Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Animators' Mini Elsa Playset from The Disney Store

I'd like to thank Emma for her suggestion that I take a look at the new Disney Store mini Animators' doll playsets.  Not only is this a perfect suggestion for me (I love minis!) but it would have taken me ages to notice these new dolls on my own.  I actually saw the mini dolls during one of my routine browsing days at Disney online, but passed them over because I assumed they were the larger 16-inch versions of the Animators' dolls--just with more accessories.  Wrong!  These little 5-inch dolls are a whole new thing completely, and they are definitely worth a look.

The first release of Animators' mini dolls includes Anna, Elsa, Cinderella, Ariel and Jasmine.  All of these characters come with several cute movie-themed accessories.  For example, Cinderella comes with a flocked Bruno (as a puppy), Gus and Jack the mice, and several smaller accessories.  Ariel comes with Flounder, Sebastian, a glittery starfish, and a seahorse pulling a carriage.  I was tempted by all of these sets, but ended up purchasing Elsa.  I didn't intend to review yet another Frozen doll, but I found the mini Anna and Elsa to be the most appealing of these newcomers.

Disney Animators' Mini Elsa
Animators' mini Elsa doll from the Disney Store playset ($19.95).
The playsets come in plastic carrying cases with transparent covers that show off the contents:

Elsa's case came with a plastic strip holding it closed and a white product description tag tied around the handle: 

The tag has a short description of the Animators' Collection and a picture of the Olaf figure that is included in the set.  The caption under Olaf reads, "spring loaded nose on Olaf."  This is an odd feature, but I suppose it references the part in the movie where Anna first gives Olaf his carrot nose and pushes it into his head too far?  That's a great scene.

Spring-loaded baby unicorn nose.
The handle of Elsa's case is coated with blue glitter and decorated with a molded snowflake pattern:

After I removed the plastic strip, the case was easy to open:

The case has two hinges at the back that are made out of simple folded tabs of plastic.  These tabs already have white stress lines from being bent once, and so I wonder how long they will last:

The doll and all of her accessories are attached to a plastic shell that lifts out of the case.  Behind the shell, there's a disposable light purple cardboard backdrop with Elsa's name on the bottom.

Provided that this carry case can hold up over time, it's a great idea.  There's virtually no packaging to throw away with this set, and I will be able to store a lot of small clothes and accessories in the cute container.  I can imagine kids carefully packing their favorite toys into these cases and bringing them along on a car trip or toting them off to a friend's house.  The case also just makes the set look appealing as a whole.

Here's the plastic shell with Elsa and all of her accessories still attached:

Elsa comes with Olaf, a rag doll, a straw hat, a drink glass, a mandolin, a brush and a glittery ice hill.

Many of the accessories were attached to the plastic with longer-than-usual plastic ties.  Here you can see one encircling the waist of Elsa's little rag doll figure:

And from the back:

All of these long ties were easy to snip and remove.

I pulled Elsa out of the packaging first because I was very anxious to get a closer look at her:

Her headband does not stay in place very well...

She comes with clear rubber bands around both shoes, which made her a little unsteady on her feet right out of the box:

Elsa also comes with a swirly vinyl ice accessory on her left hand.  It's attached as though there's a risk of it flying away.  I mean, this thing is rubber-banded to Elsa's hand, strung through two holes in a plastic support, and then plastic tied to her dress...just for good measure:

The accessory shows more promise once it's been freed from Elsa's dress:

I had a hard time capturing the details of this ice swirl, but it has little snowflake decorations along the side and at the very tip, and it has a handle for Elsa to grab:

The ice can attach to either of Elsa's hands.

I will look at Elsa in much more detail later, but first I would like to show you the rest of the extras that came in this playset.  

The plastic Olaf figure came rubber-banded to a hollow plastic icy sledding hill:

This Olaf does not look like the animated character from the movie.  He's simplified with much rounder, toy-like features.  Unfortunately, Olaf's legs are not positioned in a way that allows him to stand up on his own.  He has to lean against something.  Fortunately, the little ice hill offers the perfect prop:

Olaf is made out of lightweight hollow plastic.  He reminds me a little bit of a ping-pong ball.  His body is coated in white glitter while his buttons and arms have a dark, iridescent, multi-colored glitter on them.  The glitter is pretty well-attached to the figure and does not shed excessively.

Olaf's nose is, indeed, spring loaded and can be pushed in a little bit and then left to pop back out.  It's not a super-exciting feature and it's hard to photograph...but it might be a fun part of re-enacting the movie for some kids.  There are no other moving parts on this figure, and he has very little decoration on the you would expect with a snowman.

The ice hill is made out of hollow, glitter-infused plastic, although the base is not open--it is a fully-enclosed shape.  The hill has little molded steps on one side and a slide on the other.  Elsa can be posed sliding down this hill--as long as her ponytail is positioned to keep her from slipping down too fast!

