Showing posts with label Cinderella. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cinderella. Show all posts

Thursday, September 29, 2022

A Variety of DALL-E Dollies

Today started out totally normal for me.  I got up, let the dogs out, grabbed a cup of coffee, and sat down to read the news.  But then an article in the Washington Post completely changed the course of my entire day.  And forgive me in advance, but it's likely to steal all of the free time you thought you had, too.

The article I read was about DALL-E, an artificial intelligence, text-to-image generator that has just become widely available to the public.  A text-to-image generator is software that can use regular text to create an image.  So if I input a phrase like "pencil drawing of a dog," DALL-E will give me several computer-generated images that look like pencil drawings of dogs.  And judging by the Washington Post sample images, I could see that DALL-E is very good at what it does.  The article was focused mainly on how this type of AI can be dangerous--and I can see that angle.  For example, people wanting to make a point could generate fake photographic evidence to claim something happened when it actually didn't.

But of course I wasn't interested in DALL-E because I want to create conspiracies or topple governments, I just wanted to see how good this thing is at rendering photographs of dolls.  And it's darn good...at least some of the time:

DALL-E redhead doll in a blue polka dot dress.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Endless Hair Kingdom Barbie by Mattel

I've been going to Toys R Us every week for the past month, trying to find something new and exciting to review.  This is often a slow time of year (after the holidays but before summer) for new doll releases.  In fact, I've been noticing absences from the shelves more than additions: Bratz dolls have been discontinued and are gradually disappearing, the Journey Girls have been replaced by American Girl, Winx Club dolls--and their Make it Pop imitators--are gone, and although Cabbage Patch Kids are still around, they look really different under the Wicked Cool Toys label.

Amidst all of these changes, evidence suggests that Mattel might be doing well--recovering from their multi-year financial slump.  I don't have a lot of data to support this, but the Toys R Us doll section in South Portland is certainly dominated by Mattel these days: there's Barbie, Ever After High, Monster High, My Mini MixieQ, DC Super Hero Girls, Loving Family...and of course the whole American Girl mini-store.  The only chink in Mattel's armor seems to be the fact that Hasbro scored the Disney Princess license.

Mattel's dominance doesn't bother me the way it used to.  I think this company is starting to make a lot of great changes.  While I've all but lost interest in Monster High and Ever After High, I'm very excited about some of American Girl's new releases: the WellieWishers, Melody, Gabriella, Logan, Z and Nanea.  The Barbie aisle is more exciting to me now than it's ever been, too, with the brilliantly-articulated Made to Move characters and the diversity of body types and skin tones in the Fashionista line.  In fact, the most interesting doll I found at Toys R Us last week is a Barbie doll.  This doll is from Mattel's Endless Hair Kingdom collection.  She caught my eye because of her size (about 17 inches), her great articulation, and her very long hair:

Endless Hair Kingdom Barbie, $24.99.

Friday, May 15, 2015

"Frozen Fever" Anna and Elsa Dolls--A Comparison Review!

After limping along for a few months, my valiant six-year-old computer finally reached the Point of No Return.  It might have--just a thought--had something to do with the 28,000 photographs stored on its hard drive.  Anyway, I have been transitioning to a newer computer over the past few weeks.  I knew this would be a challenge (let's just say I'm not someone who thrives on change...) but it was trickier than I expected.  The biggest hurdle was to move from my ancient iPhoto software to a fancy modern photo processing program.  You might notice a few changes and quirks as I continue to get used to all of these new-fangled things.

I probably should have written a few shorter reviews as I got accustomed to my new set-up, but a side-effect of my aversion to change is that I pretend everything is going to stay the same...and I don't plan ahead.  I just stubbornly do what I would have done in a never-changing world.  Basically, I was really looking forward to writing this Frozen Fever comparison review and didn't want to compromise.  So...it took me a while to finish.

