Friday, June 2, 2023

Live Action The Little Mermaid Ariel by Mattel

Thank you to everyone who wished me well with my arm injury!  The cuts are healing slowly and of course the scars will have good anecdotal value.  I'm getting so bad at replying to comments, but I always read them and truly love hearing everyone else's thoughts, tips, and advice.  Thank you for taking the time to contribute.

It's been a week since I saw the new live action The Little Mermaid movie, and I'm still riding high on the experience...or I'm still singing Part of Your World in my head every thirty seconds, anyway.  I've also really enjoyed seeing clips of Halle Bailey interacting with her fans over the past week.  She seems like a very kind person.  One story I didn't tell during the last review is that I sat next to a little Black girl at the movie, and at the end, she and her mom applauded and cheered loudly.  Then, the little girl left the theatre grinning from ear-to-ear and waving to everyone.  I don't honestly know why she was waving, but I like to believe that this Ariel, and this movie, made her feel beautiful and special--like a princess.

After thoroughly enjoying Shop Disney's Ariel doll in my last review, I'm here today to take a closer look at an equivalent doll in the Mattel lineup: Deluxe Ariel:

Live Action The Little Mermaid Deluxe Ariel by Mattel, $45.00.

There are so many dolls in the Mattel lineup.  Shop Disney released only three dolls, from what I can tell (singing Ariel, Limited Edition Ariel, and plush Ariel).  But Mattel has dozens of options.

Here's the display at my local Target:

The selection was picked-over when I visited (right before the movie release), but you can see that there are tridents, some large Lego sets, and the doll that's on the end in that last picture is a convertible Ariel who looks like this:

She has a singing feature and a tail that transforms into a dress.  I think she's very popular with kids, but I didn't choose her for this review because she has very little articulation and no feet.

One side of the main display had some blind bag toys and sets of smaller dolls:

The blind bag toys include mini plush dolls:

And bag clip figures:

I really like the small doll sets.  The characters are detailed, and they have some articulation:

There's a sister set for $33.99:

There's a set with two versions of Ariel, plus Eric, King Triton, Vanessa, Ursula, Scuttle, Flounder, Sebastian, Max...and one random sister:

This set is the best.  It has everything a child would need to play a wonderful Little Mermaid game.  It's $42, though, which is a lot.

There's also a smaller $26.99 set with just Ariel, Eric, Triton, Ursula, Flounder, and Sebastian:

Tucked away on the bottom of that display was this Eric and Ariel set:

This is the only 1:6 version of Eric that's available, as far as I know.  It's a good likeness to the actor, but he has molded-on pants and practically no articulation. 

If I bought him, he would need a new body.

On the opposite side of the display, I found some medium-sized "petite" dolls with large heads and short bodies:

These are cute, and would be great for little kids, but they don't interest me as much as the fashion dolls.  Also, why were there five copies of the pink-haired sister, Caspia, but none of the other sisters?

Here's a closer look at the Ariel and Triton set ($22.99):

And the larger Ursula, Ariel, and Eric set ($36.99):

On the bottom shelf there was a sing-along boombox ($29.99), an Exploring Under the Sea Ariel ($44.99), and some small Lego storybook sets ($19.99):

In addition to the main display, there were some Little Mermaid toys in the regular aisle, too:

There are a lot of repeats of things we've already seen here, but there are a few new items, too.

There's a Vanessa doll with a lovely face for $14.99:

There's a $44.99 sister set with Ariel and two of her sisters, Karina and Mala:

I have no idea why Karina and Mala were singled out for this set.
These three are also in the larger, $99 sister set that I showed you last time:

The sisters are beautiful, and I like how the characters were re-imagined from the 1989 move where they all looked similar and had names that started with the letter "A."  

The sisters all represent a different ocean, and in the 2023 movie, each sister's appearance reflects the part of the world that contains her ocean.  However, the oceans are fictional, so there's nothing to dictate what each sister should actually look like.  I wish the sisters had played a bigger role in the movie, because the idea of them is very cool.