Two of the smaller accessories in this set go with Olaf.  There's a straw hat and a tropical drink--both referencing the scene in the movie where Olaf sings In Summer:

The drink glass is made out of pink hard plastic and has a blue straw and a detailed lemon slice at the top:

The straw does not extend down into the drink.
The stem of my glass is pretty crooked, though:

The hat has a braided straw pattern and a painted red band--just like in the movie:

Given that Olaf can't stand on his own, maybe including a cane accessory would have been a good idea?  Still, Olaf can use the drink glass to help him stand:

These accessories can also be used for Elsa, of course...

...although the hat is a little small:

Elsa comes with her own little collection of accessories, too.  She has a brush, a mandolin and a rag doll:

The rag doll is made out of solid plastic and is coated with blue glitter.  This glitter gets everywhere.  The whole playset has a lot of glitter, but I find it particularly inappropriate on the rag doll figure.  I wish this doll was glitter-free and looked more floppy and plush--like a Lalaloopsy mini, for example.

The glitter also obscures the simple molded pattern along the hem of the doll's dress:

This little doll figure can stand on her own, but she tips forwards or backwards because she's balancing on two tiny rounded peg feet.

Elsa also comes with a light blue plastic brush.  This piece isn't very effective for brushing hair, but it is in scale with the doll so it makes a good prop.

Elsa's last accessory is a solid plastic mandolin:

I don't know much about Norwegian mandolins, but I think they have four (or maybe four paired?) strings.  This instrument appears to be missing one string or one pair of strings:

As far as I know, Elsa doesn't have a mandolin in the movie Frozen.  I watched the beginning sequences when both girls are young, and I couldn't find a mandolin anywhere.  Kristoff has a mandolin (he sings Reindeers are Better than People with it, and then Anna uses it to beat off wolves...), but not Elsa.  That doesn't mean that this isn't a good accessory, though!  It has nice detail and is very unique.

Now let's take a look at Elsa herself:

She's wearing a glittery outfit, shoes and a headband.  Her hair is in a simple ponytail--not the twisted style that little Elsa sports in the movie.  That fancier style probably would have required ridiculous amounts of hair gel, though, so I am thinking this ponytail was a good choice:

Elsa's face is clearly recognizable as the character from the movie.  She has the same wide blue eyes, a tall forehead region and a compressed mouth, nose and chin area.

I don't own the full-sized Animators' Elsa, but the mini doll's face looks very similar.  Here's a snapshot from the Disney Store as a comparison:

Elsa has six brown freckles (which I don't think the movie character has...) that look cute and are in the same arrangement as the larger toddler doll's freckles.  Her eyebrows have an interesting pattern, with some individual hairlines drawn in, and then a dark section of solid brown in the middle.  Elsa's side-glancing blue eyes are a little wonky, but can still look at the camera:

Disney Animators' Mini Elsa
Notice the "glitter freckles" all over her face, too....
Elsa comes wearing a thin black ribbon headband with an elasticized section in the back.  This was plastic-tied into her head on one side but it kept slipping out of place.  I just snipped the tie and removed it for good.

While I was removing the hairband, I took Elsa's ponytail down to quickly check the quality of the hair and the density of the rooting:

The hair has a kink in it from the tight rubber band, but it feels soft and nice to the touch and it has a bit of shine in the fiber.  The rooting is not especially thick in the back, but it's fine for a doll this size, and the overall thickness of the hair feels good.

I love the mix of bright colors on Elsa's dress, and the style is cute and very true to the Scandinavian Frozen theme.  

The skirt on this dress is covered in glitter, but the glitter doesn't shed much at all, so I don't mind it.

The detail on the top of the dress is especially nice, with little red ribbon straps, a navy blue ribbon belt, and a wide bib of black ribbon across the front.  The only problem with the ribbon is that it can snag and look less smooth over time.  My doll's dress already has a small frayed area on the wide black ribbon.

The dress opens in back with velcro and is easy to get off.

It's not so easy to get this dress back on, though, because the little elasticized sleeves turn inside-out and catch on Elsa's splayed fingers.  Once the sleeve is flipped, it's hard to get it back in place.  Something like a crochet hook would make this a lot easier.

The fraying edge of the sleeve is also a bit worrisome to me.
Underneath her dress, Elsa has hinged knee articulation and torso articulation (great surprises!), but her pale blue tights are not removable--her lower belly and legs are made out of blue vinyl: 

I am never crazy about this as a design choice because it makes a doll less versatile.  What if mini Elsa wants to wear a dress that clashes with baby blue?   

Maybe everything goes with baby blue?
On the other hand, I often get frustrated when I am trying to put fabric tights onto dolls this small, so if Elsa has to be wearing tights, perhaps the perma-tights are a reasonable option. 

The little black shoes are removable, but they stay on pretty well.

Just as I was getting used to the idea of Elsa's permanent tights, I took her shoes off and realized that she has little blue toes under her shoes!  