Both Mattel and the Disney Store made Anna and Elsa dolls for the Frozen Fever short film that accompanied the recent Cinderella movie.  I loved this short film--especially when I was watching it in a movie theater full of little kids.  The giggling was contagious.  I really wanted to have a doll souvenir from this cute film--like I do for most Disney movies.  I typically prefer the Disney Store versions of movie-themed dolls, but when I saw that Mattel had changed their Frozen dolls for this release (Anna has a really different face mold) I thought it would be fun to do another comparison.

Mattel's Frozen Fever Elsa (left) and Anna (right), $14.99 each.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Travel Friends "India" and "Ireland" by Madame Alexander

Ok, first things first: I saw Cinderella last week and absolutely loved it.  I went into the theater with very (very!) high expectations, granted, and I can't say that those expectations were completely met, but I did really enjoy the movie and cried through about half of it (both sad and happy tears).  I think Richard Madden is absolutely perfect as the prince (named "Kit," apparently).  Cate Blanchett is luminescent as Lady Tremaine, but Helena Bonham-Carter's plucky Fairy Godmother doesn't have enough screen time.  Some of the characters are left underdeveloped (Fairy Godmother and stepsisters), while others (Lady Tremaine and the king) are given new depth.  Lily James sparkles as Ella, with a tender-hearted and lovable version of the character.  Her chemistry with Kit is fantastic.  Ms. James' version of Cinderella doesn't have quite enough spunk to trump Drew Barrymore in Ever After, though...so that remains my favorite live action Cinderella movie.  I am off to see Cinderella again on Sunday, and probably two or three more times after that.  It's wonderful.

Today's review doesn't have anything to do with Cinderella, though.  This review is based on another excellent reader suggestion.  My friend Nadine (who knows how much I like miniature things...) purchased one of the Madame Alexander mini dolls at Toys R Us a few weeks ago, and she suggested that I do this review--thinking I might particularly enjoy the articulation on these new minis.  I had already seen Char's review of these dolls over on Doll Diaries, but wanted to get a look at them in person.  The minis, called "Travel Friends," are about 7 inches tall and are available for $12.99.  The collection includes 9 girls who each represent a different country (Ireland, India, China, Germany, Russia, Kenya and France).  I purchased Ireland (for her red hair, of course) and India (because I thought she was the prettiest):

Madame Alexander "Travel Friends" dolls
Madame Alexander "Travel Friends," $12.99 each. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

"Through the Woods" Ashlynn Ella--A Guest Review!

I am so thrilled to have my friend Muzzy as a guest reviewer this week. You might know Muzzy from her lovely comments here on the blog.  I am especially grateful to Muzzy because not only did she choose to review a character that I am very fond of (Ashlynn Ella!), but the timing of her contribution is perfect.  I could not be more grateful to have a helping hand this week (a helping foot would be awesome, too...) but also, this is the first week of the Cinderella movie (I haven't seen it yet...the agony!) and so a review of Cinderella's daughter seems highly appropriate.

I will let Muzzy tell you all about this new version of Ashlynn Ella, and then I will hop in at the end to share a few pictures and thoughts about my own new Ever After High doll, Duchess Swan.  Please welcome Muzzy to the blog with her beautiful Ashlynn!

Ever After High's "Through the Woods" Ashlynn Ella.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

"Cinderella and the Prince" from the Disney Store and Mattel's "Cinderella Wedding Day"

I'm back!  For those of you not on Facebook, I'll fill you in: I was in a bad car accident right after the Phicen review, and I broke my leg.  Everything is going really well, but I am about the slowest person on the planet right now, so it's just taken a really long time to get back on track.  The other thing is, this review is super-long and involves three dolls, so it would have taken me a while to create even with two fully-functioning legs.  I could have just chosen to review a simpler doll, I suppose, but this review involves Cinderella, and when Cinderella is on the scene, I find it difficult to think rationally.

