Friday, October 28, 2022

Encanto Mirabel doll from the Disney Store

I always try to avoid writing reviews that take three days to read.  I really do.  I have mixed success with this, though (the Monster High review coulda been shorter...), but thankfully the Encanto Mirabel dolls that I want to compare happen to fit nicely into separate reviews.  So this entry is basically the second part of my previous review, which focused on Mirabel dolls from Jakks Pacific.  Today I'll look at the Disney Store's 11-inch Mirabel and see how she compares.

I've reviewed a lot of Disney Store dolls over the years, and I've loved many of them, but the dolls started to suffer a decline in quality around six years ago.  At that point I tried to stop myself from making any more Disney Store purchases, for fear of being hugely disappointed.  I caved to temptation a few times after 2016, and I had mixed results. For example, among the live action Beauty and the Beast dolls, Belle was hugely disappointing.  But with the Tangled: The Series dolls, Rapunzel was an amazing surprise!  That Rapunzel left me feeling hopeful, so last year when I re-booted the blog, one of the first things I did was buy a Disney Store Elsa doll.  And guess what?  I was hugely disappointed.  I couldn't even finish her review.  Why can't I learn?

But Mirabel looked promising.  And she looked different enough from the Elsa doll that, against my better judgement, I decided to buy her.  I justified the purchase by telling myself that this was the Disney Store's first attempt at Mirabel, and their first-run dolls are often higher-quality than the later versions.  So here I am--yet again--coming back from a big disappointment to give the Disney Store another chance.  We'll see how it goes.

Encanto Mirabel doll from the Disney Store, $24.99.

I always learn something new when I read the comments section, so thank you to those who shared their observations and knowledge about Mirabel and the Encanto dolls in the last review.  

As an anonymous commenter pointed out, there is another 1:6 Antonio doll on the market.  He's part of this lovely gift set from the Disney Store:

Encanto set, $99.99.
And he looks really cute (with a better outfit than the Jakks version!)


I would have included this little guy today as a comparison to the Jakks Pacific Antonio, but unfortunately the gift set costs around $100, and I don't have the budget for that right now.

Séverine shared some great information with me in the comments section, too.  She recommends the Bruno and Dolores dolls from Jakks, and I have to agree that they look pretty great!  These next three photos are hers:

Séverine's Dolores and Bruno dolls by Jakks Pacific.
I think the real-life photos are even better than the promotional pics.  Here's Bruno out of his box:

We won't talk about him.
And here's Dolores:

Séverine's Dolores doll by Jakks Pacific.
Dolores' sweet face is captured really well with this doll, even though I can see that her arm articulation is slightly disappointing.

Séverine also asked if my Sing and Play Mirabel could sing in different languages, but she can't.  Apparently there's another version of that doll with a different switch mechanism.  The alternate switch has the numbers 1, 2, and 3 instead of the T, X, O switch that I showed you.  One of the settings on that other switch allows you to play The Family Madrigal in 10 different languages by pressing the chest button.  I'm bummed I didn't get one of those dolls!

Anyway, the Disney Store's Mirabel costs the same as the two Jakks Pacific Mirabel sets, which makes it easier to compare them all directly.  So let's get to it!

Mirabel comes in a window box with decorative cardboard that wraps around one side:



Like the Sing and Play Jakks doll, this Mirabel comes with an accordion and has a singing feature:


The back of the box is relatively plain, with a lot of small text and a hazy tree-lined background:


The ends of the box open and there's a separate cardboard backdrop inside that pulls out:


Mirabel and her accordion are attached to the backdrop with long plastic ties (and, of course, that one ubiquitous short tie in the back of Mirabel's head):


It was fairly easy to get everything out of the box, but a few of the plastic ties got stuck in Mirabel's elbow joints.