There's also a Mattel Ursula for $24.99, but I didn't get a good picture of her at the store:

She's pretty great, but I wish her tentacles were longer and more dramatic.

There were a few more Ariel fashion dolls in this part of the store, including a singing Ariel with a permanent tail, a non-singing Ariel with a permanent tail, and an Ariel with legs:

The $14.99 Land Ariel is the most economical way to get a blue dress for any of the Mattel Ariel dolls, but of all the Land Ariels available at my Target, only one had a dress without flaws.

This doll's bodice had a detached layer of fabric that was curling up:

This one's bodice was stretched so tightly that the gathering was barely visible:

This one had horizontal wrinkles that were more noticeable than the gathered pattern:

And this one was almost okay, but the corset part of the bodice wasn't straight, and there were some wrinkles on the side:

My original plan for this review was to look at basic Land Ariel and basic Mermaid Ariel, since this would allow me to contrast Shop Disney's blue dress with Mattel's interpretation of the costume:

Mattel's Ariel on Land (left) and Mermaid Ariel (right), $14.99 each.
Together, this pair costs about $30, which is equivalent to the Disney doll's price.

The two dolls have the same face, which is lovely:

Land Ariel's face-up looks slightly different, but I suspect that's just normal variation in facial screening.

The reason I decided to switch my review to the Deluxe Ariel is that neither of the basic dolls have much articulation.  Mermaid Ariel has straight arms and a single tail joint, and Land Ariel has only neck, shoulder, and hip joints.  I knew that the lack of articulation would bias me against Mattel's dolls, and I wanted to make things as fair as possible.

So, I ordered the Deluxe Ariel online.  She cost $45 with free shipping.  For collectors who like to keep their dolls in the box, this doll is great.  She came double-boxed (in a large mailing box and also in her own brown cardboard shipper).  This greatly decreases the chance of damage to the decorative box.  My doll arrived in pristine condition:

The large window box has narrow scalloped cutouts on either side so that the scene can be viewed from different angles:

The back of the box has a large photograph of the doll, and some text in different languages:

The text is a simple synopsis of the movie; a "reimagined" story of how Ariel longs to experience life on land and ends up on a journey of self-discovery:

The bottom of the box has a QR code that I tested.  It leads to a snippet of music from the soundtrack:

Great.  Now I'm gonna have Part of Your World in my head for another week.
The box also states that the doll was made in Indonesia.

Ariel comes attached to a decorative underwater backdrop that slides out of the main box:

She's looking upwards, as if ascending to the surface, so it's hard to see her face right away.  

Here she is:

This looks like the same face mold as the 1:6 basic Mattel Ariels--with the addition of rooted upper eyelashes.

The backdrop has a colorful coral scene, with a three-dimensional panel at the bottom:

Ariel was fairly easy to extract from her box, with mostly clear rubber bands that had to be snipped, but yes; she did have three plastic ties in the back of her head.

Here she is straight out of the box:

I complained a fair amount about the Disney Ariel's lack of a stand, and I stand by that critique (haha).  But this stand, while it looks really dramatic and on-theme, didn't make a great first impression.  Ariel looked hunched over from the sides:

And her body has to fit between the confines of the coiled plastic wave.

The stand is made out of medium-weight translucent blue plastic.  It has a static waist grip and a narrow base:

I played around for a little while and finally got Ariel to look good.  If her tail is straight, she can hold a more upright pose:

Her face is really nice.  She bears more of a resemblance to Halle Bailey than the Shop Disney Ariel, but she's also clearly a Mattel doll:

She comes with a gold vinyl crown headband (I never saw that in the movie) and some matching hair decorations:

The crown comes plastic-tied into her head in two places, and all of the smaller hair decorations are rubber-banded in place.

