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Toy WTF: Out of Scale Play Sets

Here’s a simple rule that apparently is impossible to follow: If you are going to make accessories your dolls are supposed to fit inside, you better make sure your dolls fit in them before you start marketing them to the public.

We have two Disney items that don’t fit the figurines for which they were allegedly built and I absolutely don’t understand WTF the manufacturer was thinking. First, there’s Cinderella’s carriage.

It looks like a great toy, right? What’s not to love? It has everything: Cinderella, the mice, the fairy godmother, horses. Great stuff.

It SHOULD be great stuff, but it’s totally not. First of all, it falls apart very easily. The platform the mouse stands on falls off every 5 seconds and your child will ask you every 5 seconds to put it back together. The two halves of the the top of the carriage also pop off easily and you will also be asked to fix this so many times you’ll be ready to throw it out.

If that weren’t bad enough, Cinderella literally can not sit in the carriage while she is wearing her little rubber dress. Her legs don’t bend while she’s wearing it, which means she can’t sit. The carriage lid can not shut while she is standing. What’s hilarious about this is they clearly discovered there were problems with this toy during the promotional photo shoots, but didn’t do anything to fix it.

See how Cinderella is standing instead of sitting? See how the carriage is open? It can not close while she’s in there. If you move the carriage, she will fall over.

WTF? Make the carriage a little taller and this problem goes away. Put these damn figurines in cloth dresses instead of immobile rubber dresses that rip easily and the problem will disappear. I don’t understand why they thought this was acceptable.

Look at the hilarity– on Amazon there’s not just one promo picture like this, there’s two!

And this is just one of probably many toys for these figurines that isn’t to scale and doesn’t work with the dolls. We also have a set of Tinker Bell fairies that don’t fit in the little fairy house we have for them.

Tinker Bell can not stand up all the way in this house. She can not sit on the little thimble stool without falling over. It’s ridiculous. They seriously need to play with these toys in the toy engineering department place before selling them.

I mean that’s two out of two accessories for our Disney dolls that don’t actually fit the dolls for which they were designed. That’s just not right. WTF?

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Aladdin Revelation

Dr. Toy Warden: Who does Princess Jasmine marry anyway?

Me: Um, Aladdin. That’s sort of the point.

Dr. Toy Warden: For the longest time I thought Aladdin was the name of the genie.

Me: What?! Why would you think THAT?

Dr. Toy Warden: Whenever I saw a poster or a promo for Aladdin, all it showed was a picture of the genie.

Me: When did you figure out Aladdin was the BOY and not the genie?

Dr. Toy Warden: Last week.

Is this a man thing? Or is my husband really out of it? Or a little of both?

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Blue Dress Drama

Now that Rose has actually seen “Cinderella”, her fever pitch obsession with her blue costume has grown more intense. She doesn’t want to take the costume off EVER. If she’s going to bed, she HAS TO wear her blue nightgown. If we are leaving the house, she throws a big tantrum when I try to get her dressed in anything that’s not blue. If she already has her costume on, we have a big bloody battle to get it off and put her in real clothes.

I’d just leave the costume on to save myself the headache, but it’s too cold out and she often has pjs on under it. The girl needs to wear some real clothes outside of the house. Besides which, the costume is getting really worn out and I don’t think it would last long if I allowed it to be worn even more. I make concessions. I’m ok with her wearing her crown and princess jewelry out, but I really want her to wear real clothes outside!

I’ve been on the hunt to make her spring wardrobe 100% blue dresses to stop the madness. Last week I was searching for dresses online and she got very excited when I showed her the dresses I’d found. “I want a new blue dress! I want a new blue dress!” It’s almost disturbing how aware she is of clothes and girly things.

The next day we went to Kohls and bought her a new blue cotton dress for spring. She was so excited when she saw it that she started yelling about Cinderella and blue dresses. She got her greedy little toddler paws on the dress and wouldn’t let it go. I had to battle her for it to get it scanned by the cashier. She wanted to hold it in three stores we went to after that.

When we got home, she put on her new dress and wore it for three days straight before I had to fight her to put on something else because it needed to be washed. When her dad got home, she ran up to him and immediately began yelling “Daddy, see my new blue dress? Is it pretty?”