No stocking feet here...
They're Smurf feet!
Overall, mini Elsa has an impressive eight points of articulation (neck, shoulders, belly, hips and knees).  She stands reasonably well on her own.

Her shoulders are rotating hinges, so they can lift straight up...

But they can also rotate all of the way around for a wide range of other poses.

It would be nice if she had elbow movement so that her hands could come together and hold things, but she already has way more articulation than most other dolls this size.

The torso articulation is especially fun, even though the contours of Elsa's waist look a little odd when she's twisting around:

Elsa's hip joints only rotate around, but her legs do move from side to side a little--not because of a hinge joint, but because they're made out of a slightly flexible vinyl. 

She can do front-to-back splits very well (although she can't balance like this--notice the blue brush propping her up from the back):

And she can sit on the ground with her legs at about a 45 degree angle, but she can't really do full side-to-side splits.

Elsa's knee joints are simple hinges with no rotation: 

These joints seem very thick and sturdy, but they also look a little clunky, especially when they're bent.

The bending knees allow Elsa to sit nicely at the edge of a chair:

And she can also sit further back in a chair with her legs straight:

I wasn't able to get Elsa to balance in a huge range of poses, but she did do this for about 5 seconds:

And she's really good at doing her stretches on the ground:

Or striking a nice natural walking pose:

I really enjoy the torso articulation and the bendable knees on this doll.  These joints are not typical for a 5-inch mini and I think they add a lot to her posing and play value.

Mini Elsa is about the same height as several of my other small dolls, but her proportions are quite different.  She has an unusually large head and a cute belly that these other girls don't have:

Moxie Girlz Friends "Tally," Sparkle Girlz mini, Animators' Elsa, Barbie Chelsea, Lottie doll.
Looking at these five dolls together, Elsa struck me as being the most similar to my Sparkle Girlz mini, Nara.  Sure enough, Nara's princess dress fits Elsa very nicely--and looks good on her, too!  It even coordinates with the blue perma-tights:

Those toes look frozen, though.
Nara is a little shorter than Elsa, so while she can wear Elsa's dress, it's has a floor-length hem on her:

Moxie Girlz Tally can also wear Elsa's dress, but Elsa can't quite fit into Tally's outfit:

Elsa is quite a bit shorter and slimmer than Our Generation Sienna and American Girl Kit, so these dolls can't share clothes with Elsa at all:

Our Generation Sienna, Animators' Elsa, American Girl Kit.
Just for reference, here's mini toddler Elsa next to the mini adult Elsa that came in the Elsa Wardrobe Playset:

And here's toddler Elsa next to one of the 12" Elsa dolls (this is the J.C. Penney or "Parks" version of the doll):

These new mini toddlers actually make great child-sized companions for the 12-inch Disney dolls:

They could even be used in games with some other brands of 12-inch fashion doll--especially those with larger heads, like Ever After High:

Ever After High "Holly O'Hair" with Animators' Elsa.
Last, here's mini Elsa with my full-size 16-inch Animators' Anna doll so that you can see the size difference between the two:

16" Animators' Anna doll, 5" Animators' Elsa doll.
I have always liked the endearing facial features of the Animators' dolls, but I like these faces even better in a small scale.  None of the personality has been lost, but the level of detail seems more impressive to me on the 5-inch doll:

I have one more quick comparison to make.  I want to contrast the Disney Store's mini Elsa to the 6-inch "Young Elsa" that is made by Jakks Pacific and sold at Toys R Us:

The box is 7.5 inches tall.
I was looking at these dolls during my last "research" outing at Toys R Us.  My first reaction to this version of Elsa was that she's cute, but she's awfully generic.  Without the movie graphics on the box (and the Olaf figure) I'm not sure I would have guessed that this is supposed to Elsa.  She's like a child dressed up as Elsa.

My second reaction, when I saw the price tag on this doll, was to assume there had been a mistake.  She cost me $16.99.  No joke.  I was thinking $6.99 would be reasonable.  I ran two price checks because I simply could not believe what I was seeing.  Ordinarily, I would never buy a doll like this for $17, but I had to bring her home so that I could contrast her to the Animators' Elsa...and also just to see if I was missing something.

What makes this Elsa's price worse is that all of the non-Frozen Disney Princesses in this Jakks Pacific line cost $9.99.  Those characters are sold under the slightly different name of "My First Disney Petite," but they're basically the same dolls.  Apparently, toys with a Frozen label can get a $7 mark-up.

Anyway, the doll comes with an outfit, a comb and a plastic Olaf figure:

Olaf is pretty cute, but he is not even remotely in scale with the doll.  He should be similar in height to the young Anna and Elsa.

Here's the little Olaf figure that came with the Disney Store's Elsa Wardrobe Playset--just as a comparison.  The two figures are exactly the same height:

Young Elsa is wearing an aqua blue dress with a purple center panel and a tulle overskirt.  There's nothing at all about this dress that suggests the doll is meant to be Elsa from Frozen.  It could easily be a Young Rapunzel dress with that purple fabric...or just a random fancy dress from any play doll line.