The set includes only Mirabel and an accordion:


The accordion does not move at all, which is too bad, but the molded details are very good:


There are brown vinyl shoulder straps that attach at the back, and also a brown hand strap on one side:


This particular accordion has a defect in the button keys:

But I love the detail in the grill.
Here's a reminder of what the Jakks Pacific accordion looks like:

Jakks Pacific accordion.
The flexibility in the bellows of the Jakks accordion is really great, but I like the shape, color, and detail of the Disney Store instrument better.

Mirabel balances pretty well on her own, and she made a better first impression than the Jakks Pacific doll (mostly because her hair isn't a complete disaster): 


Although her hair is a little less organized in profile than it is from the front:



The texture of this hair is nice, with tight curls that are in proportion to the doll:


Compare that to the messy, large curls on the Jakks doll:

Jakks Pacific Mirabel's hair.
Mirabel's glasses were held in place with rubber bands and looked a little crooked at first, but I think she resembles the movie character fairly well--although, again, she looks a little older than I feel like she should:

Fourteen going on 45.
The glasses are lightweight and delicate, with plastic lenses (and still no gold accents):

Mirabel's glasses (Disney Store).
The Jakks Pacific glasses do not have any lenses, and they feel clunkier overall.  Here's a reminder:

Sing and Play Mirabel's glasses (Jakks Pacific).
I like the Disney Store glasses a lot, even though they looked crooked at first.  I think that was just bad placement of the rubber bands.  My one worry is that with the thin frames and delicate plastic lenses, they might break more easily than the Jakks Pacific glasses.

Here's Mirabel without her glasses:


Her eyes are slightly wonky, but I like the friendliness of her face.  She looks a lot like Mirabel in the Encanto promotional poster:


This version of Mirabel has a larger nose than the Jakks doll.  In addition, her eyes are brighter and I like the addition of teeth to her smile.  She has a similar scattering of freckles:


It's interesting that this Mirabel has no eyelashes whatsoever, which offers a contrast to the long, dark upper lashes on the Jakks Pacific doll.

Here's Jakks Mirabel in half-profile as a reminder:

Sing and Play Mirabel (Jakks Pacific).
Another difference that stands out to me is what Minnesota Girl said in the comments of the last review: the Jakks doll's eyes look upside-down!  The irises are up against the top edge of her eyes, so there's a huge amount of exposed sclera at the bottom.  

In contrast, the Disney Store Mirabel's irises are at the bottom of her eye, with exposed sclera at the top:


This is more consistent with the movie character:


On closer inspection of Mirabel's face, you can see that there's a lot of detail in her thick eyebrows, but not a lot of detail in her irises:


The eyebrow lines are chaotic and very realistic, but the iris lines are longer towards the center of the eye, which can make the pupils looks like they're angled outwards.  This adds to the wonkiness:

Strange choice.
I like the mouth details with just a peek of teeth in the center.  The upper lip looks a bit strange, perhaps because it's very symmetric while the smile is lopsided?  The lips could definitely match the expression better.  But overall it's a good smile:


In profile, you can see Mirabel's large ears and pom-pom earrings:


My doll has a shiny area all around the top of her neck, shininess on her ears, and also a shiny spot on her right jawline:


The earrings are removable, and leave behind large holes:


Here are the earrings on their own:


These are cute and are more accurate to the movie than the tiny, molded earrings on the Jakks Pacific doll.
Here's a reminder of the movie earrings:


Mirabel's hair still doesn't look exactly like the movie character's hair, but it's closer than the Jakks attempt.  It also feels nice, with tight curls and a dense texture.  There are some white flecks of styling product that are visible, but it's not too bad.  The hair has a rooted part slightly to the right of center on the top of the head:


The rooting is a little sparse in back, but the hair is so curly and thick that the scalp is rarely visible with normal play and manipulation:


Finger-combing the hair actually made it more poofy than it was right out of the box, but it still looks fine:


Especially compared to the finger-combed madness on Sing and Play Mirabel:

