally hold tags on clothes and whatnot.  Going forward I will refer to them as “whatnots.”  One of these is one of the dreaded “straight into the scalp” ones that are impossible to get out.

Almost free!

Finally out of the box!  She does have one of the plastic whatnots holding her robe closed in the front.  Her braid is also rubber-banded to her arm.

The rear view.
Her hair is pretty wild, and super crunchy.  It is completely hard to the touch.  While it looks great and movie-accurate I don’t see a little girl having much fun playing with Elsa’s hair.  Its not going anywhere!

Elsa wears a one piece dress with a small bit of velcro in the back.  With the exception for getting her hands through the sleeves it is nice and easy to put on.  She also wears matching blue flats that are rubber-banded on.  Amazingly with all that sparkle she doesn’t leave a trail of glitter behind her.  In fact I only found two, literally two, pieces of glitter on the table I was working at.

Tell me that isn't magnificent!
On to Anna.

Oh, the spunk, the freckles, the pig tails!  I just love everything about her thus far.  Anna’s pigtails were attached to her cape with plastic whatnots which were a serious pain to remove without cutting her hair or ripping the thin fabric.  Otherwise her removal was about the same as Elsa.

The box sans Anna:

As I explained in the beginning, I had already de-boxed her when I thought to write a review.  It's the same as Elsa’s box, except of course the image in the bottom right corner.

Without her hat the white streak in her pigtail is far more obvious.  I think this is a fantastic touch for a standard play doll.  

My Anna has an uneven part and a funky little pouf on her right back-side of her head.  Like the kind you get when you fall asleep with your pigtails in.  It doesn’t bother me since I plan on keeping her hat on.

My Anna also had a hand that was stained blue from her mittens.  Or maybe that hand is just really cold.

Anna’s outfit includes a skirt, shirt, boots with raised gold designs on them, mittens, a hat that is held in place by a clear rubber band, and a cape that closes with an eye-hook.  The bodice is accented with tasteful glitter and the skirt's design is printed on the fabric.  The mittens are a bear to get on.  She comes with her sleeves rubber-banded to her wrists to keep them down while her mittens are put on.  I tried not putting them back on and it just wasn’t happening, I had to rubber-band her sleeves down again to get her fully redressed.

The full cape.
While the bodice is technically one piece,
the light blue shirt is a separate piece so you still get the effect of true layering.
And moving on . . . some box details that are identical with both dolls, like the inside of the boxes (left) and the back of the boxes (right):


The review of the articulation of these dolls has been done before so I won’t spend much time on this.  I believe they are the 2012 body type with the hard legs and jointed ankles.

Elsa is clearly far more pale than Anna but you can tell they are related by that serious bowleggedness!

I tried convincing one to do side splits while the other did front splits.  
But no.  They just refused.
And that classy Disney Princess sit.
Here are their profiles:

Clearly different face molds.  
With sisters it would have been easy to cheat on this one.
And again with the fancy sitting...but less naked this time. 
And a few pictures of them together:

And they all lived happily ever after . . . . The End!

Well...not quite the end!  It's Emily again.  I told Julia that I would take a few pictures to compare my Anna and the $14.99 Mattel Anna that I found at Target.  The price difference between these two dolls is only $2, but there are some critical differences in their features.  

I also want to mention a wonderfully thorough review of one of the male dolls, Kristoff, from the Frozen lineup over at Casey Robin's blog.

The Mattel Anna comes in a slightly smaller box with very similar deign elements.

Here are the two dolls with the plastic shells removed from their boxes. They are each attached to a decorated cardboard backdrop:

Mattel Anna has a small movie picture that sits just in front of the doll's feet.  The Anna is this picture makes me giggle.  Elsa is beautiful, sly, and elegant...and Anna looks like a complete loony toon:

Cross-eyed, too.
 The backdrops have the same picture of Arendelle, with slightly different cropping:

Here are the two dolls freed from their boxes.  I could not agree more with Julia's assessment of the packaging of the Disney Store dolls.  Those darned plastic ties in the dolls' heads are such a pain.  They can't be worth it.

Mattel Anna (L), Disney Store Anna (R).
The face molds are significantly different.  I would say that the Disney Store Anna looks quirky and cunning:

Disney Store Anna.
While the Mattel Anna looks a lot like the picture on the front of her box.  A little spacey:

Mattel Anna.
Disney Store Anna has dark blueish green side-glancing eyes and a lopsided grin.  Mattel Anna has more symmetrical features, with wide-set, forward-glancing pale blue eyes.