The doll's face just seems so bland to me, although this reaction is surely magnified by the fact that I've been looking at the Animators' dolls for the past several days.  All of the other Jakks Pacific 6-inch Princess dolls look very little princess clones.

The tiara is very plain compared to what is shown in catalog pictures:

The doll is made out of hard, solid vinyl that has a nice weight to it.  It feels durable.  She has five points of articulation (neck, shoulder, hips):

All of the joints have simple spin movement, so Elsa can strike some basic poses like sitting on the ground or doing front-to-back splits:

With her tiara removed, Elsa's long bangs come free and hang down to one side of her face.  This is not like the ringlet style of the online catalogue pictures, but I like it better:

Her hair is ridiculously long (more like Rapunzel's hair) and pale golden blonde (more like Cinderella's hair).  The kinks from the braid also make the hair pretty frizzy and hard to tame when it's down:

The hair is smooth at the top and quite coarse at the ends.  The rooting is noticeably thinner and less regular than the Disney Store mini Elsa's: 

Now that the miniature Frozen princesses are available through the Animators' line, I cannot see any reason to buy Jakks Pacific's equivalent version of these characters.  

If you are searching specifically for a doll that looks like Elsa, there's just no contest here:

Jakks Pacific Elsa ($16.99), Disney Store Elsa ($19.95).
The Jakks Young Elsa isn't even coming close to offering the same level of personality, movie accuracy or articulation as the Disney Store's mini.  And the Animators' Elsa came with a slew of accessories and a carrying case.

Fake Elsa, Real Elsa.
Here are some side-by-side comparisons of the two dolls' faces:

I find the contrasting vinyl colors particularly interesting here.  The Jakks Elsa looks like she has a tan.  No care was taken to make this doll at all specific to the character.

That was a bit of a tangent, but I simply can't fathom how the Jakks doll is on the market for $17.  If Young Elsa had been priced at $6.99, she'd be ok as an economical alternative to Disney's $20 playset, but $17?  I feel like I paid about $10 for the Frozen graphics on the box.   

With that rant out of my system, now I can show you a few more pictures of the Disney Store Elsa and her accessories:

One cute way to get Olaf to stand up is to have him lean against Elsa as though they're holding hands:

I was unimpressed with the ice swirl when I first saw it, but this is actually a really fun accessory for photography.  I'm not sure if it would be as much fun in a game, but I have certainly been enjoying it for the review.  It could be a little taller, I guess, but it's a neat idea.

Elsa can't hold her rag doll on her own, but with the help of some clear rubber bands, I can make it look like she's toting this loyal companion along with her--albeit a little awkwardly:

And with those same rubber bands, I could get Elsa to hold the mandolin in a semi-convincing way--but only if she's sitting down.  I couldn't find a way to get her to hold this instrument while standing:

And here's Elsa back with Olaf:

Bottom line?  I am very excited about this new series of dolls.  I have always enjoyed the faces and personalities of the traditional Animators' Collection toddler dolls, but they are made in a scale that doesn't fit well with the other dolls I own.  Also, while the original Animators' dolls are a great size for younger children's cuddles and games, their bulk limits display and collecting options.  To me, these new mini dolls maintain the character and appeal of the Animators' dolls, but they are much more portable, collectible and manageable.  As a bonus, the mini dolls can be used as children or younger siblings for 12-inch Disney Store Classic dolls--or any other big-headed 12-inch doll.

Elsa is just wonderful.  I love her heart-melting, movie-accurate face and highly-articulated body.  I am not wild about her permanent blue tights and Smurfy toes, but I also don't really enjoy trying to put real tights on tiny little dolls.  It's hard.  Elsa has an attractive, authentic outfit that is made to the same level of quality as the 12-inch Disney Store doll outfits (which is to say that it's nice, but has a few areas of weakness--like the frustrating sleeves and the frayed ribbon).  It might be hard to find new outfits for these mini dolls, but so far I was able to get one of my Sparkle Girlz dresses to fit.  I am partial to the Disney toddlers whose characters actually appear as children in their movies, but I wouldn't hesitate to purchase any of these new Animators' minis, just because they're so incredibly cute and they can be used to expand the imaginative story world of the 12-inch Princesses.

