Elsa Deluxe Singing Doll Set from the Disney Store – a review

The trailer for Frozen 2 is out! How exciting πŸ™‚ And I’m only now adding a doll from the first film to my collection…

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When I first watched Frozen in a cinema in 2013, I liked it a lot. I love winter, so the theme and all the beautiful views were a treat, and also I appreciated the wisdom that film conveyed. And then… the waves of endless Frozen merchandise hit the stores everywhere, and everything seemed a little less special than before.

I recently decided that it’s no reason to be sullen forever – I do want an Elsa doll, eventually. And since the Disney Store recently changed Anna’s and Elsa’s face sculpts for their classic dolls, and since I like the old ones better, ‘eventually’ may as well be now, while they are still available. I was pleasantly surprised when I found this 2014/2015 setΒ  for a decent price:

I love the box…Β  It shouldn’t be important in making the decision on which release to buy, but… it was πŸ˜‰

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It looks like a story book! Of course, the contents do not disappoint either: Elsa comes with numerous accessories, a spare dress, and even a little companion in the snow-person of Olaf.

(I guess she does also sing, but that doesn’t matter to me all that much.)

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There have been quite a few Elsa’s since her original release – after all, every little girl wanted one πŸ™‚ They don’t differ that much, but one significant detail that has changed over time is the shape of her bodice. The movie accurate, heart-shaped bodice is the less frequent, and I must say I like it more. As you can see, this version does have it (the alternative has a simple, straight edge at the top of the opaque part).

This time around, there is no glitter other than on the cape. I like it this way as well. It’s overall very well made, only slightly crumpled from being pinned shut inside of the cape while in the box.

 

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Elsa’s face has been mostly the same until very lately, and with good reason: it is pretty and accurate. Mine has a slightly chipped lip paint, but no big deal.

As far as her hair is concerned, I appreciate that they tried to faithfully recreate her wind-blown braid, but I wish it was a little more… wind blown. You can see various carefully styled strands from the back, but the front looks a little too helmet-solid. Also, what’s up with these… earlocks?

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Looking from the back, you can also see the battery compartment and the speaker.

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Elsa comes with a plastic representation of her ice-powers. This is pretty cool, and will certainly help recreate the “Let It Go” scene – which the set is all about.

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When you move her left wrist to the sides, she plays a fragment of the song, exactly as in the film – starting from the line “It’s time to see what I can do…” up to “…you’ll never see me cry”.

The wrist can be moved up and down without starting the music. However, the left arm lacks elbow articulation, as it apparently hides a part of the mechanism. On her hip, there is an on/off switch.

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There is also a sort of a snowflake disc, that is supposed to help recreate the scene where Elsa stomps on the ground and a snowflakes pattern appears:

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When you press the button in the center, it flashes different colours for a couple of seconds. It is a pretty thing, but kind of pointless. It should have been the base of a stand for the doll. Perhaps I should try make into one?

I was very excited for Elsa’s coronation dress – all of the dresses in “Frozen” are lovely, so the more the better! Although it does not have any the intricate details it had in the film, it still looks great. The cape is detachable. Unfortunately, it has been pierced by all the plastic tabs from the packaging and there are little holes in it.

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Whichever outfit you opt for, you only have one choice when it comes to the shoes. Pretty basic, but not bad. They came rubber-banded to the feet:

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The feet are made to fit high heeled shoes as well. The legs are rubbery, with an internal knee joint that allows a modest degree of movement.

Let’s not forget about Olaf.

Now, don’t hate me for saying that, but I don’t particularly like (or particularly dislike) Olaf as a character. But he is a part of the story, and and it is nice to have him in the collection.

The figure is well made and faithful to the film – even though not articulated in any way. He does not have his nose, because he too is based on the “Let It Go” moment in the story – where Elsa re-creates him, without the carrot nose.

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Elsa is an iconic character from a pretty great animated film, and this doll represents the character very well – Disney Store sure knows how to turn their princesses into dolls. I also wanted her in my collection because of my love for winter and snow – it’s not often that we get a heroine inspired by such themes. I am excited for the prospect of taking this doll and creating something new with her and for her πŸ™‚ Elsa may be loved by many, very many, but I hope I can add a personal touch to her doll.

