Disney Princess Designer Dolls

We all had lots of fun playing with princess dolls as kids and brushing their hair until it became ratty and tangled. For those of us who are older, there has is the option of purchasing pricier collectible dolls that are made with finer details in their hair and clothes and come with their own stands for display purposes. While princesses have never exactly been lacking in options for collectible dolls, the Disney Princess Designer Collection that was revealed at the D23 Expo in 2011 was the start of something special. Each princess had her own designer dress that looked like it came straight off a modern-day runway. The collection was released alongside lithographs, cards, mugs, and other paraphernalia featuring beautiful matching artwork. The dolls themselves weren't sculpted from your typical Barbie mold. They had fully articulated wrist and elbow joints, salon quality hair that stayed perfectly in place, bigger painted eyes, and long realistic eyelashes that you could actually touch. I was blown away the first time I saw this collection at the D23 Expo.

After the initial release in 2011, Disney continued to reimagine their princesses with a new set of designer dolls made from the same high-quality mold roughly every year. My favorite collection was revealed at the 2013 D23 Expo. It was called the Fairytale Designer Collection and featured doll sets that each contained a princess in a stylized Renaissance redesign of one of her classic outfits standing alongside her prince in a romantic pose. I loved this collection because princes rarely get any attention, and the Renaissance era is one of my favorites in terms of fashion. My husband and I even dressed as this collection's version of Ariel and Eric for the Renaissance Faire earlier this year. I have lithographs and cards of the artwork from it hanging all over my apartment and office. The details are so breathtaking. They look like old oil paintings that were created during the Renaissance era. The addition of the princes adds composition value to each image, making it much more interesting than just a posed stock art of one of the princesses.

As gorgeous as these dolls are, they are not very easy to obtain. There are only about 6,000 of each doll or doll set from each collection. If you are not prepared to sit in front of your computer at midnight the second the sale begins, you will be out of luck. I went to a raffle at my local Disney Store the day that the Ariel set I wanted came out. I got there very early and wore my seashell t-shirt and flower hair clip for the occasion. Despite my best efforts, my name wasn't picked. I got extremely lucky when I refreshed the website that night at midnight to buy the doll the second it went on sale. Right after I had finished checking out, the site was already sold out! It takes true dedication to own one of these beauties. It was worth every second of my efforts because the doll set arrived in a beautiful clear plastic display case with built-in stands for Ariel and Eric. It had their names emblazoned on a gold tag in the front, an item number on the bottom, and it came with a cardboard slipcover featuring the gorgeous artwork of them dancing together in their stylized Renaissance look, similar to the scene in the movie where Ariel convinced Eric to dance with her for the first time.

Some other designer collections that Disney has released from this series have included supermodel villains, sets of princesses alongside their villains, and sets of princesses alongside supporting characters, such as Ariel and Triton. The reason I'm posting about this today is that there have recently been leaked pictures flying around the internet of this year's collection, which is coming out in October! Entitled the Disney Princess Premiere Series, the dolls will boast yet another redesign of their classic dresses. This time, instead of styling their fashions after a set era, they will be based on the year their movie premiered. Artwork has been released for Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Tiana, Snow White, and Cinderella, and professional photos of the Snow White, Cinderella, and Ariel dolls have been leaked. Snow White looks stunning in her golden age Hollywood floor-length gown and fur shawl. Cinderella looks very classy with her '50s style Grace Kelly black and silver gown with a traditional updo, and Ariel looks like she's about to turn some heads with her bright purple dress and its "awesome '80s" style frills and patterns.

Even though I probably won't be staying up until midnight to chase after this new collection, it's great to see that the tradition Disney started in 2011 is still going strong. Collectible dolls are nothing new, but these sets really take the cake. Not only do they have perfect hair, faces, and eyelashes, but each collection brings new artwork that gives us a glimpse at what the princesses might look like in different types of fashion and animation styles. I love seeing each new reimagining of the princesses' classic gowns, and I'm eager to learn what the next collection will bring. The Premiere Collection comes out this October, so be sure to keep an eye out on Instagram for photo leaks of the other three dolls!


Helen said…
I got this Disney Princess Deluxe Ariel Fashion doll for when my nieces come to visit, and a little bit for myself, as well. :) I absolutely LOVED The Little Mermaid as a tween and teen, so it's exciting to me that it's making such a comeback - with improvements!

This Ariel doll has a healthier look to it that's not like a Barbie doll - THANK GOODNESS. Her dress is gorgeous and sparkly, but not in a revealing or even subtly sexy way - it's still modest and just pretty in a "princess" way without any other kind of overtures to it. Finally! Her body shape is also more normal - again, unlike a Barbie doll.

Everything about this doll is well-made and gorgeous, and this Ariel is one that parents won't have to worry so much about sending the wrong message to their girls about unhealthy body images (not to mention the ridiculous "sexy" factor that has been prevalent in dolls like these for decades - it's so refreshing to come across ones that don't have that aspect).

This new and improved Ariel is definitely one that is sure to please any little girl, and makes a great gift for The Little Mermaid fans out there, too. Love this doll - she's better than the "old" Ariel!
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