This is age 2. What’s she going to be like when she’s 15?! I’m scared.

I definitely need at least 6 more blue dresses because I can’t have this girl wear the same dress every day! I’ve been trying to sell her on other colors. Sleeping Beauty and Ariel wear pink! Tianna wears green! Belle wears yellow! Rapunzel wears purple! She’s not buying any of that. The dress has to be blue.

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They ripped her dress!

Rose has been obsessed with Cinderella for probably a year, but had never seen the movie. She has three Cinderella dolls and spends a lot of time traipsing around here in a Cinderella costume. Even her Woof Woof has a Cinderella costume. Every morning, she wakes up and asks to wear her only non-costume blue dress because it is like Cinderella’s. Every night before she goes to bed she begs to wear her blue nightgown. I have to disappoint her most days due to the laundry cycle, but it’s pretty clear that if she could wear a blue dress like Cinderella every day, she would.

The other day we were in a used bookstore and I finally found a VHS copy of the movie. Yes, VHS. We still use our VCR sometimes. It’s had a bad habit of chewing up tapes and refusing to rewind things lately, but it will play a previously rewinded tape without too much hassle. I figured even if the VCR ate the tape after the first viewing, for $1.50 it was worth it. Rose finally got her chance  to see her beloved Cinderella in action.

It was a hit. Would you expect anything else? After all this obsession, I doubt Cinderella would have to do much to impress her, but the movie is pretty delightful and perhaps the most toddler friendly of the Disney Princess franchise. It has talking, singing mice and birds doing cute things the whole time and there isn’t nearly as much violence or suspense as the other movies. It’s the ultimate princess movie for a 2 year old.

And what did Rose take away from this enchanting movie? Stories about cat and mouse antics? Adoration of Cinderella finding her dreams?

Nope.

Before the movie was even over Rose was yelling over and over again about how Cinderella’s stepsisters ripped her dress and necklace.

“They ripped her dress! They ripped her dress! That’s not so good! That’s not right! They ripped her necklace!”

Without context, this sounds like a rape scene, but she is indeed just talking about when Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters take back their ribbons and beads. I guess that really struck a cord with her. For some reason that sticks out in her mind over the sea witch tormenting Ariel at the bottom of a whirlpool or Jafar turning into a giant snake and trying to slay Aladdin while Jasmine nearly drowns in the sand of an hourglass. I consider the violence and conflict in the Cinderella scene relatively minor compared to most things in most children’s movies. Rose remembers it over anything else that has ever happened in a movie.

I think she was so struck by this because of her obsession with clothes. If someone were to rip her princess dress, she would be very very upset. Whenever one of her bead necklaces break (happens more often than you would think. 2 year old + beads = trouble), Rose goes on about it for days. I guess she relates more to broken pretty things than an evil giant snake coming at her?

Whatever the case, she’s already asking to watch the movie again and our VCR is refusing to rewind it. Thank goodness “Cinderella” is back out on DVD this fall– or maybe I should be wishing it wasn’t. I can only take so much “They ripped her dress! They ripped her necklace! That’s not nice!”

It’s cute, but it’s also disconcerting.

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Diamond in the Rough

At the end of “Aladdin”, the sultan tells Aladdin that the boy has certainly proven his worth with him and thus will be allowed to marry the princess.

But how on earth did Aladdin prove his worth? How is Aladdin a diamond in the rough? I’ve watched “Aladdin” a lot in the last couple weeks and while he’s certainly likable, he doesn’t do much to prove he’s somehow the only person in the kingdom worthy of entering the Cave of Wonders or becoming the princess’s husband despite being a commoner.

Aladdin starts the movie as a thief. Is he a lovable thief who steals food so he won’t go hungry? Sure. Does he share the food he steals with small children? Yes. None of this changes the fact that he and his monkey spend the first part of the movie stealing food and dodging the law. He also helps the princess dodge the law after she accidentally steals an apple and the store vendor threatens to cut off her hand. Do I agree with this form of punishment for anything? Absolutely not. While I’m glad Aladdin saved Jasmine from losing a hand, he still did it by conning the store owner and fleeing from the law again. It wasn’t exactly admirable behavior.

