Realizing the holidays were approaching, our daughter notified us she “only wanted Princess stuff.” She then added to that, “real princess stuff, Disney Princess.”
I realize I am the parent, I could put my foot down, maybe even sneak in some wooden puzzles. But, in truth, it is not like she asked for a Tiffany bracelet or a Hannah Montana doll. And on the positive side, Maia’s favorite princess is currently Mulan, teaching her some other (slightly Disneyfied) culture than that which exists under the sea and in a castle. Plus, underhanded plans are already in the works to sneak in some non-Disney branded Princess paraphernalia, and as long as it is pink and royal-looking she will be a happy toddler.
So, on my excursions to hunt down various Princess presents, I came across some licensed products that lend themselves quite naturally to the brand (Barbie-style dolls, pajamas, DVD players, pop-up castle tents, even toothpaste). However, I have chanced upon a few that left me with a slight feeling somewhere between bemusement and professional curiosity. I wondered how important it was to stay true to a classic brand, respect the back-stories and remember the magic that originally made these films so successful.
Before I share my list of Perplexing Princess Products, let it be known I am in no means an anti-Disney anarchist. I can’t wait to bring Maia to Disney World, show her all the movies I watched as a kid, and take her to each new one as it comes out. But, it is hard not to poke fun at some of the licensed products coming out of the House of Mouse, whether or not they are ringing up sales at the registers.
Ten Perplexing Princess Products
1. “The Princess and The Frog” Comfy Throw Blanket – Yup, it’s a Princess Snuggie, or Snuggler to be more accurate. The current As-Seen-On-TV product we all love to laugh at is now available at your local toy store with your favorite new princess image on it.
2. My 1st Disney Princess Baby Ariel Doll – With this release, Disney is going “retcon” on us. If I recall, Ariel did not have legs until her later years. I understand this may be categorized as nitpicking, and the target demographic may not be so concerned, but ignoring a classic back-story devalues a much-loved license.
3. Princess Ariel Bride Dress - I am okay with princess dress-up, but a bride’s dress borders on “Toddlers and Tiaras” level creepy. I understand the value of role-play, and Maia loves to pretend her Princess dolls are getting married. But seeing her walk down the “make pretend” aisle in a white dress that “includes a bonus veil to make you feel like you are headed down the aisle with your own Prince Eric” is messing with my head a bit too much.
4. Any Disney Princess Enchanted Nursery Toy - This whole line is based off the concept that Belle, Beauty, Cinderella and their princes all played together as toddlers. Seeing The Beast as a toddler in his outfit did make me chuckle, but the words “brand erosion” come to mind when seeing some of these dolls.
5. Enchanted Nursery Sea Shore Snow White - A build off of the previously mentioned line, this has Snow White “dressed up and ready to go” for a day at the beach. Sunglasses and sparkle bathing suit are included. Again, I go back to the story of Snow White and question whether she had access, deep in the woods, to the latest Ray-Bans and La Blanca products.
6. Snow White Vacuum & 7. Snow White Ironing Board Seat – Speaking of Snow White’s resources, I am sure she would have loved this vacuum and ironing board when cleaning up after those 7 slobs. Unfortunately, the “real” Snow White had to do with her helpful animal friends and some elbow grease. Fortunately, today’s girl has more options, and the little Snow White of tomorrow will have some practice with these Princess-branded toys.
8. Disney Princess: A Christmas of Enchantment – After borrowing this from a friend, I anticipated the Princess crew would help us celebrate the season with some new holiday content. But watching it, all I found was recycled bits of old Disney content with brief intros. We are given a chopped version of the previously-released Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas DVD, an edited short from Fantasia 2000, some above-average 1930’s era cartoon shorts, a Little Mermaid story with no animation and two songs with clips from the Princess films.
9. Disney Princess Plush Rocker – No direct tie-in to any princess is clear here, as we know none of the royal girls were riding flamingo-colored horses. The color pink seems to be the only connection to anything princess.
10. Disney Princess Nursery Doll Set – Sure, girls love playing mommy to little baby dolls. So, why not slap a Princess logo on a doll and sell it as a branded Princess item? Also available to keep your baby comfy: princess branded cribs, swings, beds, feeding sets and more.
Your thoughts? Any Princess products you love? Or think are over-the-top? Feel free to comment!