Sing and Play Mirabel (Jakks Pacific).
Disney Store Mirabel's hair is much easier to control.  I think she looks especially cute with a clip on one side of her head:


Mirabel's dress is made entirely out of soft fabric--not the stiff plastic-like material on the Jakks Pacific dolls.  And it has lovely blue lace trim along the hem:


There's a velcro seam in the back which makes the dress easy to take off and put back on again:


Most of the colorful details on the dress are printed onto the fabric, but the string butterfly on Mirabel's dress in the movie is represented by a plastic decoration that's sewn on with thread:


The dress has a separate waistband, and I really like how both the bodice and the skirt are gently gathered:


It looks like there might be a bit of stress on the top seam of that band, but still, compare that to the printed-on, un-gathered waistband of the Jakks dress:

Waistband of the Jakks Pacific Sing and Play dress.
The skirt of the Disney Store dress has the same printed patterns as the other dresses we've seen, but the designs are crisp and clear and the colors are vibrant:


Compare that to a similar area on the Jakks Pacific dress:

Skirt detail on the Jakks Pacific Sing and Play doll.
Here's the Disney Store dress on its own:


The stitching is excellent, with reinforced seams everywhere:


The dress looks very durable.


Overall, the Disney Store dress is so much nicer than the Jakks dress.  I love how full and soft it is, especially compared to the stiff, rigid design of the Jakks dress.

From left: Mirabel and Antonio's Adventure Set doll (Jakks Pacific) and Disney Store Mirabel.
Mirabel's outfit is rounded out by colorful espadrilles that come rubber-banded to her feet:


These shoes have a lot of molded and painted detail.  The straps are black, the soles are tan, and the body of the shoes is deep magenta with lighter pink and yellow embellishments:


The decorations are not the same on the two shoes, which I think is fun.  The left shoe has a lot of yellow while the right shoe has only a tiny bit:

Or maybe that's a painting error?
The molded detail on the soles of the shoes is wonderful.  They look like they're actually braided and coiled:


These shoes have so much more realism than the bright pink Jakks Pacific shoes:


Underneath her clothes, Mirabel's body has a plastic torso and plastic thighs, with vinyl arms and vinyl lower legs.  She has an impressive eleven points of articulation:


The song-playing elements of her body are well camouflaged on the front, with just a contoured button, and a bit more visible on the back, where there's a large speaker and a battery compartment:


Mirabel's teal underwear is painted with a large dip in the back to accommodate the battery compartment, which I'm not sure is a style that could ever work in real life:

Is plungeplumber-backed underwear a thing?
The power switch is concealed underneath Mirabel's left arm.  It only has "on" and "off" positions:


Overall, I feel like the sound mechanism elements are better concealed on the Disney Store doll than they are on the Jakks Pacific doll


Jakks Pacific doll (left) and Disney Store doll (right)


The vinyl parts of the body have some minor imperfections, like this mottling on the left arm:


And some roughness on both lower legs:


Mirabel's neck articulation is very similar to that of the Jakks Pacific dolls.  She can look up:


And down:


And she can tip her head from side to side:


Her shoulders are rotating hinges that can lift straight up:


And also spin around:


Her elbows and wrists are also rotating hinges, and while her elbows can bend to about 90 degrees, her wrists are much less flexible and don't bend very well:

That's as far as the wrists will go.
I've heard that these hands can break easily, and while I didn't have any trouble with this doll's hands, I can totally see how trying to get the joints to bend beyond their capacity could cause them to break.  They really feel like they should bend more than they do.

Mirabel can't get her fingers anywhere near her face, but she can rest a hand on her hip quite easily:

Where's my phone?
In contrast to her wrists, Mirabel's elbows are so flexible that they can actually bend backwards a fair amount!