I am conflicted about whether or not I appreciate the playset element of this toy.  On the one hand, it's always fun to get a playset, and the accessories justify the appealing carrying case packaging.  On the other hand, part of me looks at this set and sees a wonderful little doll with a bunch of lesser-quality, (slightly random) accessories that are inflating the price.  It's not that I dislike the accessories, it's just that I don't need them...and I wonder how many kids will end up playing with them long term.  Here are some pros and cons for each of Elsa's accessory items: Olaf is sweet, but he's hard to play with because he doesn't stand on his own.  Olaf's hat and drink look good, but the hat doesn't stay on and my set's drink is very crooked.  The brush is pretty ineffective as a brush, but it's in scale with the doll, so it makes a decent prop for Elsa.  The ice hill is large and plain, but it makes a neat little slide and would be fun for re-enacting the early scene from Frozen when the two princesses are playing in Elsa's magical snow.  I really like the look of the mandolin, but it's hard to make Elsa interact with it.  The rag doll is a great little accessory...with way too much glitter.  I'd probably prefer it if these new mini dolls were sold without accessories for a price closer to $10, but I'll happily admit that the range of accessories in the different sets is very fun to look at.  Anna's accessories look especially good to me.  For kids who play a lot with their dolls, these little extras might be more than worth their price.

Until now, the Jakks Pacific Young Elsa has been the best (only?) option for a small-scale child Elsa doll.  Perhaps that exclusivity is what caused these dolls to be so overpriced.  Fortunately, now there's another choice.  Not only do I find the new Disney Store mini dolls to be superior to the Jakks dolls in every way, but I think this whole series offers a delightful (addictive!) new outlet for the enchanting Animators' doll concept.

Will you buy my sister Anna for me now, please??


  1. Very in depth review! Although Elsa's head looks a little too grown up for the toddler looking body she has. i recommend you get Caty Noir or 13 wishes Gigi Grant and do a review on either of them. i actually have 13 wishes Caty and SHE IS GORGEOUS. i don't have Gigi yet but her promotional pictures show promise.
    as i said excellent review!

    1. Thank you, Calliope! I saw the new Catty Noir at Target and agree that she looks great! I have to give the EAH girls some attention first, but then I might go back and do another Monster High review.

      I know what you mean about Elsa's head. As I was writing this review, I would start to type "toddler Elsa" and then change my mind! She doesn't really look like a toddler, but more of a four or five-year-old...which I think is accurate to the movie, so it doesn't bother me. ;)

  2. Great review! I am also surprised at how small she is..I wasn't thinking at all that she'd be able to share close with a mini Sparkle Girl (which she looks super cute in that off the shoulder number, I might add.) I did see these cute little dolls on their website and agree with you about how much more endearing they are in their mini scales. Baby Olaf is looking much cuter as I get to the last photo! I am really hoping they come out with a Snow White and Belle mini Animator's version as I think those face molds are especially cute. Beautiful photos as always! May I ask what you use for lighting? Umbrella diffusers? I really love the crisp light you have on your dolls with virtually no harsh shadows. I am finding it really difficult to take natural lighting photos in these winter months! Thanks again :)

    1. Hi Farrah, I am also hoping for a Belle, Snow White and Rapunzel! They would be SO cute. I really hope the line expands to include all of the Princesses. I am always playing around with my lighting. It's so hard, isn't it? I use umbrellas right now--one on each side. This works pretty well with small dolls, but I still struggle to light the larger ones. I have a third reflective umbrella behind me, but I haven't figured out how to use this effectively yet so I usually leave it off. It casts too many shadows. It's always such a relief to get outside and have some natural light, isn't it? :)

    2. Thanks for responding, Emily! Yeah...indoor lighting is tough for sure and I really appreciate your tips.. Outdoor photos are much more fun :) I am a fellow Northeasterner so I am looking forward to the longer days and warmer temps (eventually!) lol-have a great weekend :)

  3. Another great review! I adore the Animator dolls, but I don't really have room for all the ones I want. Hopefully with this introduction, I'll be able to get some of them! I really hope they expand the line, though. As much as I love Ariel, (I'm actually cosplaying her next weekend!) and I'm excited to see that Jasmine is part of the initial lineup, especially since she is so rarely included in the official princess merchandise, I can't help but wish for more of the characters from the extensive Animator's Collection.
    As a side note, I found it interesting that the tag specifically said "Disney Princess". That's usually exclusive to the 11 official princesses, so maybe that means that Elsa and Anna will finally be added to it? Then again, Tinker Bell has an Animator doll, so I might just be grasping at straws.

    1. Thank you, Emily! I feel exactly the same way about the storage/display space for the larger Animators' dolls. These little ones are the perfect match for me and my small house! :D I also agree that it would be wonderful to have the full Princess lineup. I have always had a really soft spot for toddler Rapunzel's face, in particular. You have a sharp eye in noticing the Disney Princess title on the tag! I don't know what that means, but it seems only right that Anna and Elsa would get added to the official Princess club eventually, don't you think? I'd love to see Anna and Elsa in the next Classic Princess Collection gift box! That box is going to get really big, though....

    2. Lego's "Disney Princess" line had Anna and Elsa and their castle starting NOW (Jan 2015) So I think they are officially part of the Disney Princess collection although their inauguration has not happened yet for some reason.