Disney Store Anna's freckles are randomly scattered across her face and she has a nice level of detail in her eyes and eyebrows.  Her eyelashes are depicted by a broad black line with just a hint of individual eyelashes in the outer edge.

Mattel Anna's freckles are more uniformly spaced and sit closer to her eyes.  She has heavy black eyeliner and no eyelash pattern.  Her eyebrows also lack any textural detail:

The dolls have similar profiles, but the Disney Store Anna has a smaller nose, larger ears and a more protruding jaw.

Mattel Anna's cape is made out of the exact same material as Disney Store Anna's cape.  The Mattel cape has a black collar.   The cape closes with a small velcro square that attaches to a gold plastic clasp.

The overall size is much smaller than the Disney Store cape.

Mattel cape.

Mattel cape clasp.
In contrast the Disney Store Anna's cape closes with an actual plastic hook and eye.  The silver plastic hearts are decorative and have nice black accents.

Disney Store cape.

Underneath their capes, the dolls have very different interpretations of Anna's dress.  You can see the movie version here.

The Disney Store doll has a very faithful rendition of the dress.

Disney Store dress.

The only mild disappointment to me, which Julia mentioned, is that the blouse is just a dicky sewn onto the vest:

In contrast, the Mattel doll has the bodice of her dress molded into her body, and the pattern is very different from the dress in the movie.

Mattel dress.

Both dolls have removable blue skirts.  The Disney Store doll's skirt has a separate waist piece and is a deeper, royal blue color.

The flower pattern is different.  The Mattel doll's skirt is on the left, below, and the Disney Store doll's skirt is on the right:

Both dolls are wearing black boots, but the Disney Store doll's boots (on the right, below) are taller and have painted gold accents and contrasting brown soles.  I discovered that the Disney Store boots are incredibly hard to get back onto the doll, though, and I abandoned them after a few unsuccessful attempts.  The Mattel boots slide on and off easily.

Mattel boots (L), Disney Store boots (R).
Prettier does not always mean better.
The Mattel doll comes with a pink plastic tiara and the Disney Store doll comes with a fabric cap.  I much prefer the cap:

The last clothing difference is that the Disney Store doll comes with fuzzy blue gloves and the Mattel doll does not have any gloves.  These gloves are cute, but they stained my Anna's hands blue, too, and I totally agree with Julia that they're a bear to get on:

Here are the two dolls without their clothes.  Mattel Anna (L) has painted black underwear in addition to the rest of her painted clothes.  Disney Store Anna (R) has royal blue painted underwear.  The Disney Store doll has 13 points of articulation, the Mattel doll has five.

I took both dolls' hair down to see what the rooting pattern was like.  Disney Store Anna has bright red hair with a white streak on her right side.  

Her hair is pretty short, and is only rooted around the edges of her hairline and down the middle of the back of her head.  There is a very large surface area of orange scalp exposed:

Mattel Anna's has longer, strawberry blonde hair with pale highlights and one larger pale streak:  

Her hair is much more thickly rooted:

Julia informed me that there have been comments that the Disney Store Anna looks a lot like Classic Rapunzel.  I wanted to put these dolls together to see for myself how similar they are.  Here are the newest Rapunzel (left), Anna, and the 2012 Rapunzel (right):

Anna is shorter because of the smaller size of her head.
I guess I see some similarities in their smiles and their wide, green eyes, but the two are different enough to keep me happy.  Anna's head is quite a bit smaller, for starters:

Anna and the 2013 Rapunzel.
Anna also has a very distinct profile with a ski-jump nose and a small chin:

Here's Anna with the 2012 Rapunzel:


The biggest difference between the most recent Rapunzel and Anna is that Anna's body has those awkward hinged knees again.  

Here are some pictures to highlight the posing differences between the Mattel Anna and the Disney Store Anna.  Despite her bowed legs, Disney Store Anna has many, many more realistic posing options:

As you can see, I am clearly the superior doll.
Hugs, hugs hugs!
Don't mind her, she's just very...ah...friendly.
Neither doll stands alone extremely well.  Mattel Anna actually stands better than the Disney Store doll, mostly because Disney Anna buckles at the knees really easily and it's super-hard to get the Disney Store Anna's shoes on all of the way.  

I had to snap pictures quickly to avoid this:

Bottom line?  With only a $2 price difference, the Disney Store Anna is a much better deal.  It's very hard for me to get past why the Mattel doll has her clothes molded to her body.  It makes her incredibly un-versatile.  Also, the Mattel face is vacant, making the doll seem silly and a little dim.  I have to admit that I find Mattel Anna's spacey expression endearing from some angles, though.  I also prefer Mattel Anna's longer, more thickly-rooted hair, despite it's lighter shade and less distinct pale streak.  

