Disney Releases More Diverse Princess Products!

There have been a lot of new merchandise and announcements popping up about the Disney Princesses as of late. The company has added plenty of diversity through their past films, and now they are going at full force in their merchandise with the upcoming new Little Mermaid movie, cosplayer dolls, and more Tiana-themed park attractions. I am eager to see more Disney Princess products and entertainment and hope that the original animated classics that started the brand don't get lost in the shuffle. It's nice to see that Disney is releasing new princess merchandise even though their push for diversity is overpowering a lot of the storytelling that made the brand so enticing in the first place.

The first announcement is a series of Disneybound/cosplay dolls designed by veteran artist Steve Thompson. Referred to as "ily" dolls, which I believe stands for "I love you," this new fashion line depicts a diverse group of Disney Princess fans who dress in casual clothing that is themed after their favorite princesses, also known as "Disneybounding." Each doll has her own set of princess-inspired mouse ears to complete the look. The artist notably went out of his way to to use girls who look as little like their favorite character as possible. This set of dolls was meant to depict the average princess fan, not the average princess character. As such, Ariel's fan has an Indian appearance, Snow White appears to be mixed race, Jasmine's fangirl is blonde, Belle's is black, Cinderella's looks Latina, and Tiana's biggest fan is Asian. These dolls come with a large closet of alternative looks and accessories to represent various Disney Princesses using contemporary clothing. I have mixed feelings about this line. I love that fans get their own dolls to represent themselves, but I prefer the fantasy fashions of older times to modern-day princess fashions, even though it is possible to style them similarly to the more classic looks. These dolls continue a new legacy of Disney Princess that was introduced in Wreck-It Ralph 2, where the princesses began wearing casual clothing and acting more modern.

In Little Mermaid movie news, some new artwork was just revealed for four tie-in books that will be released for the upcoming live-action remake. These children's storybooks depict Halle Bailey in the look that was created for her role as Ariel in the upcoming movie. This film is rumored to have a much larger marketing campaign than other live-action remakes of the past with as much new merch as the original animated film had in 1989. This large initiative may serve as further evidence of the upcoming Ariel animated series that might be redone in the style of the new live-action film, but that has yet to be confirmed. I'm really digging the look of Halle as Ariel with her pearly dreads, shimmery tale, and organic-looking purple scaly top as opposed to the seashells from the original film. The only thing that I don't want to see is for her style of the character to completely replace the original since the animated version of Ariel is and will probably always be my favorite Disney Princess. This is unlikely to happen as the live-action personas have never replaced the animated ones on Disney Princess merchandise. You should expect to see a lot more of this imagery appearing on store shelves through various products when the movie gets closer to its release in May.

Princess Tiana's dream of owning her own restaurant is coming true at last! After I questioned the laziness of retheming an old ride for Tiana instead of giving her something more relevant to the movie, Disney has announced that Tiana's Palace, the beautiful restaurant that she built with Naveen at the end of The Princess and the Frog from an old sugar mill, is being replicated at new Orleans Square in Disneyland. This is the perfect parkgoer experience for fans of the film because it was the force behind Tiana's decisions that drove all the events of the movie. Though the restaurant will not be a character experience, it is being designed very much in the style of the one in the movie with authentic New Orleans flavors inspired by Tiana's friends and adventures. It's exciting to get a new princess-themed restaurant at Disneyland since they shut down my favorite dining experience, Ariel's Grotto, several years ago. This initiative takes place in addition to many other upcoming Princess and the Frog themed projects, including the revamped Tiana's Bayou Adventure ride and her animated series on Disney+, which was delayed until next year.

Disney's initiative to include as much diversity as possible in their princess line means a whole lot of new merchandise and experiences for us fans to enjoy, which is wonderful. Though the ily dolls are not quite my cup of tea due to the modern-day fashions, I love the idea of creating inclusivity for fans who don't look like their favorite characters. I'm also intrigued by the new artwork of Halle Bailey as Ariel since live-action remakes aren't typically associated with art. Some fans pointed out that the the ily dolls include girls with every hair color except red, something that was also a concern for Halle Bailey's new look as Ariel before it was revealed that she would still be a redhead in the film. As a fellow redhead myself, I hope to have some future representation in the Disney Princess lineup, but of course, I am very happy with princesses like Giselle and the original animated Ariel who I relate to very much. Which of these diverse initiatives are you most excited about? Do you think Disney is focusing so much on inclusivity that it overpowers their legacy of great storytelling, or is this a step in the right direction? Let me know in the comments!


Sugar said…
Now that I think about it... why not make Mulan's fan a redhead?
Or maybe Elsa from Frozen or Anna...I think they could put an Indian or Hawaiian girl as a Tiana fan...and what about the Moana fan? A doll with brown hair and white skin is missing (like me ahem...average Spanish genes). I love the Cinderella fan dolls with that fluffy hair with chocolate curls and the oriental girl! friends for my Barbies hahahaha.
Lisa Dawn said…
Maybe they'll come out with more in the future.

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