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  1. #1

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    Too Much Focus on Princesses and Fairies?

    I have a daughter, and we have a few Princess dresses at our house. I'm not against playing dress up. However, once dressed up, is it all about the shoes? The hair? The bag? At least for me, as a child it was about stories. Imagination. Adventures, not just hair and make up.

    When I watched Disney movies, it wasn't only about the princess tales. There were many other stories and characters that I loved. Another component that made the movies amazing, was the animation. It wasn't because Snow White was beautiful, or how wonderful her clothes were. To be honest, the dwarves were more entertaining, and the animation was lovely.

    But as park merchandise would suggest, the shining star of Snow White was the dress. At first I thought it was cute, seeing the little girls walking around in their cute dresses, but now, it makes me kind of sad. Little girls with loads of hair spray, make up and a dress.

    I'm not suggesting dress up is a bad thing. I'm not saying dressing up makes it impossible to play pretend. However, it's the way it's done, and where so much focus is aimed, that suggests to me that the most important thing is the pretty princess, and how pretty she is, and that is all that is important.

    When I really think about it, it is actually quite boring.

    I would like to see more focus on who the princesses are. What they like to do. Rather than getting your hair and nails did, what if they had a Belle's Book Store, where you pick a fairy tale and they will fill your name into the story. Some parts if the story will be missing, and you fill those parts in with your own version. Then they have Disney artists that you can take your book up to and they will draw a picture of you to illustrate your story. That is money I'd rather spend, and brings more of the hand drawn art into the park. Also, souvenirs that truly feel like a treasure.

    How about a Tinkering station where you build something with Tinkerbell? After we met Merida they had a little archery station that I thought was a nice touch, and more on track with what I'd like to see.

    Painting or Astronomy with Rapunzel?

    Also, what about boys? I am unaware if there are areas where they can dress up or participate in more interactive pretend play. Boys and girls would probably enjoy dressing up as pirates and then searching for buried treasure. My daughter loved the wilderness trail in DCA, much more than I anticipated. Way more fun than merely slapping on some make up.

    What do you guys think? New ways to inspire creativity? For getting dressed up, would it be nice to see more non princess options like Jessie and Wendy? More villains, or male characters? Also, not just dressing up, but more activities and merchandise that expresses who these characters are, not just what they look like. Things that really light up and stimulate children's imaginations.
    * *The dreams that you wish will come true* *

  2. #2

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    Re: Too Much Focus on Princesses and Fairies?

    I am all for a bigger villain presence in Disneyland. Muhahahahaha

  3. #3

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    Re: Too Much Focus on Princesses and Fairies?

    You have a point there!! I am with you there! It seems that the Princesses and Fairies are the moneymakers for Disney!

    Quote Originally Posted by StarDustFairy View Post
    Also, what about boys? I am unaware if there are areas where they can dress up or participate in more interactive pretend play. Boys and girls would probably enjoy dressing up as pirates and then searching for buried treasure. My daughter loved the wilderness trail in DCA, much more than I anticipated. Way more fun than merely slapping on some make up.
    For boys, they have the Jedi Training Academy and you can build your own Light Sabers and Droids in the Star Trader in Tomorrowland.
    I Get In. I Get Out. I Never Get Noticed!
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  4. #4

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    Re: Too Much Focus on Princesses and Fairies?

    OP, you're a good mom I like you.

  5. #5

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    Re: Too Much Focus on Princesses and Fairies?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarDustFairy View Post
    I would like to see more focus on who the princesses are. What they like to do.
    Unfortunately, Disney wouldn't. To them, a Disney Princess is strictly a brand to be merchandised. It's difficult to sell creativity and imagination, compared to the ease of selling high-markup hairdos, fingernails, purses and dresses. The former requires a staff of creative, imaginative storytellers dedicated to doing what's best for their child customers and for the Princess characters over the long haul; the latter requires cubicles filled with consumer product marketers and accountants dedicated to milking kids for the maximum short-term profit. The unimaginative, repetitive, in-your-face marketing of Disney Princess paraphernalia makes it clear which direction Disney has chosen.

    Thanks for an excellent post, StarDustFairy. More than anything I've read, it nails what is missing from Disney Princess marketing and points the way to how much richer it could be -- if only Disney's vision for their own characters and respect for their customers was deeper than the next quarter's bottom line.
    "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
    Disney may have finally found the grail. You don't need
    imagination or art. All you need is a brand."

    - Neil Gabler


  6. #6

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    Re: Too Much Focus on Princesses and Fairies?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarDustFairy View Post
    I have a daughter, and we have a few Princess dresses at our house. I'm not against playing dress up. However, once dressed up, is it all about the shoes? The hair? The bag? At least for me, as a child it was about stories. Imagination. Adventures, not just hair and make up.

    When I watched Disney movies, it wasn't only about the princess tales. There were many other stories and characters that I loved. Another component that made the movies amazing, was the animation. It wasn't because Snow White was beautiful, or how wonderful her clothes were. To be honest, the dwarves were more entertaining, and the animation was lovely.

    But as park merchandise would suggest, the shining star of Snow White was the dress. At first I thought it was cute, seeing the little girls walking around in their cute dresses, but now, it makes me kind of sad. Little girls with loads of hair spray, make up and a dress.

    I'm not suggesting dress up is a bad thing. I'm not saying dressing up makes it impossible to play pretend. However, it's the way it's done, and where so much focus is aimed, that suggests to me that the most important thing is the pretty princess, and how pretty she is, and that is all that is important.

    When I really think about it, it is actually quite boring.