That's weird.
Her hips have a small amount of side-to-side movement:


And a lot more front-to-back movement, although the joints are stiff, so it took me a minute to get her legs configured into full splits:

I can do it, Emily!  Promise I can...
She eventually managed this pose:

See?  Perfect. 
She can also sit solidly on the ground:

Like a rock.
Her knee joints are simple hinges with no rotation.  This allows her to take a knee:


And sit nicely in a chair:


The knee joints look a little funny to me, though, with large hinges and a big, flat area at the knee cap:


Overall, Mirabel is much more flexible and fun to pose than the Jakks Pacific dolls:




Here is Mirabel next to the Jakks Pacific Adventure Set doll:

Disney Store Mirabel (left) and Jakks Pacific Adventure Set Mirabel (right).
These two dolls have a similar body type, so they can swap dresses.  Here's Adventure Set Mirabel in the Disney Store dress:

This is an improvement!
The dress fits well, but the shoes are way too big:

Not even close.
Here's Disney Store Mirabel in the Jakks Pacific dress:

Can I get my own dress back, please?
It's a little tight on her and barely closes in back:


I assumed that the Jakks shoes wouldn't fit Disney Store Mirabel, but with a bit of effort they actually do fit!


In fact, the shoes don't fall off all of the time, so in that sense they fit the Disney Store Mirabel better than the doll they were made for.

The size difference between the two dolls' feet isn't as big as I expected.  They almost look the same size here:

Disney Store Mirabel (left) and Jakks Pacific Mirabel (right).
But from the bottom you can see that the Disney Store Mirabel's feet are definitely wider, and also a bit longer (and more detailed):

Disney Store Mirabel (left) and Jakks Pacific Mirabel (right).
For another size reference, here's Mirabel with Lena:

Disney Store Mirabel (left) and Barbie Signature Looks Lena (right);.
And here she is next to a current Classic Disney Store Princess--the Elsa doll I bought and was disappointed with:

The Disney Store's Classic Elsa (left) and Mirabel (right).
Why was I so disappointed with Elsa, you might wonder?  Well, her body has the dreaded click knee joints, for one, and on top of that she has ridiculously small, flat feet that have no hope of ever supporting her body:

Twig legs.
Her face is pretty, but the color of her head doesn't match her body, and this is what her hair looked like right out of the box!

There's something about Elsa.
The worst thing about this doll, though, is her dress.  It's every bit as stiff and plastic-feeling as the Jakks Pacific Mirabel dresses.  The tulle train is especially stiff and wrinkled.  It looks and feels really bad:

Trains should be dramatic, not tragic.
It almost feels like her outfit is made out of paper...except of course it's way less environmentally friendly than that would have been.

Speaking of environmentally friendly, the great thing about these new Disney Store Classic dolls is that they come in all-cardboard boxes!  There's absolutely zero plastic, and the design of the box is beautiful--and totally reusable!

Yay Disney!
I wish that this lovely box had come with an Elsa doll that is as nice as the first release dolls.  Sigh.

But anyway, as I had hoped, the Disney Store did a much better job with Mirabel than they did with Elsa!  

Here she is again, back in her full outfit:


The extra articulation in the arms really helps this doll show some of the energy and personality that Mirabel has in the movie.



I put her glasses back on, and they're much less crooked when the rubber bands aren't pulling on them:



Mirabel's accordion is easy to use.  The two shoulder straps slide on over her arms, and her flexible joints allow her to put her hands in a realistic position:


I wish her wrists were more flexible, though.


Mirabel's song feature is simple.  When the switch is in the "on" position, you just have to touch the button on her belly and she'll sing:


It's the same clip from The Family Madrigal that the Sing and Play Jakks doll features.  The difference is that this doll does not have the additional instrumental version.

Mirabel can interact with the Jakks Pacific accordion, too:

Disney Store Mirabel with the Jakks Pacific accordion.
And her flexible arms make her really good at snuggling Antonio!

Disney Store Mirabel with Jakks Pacific Antonio.
I tried clipping Mirabel's hair back for a few shots, just to see if she'd look a bit more like the movie character...