The cable ties and rubber bands make the hairstyle look messy.

Her hair design is similar to the Disney doll's hair.  Most of the hair is wavy, but there's a top layer of twisted, yarn-like hair as well:

I found the hair decorations to be distracting, so I decided to remove them before I looked at the hair any further.  

On Ariel's right side, there were two little bead-like items and one larger coiled thingamabob with a pearl at the bottom:

On the left, there were two scallop shells and another bead:

Here are all six of the tiny decorations:

Next, I removed the shell crown:

There are no painted details on this piece, but it has molded beads and scallops on the front:

And some smaller molded shells on the sides:

Here's Ariel without her hair decorations:

Her hair has a different rooting pattern than the Disney doll.  While that doll's twists were rooted just below the center part, this girl's twists are incorporated into the center part.  This looks good, although my doll has a few tiny areas where the scalp is visible:

I think a few of her twists just got pushed to the wrong side during manufacturing.  This'll be easy to fix with a bit of heat.

The rooting is very dense along the center part, as you can imagine, but thinner in the back:

Overall, this doll's hair does not feel as thick as the Shop Disney doll's hair, but the texture is softer and the twists are better incorporated into the rest of the hair.

The Mattel Ariel's hair is red, but it's not as vibrant as the Disney Ariel's hair:

Mattel Ariel's hair (left) and Disney Ariel's hair (right).
The lighter color feels more accurate to the movie, but I prefer the brighter red.  Both colors are pretty, though.

Ariel's crown fits nicely back on her head and stays in place well, but without the rubber bands to hold them in place, the smaller decorations slip right off.  

The hair decorations can be fitted around two twists of hair and stay in place for a minute, but if you wanted them to stay put for longer, they'd have to be tied back on:

Also, the decorations caused little snags in Ariel's twisted hair.  This isn't too noticeable unless you look really close:

I pulled Ariel's hair back so that we could get a better look at her face:

She has painted tendrils around her hairline, just like the Shop Disney doll, but there's more detail in these tendrils, and they are more numerous.  

Ariel also has Ms. Bailey's beauty mark over her left eyebrow.  My favorite detail is the rooted lashes, though!  They're very well done:

I don't like Ariel's profile as much as I like her face from the front.  Something about the shape of her mouth looks a little off:

Maybe it's because I can't see the painted thickness of her upper lip from this angle?  Not sure.

I put Ariel under the light so that we could see her eyes more clearly:

There's a shimmery coating over most of her face, which is perfect for a mermaid.  Her eyes and lips look like they're painted exactly the same way as the budget dolls, with a bit of grey or light blue eyeshadow, and sparkling pink lips.

Both the eyes and lips have a grainy appearance when you look close enough.  They're not pixelated, per se, just grainy:

The lips are a tad lopsided, too, but it's very subtle:

The face looks good, but I prefer the crisp, clear painting technique on the Disney doll.  Here's a reminder of what that face looks like:

Here's a look at the two faces side-by-side, for anyone who's curious (I don't think this side-by-side alignment works on the mobile version of the site, so sorry about that):

I grabbed some screenshots of Ariel from the movie, too, for comparison.  Here's one with a closed mouth:

And here's one with an opened mouth:

Neither company got the eyes right.  Mattel's version has huge eyes, and Disney could have made their eyes bigger.  Overall I would say that Mattel captured a better likeness, but Disney came close, and they created a more unique, joyful face, which aligns with Ariel's personality. 

Ariel came with one more piece of jewelry that I almost forgot about: a bracelet that she wears on her left wrist:

Like all of the other jewelry, this is made out of molded gold vinyl and has no painted detail.  It has three distinct bands, with some ocean-themed decorations:

I can't really tell what the tiny designs are supposed to be.  Coral, maybe?

Ariel's outfit consists of a bikini top and a tail.  She does not come with the blue land dress.