While I definitely recommend the Disney Store doll over the Mattel counterpart, I am not as enthusiastic about the Disney Store Anna as I thought I would be.  Going back to hinged knees seems like a frantic flip-flop on Disney's part.  Why not just design a better knee joint?  It is clearly necessary.  Also, the sparsely-rooted hair will limit play options with this doll.  My doll and Julia's doll both had blue stains on their hands, so this might be a widespread problem.  Light staining doesn't bother me too much, but it is worth noting.  I am more bothered by Anna's collapsing, bow-legged knee joints and her ill-fitting boots.  Anna can't compete with some of the other debut Classic Princesses that I've owned. The original Rapunzel and Merida were both superior in terms of quality and accessories.  Even when they're not at their best, these Disney Store dolls still offer a lot of personality and articulation for the money.  

So, I think that the Disney Store Anna trumps Mattel's Anna, but after reading Julia's wonderful review, I suspect that the lovely Elsa might be the overall winner in this group.


  1. Cool! I was going to get her when i went to the disney store but decided against it when i saw this beautiful journal. Its kind of upsetting that she has a bald spot. :(

    1. Matiel is better. I got her... she is better then in the picture. She is so charming and silly, I love Anna.. but my friend likes Elsa better. Oh well! That means she's getting Elsa doll! Movie time!

    2. I have both dolls, and the Mattel Doll is really cute. Compared to the Classic Doll, she looks really silly, but adorable!

    3. They actually do that for a reason. If the rooting is too thick, the doll's hair will appear less accurate to the movie and braiding it back will be much harder once it's taken down. The Mattel dolls, however nice and versatile their rooting may seem, may be a bit of a struggle to braid for inexperienced toddler hands. But just be glad they painted those bare areas, so at least you know Disney is trying, unlike a certain OTHER frozen doll on this blog... (The knockoff dolls!)

  2. I want to see Frozen so badly! So do my cousins, Ella and Anna, because of the l to s difference in the names! If there's some sort of snow hare named Nina in this movie, that'd be so weird...

    1. Haha! I know a guy with the same name as one of the boys, and 2 girls named Elsa and Anna. They don't look like the characters though.

  3. Thank you both for this informative review! I decided to pass on the female dolls from this line, but did purchase the guy dolls (but I love hearing more about them!). I wanted to chime in that Hans from that line also has staining going on. The one I got has dark spotted stains all over his arms due to his dark shirt sleeves. Its funny, Disney covered his wrists in plastic to protect them from the dark cuffs of his jacket (but he still managed to get a stain from them), but did nothing to protect his arms from his super dark shirt.

  4. I like the Disney store Anna a lot better.

  5. I have been trying to decide between the various versions of Anna and Elsa and I appreciate the insight. Thank you both for the review.

  6. I just love the Disney Store's version of the dolls. I have the two girls and boys, and also the toddler dolls. They're really wonderful and I love all of the thought that goes in their designs.

  7. Wow, these dolls are so pretty! Despite their flaws, I think I'm interested in both Anna dolls. I've been kinda hesitant to buy any merch from this movie though...mostly 'cause I keep hearing from animation enthusiasts that there are a lot of problems with the film itself. I haven't seen it though, so I can't really confirm any of this, I guess.
    What I've heard is that the original story featured a lot of really cool/creative female characters, but Disney made a bunch of the characters boys, and this is making people mad 'cause it spreads the idea that movies with all male casts can be interesting to everyone, but movies with all female casts are only interesting to women/girls.
    People are also saying that Anna looks like a clone of Rapunzel from Tangled, just with different hair and clothes, and that the title 'Frozen' is too much like 'Tangled'. Is Disney too afraid that if the call the movie 'The Snow Queen', boys won't want to go see it? Though I guess that might be true in some cases...hrm. My feelings on this movie are mixed, and it isn't even out yet! D:

    1. I haven't yet seen Frozen either,but my sister did (twice!) and LOVED it. Also, I too have heard the idea of boys not liking female characters, am so girls being fine with males. But I am soooooo excited to see Frozen!!!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I squealed seeing this when I opened up the site! Flickr's gone nuts with Frozen frenzy, so I starting wondering if you had caught up with the trend too. Thanks a lot for the guest review Julia! I was going to buy the DS dolls after I see the movie, but this review makes me want them more than ever. And thanks for the link for the Kristoff review! I'm totally convinced to get them now when I find the money after Anna and Elsa are bought. :)

    I really love the Mattel version for once. I bought her in another one of my doll withdrawal phases and totally love her as a stand alone doll. I'll most likely rebody her, paint her face a little and basically make her a Norwegian-esque doll fashion model. Same with Mattel Elsa once I get her too.