Have I mentioned that I'm ridiculously excited about Disney's Cinderella live action movie that is coming out in 18 days on March 13th??  I've read comments around the internet suggesting that Disney really blew it by making another Cinderella movie, and that everyone has seen the story enough times already.  I respectfully disagree.  For me, this movie is (in true Disney fashion) a dream come true.  I never dared to even hope that there would be another Cinderella movie...but here it comes.  Premiering in less than a month.  I have watched the trailer for Cinderella about thirty times now (no exaggeration...) and it makes me weep every time--especially the part when Ella's mother says, Where there is kindness, there is goodness, and where there is goodness...there is magic!  Ahh!  Goosebumps!  It's going to be an amazing movie.  It has to be.

Of course I have also been anticipating the new Cinderella doll lines with significant enthusiasm.  Both the Disney Store and Mattel have produced versions of the main characters, and I thought it would be fun to do a comparison of the first pair of dolls I was able to get my hands on: "Cinderella and the Prince" ($69.95 from the Disney Store) and "Cinderella Wedding Day" ($29.99 from Mattel).

Cinderella and the Prince dolls set
Cinderella from the Disney Store's "Cinderella and the Prince" set.

Monday, October 27, 2014

"Basic Patsyette" by Tonner Doll

Robert Tonner is one of my favorite doll designers.  A few of his Cinderella and Cami dolls rank among my all-time favorites.  However, it's been a while since I have reviewed a Tonner doll, and there's a great variety of new faces and characters to choose from right now.  For example: I am crazy about the Sheldon and Amy dolls from The Big Bang Theory collection, I'm thrilled to see the return of Tiny Kitty, and I'd absolutely love to have another Deja Vu girl in my house.  However, the rascal who grabbed my attention this time around is the 8 inch redheaded Patsyette.  With Tonner's high prices, this basic doll's relatively low $69.99 cost was also part of her appeal.

There's not a lot of information about Patsyette on the Tonner sales page.  She is introduced as "brand new" and credited to the Effanbee doll company (now owned by Tonner).  In fact, the Patsyette character has a rich history.  She was first produced in 1931 as the little sister of Effanbee's popular Patsy doll.  Patsyette was re-introduced in 2004 with a face sculpted by the original Patsy artist, Bernard Lipfert.  After another short retirement, the newest version of Patsyette debuted in 2014 with a brand-new face and the articulated Betsy McCall body.  While I have enjoyed all of the incarnations of Patsyette, it is the newest version of her face that I could not resist:

Tonner Basic Patsyette
"Basic Patsyette" by Tonner Doll, $69.99.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review Fusion #2

I am delighted to have another Review Fusion today!  I wasn't sure if this idea was going to work, so I'd really like to thank all of the reviewers who have been willing to share posts with one another and contribute to these fun combinations!  I love grab bags and surprises, and I think this ever-changing blend of dolls and perspectives feeds into that passion.  I hope you enjoy the mix, too.

I am in the midst of trying to inject some order into my madness (in other words, rearrange my doll room) and so having the help of such wonderful guest reviewers is amazing.  Today, I have two reviewers, George and Amanda, and they will be talking to you about a Mattel Winx Club Bloom doll and a Disney Store singing Cinderella (eeee!).  The cover picture this week is an extraordinary photograph that I have been holding on to for months, waiting for the right moment to share it with you.  This exquisite girl is a new Cutie Face Makie (like Effie) named "Ever."  Ever is owned by Amy and was customized to Amy's specifications by Sioux.  You can see more of Amy's pictures of Ever on her gorgeous Flickr photostream.  I think Ever is magical:

Makie doll, "Ever."  Photo by Amy, used with permission.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Ruth Treffeisen Play Doll, "Cristi Blue"

There has been a lot of excitement in the wake of the recent Toy Fair in New York City.  The American International Toy Fair is an enormous trade show held by the Toy Industry Association.  This event takes place in mid-February, and usually attracts over 30,000 attendees.  I was not one of the attendees this year, but it's a dream of mine to be a part of this toy extravaganza some day.  I am grateful to the Doll Diaries team for their wonderful reporting, and also to my friend Lily who sends me updates about specific dolls that catch her eye.