The bikini top is made out of a stretchy blue fabric with metallic silver polka dots.  There's a pink tulle embellishment along the top:

Itty bitty polka dot bikini top.
The bikini closes in back with velcro and has clear vinyl straps.  The construction looks fine:

Here's the bikini alongside the Shop Disney version:

Mattel Ariel's top (left) and Shop Disney Ariel's top (right).
I prefer the Disney interpretation here.  It's more form-fitting, so it looks more like part of Ariel's body.  Also, the fin-like trim on top is very cool, and the scale pattern is more fish-like than those polka dots.

The main part of Ariel's tail is green at the top and transitions into pink towards the bottom.  This ombre print is overlaid with shimmering gold scales.  There's also a green tulle accent at the waistline that looks really nice:

The tail fins are cut out of a stiff fabric with a printed ray pattern.  They're also accented by swirls of pink tulle:

I love that these fins have some fancy details that resemble the movie costume.  Unfortunately, though, the fins only have a printed design on one side, so the back is blank:

One last detail that's easy to miss is some tiny pink tulle fins on the side of the tail towards the bottom:

The tail has an elastic waist band, so it pulls on and off without any velcro:

The absence of velcro makes this tail harder to get on and off than the Disney tail, though.

Here are the two tails side by side:

Mattel Ariel's tail (top) and Shop Disney Ariel's tail (bottom).
In addition to being easier to use, the Disney tail also has a color scheme that's more accurate to the movie.  But the Mattel tail has stiff, fancy tail fins.  Since I complained about the plain, floppy tail fins on the Disney tail, you'd think I'd prefer Mattel's version.  However, I actually like the Disney tail better.  

The Disney tail is more attractive and well-made overall--especially if you compare the two from the back!

Underneath her mermaid outfit, Ariel has a plastic body with eleven points of articulation:

She has fashion feet with no ankle articulation, so she cannot balance on her own.  She's suspended in many of these pictures.

Here she is from the back:

There's a molded 2022 copyright on her back, and she was made in Indonesia:

This is not a Barbie body, and I don't recognize it from any other Mattel creations.  Have any of you seen it before?

The body has decent articulation, but the thing about Mattel is this: I know they can put a doll on a Made to Move body and sell it for $20.  So why not do that with this doll?  Or every doll, for that matter??  Every doll that isn't on a Made to Move body feels like a step backwards to me, and that's sad.

Okay, but while I'm ranting about this, I'l put out a caveat to what I just said. The Barbie: The Movie dolls just dropped, and they're not on Made to Move bodies, either.  But I feel like in this very specific case, it's fine.  A lot of the jokes and themes in that movie appear to be based on Barbie's historic anatomy--not the more modern, highly-articulated, flat-footed dolls.  So giving the movie dolls a more traditional body makes sense.

Back to business, though!  

Ariel has good movement in her head.  She can look up and down, and from side to side:

She can also tip her head back and forth:

Ariel's shoulders are rotating hinges, so they can lift up and away from her body, but they don't lift up very far:

The arms can also spin around:

Her elbows and wrists are rotating hinges, and both can bend to just shy of 90 degrees.  The wrists are particularly limited when they're bending towards the arm:

All of this means that Ariel can't even come close to touching her face, and she can't touch the top of her head, either:

She can rest a hand on her hip, though:

I really like the Shop Disney Ariel's hand mold, so I made sure to take a close look at this girls hands:

She has the same hand mold as Lena.

Ariel has ball-and-socket hips, but she can't do side-to-side splits:

She can do front-to-back splits, but they're not smooth.  Her legs are at a funny angle and she tips over to the side and needs arm support:

She sits solidly on the ground, though:

Her knees are rotating hinges, which is great!  She can kneel on one knee:

And while she can also kneel on two knees, her balance is precarious:

She can sit nicely in a chair, unlike most Disney dolls:

And can even rotate her lower legs in or out:

This doll has a funny change in texture in the vinyl of her legs.  I hope you can see it in this picture:

The thigh is shiny until about a half inch away from the knee joint, then the surface become matte.  The same is true on the lower leg: it's matte at the knee joint, and then become shiny towards the feet.