Ariel’s Vacay part 3: The port

Ahoy there! Today I’d like to share my favourite photos of this summer so far, depicting Ariel’s visit to the port πŸ™‚

I spent this summer in a small town with a small port, but I took the train just to go to a bigger port in the area. I’m glad I did – this port had a great feel to it. Big cutters, lots of them in blues and reds with white details, very much nautical style.

Only the smell of fish wasn’t so great πŸ˜€

Speaking of nautical, Ariel was made to rock it. Not only because of her mermaid background, but also because this colour scheme works great with her hair.

The outfit is a simple gathered skirt I made worn over a Barbie dress, the same one as featured in this post. Its striped top was just right, plus I really like to avoid sewing shirts when I can. The shoes come from an accessory pack (more info here).

I like to think this outfit has a retro feel to it as well.

It was another windy day and I was afraid to let go of the doll for longer then a couple of seconds – we’re talking about the kind of wind that could have easily knocked the doll off the dock into the water, beyond my reach. Thankfully, nothing of this sort happened. It sure resulted in some realistically-wind-swept-hair, though πŸ™‚

Then there is Magikarp. Don’t worry for Magikarp. It won’t get eaten πŸ™‚

There isn’t a particularly deep idea behind including the little guy, other than him fitting the theme and me liking Pokemon.

I was very excited for this photo shoot, but I was nervous too. Part of it was knowing that if I don’t get it right, there won’t be enough chance soon – not until the next summer vacation. The other part is being the weirdo with a doll kneeling on the dock. However, after you start, you get in the zone and forget about the people. I asked mu husband, who was there with me, reading a book on a bench nearby, if people did look at me. He confirmed. I don’t feel comfortable with the thought, but I guess it goes with the hobby.

Overall, I’m very grateful for this trip and the awesome views it provided, for the photos and for me to enjoy πŸ™‚ I’m pretty happy with the pics I brought back with me.

This was the last installment of Ariel’s adventures by the seaside. Now it’s time to find some inspiration back at home πŸ™‚

 

Made To Move Ariel – the story of a doll come true

Like many doll lovers, I am a fan of My Froggy Stuff. Her crafts are so clever and cute! But for me, one the greatest Froggy inspirations was not strictly a craft, but a custom doll – her Made To Move Ariel. Ever since I laid my eyes on her, I was obsessed. Here is a link to the first video where Ariel first appeared as a re-bodied doll: https://youtu.be/mnxpMOSDVfI . She has been appearing on the channel ever since, even as a part of the Darby Show series, stirring up my envy πŸ˜‰

For a while now, I have been wanting to get one of my own, but it wasn’t easy.

  • The doll Froggy used was a 2014 Classic Disney Store Ariel. This face style is now retired. I would only by satisfied with the 2014 version or the 2013 version, which is very similar.
  • This doll was never available in my country (no Disney Store for me :(), so they are hard to find locally
  • They don’t seem to be especially highly prized on Ebay, but the shipping costs from abroad that I saw usually amounted to quite a lot extra cost.

Finally, a miracle! She appeared on a local bidding service, and really affordable too! Not long after, she was mine πŸ™‚

Well, with a small twist. Unlike the Classic 2013 and 2014 Ariel, her legs are articulated. Her outfit didn’t match any product photos either… but the face was spot on?

Following the number printed on her back…

I learned that she was a part of a really awesome “Little Mermaid” gift set from 2013 – a third viable option I didn’t even know about. If you’re curious about the set, I recommend checking out this picture on Flickr. This user’s photos are an awesome resource for all things Disney Store πŸ™‚

If you’re geeking out about the different Ariel versions from this period as I am, this photo, also from the user drj1828, showing a comparison of the Ariels from 2012 to 2014 might also interest you.

I don’t know where this doll’s substitute bra came from, other than evidently from another Ariel doll, not necessarily Disney Store made:

I quite like it. It’s even more movie-accurate than the original.

The tail is a different story. It’s a little small and just barely closes…

Especially if you try to sit the doll. Then all the secrets spill out:

Like the fact that it originally belonged to a Simba Ariel.

Other than the size problem, I quite like it. It is again pretty movie-accurate in colour, shape and finish. I especially like the fin.

Her hair was in a surprisingly good condition, even retaining the original curl. I only had to comb through it with my fingers and slightly smooth it down on the top of her head. I did not want to use a hairbrush so as not to turn it into a poof.