This review was inspired by the Toy Fair in a peculiar way.  I got a lovely email from the Paola Reina America doll company, sharing with me some of their pictures from Toy Fair and alerting me to the fact that their beautiful and extensive line of dolls would soon be available for purchase in the United States.  I eagerly visited their online store and drooled over many of the dolls.  I highly recommend a visit to this site--but I'll warn you that it's dangerously tempting.  While I was browsing, I noticed that the 13" Paola Reina America "Las Amigas" line strongly resembles an older doll that I bought almost a year ago.  My doll is "Cristi Blue" (also known as "Carla III") from the 2007 Ruth Treffeisen play doll collection:

Ruth Treffeisen play doll
Ruth Treffeisen play doll, "Carla III" or "Cristi Blue," 2007.

Monday, February 3, 2014

"Around Town" Penelope Brewster, a Déjà Vu Doll by Robert Tonner

Penelope Brewster is a character from Robert Tonner's relatively new Déjà Vu line.  The story behind this line is that Penelope is a young woman living in Los Angeles and working in the movie industry. This seems fairly bland.  However things get considerably more interesting when Penelope gets bumped on the head and suddenly begins to recall moments from her many previous lives.  Among her earlier incarnations are Emma Jean McGowan from the 1920s and Anne De Légere from the late 17th century.  Not only do all of these versions of Penelope have their own unique story, but they have beautiful 16" vinyl dolls to portray them.  I think the idea behind the Déjà Vu line is detailed, imaginative, and thought-provoking.

The dolls have a brand new body design and are advertised as being extremely posable.  They all share the same face mold, which has a much more stylistic look than Tonner's previous 16" fashion dolls.  One of the most exciting things about the Déjà Vu line is the beautiful period clothing that is available for Penelope's historical manifestations.  I am particularly fond of the Louis XIV style dresses (and dramatic hairstyles) that Anne De Légere wears.  However, the intricacy of the outfits is in direct correlation with the price of these dolls...and none of them are cheap.  The options range from $99 for a basic doll (in undergarments) to $209 for the most dramatically dressed Anne De Légere ("La Vie de Versailles").  My favorite doll is La Vie de Versailles, but her price is so high, I opted for "Around Town" Penelope Brewster instead.  She's right in the middle of the price range, I like her face paint, and she comes with a full outfit.

"Around Town" Penelope Brewster  LE 500 ($159.99).

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Disney Store's "Singing Elsa" Doll from the Movie "Frozen"

Well, I finally went to see Frozen last week, and have become completely obsessed.  I took my whole family to see it again last night and then rushed home and pre-ordered the DVD.  I sing Let it Go in my sleep, cry when I hear Do You Want to Build a Snowman, and laugh every time I think of Olaf's face as he says, "I don't have a skull...or bones."  What a great movie!

I'm grateful to Julia for writing her guest review of the Disney Store's Anna and Elsa dolls, because if she hadn't taken the initiative, I never would have purchased any Frozen dolls right away, and now they're sold out almost everywhere and insanely hard to find for a reasonable price.  Of course the dolls I really wish I owned are the Disney Store's limited edition dolls--especially the set with Anna in her coronation dress and Elsa in her ice dress.  I always at least consider purchasing these Disney collector dolls when they are first announced, but all four of the Frozen dolls sold out in minutes and I was too slow to get one.