  4. I'm so glad to see this review! Ever since I read your older review, for the normal-sized Anna, I've been coveting her, but I don't collect dolls in this scale. I've got two roughly 16" scale porcelain dolls as outliers, a ton of roughly 11" scale fashion scale dolls, and some dollhouse size or smaller dolls/action figures. (And a crap ton of plastic/metal/resin miniatures. I've got way too many werewolves and elves...)

    I saw the mini Animator's Collection dolls in December, but I was leery of them. Like you, I wasn't that enthused about the extras, I hate glitter messes, and I could tell the legs were painted, which is kind of eh (at least Anna's white tights are more versatile.) It's also impossible to judge their scale from the Disney Store alone.

    I think I might have to get the Mini Anna and possibly even Elsa (because these sisters deserve to be together.) If they had released a Mini Kristoff, I'd have to jump on all three eventually. They're just way too adorable together. I love the hinged knees, even if they're somewhat limited, and I really wish they had hinged elbows too. I'd actually been pondering the idea of getting Mini Anna and locating a semi-cheap BJD-style body to put her head on, but that seemed like too much work and even more money than Anna might be worth (since those bodies are going to run me at least 20 dollars, if not decidedly more.) I'm really happy these mini dolls can already sit on their own. I don't know why, but that has become a major sticking point for me lately, since it's a nice, natural alternative to having them stand up forever.

    Although, what sort of doll lines have clothes that the regular Animator's dolls can fit into? That was my main bit of curiosity, if I wanted to redress Anna. Or any of the other Animator's dolls, but I just can't help loving Anna the most. I wasn't determined to own memorabilia from Frozen, after I first saw it, but there's just something about toddler Anna that is super appealing to me. I think her face mold is my favorite, even winning out against the nostalgia factor from other Disney princesses.

    At least with Mini Anna, it won't be hard to find her some cheap clothing, except I don't think the Sparkle Girlz have any fashion packs for their minis. Cheap as they are, I'd feel kinda bad stealing all their clothes. Eh, I'll figure something out, if I go down that road.

    Sorry for rambling! It's a bad habit. :P

    I guess I'm still kind of on the fence, since $20 is kind of a lot, and I really do love the regular sized Animator's Collection Anna, but I definitely appreciate how much information is here. I feel like I won't be disappointed with my decision, whatever it ends up being. :)

    On a parting note, the Jakk's Pacific doll is kind of creepy with that blank stare and overly generic face. I'm sure really little kids won't care, but children notice when a toy doesn't resemble the original inspiration. I noticed when I was a kid and just made do. I doubt I was the only one. Then again, it was ten times worse when it came to plush versions, most of the time. I'm glad some toy manufacturers have progressed as much as they have.

    Oh! One more thing. (Sorry!) I saw a larger Jakks Pacific My First Merida, and while I didn't like her face either, she came with all three bear brothers, who each had their own separate pose! I must say, I'm still kind of tempted to buy it and then buy the Animator's Collection Merida to go with them. They were that cute, but I just can't justify it yet. Maybe if it was hugely on sale, I might.

    1. It's interesting to see how many people feel this way about the larger Animators' dolls! I think the Disney Store might hit the jackpot with the minis because there are so many of us who have been wanting the wonderful Animators' faces, but don't have the room or the taste for that larger scale of doll.

      I think these mini dolls would fly off the shelves if they were packaged without accessories and cost around $12. You're right--$20 is a lot. However, I do think some of the sets have accessories that could be really fun for kids. For example, Anna's little sled and baby Sven are great, and the inclusion of the trolls could really add to gameplay. Personally, I'm with you, though--I'd rather have more dolls and fewer extras.

      I really don't care for the Jakks doll at all. Perhaps that was obvious? ;D I think you're exactly right that younger kids might be thrilled with that doll, but older ones would notice the inconsistencies. The thing is, there weren't really any other options in this scale until now, so I am sympathetic to parents and relatives who bought the Jakks dolls for their "Frozen" fans. Kids have great imaginations, but I don't like to see a company take advantage of that. Don't make a generic doll, slap a Frozen label on her and charge (at least) twice what she's worth! Sheesh.

      I will have to check out the Jakks My First Merida set you mentioned! I love those bear brothers. :) The other thing is, of all the Jakks dolls in the "Princess and Me" line, I like Merida the best--by a long shot! So I might even like the Merida doll in the set you mentioned.

    2. Yes! If the Mini Animators' Anna was $12, all on her own, I would buy her in a heartbeat. :3

      Sven and the sled makes me think that we'll never have a Mini Animators' Collection Kristoff (what would his set include?) Unless that means most of the subsequent releases will be without extras. I can hope!

      Jakks Pacific definitely came out with a Kristoff in this size, but none of those dolls are worth it to me. Like you said, they're way overpriced for what they are, even ignoring the "hard to find" fee.

      Set with all Three
      Set with Anna and Kristoff

      Incidentally, some Amazon pages seem to think Tolly Tots makes these? Maybe it's a subsidiary of Jakks Pacific?