Most importantly, I am very happy with her face. I don’t claim that this is the objectively best Ariel sculpt in the world, but it is by far my personal favorite. I think she looks cute, curious and sassy πŸ™‚ I also like her big, striking eyes.

Finding the doll was a big step forward, but I also wanted her on a Made to Move Barbie body. The above-mentioned My Froggy Stuff video said that the pink, blonde MtM is the perfect skin tone match for her. The football player is supposed to be her equivalent too, so I ordered one, and… a big fail.

Not even close! Apparently, European, or perhaps Central European MtMs are way darker 😦 Compared to Ariel, she looked like a spray tan accident.

I thought maybe I should keep Ariel as is – after all, she has above-avergage articulation too:

Invisible comb and mirror πŸ˜‰ In fact, this is how close she can get to touching her face. She can kind of touch her head.

She does have a considerable number of joints, but there is something off about this doll’s body…

When she sits, her knees are quite far apart.

Her calves are softer than the upper leg and sort of bendy.

Worst of all, she can’t really stand straight. Her hip joints are loose and she flops back and forth. This would be especially problematic when posing her for photos.

When watching Classic DS dolls reviews, I had heard many a time that their articulated legs are awkward, so much so, some people said they prefer the unarticulated ones (or with the bend and snap, old-Barbie-style rubbery legs, to be precise). It was unfathomable to me. I now understand where they were coming from – this model is very wobbly.

So, there was just one, expensive gamble to make… The Purple Top Made to Move Barbie.

And, it turns out, it works!

To my eye, MtM Lea is pretty much perfect for Ariel. She was unfortunately quadruple the price of the blonde >.< Apparently she is rare now. And I still had to swap their heads without ruining the costly donor…

Lea’s peg was covered in glue when I took it out, but no major damage was done
Removing Ariel’s head was fairly easy

Thankfully, the operation was successful! Let me also mention that, as per Froggy’s advice, I wrapped thin rubber bands around Barbie body’s peg – apparently, it’s too loose otherwise. The trick worked for me. I’m very sorry, but I did not think to take a photo of how it looked. I do recommend the video for that.

Here she is, looking pretty good!

Her Ariel top still fits, but her tail not so much. I think it’s a fair trade off, since it was off from the beginning anyway. I wonder if I should try to resize it or make a new one from scratch?

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Plus, the purple top retains her signature colour πŸ™‚ Now she is a ‘purple top’ Ariel πŸ™‚

When I first saw her, I thought – is her neck supposed to be so long and slim, or did I not push it down all the way? But less then a minute later I was used to it, and it feels just right.

The improvement in articulation is unquestionable, but there was never really a doubt which body is the better one.

Overall, I am ecstatic about the fact that I did not break anything, and about how lovely she looks. I’d like to announce that Ariel will be the doll to travel with me to the seaside this year for a photo shoot πŸ™‚

Also, by a total coincidence, the day I am finally read to post this, My Froggy Stuff has just released a video about yet another Made to Move Ariel πŸ˜€ https://youtu.be/dWzANxsslJc

 

Great news! Animators’ Belle back in blue!

Collectors of Disney Animators’ dolls, rejoice! If you never managed to get the original, blue-dress release of Belle, now is your chance:

https://www.disneystore.com/dolls-toys-disney-animators-collection-belle-doll-16/mp/1421613/1000259/

If you’re notΒ  familiar with the story, Belle was first released in her adorable blue peasant dress, but the following two versions sold over a few years were dressed in yellow dresses loosely inspired by her ballgown. While I’m sure the yellow dresses have their fans, it was the original that stole my heart, and apparently those of many other DAC fans. To the best of my knowledge, Bluebelle, as I like to call her, was one of the priciest Animators’ dolls on the aftermarket, second only to version 0 Rapunzel with tinsel hair.

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The first, 2011 release of Disney Animators’ Collection Belle – this particular one from the UK Disney Store.

Judging by the promo photo and the customers’ comments, it appears to be nearly identical to the first wave doll – I have noticed that the new one does not have the lace trim on her socks, but that’s all the differences that I have spotted.

The Disney Store seems to normally make each wave of a doll discernibly different than the previous ones, so this comes to me as a surprise. I can only guess that this is to celebrate the upcoming release of the new Beauty and the Beast film.

So, if you’ve always dreamed of your own (reasonably priced) Belle as seen wandering through her little town full of little people, now is your chanceΒ  πŸ™‚