Aladdin stops being a thief after he gets his hands on the lamp, but he continues his less than ethical behavior. Aladdin spends the entire movie lying and conning people. First he cons the genie into getting him out of the Cave of Wonders without making a wish. Then he cons the kingdom into believing he’s a prince, when really he’s still the same thief he was 15 minutes beforehand. He lies to Jasmine repeatedly about his identity and what he was doing in the marketplace. He allows his pet monkey to suffer in misery as an elephant while he enjoys his con job as a prince.

Aladdin only does three redeeming things the entire movie.

1) He gives bread (that he STOLE) to hungry children.

2) He promises the genie his freedom once he receives his second wish– but then almost doesn’t go through with it. Should he even get credit for this?

3) He helps Jasmine and her father fight evil Jafar. They win when he TRICKS Jafar into wishing he was a genie, thus entrapping him in a lamp.

The rest of the movie, Aladdin is lying, conning and thieving. Almost everything the sultan sees of Aladdin is part of a con job and the sultan learns of it right before he says Aladdin has proven his worth to him.

WHAT WORTH?

I really don’t understand it. I think Aladdin is adorable, but I really don’t think he did anything that would qualify him to be considered a diamond in the rough. Maybe if Aladdin had been more truthful about his identity when given the chance, I could see it. But that’s not what happened. I guess proving your worth means you’ve proven you are completely dishonest and untrustworthy. It’s totally ok to be these things if you know how to trick a sinister villain into wishing himself into the trap of being a genie. That proves you should be the future sultan.

At least, that’s what I take away from it.

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“I Just Can’t Wait to Be King”

Rose got a copy of “The Lion King” for Hanukkah and, as a daughter after my own heart, has asked to watch it over and over and over again. I was just the right age (and sex) to enjoy it when Disney’s 1990s renaissance came around. My husband, on the other hand, is 8.5 years older than me and was in college or grad school when these movies were coming out. Plus he’s a boy. So, he didn’t see any of these Disney flicks until our kids started watching them. Considering what a big part of my childhood (and, I suppose, teenhood) these movies were, this is hard to fathom having never seen “Beauty and the Beast” and the like, but that’s what I married into.

Anyway, while the girls were watching it the other day, Dr. Toy Warden suddenly sneered during “I Just Can’t Wait to be King”.

“I hate this song! It has a terrible message!” he said.

“Yeah, I guess he does sound like a spoiled brat…” I agreed.

He said that he wasn’t concerned about Simba’s dream of bossing everyone around and being in charge so much as the song’s implication that he wanted his father dead.

“His dad has to die for him to be king! Why would he want that?!”

I hadn’t thought of that before. I always saw it as a song about a kid wanting to be an adult and in charge of his own life. Dr. Toy Warden is right though. Simba doesn’t just want to be an adult; he wants to be king. And we all know what needs to happen (and does happen like 10 minutes later) for him to succeed his father.

His father has to die.

So if you think about it, you could replace the words “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” with “I Just Can’t Wait For My Dad to Die” and it would mean approximately the same thing.

Pretty wrong.

Considering how Simba reacts to his father’s death, it’s pretty clear that he wasn’t thinking about what would have to happen for him to be king, but still.

Ironically, when Simba becomes king, he flees the kingdom. I guess he didn’t want to be king that badly after all.

But next time you watch that musical sequence, think about what Simba is REALLY saying. Dr. Toy Warden has something here. It IS creepy.

And that’s only reason why Dr. Toy Warden is still great even though he never watched a Disney movie until after we got together. ;)

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Toy WTF: Tiny Princess Wardrobe Choices

WTF is up with Disney Princess Favorite Moment Dolls and their teeny, tiny changeable rubber outfits that rip the second a child tries to change them? Why on earth would you make little rubber outfits so tight that when a child tries to change them they rip? Our first Cinderella doll ripped her dress immediately. For some reason, we kept buying these things and I put in place the new rule that only Mommy and Daddy could change the dolls. This means that Dr. Toy Warden and I are CONSTANTLY changing teeny, tiny easy-to-rip rubber clothes. Why did they go with rubber? Why didn’t they go with cloth? Even the tiny cloth clothes are hard to change, but at least you aren’t stretching them over teeny, tiny oddly bent arms.

I’m particularly pissed off about the Ariel doll.