  9. I have not got the funds for this doll, but the Disney wins as I abhor dolls with the costume moulded into the body. Thanks for letting me know about the movie- not sure why I have not seen one advert for it yet?meg

  10. Crud....I have to wait till Christmas to get the Frozen Dolls.....My dad has a rule that "THOU SHALT NOT BUY TOYS FOR THYSELF, ONLY FOR THY'S FAMILY AND FRIENDS, SO SAYETH IN THE BOOK OF RULES 11 YEAR OLDS HATE," Okay, he didn't say that.... BLACK FRIDAY IS THE EXCEPTION! Yeah, like 10 things from Frozen are all over my Christmas list....O.o

    1. Harsh. I take out the trash, you don't want to know why, but I get $11 per Sunday. Once I turn twelve, I get $12. It's cool, but my dad hates it when I go to Fred Meyer with my friend paige. It's walking distance. I have to buy this on eBay though

  11. I was very excited to see this review because I have been admiring these dolls in the shops for a few weeks. I think that they are just beautiful and I particularly like the style of dress they wear. There really is a big difference between the Mattel and Disney version isn't there? I really hate molded on bodices and would avoid buying one. The comment about her looking like a complete looney toon is spot on - and made me giggle out loud. Both of the Disney dolls are beautiful and I would struggle to get one without the other. I am really looking forward to the movie to learn more about their story and characters. My kids and I love the trailer with that Snowman who loses his nose. It is hilarious. Thanks Julia and Emily for the review. x

  12. I wish my Merida I bought a couple of weeks ago was like Elsa in terms of glitter-shedding. There is now a colony of turquoise glitter where she has been sitting. When I took her down to take pictures, I and my background ended up covered! I hate the glitter, and I'm sure the movie Merida would too!

  13. Fun review! I especially enjoyed the Mattel and Disney Store Anna comparison. I have the Disney Store Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Hans dolls. I thought about getting the Mattel dolls just for comparison purposes, but Anna's odd facial expression did not appeal to me at all. Kristoff's was a bit odd, too. I'd rather spend $14 elsewhere. ;)

    I'm also disappointed that the Disney Store reverted to their less-than-stellar leg articulation. I hope they improve the articulation in the future. Still, I love the detail of the faces and clothing from these dolls and am not sorry I got them. :)

    I found it interesting that both you and Julia's Annas had stains on their hands. My Anna came with plastic between her hands and her gloves, and her hands are not stained at all. I wonder if the Disney Store realized this was a problem and started including the plastic layer to keep the stains from continuing?

    I'm sooo excited for this movie!! It sounds like it's going to be pretty amazing. I've heard mostly positive things about it in my research. A lot of people are comparing saying it's one of the best Disney films since "Beauty and the Beast". I've especially heard good things about the music from the film. It's so exciting that we only have a little over a week to wait! :)

    Have a great week! :)

  14. I wonder if your Disney Store Anna just has bad knees? Mine does not seem to be as prone to knee-crumple as you say yours is. I do agree though that the lackluster rooting is a HUGE disappointment. I wasn't brave enough to take my doll's hair down. I'd never get the braids redone in a way that hid the huge bald chunks of scalp as well as the original style did.

  15. I love the Disney store Anna too! Julia, it's so funny, we have the exact same unboxing knives except mine is purple not light blue.

  16. My favourite are the Disney Store Anna, but I choose Elsa, she is my favourite character.
    (Sorry for my English, I'm from Spain xD)

  17. How does the width of the Disney doll's feet compare to a Barbie? Could you get away with putting Barbie shoes on the Disney dolls?

  18. Wow! I was doing a search on these dolls after seeing the movie with my granddaughter yesterday. Having just seen the movie all I can say is I love these characters and this movie, well I didn't get to see the last five minutes of the movie because it was our third trip to the bathroom. I will have to wait to really see how it ended when it is released on DVD.

    I am very excited on how much detail you put into your review. I am new to reading reviews, in the past, I would just purchased what I thought looked good, but with all the new technology, I have been putting a little more effort into it.

    I appreciate all the details that you put into the review, and the fact that you were honest and not biased. It really makes taking the time to read reviews worth it. Kudos to you!