But I think she looks best when her hair is loose and natural:



I want to leave you with a picture of all of the Encanto dolls I've accumulated, so that you can see them together side-by-side:

From left: Sing and Play Mirabel (Jakks), Adventure Set Mirabel with Antonio (Jakks), and Disney Store Mirabel.
Bottom line?  When I think about the Disney dolls that are sold at big box stores like Target and Walmart (and these dolls have been made by Hasbro, Jakks Pacific, and Mattel over the years), I assume that they will be less expensive, wear simpler clothing, and have inferior articulation to the dolls at the Disney Store.  The interesting thing about this Mirabel comparison is that the Jakks Pacific dolls have inferior articulation and simpler clothing than the Disney Store equivalent--as I expected--but they're not less expensive.  All of the dolls that I reviewed in this series are the same price.  And that makes a difference in my assessment.

But let's start by looking at the Disney Store Mirabel's price and see if it makes sense on its own.  She costs about $25, which is $5 more than the Disney Store Classic Princess dolls.  From what I've seen of the new Classic dolls, Mirabel is definitely worth $5 more.  She's a more solid-feeling doll who can balance on her own, she has soft fabric clothing, she comes with an accordion accessory, and she can play a song from the movie.  The price makes total sense to me.  So are the Jakks Pacific dolls also worth $25, then?  I'd say that the Mirabel and Antonio Adventure Set might be, simply because it includes two dolls and two animal figures.  But the Sing and Play doll, despite her musical feature, is overpriced by comparison.

Let's take a look at the chart from my Jakks Pacific review, and see how the category winners change when the Disney Store Mirabel is added in:


Sing and Play Mirabel

Adventure Set Mirabel

Disney Store Mirabel

Best face



Best outfit



Best accessories



Best articulation



Best hair



Most versatile



Best singer



Best value




The only thing that I hesitated about was the "best value" category at the bottom.  For a child who is trying to re-enact scenes from the move, the Antonio doll and animal figures in the Adventure Set might make that a better buy, but overall, the Disney Store Mirabel is far-and-away the best purchase here.

I can't find many faults with the Disney Store Mirabel, but there are a few.  Her hair is way better than the Jakks Pacific dolls, but it still doesn't look like the hair in the movie.  Other critiques are that her wrists don't bend nearly as much as they could, her face looks too old, and her glasses seem fragile...and I suppose the blemishes in her vinyl might bother some people.  Also, why do all of these dolls come with accordion accessories?  The Disney Store could have made a really great embroidered bag.  But the accordion looks cool and goes nicely with the song feature, I guess.  Overall, this doll has a lot going for her: she's accurate to the movie, her face is friendly and inviting, her dress is attractive and well-sewn, her articulation is good, and her song feature is fun and nicely camouflaged.  Best of all, she's a cheerful, vibrant reminder of a wonderful movie.

Mirabel feels a lot like the Disney Store dolls that I loved ten years ago.  So maybe it's time to put aside old disappointments--for now--and look at this brand with fresh eyes.

19 comments:

  1. Oh she’s a big improvement over the others! Mirabel is such a great character, I’m glad this doll represents her better. And I love the Disney store boxes too, I wish Mirabel came with one! What’s strange is that some of the Disney classic dolls seem to have different and perhaps differently articulated bodies. I am interested in the Raya and the Last Dragon dolls most of all. Sisu is very unique. (A really good movie that a lot of people missed, btw!)

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  2. Her dress is such an improvement over the others! I can imagine a little kid whose a fan of the movie thrilled with that doll. Her face is also better. I think that everything on this doll is an improvement over the others.

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    1. Yes. I have hesitated getting Mirabel because the dolls in the store don't look like her. This one does.

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  3. Clearly a better doll overall than the others! I'm still not a huge fan of the face, though. Perhaps the eyes are just a little too staring-into-your-soul-y? Hahaha. The Disney store does update face molds sometimes, so perhaps they will finally hit the nail on the head with a future Mirabel doll release.