Fortunately, the Disney Store's 16" singing dolls (like the talking Merida I reviewed last year) occasionally share a face mold with the limited edition dolls.  The singing dolls are play quality and therefore not as nicely made or as highly articulated as the collector dolls, but they're still a decent, affordable alternative for anyone who likes the larger size or the face mold.  When I learned that the singing Elsa doll features a verse from Let it Go, I knew she was the doll for me:

Disney Frozen Singing Elsa Doll
Singing Elsa Doll from Frozen, $39.95.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

"Ahoy Patience" by Wilde Imagination

Patience is a new 14" hard plastic and vinyl child doll from Wilde Imagination.  Patience is sweet and upbeat compared to Wilde Imagination's more established characters like the elegantly melancholy Ellowyne Wilde and the fashionably creepy Evangeline Ghastly.

The debut Patience doll, Garden Patience, was a gorgeous little redhead with bright green eyes and an amazing, romantic dress.  When this doll was announced, I was so wrapped up in other things that I missed the beginning of pre-orders.  I want to kick myself now, because this gorgeous little doll sold out in a flash.  Unwilling to pay the high secondary market prices for Garden Patience, I had to be, ah, patient and wait for the new dolls to arrive.  I was thrilled when a trio of Patience dolls was released for pre-order before Christmas.  All of these newer dolls are still available on the Wilde Imagination site, and so I figured that this could be a good time for a review.

The Patience dolls are limited to 300 pieces each and cost over $150.  The available dolls are called "Wonderland Patience" (an Alice in Wonderland doll, $169), "Tokyo Patience" (a lovely brown-eyed Japanese girl, $199) and "Ahoy Patience," the doll whose platinum blonde bob and sailor dress tempted me the most:

Tonner's Ahoy Patience
"Ahoy Patience" by Wilde Imagination, $169.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Disney's "Little Princess Cinderella" by Zapf Creation

While I was waiting for my 18" Annie doll to arrive, Connor gave me a tip to go check out some wonderful flickr pictures of a highly-articulated 14" Disney Ariel doll made by Zapf Creation.  As Connor noted, I am a big fan of articulated dolls, Disney Princesses and redheads, so the tip was perfect for me (thank you, Connor!).  I also like the Zapf company quite a lot and tend to be impressed with the quality of their dolls.  Given all of this, it should come as no surprise that I went directly from the flickr pictures to the online shops, trying to find one of these Zapf dolls to review.

The dolls are not easy to find.  I don't think they've ever been for sale in the United States and it seems like they are now discontinued.  Limited quantities remain for sale online--often at dramatically marked-up prices.  I believe these dolls were first made in 2010 and retailed for around £25.  If you live in Europe, you can probably still find a doll at a reasonable price: Amazon UK currently has Ariel for £15 and Puppen Toys in Spain has several of the dolls at retail.  Here in the United States, it seems to cost $50-100 to bring home one of these princesses.  Fishpond.com has the best deals that I could find, and they are willing to ship internationally, but they don't have many dolls left.

Zapf made five princesses: Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Snow White and Cinderella.  The current prices and availability are linked to popularity.  Belle is the hardest to find and costs the most--often well over $100.  Fortunately, my favorite fairy tale princess, Cinderella, was the easiest to find and the least expensive:

"Little Princess Cinderella," by Zapf.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ever After High "Ashlynn Ella and Hunter Huntsman" Set

I reviewed Ever After High's Apple White doll back in July, and while I wanted to be super-enthusiastic about her, she left me feeling underwhelmed.  Her round head and plain features were not as pretty as I had hoped, and her outfit was nowhere near as creative as it could have been.  On top of that, many of you reported that there are widespread problems with the facial screening on these dolls, leaving some of them unacceptably wonky-eyed.

Despite these issues, Apple has enough good qualities that I was cautiously optimistic about the arrival of my favorite Ever After High character--Cinderella's daughter, Ashlynn Ella.  When the first pictures of Ashlynn were released, I was disappointed to see that she comes in another short generic princess dress.  I was hoping for something more original.  On the other hand, I was thrilled to see that Ashlynn comes with the first male doll in the Ever After High lineup, Hunter Huntsman, who is the son of...you guessed it, the Huntsman:

Ever After High Ashlynn Ella
Ever After High "Ashlynn Ella and Hunter Huntsman."

