Hasbro was kind enough to send me a box of Beauty and the Beast themed goodies that are perfect to share here on About.com! For those who aren't hip to the news, Hasbro has now taken control of the Disney Princess line. You can read more about the new releases in a previous post of mine. Hasbro's taking a bolder approach to the line, putting the importance on dreaming big, rather than just being pretty. The first wave of dolls showcases the characters in their iconic looks, but I expect... we'll be seeing much more from Hasbro as the line moves forward. Along with the dolls, Hasbro has released scene sets that will allow you to 'dress the set' so to speak, adding to the fun!
This post will concentrate on two of the new Beauty and the Beast themed products: Royal Shimmer Belle and her scene set, Belle's Be Our Guest Dining set. Both of these items can be found at your favorite toy store and online. And with that, "We invite you to relax, let us pull up a chair as the dining room proudly presents - your dinner!", or rather your Disney Princess review.
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We'll start with Belle.
Belle is packaged in a box that gives you a clear view of the doll. The sides are decorated with screen shots of some of the most magical moments in Beauty and the Beast. Not only is there an image of Belle embracing Beast in her iconic yellow dress, but also one of her holding her favorite book. The princess graphic in the front has Belle in a more active pose than we've seen in the past with Belle holding Chip with a hopeful expression.
My favorite graphic is the back of the box, where we... see Belle sitting on the floor surrounded by books. Following with the Dream Big theme, her box reads, "Intelligent and compassionate, Belle finds a way to help the Beast."
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One of my favorite things about this new line? Their faces!
Belle's long face has large, animated green eyes with long painted lashes and a pale sparkle above them. Her eye brows are long and thin. Their arch gives her a wide eyed expression. Belle's pink lips show a hint of teeth. While I love the big eyes on Belle, I have to wonder why they chose to make them green. Belle has dark brown in all the box art, yet this doll has green eyes. Will Belle always have green eyes? If so, it may be worthwhile to pick some movie stills for the box showing... her with more hazel eyes. (The Disney Wiki says Belle has Hazel eyes, which can go between brown and green, so I don't fault Hasbro for this. While googling, I saw many Belle dolls with both green and brown eyes!)
Hasbro should probably consider adding more articulation to their Princess dolls. Belle's head will turn in both directions and her arms swivel in all directions. Her articulation in her hips is as expected, as well, and allow her stance to be widened and legs to move forward. It would be great if Hasbro would add knee joints to the Princess line eventually, because it would help these dolls pose more naturally, especially in the play sets, as you'll see a little further down.
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Belle's iconic dress is re-imagined with sparkle and shine.
When you think of Belle, there are three truly memorable looks-- her blue dress, her winter cape outfit and her yellow ball gown. Royal Shimmer Belle wears Hasbro's interpretation of Belle's classic yellow ball gown. The bodice has pretty yellow tulle around the shoulders and a fancy sparkly rose print.
As you move further down, tulle hangs around the waist above a long yellow skirt with more rose images. Her bodice has a decorative plastic rose that brings a little more color to the... look. Belle wears matching yellow earrings in her ears and has molded yellow gloves on both hands. The non removable molded gloves make it hard to redress this doll, but they look nice, so for now, I'm okay with this element of her design. Belle's look is completed with a pair of yellow heels ready for the dance floor.
Belle's hair is styled well. It's styled in a half bun that allows the rest of her long chocolate brown hair to hang free. She's missing her token piece of 'loose' hair, but I imagine that might be a little hard to do on a doll! Belle has plenty of hair plugs and I don't see any bald spots, which is great. You can comb it, though be careful if you want to keep Belle's hair in the pretty up-do it's in out of the box.
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Moving onto the Scene Set, Belle's Be Our Guest Dining Set!
You have your Disney Princess, this play set will add to the fun. Belle's Be Our Guest Dining set includes an elegant table, two chairs, two place settings with a plate, cake slice and cup/saucer, a cake and finally three figures (Lumiere, Mrs. Potts and Chip). Just like the doll, this set is safe for kids three and up. Some assembly is required (one piece that you insert into the back of the table).Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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The Scene Set is cute.
The pink and gold dining table and chairs look nice and are study enough for gentle active play. In the center of the table is a purple center piece that holds a removable cake. This center piece can be pushed down and then pushed back up to proudly display the little cake.
The table design makes it hard for Belle to sit normally at the table, which also has something to do with the lack of knee joints in the Princess doll. You can see the awkwardness in the picture, where Belle's non... articulated knees have to be positioned in front of the table and not under it.
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One thing to note...
The accessories included are small, so keep this in mind if you're giving this to a child with a younger sibling or pet. The forks and spoons are scaled for Belle, as is Chip, who is very small. Be sure to keep these away from children who are prone to 'tasting' their toys.
Royal Shimmer Belle and her scene set, the Be Our Guest Dining Set is available at most major retailers and online at the Hasbro Toy Shop.