New battle in 'Princess Wars': Disney dolls featuring ... your daughter's face
Disney continues its princess juggernaut, rolling out custom-made princess dolls that will have personalized faces etched onto them by computer. Is it good, bad, or just ... weird?
Has your daughter always wanted to be a Disney princess? Now she can be one. In action figure form, that is.Skip to next paragraph
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For $99.95 (plus $15.95 shipping and handling), Disney will turn your daughter into a seven-inch, three-dimensional custom figurine of her favorite heroine from a Disney animated film. Aside from Cinderella and Snow White, there are five other choices: Ariel from “The Little Mermaid,” Aurora from “Sleeping Beauty,” Belle from “Beauty and the Beast,” Rapunzel from “Tangled,” or Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog.”
The custom dolls are sure to be yet another battle in the “Princess Wars” – the sharp divide among parents, debated heatedly around the mommy blogosphere, about whether or not emulating the Disney princesses is good for the little girls of the world.
Proponents see the princesses as good role models: even-tempered, kind, and occasionally resourceful and tough. Their detractors decry the craze as an overly successful Disney marketing campaign turning our daughters docile, uncreative, shallow, and obsessed with appearance.
“It escalates the Disney Princess takeover of girlhood,” says Josh Golin, associate director for the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Boston. “I have some real concerns about the body image. When you personalize by putting a girl’s face on it, that sends a real damaging message about what she should aspire to look like.”
In its announcement about the custom dolls, posted on the company’s Disney Parks blog, Disney said the 10-minute process features several cameras taking images of a girl’s face and storing them in a computer for processing.
“Hair, skin and eye color of the figurine are customized to match the guest. A Princess silver link necklace with choice of colored gem charm is also included for participants,” the announcement says.
The service will be available beginning Aug. 26, only at the Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resorts in Orlando, Fla, as a part of what the company calls the “D-Tech me” experience. It was launched in May of this year with “Carbon Freeze Me,” where Star Wars fans could buy comparably-sized figurines of themselves frozen in carbonite, similar to what happens to Han Solo in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Offered as part of Disney Hollywood Studios’ Star Wars Weekends 2012, “Carbon Freeze Me” was received as harmless, if expensive fun.
Figurines crafted from actual faces may seem novel, but it’s hardly cutting edge for the toy industry, says Christopher Byrne, toy reviewer and content director for TimeToPlayMag.com.