You see Ariel’s little purple shell bra? You can take it off for no good reason. It doesn’t fit quite right and slips around a lot.

Do you know what’s under Ariel’s purple shell bra? A green painted-on bra.

Why the hell isn’t Ariel’s purple bra just painted on her? It would make so much more sense and work so much better. The purple rubber bra is so little that it’s totally going to get lost. I’m amazed it hasn’t been lost yet.

Also, Ariel’s shoes are painted green. Her dress is pink. The shoes and bra don’t match her dress at all. Purple shoes matching the purple bra would look much better, but I guess the toy designer decided to make the shoes match her green tail. The thing is, when she’s wearing the tail you can’t see her shoes and you aren’t supposed to be able to see her green bra either. It doesn’t make any sense.

WTF?

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The Tom Boy with the Tiara

Lily is only 4, but I was convinced up until now she was a tom boy. I’ve talked on here before about how she had absolutely no interest in dolls or princesses or dress-up. And that was cool. I mean, it was great that she loved to run and jump and climb and do puzzles and build with blocks and learn about letters and get ahead in math. All of that was great, especially the academic stuff.

But I was a little disappointed. I was still a kid when “The Little Mermaid” came out and I loved it with all my soul. I’ve been dying to have someone with which to watch all the princess movies, even though I know they don’t always depict women in the most heroic lights. I know all the feminist reasons I shouldn’t love princess movies. And they are right. I shouldn’t. But I do.

When I found out I was having girls I had this fantasy we would have these special moments together watching Disney movies and getting brainwashed by whatever crazy messages Disney sneaks into our subconscious through these films. I’d hate for my children to not have the same Disney brainwashed brains as me.

I’ve waited 4 years for Lily to let me watch a Disney movie with her. Every time we tried up until now, she rejected the movie. “I hate this movie! It’s too scary!” she’d yell, and I’d turn off “The Little Mermaid” and sadly click back to Dora. I mean, sure, there are a lot of terrifying parts of Disney movies, like more than you’d ever realized until you have someone like Lily in your house. But seriously, I don’t see how her favorite movie of all time, “Toy Story 3″ is any less traumatic.

Then something magnificent (and kind of sad) happened. Lily turned into a girl. Like, a really girly girl. I have no idea what happened, but suddenly she wants Barbies, Strawberry Shortcake, Tinker Bell and My Little Pony. She wants to play dress up. She wants to serve me tea and cookies. She wants to wear dresses every day. And be a ballerina. And every other stereotypical girl thing you can imagine– she wants it.

I don’t know if it was Rose’s influence. Rose has been a very very girly girl since before she could speak– dolls and dresses and flowers all over the place. Maybe Lily sees her sister being girly and realizes that putting on a princess costume might be fun? I don’t know. But I do know that I saw a window– a maybe-she’ll-let-me-watch-something-besides-”Toy-Story-3″-and-”Super-Why” window– and I took the pass. I snuck in some “The Little Mermaid”.

And she loved it.

I felt like singing from the mountain tops. There will be princess movies in this house! The dress-up box I’ve been stocking since before Lily was born WILL get used!

That week we watched almost every princess movie I own and she loved them all.

Then this past weekend we were shopping for Rose’s birthday when Lily fell in love with an Ariel doll whose dress can reverse into a mermaid tail. She was smitten with the idea and had some birthday money leftover, so we came home with the Ariel doll and I could barely contain my glee. I want an Ariel doll! I could play with that doll for hours.

Maybe all this makes me a bad feminist, but I don’t care. I am ecstatic to finally have my princess girl. I just hope the tom boy girl sticks around too. I’d hate to see that part of her disappear. I will do what I can to encourage the tom boy to stay– keep the puzzles and math and rough and tumble playing. There’s no reason she can’t be both the climbing, running, jumping, math whiz tom boy and the girly girl in a pink sparkling dress with a tiara.

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TV Tuesdays: Tinker Bell and The Lost Treasure

First of all, this movie made me aware that I’ve been mentally misspelling “Tinker Bell” my entire life. Doesn’t it seem like it should be “Tinkerbell”? Why the space between “Tinker” and “Bell”? Every time I type “Tinker Bell”, I have to force myself to put the space in the middle. It’s just not right.