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Girl for all Time's "Clementine, Your 1940s Girl"

I have been pulled in so many different directions this past week, it's been a whirlwind.  I even felt torn about which doll I should review.  I was happily ensconced in my A Girl for all Time Clementine review when Ever After High Ashlynn Ella and Hunter arrived in the mail (eeee!), and so I have been hopping back and forth between two photo shoots like a happy ping pong ball, trying to decide which review to finish first.  Clementine eventually won because I have been waiting for her the longest, and she is an interesting contrast to the My Salon Doll that I reviewed last week.

A Girl for all Time is a British doll brand designed and marketed by the Daughters of History, Ltd. and made in China.  The dolls represent young girls from different generations of the fictional Marchmont family.  Each doll is dressed and styled according to her particular time in history.  There are three dolls in the collection so far, Matilda, Amelia, and Clementine.  Matilda is from the middle part of the 16th century, Amelia is from the Victorian era, and Clementine is from the late 1930s and early 1940s, during World War II.

The dolls are made out of vinyl and stand approximately 16.5" tall.  They are sold for $134.99 on the Girl for all Time website.  Each doll has three or four beautiful outfit sets and accessory packs that can be purchased separately.  There are also three short novels that tell a story from each girl's life.  The books do not come with the dolls, but can be purchased on the Girl for all Time website for $9.99 and also on Amazon for slightly less.  I have been admiring A Girl for all Time's Matilda doll for quite a while, but after Char from Doll Diaries told me that the next girl in the Marchmont family tree would be a green-eyed redhead, I decided I'd better wait and let Clementine be my first Girl for all Time.  She is a perfect doll to review at this time of the year, because her eyes and hair match the rapidly changing foliage here in the Northeast in an uncanny way:

"Clementine," by A Girl for all Time.

Monday, September 2, 2013

La Dee Da Fairytale Dance "Cinderella and Prancie" Playset

I have reviewed La Dee Da dolls a few times before.  I wasn't too thrilled with my Runway Vacay Cyanne doll (her hair is very thinly rooted and her outfit simple) but I do enjoy my Dots of Style Dee's bright, rainbow hair and colorful outfit.  I seem to have a thing for rainbow hair.  I haven't followed the La Dee Da dolls very carefully since those two reviews, though, because I felt the line was somewhat dismissible.  The dolls are cute--but never struck me as special enough to hold my attention.  Well, my opinion changed when I saw the new La Dee Da dolls at Target the other day.

La Dee Da has two new groups of dolls so far this fall.  The first group I noticed is called Fairytale Dance.  I was interested in these dolls because I have been thinking about Ever After High and the new line of Fairy Tale High dolls and wondering why so many companies are getting into the fairy tale game all of a sudden.  Even Cutie Pops has a new princess-themed line.  I don't mean this as a complaint--I like fairy tale dolls because I am always optimistic that there might be a Cinderella character.  Much to my delight, there is a La Dee Da Fairytale Dance Cinderella (exclusive to Toys R Us), and what's even better is that she comes with a horse.  Eeee!

La Dee Da Fairytale Dance "Cinderella and Prancie."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Our Generation "Jenny and Her Gourmet Kitchen" Set

I am absolutely crazy about kitchen sets, as you know if you've read my Muppet kitchen review, my Li'l Woodzeez bakery review or my Monster High Coffin Bean comparison review.  Oh--and also my Kurhn kitchen set review and my Sylvanian Family bakery review.  Hm.  I didn't realize I had quite so many food-related play sets.  Anyway, I am also on a bit of a 18" play doll kick thanks to my recent introduction to American Girls.  So, my current obsessions certainly make this play set very timely, but I think it is an unequivocally neat kitchen set that might also be the best doll purchase bargain of the year.  If I had younger kids, this set would already be stashed away and ready for a big, wonderful surprise on Christmas morning.  It packs a huge amount of fun into a surprisingly small (yet still impressive) box.  In fact, there are so many pieces with this set, my usual review approach got a little ridiculous.  There are a ton of pictures in this post.  I have tried to make some of them small to save space, but as always, you can click on pictures to make them larger if you want to see more detail.  If you don't want to see pictures that ruin the surprise of what's in the box, just read the first few paragraphs after the jump.  There's a weird marketing thing going on and I don't want anyone to mistakenly buy the wrong set.