      Anyway, the trolls are a cute inclusion, but I'm just not a fan of the style they went with. Maybe if I saw mini Sven in person, I'd be sold, but as it stands, I don't think I like him any better than the one in the set linked above. I don't care as much about the Funko Pop figurines, but I'd say their Sven looks pretty amazing (even if he isn't in "toddler" form.)

      I went hunting for that Merida, and her face is better than I remembered. It can't hold a candle to the Disney Store version, but you're right, she has one of the better faces, by far. The brothers are insanely cute. :D

      There's even a Mini version, but it only comes with one brother. Boo! :P

      I found two other versions of Merida in the Animators' size too. I like the expression and boots on this one, although she looks less like a toddler. I think it's the makeup.

      I love the dress and accessories on this one! Very nice design and her make-up is more subtle and natural. The bow and arrows is fantastic for any Merida, and the expression is generic, but it works. In general, Merida has a very toddleriffic face, considering how big and round her features are.

      On the opposite end of the spectrum, this Mulan. Not just a replica of her "potential bride" dress, and it has some nice detail, but it's not different enough. Also, I don't know why, but her mouth seems off, and the hair looks awkward. To be fair, I feel like the Animators' Collection Mulan and Aurora need to switch expressions (Mulan looks sleepy and Aurora looks determined, to me), but this doll is off-putting to me...

      I think the faces are what really make the Animators' Collection so amazingly special, and so accessibly tempting to so many people. We just want well-designed dolls that remind us strongly of the characters that we love, and who ever is running the Disney Store brand dolls understands this on some level. :)

      Now if only more of these blasted lines would come out with clothing for their dolls. I don't understand why, in an age when many highly sought after dolls can't wear Barbie proportioned offerings, they don't make their own fashion packs. You'd think that would be a gold mine, but I guess it isn't, given that many of these companies have released a small offering of outfits, and then focused mostly on the dolls after that. Bratz, Monster High, Pinkie Cooper, etc. The Disney Store is probably the least "specialized" in the bunch. Eh. It's just kind of frustrating, but that's another discussion. :P

  5. When I saw these mini's I was so excited, then I saw the haven't made my two favorite princess. Merida and Rupunzel I love those toddlers and mini would be even better. Well I was also extemly excited when I saw your reveiw because now I know the standards for if they make my fav's in the next wave:) - GEM

    1. I can't wait for Merida and Rapunzel, either! Especially Rapunzel--that slightly sad face just melts me! I really hope this line is a huge success so that we get to see all of the Princesses. :)

    2. Yes, by the way what did Olaf's nose do? - GEM

  6. Wow, I'm impressed at seeing a mini doll with three points of articulation more than they usually do - that's great to see!

    It's funny, because I'm not a huge fan of the standard/large Animator's Collection dolls (something about the proportions crosses the cute/creepy line for me), but these minis seem to have a unique charm all of their own!

    1. Thank you, jSarie--this is very well said. You put your finger on something I have experienced. I love how the larger Animators' dolls look online, but there is definitely something about their size in real life that pushes the boundary between cute and startling. I still find them cute, but they are right on the edge. The minis don't have this issue (for me) at all. And their articulation is better than it is on the larger dolls! Win-win. :D

  7. I love your reviews! I mean no offense, but why you don't have ads in your website? or like tip or donation option? your site is so fantastic and popular I think you at least should make some money from this! ;)

    1. You are so sweet (and thoughtful!) to say that! I do have some ads (maybe they aren't positioned very well...I'll work on that!) but I don't like it when ads overwhelm a site. I am not the best businesswoman. I do get a little bit of money from the blog, though--even just from having people stop by to read. So simply by visiting here, you are helping! Thank you!!

  8. Ohmygoodness!!! When you posted this I about had a heart attack. Mini. Disney. Babies?! This was too good to be true. I dashed off to the Disney store website and lo and behold, there they were. Gleefully reading through your review and looking at the pictures on Disney's website I fell in love with the idea.
    Elsa is super adorable, although I've always found her animator's collection face a bit harsh. I love Olaf and his spring loaded nose! Your detailed review with great pictures is WONDERFUL, Emily!
    Now here's the catch- I don't feel like spending that much money on one of the dolls that's currently out. Anna looks adorable as can be, but I have a thing against buying Frozen merchandise (It's been a year. A year! Let frozen go! Big Hero 6 was just as amazing!!!). Ariel is cute, but I don't like how her waist joint shows over her tail, and I also just got the regular Ariel doll for Christmas. I've never been a fan of Jasmine's Animator's collection face, and I don't really remember Bruno from Cinderella's movie (then again, it's been a long time) or have as much of a love for Cindy as you, Emily. ;)
    I think I'll have to wait and see if they release a Belle collection, or possibly Rapunzel, although I'd have to fix her freckles if they're like Elsa's. But thank you for the review! I'm so excited about these little dolls. Maybe there will be a sale, someday, too. :)