And, as I mentioned, Ariel has fashion feet with no ankle articulation:

Ariel has a lot of joints (certainly more than the basic Little Mermaid dolls!) but her movement feels stiff and slightly limited to me.  She can't lounge very well--although, to be fair, most fashion dolls can't lounge:

But she can run:

And she was even able to balance in this pose without any help!

At 10.5 inches tall (on her tippy toes!), Ariel is a good inch shorter than a standard Barbie like Lena.  I don't know how tall Halle Bailey is, but she looks petite next to Jonah Hauer-King (Eric), so the height difference may have been deliberate:

Mattel Deluxe Ariel doll (left), and Barbie Signature Looks doll (right).
Ariel also has very few curves, with a small chest and slim hips.  But of course it's the articulation differences between these two that really stand out.  Lena's Made to Move joints would have allowed Ariel to strike so many cool swimming poses!

Here's Ariel next to her Shop Disney counterpart:

Mattel Deluxe Ariel (left) and Shop Disney Singing Ariel (right).
There's a lot to compare here.  First of all, I find the Disney doll more engaging.  That face is totally charming.  But the Mattel Ariel looks more like the movie character.  The Disney body is more flexible overall, but the Mattel doll has rotation in her legs, which is really nice.  Also, the Mattel Ariel has a more movie-accurate hair color, but the Disney Ariel's hair feels higher-quality.

The two dolls are close enough in size that Mattel Ariel can wear the Disney Ariel's blue dress:

Mattel's Deluxe Ariel wearing Shop Disney Ariel's dress.
The dress is tight in the back at the waist, because the Disney doll's waist is super skinny.  But it definitely works:

Mattel's Deluxe Ariel wearing Shop Disney Ariel's dress.
The Disney Ariel's mermaid costume doesn't fit Mattel Ariel quite as well.  The top, in particular, is very loose:

Mattel's Deluxe Ariel wearing Shop Disney Ariel's mermaid outfit.
The tail fits well, though, and I really like this shimmering outfit on her!

Mattel's Deluxe Ariel wearing Shop Disney Ariel's mermaid outfit.
Disney Ariel has a harder time fitting into the Mattel outfit.  For one, the bikini top is too tight, but the stretch material makes it possible, at least.  But I couldn't get the tail pulled up all of the way at first:

Then I realized that there's actually a hole in the bottom of the tail so that Ariel's feet can poke out!  This makes the tail sharable between dolls of different heights:

The hole at the bottom of the tail also makes it harder to use, though.  Guiding a doll's feet through that tiny space is not easy.

With her feet poking through the bottom of the tail, Disney Ariel can make the Mattel outfit work for her:

Shop Disney Ariel wearing Mattel Deluxe Ariel's outfit.
But let's focus on the Mattel Ariel again, since this is her review.

I put Ariel back into her own outfit, and attached her to the swirling water stand:

With the help of the stand, she does an excellent job of replicating Disney Ariel's cover shot!

I like the right hand side of the stand design.  It has a cresting wave pattern at the very tip, and if Ariel is positioned just right, this make it look like she's swimming really fast!

And she's always swimming really fast in the movie.

I found Mattel Ariel's posing repertoire more limited than Disney Ariel's.  But she looks very relaxed sitting on the ground:

And I was able to suspend her for a few fake underwater shots!

And you know what's coming next, right?

It's Ariel's Under the Sea Photoshop moment!

I just wish I could see how this doll's hair behaves when it's actually underwater!  The animated hair was one of the most amazing things about the movie.

Ariel can't even come close to doing the classic mermaid pose, unfortunately:

But can you picture her relaxing on a rock like this?

Maybe not, but she looks lovely swimming around my studio!