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  4. She is delightful, and makes the others look ….cheap? She could stand in as your model-assistant …she’s so perky!

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  5. Thank you so much for this review ❤️ She‘s really adorable, and I love her dress. Her hair is a bit a hit or miss thing. I accidentally got 3 Mirabels from the DS and they all have different lenghts of hair :) But yours look really good :) I also love those new bodies DS and Jakks created for the Encanto girls (and boy ;). I also like it that you can combine the DS and Jakks dolls, they look really good together :) And I love what you did with Jakks Mirabels hair! But wow, with that updo she really looks like Julieta, Mirabels mum, sooo adorable! I also really hope for a Pepa doll in the future ❤️

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  6. Wow, I have to say the Disney one looks much younger in the face than the previous two dolls! And her dress is leagues better.

    I'm deeply curious about the accordion. I know toys start getting seriously planned well before movies are finalized for release, so what were they going to do with the instrument that got scrapped? Hmmm

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  7. If this Mirabel's hair hung over her face a bit and was more of a tidy bob than it is, she'd look a lot more youthful and accurate. The hair out of box shows too much forehead and splays out too much and looks too long. It's not an easy hair type or style to replicate on a play doll, but it's probably workable.

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  8. As someone who doesn't follow Disney movies, I was shocked to learn that Mirabel is supposed to be 14. In that regard, I think both brands failed to make a believable 14 year old doll. To be fair though, so did the movie, at least from the images you showed here. The custom DS body is quite nice - they should get the same designer to fix the regular body.

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    1. I have watched the movie several times -- and I would not have guessed Mirabel was 14. She seems older.

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  9. The face and the hair are much better on the Disney Store doll, there really isn't any competition there.

    Also, I'm sure you didn't know Emily but 'spazzy' is an offensive, ableist slur in some English speaking areas including the UK. It's on about the same level as describing someone as a 'retard' :(

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    1. Oh, gosh. I'm so sorry! I will remove that immediately. Thank you so much for telling me.

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  10. Unrelated to Mirabel but I completely forgot that Frozen 2's Elsa replaced the original Elsa in the classic doll line up, so I thought your complaints were about to go to the last version of the blue dress which was actually one of the best classic versions of it since the 1st release. The classic Frozen 2 Elsa not very far off from the more premium 2-pack either, where the materials are the same, but instead the details are printed on top of the fabric in a thick plasticky feeling layer, instead of being printed into the satin (and just about every Elsa post-Frozen 2 has that same head to body mismatch).

    Yes, Disney Store quality has gone downhill starting 2017 with the flat unbalanced feet, more plasticky stiffer satin, unhemmed edges, and missing details, along with no longer having yearly refreshes of classic dolls. Lots of these problems are starting to extend to the 17 inch limited edition dolls too with some price increases (except their fabric quality has stayed nice), making them a harder to justify purchase for collectors.

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  11. I don't know why they skipped out on the eyelashes; it's not like her movie form doesn't have any (and rather lovely lashes they are, too!). It would really have helped tone down some of the manic expression in her face.

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    1. This is exactly what I was thinking. A bit of a repaint on her eyes with some eye liner and light lashes would greatly improve her IMO.

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  12. I wonder what they intended to do with the accordion that got scrapped that it features so prominently in the toys.

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  13. Have you considered reviewing one of the 18 inch ILY Disney dolls? It would be great to see a comparison with a more typical 18" doll.

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  14. for everyone wondering about the accordion: early drafts included a montage of all the different hobbies mirabal tried to do in place of receiving a gift. playing the accordion was one, and sewing was another - which made it's way into the film via mirabel's skirt being so decorative. some of the artists have mentioned it on insta and i believe it's also mentioned in the art of book.

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  15. Thanks for the review! I just can't figure out why they made the heads soo big! The heads are larger than any other Disney dolls. I wondered if there was a reason behind it?

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