As Im sure a lot of people know, Hasbro is now making Disney Princess dolls. I dont know if they have ever done them in the past, but I know that for the entirety of my doll-collecting years it has been Mattel that has the licence to make them. I do have a handful of them, all bought quite a while ago when, quite frankly, I didnt know much at all. My doll collection in its infancy started with Disney Princess dolls, from the Disney store for the most part, but living an hour away from an actual Disney Store, and with a Mattel-carrying supermarket much nearer, I found myself tempted. Now, I live in a big city with better shops, and living alone instead of with family means I can put a bit more time into my hobby, which includes more research and effort into getting dolls. Ive basically been not into the Mattel versions since then, the one exception being a Merida I bought to customise, who you can meet later. Thats an exception because Merida is my favourite princess, and I want her in every version, even if I dont leave her unaltered. By contrast, I still love the Disney store princesses, and I do have quite a few of them, including Jasmine, Mulan, and Pocahontas, three of my other favourites. I like most of them, honestly, though I havent bothered to get Cinderella, Snow White, etc, the earlier princesses, because I dont care much for their story. But Mattel basically only made the caucasian princesses, it seemed like. Ive seen a few Tianas, but thats about it. Hasbro, on the other hand, seems to have decided to make all of them. With distinct face moulds! They are also reportedly different heights based on the characters age, but I cant test that because I only have one. Whilst Ive been seeing american doll lovers getting and reviewing them all of this month, Ive not seen them in the UK til now.
My local argos, the only shop which currently has them (though they are coming soon on a few other shops websites), only had one in stock. Just a single Mulan doll. Might have been a good thing, since it meant I didnt have to decide on who to buy. I like Merida, Jasmine, Pocahoontas, and Mulan. I might get Rapunzel later too. I now want to go off on a little rant about argos, so Ill stick in a few photos to stop you getting too bored
So, for people who dont live in the UK, argos isnt a shop where you can walk in and look on the shelves. You come into the front of the store and ask for what you want, and the staff will bring it from a warehouse in the back. So, you are pretty reliant on what the catalogue and stock checker say. Now, argos has all of the princesses listed with their own codes, so that you can check which specific girl you want, and ask for her. Except for my girls, Mulan, Pocahontas, Jasmine and Merida. So, you can see that they have one doll in stock, but you dont know who you’re going to get. They do this with quite a lot of different doll lines. All the Bratz budget lines they’ve stocked have been listed in this way for example. If you want a specific doll you can ask them to check for you, and only buy it if it is the right one, but its a bit of a fiddle. And you cant see that on their website. Not really a big deal, I know a lot of websites do the ‘order and get one of the assortment’ thing. But, they’ve only done it to those four. All the other princesses get their own code. And that just tapped into an issue I had with Arggos over the summer that caused me a lot of frustration. Because, if they can do it for most of them, they can do it for them all, and I am inclined to wonder if its a coincidence that they did that to three minorioty ethnic princesses.
So, story time. Over the summer, argos redid their DesignaFriend doll collection, with both new dolls and new outfits. They were very much in parallel to the range that had been offered before, each line had a redhead, each one had a fancy dress, etc. But there was one change that I very much liked. They had had a dress which was pink, and now, listed under the same name of lacey dress, in the same location on the page, was a metallic silver one. They both had lace on them, but apart from that they were quite different, and I decided that I wanted the silver one. I bought it, and happened to look in the box on the way home to discover that I had the old pink version, despite there no longer being any mention of that dress on the website or in the catalogue. I went back, and they explained that they’d put out the new set of outfits under the same codes as old ons, which meant that you couldnt tell which one you were ordering. I asked if they had any of the new versions to do me a swap, which they did not, and was offered an exchange for another DesignaFriend product. I wasnt going to get a refund apparently because I had originally bought it as part of an offer and it was non-refundable. Which I know is a thing, but I dont think it counts when Ive got the wrong thing due to their problem, honestly. I looked to see if I fancied any of the other outfits, but it turned out that none of the ones that they showed in the catalogue was in stock. When the stock checker said that they were, it was just the older versions. Finally, I decided to buy one of their dolls, giving them more money in the process because dolls cost more than outfits.
Heres more Mulan as a break
Her face is gorgeous! Anyway, the DesignaFriends line, despite having every hair colour, and certainly at the time three different blonde dolls, only has one non-white doll. I already owned their previous version, who had quite nice curly hair, but the new version had straight hair. That was basically the only difference between the two, but it did alter the impression of her quite a bit. I definitely think that having those two hair textures available would make it more likely to find a doll that they could relate to. Hair play is a big thing for a lot of children, and so even if she is still just an ambiguously not-white doll, at least the girl could have a doll with similar hair. Baby steps I guess. Anyway, I decided to get the new straight haired version. Considering that every single one of these dolls has the same face mould, she looked different enough. And, when she appeared from the warehouse, it was the previous curly haired version. I just gave up and left with her, the whole thing was ridiculous anyway, but it made me mad that they did that especially. Two brown-skinned dolls are not interchangeable. When I saw that argos had done this primarily to non-white dolls again, I was just reminded of that. I actually emailed to complain, and was told in very polite terms to bog off.
So, back to my beautiful Mulan. I dont have a Mattel Mulan to compare her to, but I do have a Disney store Mulan, so I did a little comparison for those two instead. Here they are side by side
Hasbro Mulan is actually taller than I first thought. I think her larger head makes her body look smaller in comparison, but they work out at roughly the same height
Hasbro’s head is just wider really. And, I think a little more cartoonish. She also looks less made up than disneys, which to me makes sense. Disney Mulan is dressed in her outfit from the matchmaker bit, where she is wearing makeup, whereas Hasbros dress looks to be based more on her everyday look, where she doesn’t. I think they both look a lot like Mulan in the film, either way.
Horribly blurry photo, Im not good at this, but here you can see the difference in foot size. Mulan doesnt have her shoes at the moment (they arent lost, just not too easy to get to and I cba), but even if she did there’d be no shoe sharing
Body shape wise they are pretty different too. I feel like the narrower shoulders that Hasbro Mulan has are following a bit of a trend. Although her body shape isnt at all the same as EAH and MH, they do have the shoulders narrower than the hips thing, which I reckon is quite recent. Barbies and other older dolls seem to be the other way around. I prefer Disney Mulans articulated arms, and the greater flexibility at her hips (Hasbros dont go outwards, only forwards and backwards), but I dont think that the lack of kneee joint is any loss for Hasbro. Im not sure why Disney store dolls seem to so struggle with articulated knees, but they seem to have a tendency to look odd, or bend wierd. I do also like the subtle painted on knickers. I dont subscribe to the idea that theres anything wrong with the sight of a doll not wearing clothes, but if we are going to do that, I think paint looks better than a moulded texture.
In terms of clothes, they can sort of wear each others. The disney dress is a bit of a squeeze at the hips on Hasbro
Yeah, I know, blurry photo. It just wouldnt focus well close up on that fabric.
I think Disney looks lovely in Hasbros dress
From the front, anyway
The reason it sits so nicely and loose around her neckline is becuase it doesnt even remotely do up in the back! Her shoulders are just way too wide.
Overall, Im really looking forward to getting more of these dolls. I kind of wish that they were more articulated, but Im thinking of trying to match them up with the new made to move Barbies for a body swap. Ive been wanting to use those bodies, and the tones look like they might work. That said, if they all have different heights, I dont want to lose that. I can see myself buying two Meridas, at least. Thank goodness they arent expensive. And if I hold off, see what else they release, there may be better articulation coming soon.