This Ariel does not have a sound feature, but since Part of Your World has been going through my head constantly these days, I hardly need a gimmick to imagine her singing!

I put a few of Ariel's hair accessories back in for a few shots.  These are either balanced in place or have a twist wrapped around them:

Ariel's hair ornamentation is very subtle in the movie (I only noticed one shell), but these little pieces look nice.  I just wish they had a way to stay in place:

I put Ariel back on her stand so that I could get a photo of the two mermaids together:

I find it interesting how even though Mattel Ariel's face is more accurate, every time Disney Ariel is in the frame, she steals the shot:

She politely asked Mattel Ariel if she could have a turn with the water stand:

And of course Mattel Ariel agreed.

And Disney Ariel had the time of her life swimming around with the stand!

I love how happy and full of wonder she looks.

Here are the mermaid friends together for one last photo:

Bottom line?  It's wonderful that we have so many great dolls to choose from for this movie, and at a range of prices, too.  But I haven't said much about the prices yet.  As I was browsing at Target, I was struck by how expensive all of the Mattel items are.  Almost everything cost close to $30--if not more.  The exception is the $14.99 basic dolls.  These seem like an okay deal at first glance, but with so few joints and so many quality issues, the price is less attractive.  And furthermore, in order to have the full Little Mermaid experience, you'd want to buy both the Land Ariel and Mermaid Ariel...which adds up to $30.  Maybe the prices are high because Mattel basically has to split the profits with Disney?  That might explain it.  But it's still rough to have so few options in the $10-$20 range.

This particular doll feels overpriced at $45.  She's basically a play doll with rooted eyelashes in a fancy box.  Her outfit is fairly simple, she does not have a singing feature, and she does not come with the blue land dress.  However, she's the best-articulated doll in the Mattel lineup, and she's the only one with a removable tail and legs underneath.  She's really beautiful, and I'm happy with her, but I feel like she should have been priced the same as the Shop Disney Ariel, at around $35.

To finish up, I'll run through a few categories, summarizing this Ariel and how she compares to the Disney version.

Face: the Mattel Ariel has a beautiful face that is recognizable as Halle Bailey from the movie.  Her large brown eyes are nicely screened and accented with rooted eyelashes.  Her face also has a subtle shimmer that fits well with her mermaid identity.  My doll has no face paint defects, but the color in her features looks grainy up-close; it's not as crisp and clear as the Disney Ariel's face paint.  In addition to having better face paint, the Disney Ariel also has a smiling, joyful expression that gets to the heart of Ariel's personality in the movie.  However, the Shop Disney Ariel does not look much like Ms. Bailey.

Hair: both dolls have the same approach to replicating the hairstyle from the movie.  Namely, wavy hair is rooted alongside yarn-like twists.  Mattel Ariel's twists are rooted right into her center part, which looks better than the placement of Disney Ariel's twists, which stick out awkwardly from below the part.  Also, Mattel Ariel's twists blend in with her other hair better, and look more natural.  And the Mattel hair is very soft and easy to manage.  Last of all, Mattel Ariel's faded red hair is a better fit to the hair color in the movie.  However, Disney Ariel's hair is thicker and more vibrant.

Body: Mattel Ariel has eleven points of articulation, many of them rotating hinges.  She has excellent head movement, and can strike a lot of good poses.  However, she does not have ankle joints and cannot balance on her own.  Also, many of her joints don't move as much as I'd like, and so she can't do things like touch her face or run her fingers through her hair.  I wish she had a Made to Move body.  However, she has some rotation in her legs, which is more than Disney Ariel can say.  However, I prefer Disney Ariel's articulation overall.  She's more poseable, especially in her upper body, and I love her double-jointed knees.

