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Disney Princesses Get Surprising ‘Barbie’ Upgrades From Mattel

BarbieĀ has been the talk of the town lately — at least, the new movie about Barbie has — but last year, the original Barbie dolls were also a hot topic for a big reason. Mattel, the doll and toy company that was famous for making Barbie dolls, finally reclaimed its rights to Disney Barbie dolls after the doll and toy company Hasbro had taken the Disney princess brand rights for several years.

mattel-barbie-dolls

Barbie doll toys and Disney princess dolls have seen a lot of changes in recent years. Credit: Michelle Groskopf for The Wall Street Journal

Now, Mattel is taking its reclaimed toy rights and running with them in an unexpected direction.

The company is actually, according to theĀ Wall Street Journal, releasing a “new line of princess dolls, representing 17 different Disney characters, including Cinderella, Moana, and Anna and Elsa of Frozen“. TheĀ FrozenĀ characters are a particularly special addition to Mattel’s beloved Disney princess collection!

Elsa and Anna in Frozen 2

Idina Menzel voices the Arendelle princess Elsa and Kristen Bell voices the Arendelle Queen, Queen Anna, in the Frozen films. Credit: Disney

These new dolls are becoming available in stores this weekend, but they will not look quite like the Disney princess dolls of old. Mattel has apparently decided to bring the Disney princesses away from “damsels in distress” identities by incorporating several changes to the dolls’ designs.

According to theĀ Wall Street Journal, “for the new line of Disney princess dolls, Mattel experimented with facial design. Designers digitally sculpted features and hand-painted faces on prototypes that were based on the charactersā€™ appearance in films”.

mattel-barbie-dolls

Credit: Michelle Groskopf for The Wall Street Journal

Mattel designers also “incorporated new knitted fibers for a more diverse array of hair types.” According to Chris Down (Mattelā€™s chief design officer), “the goal was to make the designs less lifelike and more closely resemble how children say the characters should look, based on feedback from focus groups.”

The loss of the Disney princess contract was apparently “a slap in the face for Mattel”, but it looks like Disney princesses are back under the Mattel purview. Now all that remains to be seen is whether or not consumers will actually like the Disney princesses’ new looks and their new updated Disney princess style!

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!