Regardless, I have some major issues with the morals in “Tinker Bell and The Lost Treasure”.

Tinker Bell is entrusted with a vital task to the survival of not only the fairies but all of nature. The fairies, who are responsible for the passage of seasons, need pixie dust to fly and complete most of their tasks (though this confuses me. They have wings. Why don’t the wings work without pixie dust. I can see why people need pixie dust to fly, but why fairies?). The fairy queen gives Tinker Bell the only moonstone found by the fairies in hundreds of years. The moonstone uses a special type of moonlight one special night a year to make pixie dust (or a special pixie dust starter. I’m a little unclear on this). Tinker Bell is supposed to make a scepter to hold the moonstone in a way to best use the moonlight to make pixie dust.

Tinker Bell works really hard to make the scepter and is nearly finished about two days before the special moonlight night when her friend accidentally breaks the scepter. That alone put the pixie dust manufacturing and therefore ALL OF NATURE in danger, but did Tinker Bell tell her superiors about the threat or seek outside help to get her scepter done sooner? No. Of course not. That would make her look bad to others.

While trying to figure out what to do about the broken scepter, Tinker Bell kicks this stopwatch, which pops open and crushes the precious moonstone vital to pixie dust production. That’s right, she breaks the only moonstone the fairies have found in hundreds of years. It is only two days before the special moonlight.

Surely now she should tell her superiors.

BUT SHE DOESN’T.

Instead she decides to search for a legendary magical mirror in a sunken pirate ship on a far away island and runs off on a dangerous mission all by herself. Clearly this is what our children should do if they break something important to us– go to a deserted island and search for potentially fictional treasures.

It’s just irresponsible.

In the end, at the very last minute with no other choices left Tinker Bell realizes she can use the broken moonstone to capture even more moonlight and improve pixie dust production.

But she still doesn’t tell anyone what happened. She lets the other fairies believe she purposefully broke their precious moonstone and that she was brilliant to think more reflective surface area meant more pixie dust.

And they are HAPPY she broke their only moonstone because it worked.

What if it hadn’t worked? If she HAD done it on purpose, how is it ok to break the only moonstone found in hundreds of years without asking first?

I’m really bothered that she took credit for the broken moonstone as if it were a brilliant idea instead of an accident. I don’t get how this is morally ok, I don’t like that she didn’t tell ANYONE where she was going or never let anyone know there was a problem with such a vital part of fairy life. She could have had help. More minds working on a solution could only be a good thing. They were on a time crunch. They needed an answer fast. It was not ok to just run away to a far away island looking for some magical solution.

But no. In the end, Tinker Bell is rewarded for her brilliance.

And she doesn’t deserve it.

And I will never ever understand why the writers thought this was ok. Other lessons are learned in this movie, but the lying and the undue credit just really bother me.

Now I need to rewatch the other Tinker Bell movies to see if Tinker Bell always gets away with murder. Maybe the mean-spirited Vidia is just giving Tinker Bell the treatment she deserves.

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TV Tuesdays: Blonds Have The Most Magic

If “Tangled” teaches us nothing else, it’s that blond hair is magical and brown hair only happens when magic is destroyed.

As if little brown-haired girls didn’t have enough of a reason to wish they had blond hair, here comes this movie showing glowing golden hair with healing powers turn brown and powerless when it is cut. I had hoped that my daughter would see that having brown hair would make Rapunzel free, but instead she says she wishes Rapunzel’s hair would stay “yellow” because it is “so pretty” when it is magical.

There are a lot of things that could have happened to Rapunzel’s hair when it was cut. I’m not sure if turning it brown was the best choice given the movie’s target viewing audience. It could have just stopped glowing. It could have turned purple or a different shade of blond, but turning it brown just flat out says “brown isn’t as good as blond.”

True, Rapunzel was happier and had a better life once her hair changed color. I know that’s supposed to be the take home message, but you see something else when her stunning golden hair turns brown. You see that blond looked better. Then you have another generation of little girls who are sad that they don’t have blond hair.

Sure, little girls everywhere probably would have wanted blond hair anyway. Who doesn’t wish they were a natural blond? But this movie certainly doesn’t help the situation.

At least they gave her a cute haircut to turn it brown. Who knew that a dying man with a piece of glass could layer so it so masterfully?

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