    1. Oh, Muzzy, I am so glad that someone had a similar first reaction to these cuties!! Too good to be true is right! It took about three seconds from when I read Emma's email to when I had little Elsa in my shopping cart!! ;D Aren't they adorable? I admire your ability to step back and think about which character you really want, though. I think Belle, Rapunzel and Merida will be worth the wait and I reallyreallyreally hope they are released eventually. Your comment about a sale is wise, too, because not so long after I reviewed the Elsa Wardrobe Playset (where I said I wished the dolls were on sale separately for $10...) the playsets went on sale for $10! That's such a bargain. Thank you for sharing your reactions! :)

    2. Oh my, Belle, Rapunzel and Merida!? I'll be in BIG trouble :)

  9. Thanks for another wonderful review. Your photography is excellent! I wasn't going to buy any of these dolls but when I saw them IRL I bought them all: Anna, Ariel, Cinderella (my favorite), Elsa, Jasmine. They are lots of fun to play with.

    I only removed the dolls from the package and stored the rest. As an adult, I just wanted the dolls. I think children, however, will like transporting the dolls and accessories in the travel case.

    1. Thank you so much, Queli! You got them all? What fun! Thank you for sharing which one is your favorite. Cinderella does look amazingly cute in the photos! It's a wonder that I avoided purchasing her since I am struck with a bit of Cinderella fever these days--in anticipation of the new movie. Ah!

      I think you're right that kids will enjoy the cases and the fun of having so many little pieces to play with. The sets look very appealing in their packaging, too! I do hope that the dolls will be offered separately in the future, though. They are SO tempting to collect...

  10. Nice review, It's really cool to see a kid version of Elsa.
    The knee joints are really cool too.

  11. I bought both Elsa and Anna when I went to the Disney store a couple weeks ago. I'm still hemming and hawing on keeping them. Your review is not helping (hee hee). Regarding the's just all wrong. The head piece looks looks to have six tuners but real mandos have 8 (two of each of four tuned strings). I love instruments with dolls but this one is just an odd placement. I just love the mini sled and Swen with Anna but hate the glitter dolls with both. Why can't Olaf just stand up??

    Thanks for another great review!

  12. YAY I have been so curious about these girls. The knee joints are a delightful surprise. So we know for sure now Disney knows knee joints are loved. This is good. i hope they stay in stock long enought for me to afford one. I like Jasmine and the Frozen girls the best i think.

    Thank you!

  13. Oh I hope they keep making the other princesses, I'd love a mini Mulan! I wonder, do the larger Animator's dolls have knee articulation?

  14. Thank you for this review! I was really excited when I first heard about the mini Animator's collection, but I'm still torn. As much as I love the aesthetics of the larger dolls, they take up a lot of space. They don't have great posability, and the quality strikes me as not being as good as similar-sized dolls such as H4H. I own two and have talked myself out of others on a regular basis.

    I would love to have mini versions of all of them, but it's hard to justify when the price is almost as much as the regular size, and I wouldn't really use the case or accessories.

    I actually do have several of the Jaks Pacific petite princesses. I originally got the set of 7 when it was on clearance for $40, and have a few of the boy/girl pairs. Though they are a bit generic looking, the facial screening helps differentiate them, especially the shape of the eyes. The princes in particular are well done, especially Kristoff and Flynn.

  15. I don't have your email so i didn't know where to post this, but have you seen the line of dolls called "Vi and Va"? They have just recently popped up at Target. I'd love to hear what you think. They are marketed as being Latina and the box art and dolls are meant to look more curvy than the average fashion doll. Just a heads up. Love your blog!!

    1. Thank you for this message--I just saw those at Target the other day! I was totally surprised to see them because I hadn't heard anything about the line. I didn't feel an urgent need to buy one on the spot. They're pretty cute, but with slightly odd eyes, as I recall. I didn't notice the body proportions--now I want to go back and look again! :) What did you think?

  16. I fully agree about the eyes. They made them somewhat unappealing. It looked like they were trying to do something similar to Moxie girls but failed. Otherwise I'm curious to see how they handle the progression of the characters. I love that they are Latina and have a curvier shape but i did think they looked a little flashy for my taste.

  17. Great review, again, and useful as usual.
    I didn't expect the mini Animators dolls had hinged legs.

    In Italy those pretend-to-be-Frozen-dolls are expensive too, maybe around €15-17, while the mini Animators dolls playsets are €25, but still a lot more wothwhile the price, and the maxi Animator dolls are €30 (and that's why I prefer to get them instead).
    If the mini came without the playsets, I had liked to get some of them too, especially the ones with more detailed outfits.
    Some of the big dolls outfits are not detailed at all, so they look decent or even better on little dolls.
    But Anna's and Elsa's outfits are quite detailed in the big version and I like them in that version a lot.