  19. awesome review!

    sorry for commenting on an old post but I just wanted to say that this blog is awesome!
    I kinda noticed though...when it comes to the face,mattel anna kinda wins the accuracy department,I dunno why but anna is a really "smiley" girl in the movie , theres this person who rebodied the mattel anna head and put it in the DS one and it looked really accurate (well the person repainted the doll a little,but the changes were subtle)

    anyways great reviews!
    *stalks this blog

  20. If you want amazing Frozen dolls, I suggest trying to get the limited edition 2,500 Elsa and Anna dolls, these dolls are collectors items not toys. Also Disney's Elsa dolls have a tint of lavender skin tone while mattel's Elsa is just plain white/flesh skin tone. If you would like to see I can share pics, email me at I am waiting for my 2,500 edition Anna but should be here this week. I own every doll for Frozen both Disney and Mattel's versions.

  21. Well, that settles it.

    Disney store dolls it is!

    Thanks for the lovely reviews. :)

  22. Disney has actually admitted that Elsa and Anna are cousins with Rapunzel! Actually if you look closely at the "For The First Time in Forever" scene in the movie, you will se Eugene and Rapunzel! :D

  23. I have Disney store Anna coming, but they were already out of stock of Elsa when I ordered :(

  24. Mattel also has Color Magic versions of Anna and Elsa, who come in their coronation dresses and include wands that you fill with water and run over their skirts to bring out the skirts' patterns. Best of all, the Color Magic dolls have fully removable dresses! My pick would be Color Magic Anna and Elsa-like Ampy Moh said, Mattel Anna's face better mirrors Anna's positive attitude in the movie, while I think Disney Store Anna looks sad from some angles. However, if I did get the Color Magic dolls, I'd also end up killing myself trying to find articulated bodies to match their skin tones so I could do a bodyswap.


  25. I got the disney store Anna..... But they didn't have any Elsas left! When I went there were only 3 Annas left..... I NEEEEEEEEDDDD ELSAAAAAAA!!!!!!

  26. I Have Disney store Elsa and anna

  27. I actually found getting Anna the hardest. When I went to the Disney store there was about 200 Elsa's on the shelf and only 8 annas

  28. Hey there, i'm from south america and here anna's doll costs like 100$ each, can you tell me if this is real?

  29. Where do you get frozen dolls?

  30. You said they were in a box, where did you buy them?

  31. After (finally) getting around to read this review, I feel like a very, very lucky doll collector.
    I bought an Anna from the Disney Store in February and was completely enamoured with her charming face and wonderful personality. I liked the texture of the gloves, but they weren't to my liking, so I took them off and stored them away. No biggie. But then I saw how she sat. Her legs waaaaay apart. I didn't mind really, it just sort of annoyed me. And then I read this. I sat there, my eyes popping and my mouth gaping open as I saw the staining from the gloves and her severe bowleggedness. My Anna didn't have stains or bowleggedness.
    So I'd like to thank you and Julia to opening my eyes to the fact that not all dolls are perfectly made.
    Btw, this was really funny, and really detailed. Good job!

  32. As someone who has to drive for 4 hours to reach the nearest Disney store...Mattel Anna and Elsa are good enough for me. Though I was only lucky to fined Elsa...My local Target and Walmart had to put the Anna dolls on clearance in order to get rid of them. Elsa is no where to be seen. I found both dolls in the toy section of a local grocery store. There were 4 Annas to every Elsa. I ended up removing those stupid plastic crowns.

  33. Hi I recently purchased the Anna classic doll and I absolutely LOVE it! Although I did have some difficulties maintaining the hair. Whenever I would put the hat on or off, the braids would get increasingly untangled and finally I was brave enough to take the braids right out. Thing is, now the hair is an unraveled mess (think Merida)! On the bright side, she doesn't have that weird bald spot and instead has a full head of hair! Anyways, I noticed that you had pictures of your Anna doll without its braids and I was wondering what you did afterwards; if theres a way to re-braid it or style it a certain way now. Thanks!

    1. If you find the parting (you can see it on the front of her head) you can split the hair better. It's a good idea brushing it out first. I had to do Anna's hair again too.It took me ages until I brushed it out until it was really smooth. After that I managed to quickly put it back up the way it was! xxx

  34. I have the Disney Anna and I find her much more superior compared to the Mattel doll. The only reason the hair isn't rooted all way round is because the hair would be very hard to braid. Love the doll though!

  35. I had both Elsa and anna on ice from Matell and my God they look dead! Everytime I saw their faces all I could see was a pair of souless eyes looking back at me. It's so scary!!
    I'm sorry, but I think Mattel should stick to Barbies and whatnot.

  36. So nice Review. It was very helpful.

  37. I have a so called Disney store Anna doll she does not have articulated lags and no gloves and her cape does up with Velcro 2013 doll it says on box any way

    1. That must be the second edition, I have that one too.