Accessories: it's awesome that Mattel Ariel comes with a stand.  The stand looks really dramatic, and is a great way to show off a mermaid doll.  I wish Disney Ariel had come with a stand.  I wasn't able to achieve a large range of poses using the stand, but it works fine for basic display.  Mattel Ariel also comes with various pieces of gold vinyl jewelry.  Of these, the shell crown is the most interesting and useful.  The bracelet is nice, too, but Ariel doesn't wear any jewelry in the movie.  The little hair decorations are a fun idea, but the rubber bands that hold them in place look messy, and once those have been removed, the decorations don't stay in the hair.  I'd have given up all of Ariel's jewelry in exchange for a blue land dress, but I suppose that wouldn't have looked good on display in the box, and this doll puts a lot of emphasis on the box aesthetics.  Disney Ariel wins the accessory contest simply because she comes with that beautiful land outfit.

Outfit: Mattel Ariel's mermaid outfit is nice.  It captures the essence of the movie costume, although the color scheme is a little off.  Also, if the top had a scale pattern instead of polka dots, it would have looked more like part of a mermaid's body and less like a bathing suit.  The tail has a hole at the bottom to accommodate dolls of different heights, which is great, but it can be tricky to fit the feet through the hole.  Also, the elastic waistband is tight and hard to pull on over Ariel's hips.  In contrast, Disney Ariel's tail is extremely easy to use.  Mattel Ariel has a fancy tail that looks accurate to the movie, but the pattern is only printed on one side, so the tail looks bland from the back.  Even though I complained about Disney Ariel's relatively simple tail fins, I like those more.  In fact, I like all of Disney Ariel's outfit better.

In the end, Mattel Ariel is head and shoulders better than Disney Ariel...meaning that her head and shoulders are better--or at least more movie-accurate.  But Disney Ariel does everything else better, and for a lower price, too.  So she's my favorite of this comparison, and I've like her face a lot, even though it lacks a strong resemblance to Halle Bailey.  But both dolls are attractive, both make excellent souvenirs from the movie, and both have great play potential.  You can't go wrong with either.  In fact, when I sit here and look at this pair, Sebastian's words leap to mind: such wonderful things surround you, what more is you lookin' for?  In this case, not much.


  1. Lovely review! I can hardly wait for these dolls to appear in my town.
    Kind of surprised you liked Disney's Ariel's hair better, as I've read in other reviews it is made from polypropylene which yes, it has a wider and brighter variety of colors but it has very poor quality and durability, according to collectors, and also tends to feel "dry" as this material is water resistant apparently, whereas Mattel's Ariel has Saran hair which is the prefered material for collectors as it is silkier and more durable.
    In case you need some example, Clawdeen from G3 has Poly hair but Frankie from G3 has Saran hair.

    1. I need a lesson. How does one know what kind of hair a doll has?

    2. Interesting about the hair! Sometimes I can tell saran from poly easily, but in this case it was hard, I guess. Maybe those twists complicate things? They certainly prevented me from brushing the hair, which is a good way to evaluate it further. Mattel Ariel's hair is softer, and easier to manage, for sure, but the Disney hair does not feel bad to me. Now I'm curious to inspect it again under this lens, but I'm out of town so it will have to wait. :/ Thank you for the input, Luis!

  2. I think the 2022 copyright body is the same as the Mattel “Peter Pan and Wendy” movie Tinkerbell and Wendy dolls! I don’t know if it’s been used for other characters.

    Thank you for your excellent reviews as always.

    1. Oooh! Awesome! I knew somebody would have the answer! Now I'm curious to go look at those dolls. Thank you! :)

  3. Great review as always! Mattel aroel

  4. Great review! I think Disney did a fine job of capturing the important aspects of Ariel from the movie but am surprised they didn't at least make their own version of Eric as well. Overall tho I feel more connected to and engaged by the mattel sculpt and hair/head. It truly creates a beautiful blend of animated doll meets real actor resemblance. I can also appreciate that the different price point versions have notable differences to incentivize getting either or both - for example, Single land Ariel has a pleated skirt with the sandals from the second part of the market scene/dancing sequence while the 2 pack comes with her ever important bag, a version of the headband, the jade mermaid, the high heeled original boots and our only Eric (who deserves a better doll IMO).