There's a lot to see here, so without any more delay, let's look at Our Generation Jenny and her Gourmet Kitchen Set.  Fasten your seat belts.

Our Generation Jenny and her Gourmet Kitchen.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Funko POP! Cinderella

I got a tip a while ago about the presence of a Funko POP! Cinderella figurine.  This captured my attention for three reasons.  First, Cinderella.  Second, the name: "Funko Pop" sounds cool and is fun to say.  Third, I had never heard about Funko before, and I love learning about doll and toy companies and their products.  I decided to investigate.

Funko is a 15-year-old Washington-based company that is best known for making bobbleheads.  They also make a variety of pop culture items including action figures and plush toys.  The POP! line is a series of large-headed vinyl figures that are about 3 1/4 inches tall.   These toys have the proportions of bobble heads, but their heads don't bobble.  The figures cost anywhere from $1 (used) to $800 (discontinued), but the average price is about $10.  Cinderella was $8.99 at Amazon.

To me, Cinderella toys that cost under $10 are a special kind of awesome, so this funky princess quickly found her way to my house:

Funko POP!  Cinderella, $8.99.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Merida Talking Doll from The Disney Store

I have already reviewed the original 12" Merida doll from the Disney store (love her) and took an in-box look at the first 17" collector's edition Merida doll, but I couldn't resist ordering a third Merida--the 17" talking play doll version ($29.50).  Having never owned a singing Disney doll before, I wondered if these princesses might offer a nice middle ground between the small inexpensive play dolls and the larger limited editions.

Even before I got her out of the box, I could tell that this doll has struck another important balance.  She is not quite as serious as the limited edition doll, and not quite as goofy as the play doll.  She has her own look:

Merida talking doll from the Disney Store.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cinderella

As you might have heard or noticed in the stores, Disney recently released Cinderella from the vault...in Blu-Ray DVD.  I already own the movie, but this is still a pretty exciting time for me.  It's not so much the Blu-Ray version of the movie that I find exciting, but the fact that many stores have new Cinderella displays with all kinds of dolls and outfits and sparkly blue decorations.  These gaudy displays brighten my day and put a child-like smile on my face every time I see them.  I absolutely love Cinderella.

Why do I love Cinderella so much?  Well, first of all, to be clear, it's the general story that I love, not just the 1950s Disney movie version of the story.  I like the Disney movie a lot, but it's the plot that has always captivated me--in all of its incarnations.  I guess I just enjoy the rags-to-riches fantasy, mixed with fairy tale love.  I also cling to the notion that kindness, generosity and hard work will prevail over selfishness, greed and vanity.  Ever since I was a child, my imaginary stories have all revolved around some version of this tale...usually with lots of horses added into the mix.  I have two favorite versions of the story.  One is the 1998 movie Ever After, starring Drew Barrymore and Dougray Scott.  I love Barrymore's spunky interpretation of Cinderella and Scott's petulant prince.   My other favorite Cinderella story is Julia Quinn's intelligently written romance novel, An Offer From a Gentleman.  It's a bit of a guilty pleasure, but I find the book completely charming. It is a relaxing, Austin-esque escape from reality.

Anyway, I have many Cinderella dolls in my collection, and I thought that I'd quickly share some of these beauties with you to celebrate the DVD release and also to mark the arrival of Disney's limited edition 18" Cinderella doll:

Disney Store 18" Limited Edition Cinderella.