    The posable tail Ariel from the sister sets has a better top while the single version has a more accurate and lovely fin - and admittedly have been gobbling up all the dolls I can. (there's even more to be found/released as two versions of Ariel in her pink dress are to be released: a single one with real ruffle details and a printed dress one with a second outfit of the tail) and find myself still wanting this deluxe mattel version quite a bit as well as the sisters set & maybe the 3 pack with exclusive Triton. Also, congrats on your target having Vanessa since she is no where in any of the stores in my town sadly. Hopefully I can snag everything I like before the Barbie movie dolls and purchases take over! LOL

    1. Hi Andrew! Thank you for adding your knowledge about the other versions of Ariel! I'm excited about the pink dress dolls. I'm also bummed about the absence of Eric. I definitely would have bought him, too. Like you, I'm impressed by so many of these dolls. I didn't even intend to buy Vanessa, but her face is so pretty in person! Mattel really did an exceptional job with the face sculpts. And I hear you about Barbie taking over! It's a lot of movie doll action in a short period of time! But what a fun summer it's going to be. :)

  5. I don't intend to watch the movie (can't stand musicals, and I'm not into mermaids) but I LOVE all the Mattel heads. Ariel, IMO, is so much prettier than the 89 version. I saw Vanessa and the sisters on amazon and they are really beautiful too. The Disney doll does absolutely nothing for me, but I'll admit the quality of her face print is superior and her costumes, as usual, are much better. It's interesting about the Mattel body. I wonder if the budget dolls are the same size. My limited shelf space makes me extremely picky nowadays, but I won't be able to say no to a good sale. I hope they reuse the sculpts too, they are great.

    1. Lol, my mom doesn't like musicals, either, so I get it. I'm not sure about the budget dolls' size, but I can check when I get home! The Mattel heads are very good, I agree. Mattel did the Cinderella live action movie dolls, too, and those were amazing--much better than Disney. If the Mattel dolls were on better bodies, they'd be such a dream come true. But I'm really happy with them regardless.

  6. That mattel head is beautiful, and I love that stand! The hair accessories really add some magic too, even if they aren't part of the movie.

    I fully expected to like this outfit more, but side by side, I gave to agree with you, the Disney one is nicer in the details.

    Hope your arm is healing up well!

  7. I immediately watched Little Mermaid in the cinemas because Ariel is my favorite princess. Such a beautiful movie, a few hiccups here and there, but wonderful overall! I cried when they sang THE song, Part of Your World. I'm so happy to see that the dolls they made of Halle Bailey are so beautiful! I wish we could combine both having the face look more like her but also exuding her joyfulness.

    I am once again recommending dolls lol, but have you seen the HMinor Doll in the Jaki and Pipi faces? Soooooo cute, I am ordering a Pipi head to put on an Obitsu 22cm body. My first BJD-ish doll!

  8. Oh my, haven't been here for YEARS. can't believe you are still going. Off to catch up!

  9. So fun to see the comparisons! They are different enough to make collectors want both.
    That weird texture difference on the legs happens on most Barbies as well. It's so annoying.

  10. in the film
    if she wears ornaments in her hair, take a good look

  11. Sadly, I was kinda of disappointed with movie, but I'm happy for you!
    And I think that the Mattel's Ariel face is just perfect. Wish she had a MTM body!

  12. Thank you so much for the lovely review. The Mattel one really has a sweet face. I‘m watching her on Amazon and hope the price will come down one day :)

  13. I would be fine if their rendition of Ariel had even the basic fashionista type articulation, because her face is really darn cute. Disney store technically provides more band for your buck, but their facial sculpt/screening is really odd and only looks good at certain angles.