    I would like to see more focus on who the princesses are. What they like to do. Rather than getting your hair and nails did, what if they had a Belle's Book Store, where you pick a fairy tale and they will fill your name into the story. Some parts if the story will be missing, and you fill those parts in with your own version. Then they have Disney artists that you can take your book up to and they will draw a picture of you to illustrate your story. That is money I'd rather spend, and brings more of the hand drawn art into the park. Also, souvenirs that truly feel like a treasure.

    How about a Tinkering station where you build something with Tinkerbell? After we met Merida they had a little archery station that I thought was a nice touch, and more on track with what I'd like to see.

    Painting or Astronomy with Rapunzel?

    Also, what about boys? I am unaware if there are areas where they can dress up or participate in more interactive pretend play. Boys and girls would probably enjoy dressing up as pirates and then searching for buried treasure. My daughter loved the wilderness trail in DCA, much more than I anticipated. Way more fun than merely slapping on some make up.

    What do you guys think? New ways to inspire creativity? For getting dressed up, would it be nice to see more non princess options like Jessie and Wendy? More villains, or male characters? Also, not just dressing up, but more activities and merchandise that expresses who these characters are, not just what they look like. Things that really light up and stimulate children's imaginations.
    Probably the best idea I've ever heard on Micechat!

  7. #7

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    Re: Too Much Focus on Princesses and Fairies?

    Yeah I wish they had more costume options for little boys, I remember one Halloween back in the 90's when I way young I dressed up as Darth Vader and my sister was Cinderella, that Halloween is pretty famous in our house! If imagine a lot of kids at Disneyland would want the opportunity to do the same, except all the current merchandise focuses only on the princess side.

  8. #8

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    Re: Too Much Focus on Princesses and Fairies?

    I do concur about princesses and fairies but don't mind it much. My daughter loves it but doesn't seem to greatly anxious about dressing up the part. It's still the time with family that we try to teach her about our visits to Disneyland. She's kind of understand but the pull of all the merchandise and greeting places are powerful. At our last visit, Repunzel made an unscheduled stop at our table at the Village Haus. It was such a wonderful moment. Our daughters still talks about that moment. I wish there was more of those moments.

  9. #9

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    Re: Too Much Focus on Princesses and Fairies?

    Wonderful post!

    I agree wholeheartedly with you stardustfairy. This is exactly how I feel about the way the princesses and fairies are handled as well. Where is the imagination?

    And Belle's bookstore and building with Tinkerbelle are fantastic ideas! Those have crossed my mind too. My daughter doen't love Tinkerbelle because of her green dress and sparky wings, she loves her because she's a tinkerer like her mom and dad...

    If they only realized they could be a part of building a strong and smart new generation instead of catering to the lowest common denominator, they could really inspire again.

    I like how you highlighted the disconnect between the animation and parks divisions. The parks have so much more to work with if only they would just LOOK.

  10. #10

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    Re: Too Much Focus on Princesses and Fairies?

    Totally agree with you, I wish they would let their imagination roam a little more. Rather then focus on cosmetics.

  11. #11

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    Re: Too Much Focus on Princesses and Fairies?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarDustFairy View Post
    But as park merchandise would suggest, the shining star of Snow White was the dress. At first I thought it was cute, seeing the little girls walking around in their cute dresses, but now, it makes me kind of sad. Little girls with loads of hair spray, make up and a dress.

    I'm not suggesting dress up is a bad thing. I'm not saying dressing up makes it impossible to play pretend. However, it's the way it's done, and where so much focus is aimed, that suggests to me that the most important thing is the pretty princess, and how pretty she is, and that is all that is important.
    Well, Stardust, I don't think that you can lay this one at the foot of Disney. This is a societal trend & Disney is just filling a need. Much of this appearance mania belongs to the parents and grandparents of the princesses. I have personally witnessed adults begging, convincing, and cajoling their little ones into a trip to the Boutique. It isn't the children shelling out the Benjamins for these little treats.

    In the last fifty years we have seen a shift of focus from substance and character to style and appearance. If books & science kits were big movers, you can bet that Disney would offer them. Those gowns are in demand and Disney would be out of their minds not to have a full line of them.

    I mentioned fifty years as a marking point because that is when television truly began to take foothold in America. Walt himself marketed Davy Crockett merchandise. Did very well with it. The Mickey Mouse Club sold a lot of shirts & Ears, too. There is nothing wrong with that. Television had and has a big influence on popular culture. Every teenage girl had to have that Farrah haircut from Charlie's Angels. Regional tastes and fads became national & they became national in very short order. "Television quality" appearance became the norm. Do you think Edward R. Murrow could make it on network news today?

    Our culture is obsessed with appearance. That is no one's fault but that of the American consumer. We have met the enemy & he is us. (Pogo) Yes, I too would love for Disney to offer imaginative & thought provoking merchandise. Hell, I'd wish anyone would do that.
    I would like popular music to be original and showcase musicians of the highest caliber.
    Sadly, it is not to be. It reminds me of the lyrics from a song by the band 10cc, "Art for arts sake. Money for god's sake."
    Skiddley Whiffers is a cruel mistress; cold and unforgiving.

  12. #12

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    Re: Too Much Focus on Princesses and Fairies?

    Get her nails painted and there is little problem carrying that art around.

    Make some sort of craft and you drag it around all day until you get tired of it and put it in a trash can.

    One is simple the other is not. One makes profit the other does not. One is very Disney the other is like school.
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    Next year I'm trying for a summer internship at Stark Industries.

  13. #13

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    Re: Too Much Focus on Princesses and Fairies?

    The Fantasy Faire is part (insert princess), part JonBenet, part Honey Booboo and all just an overpriced glamor shots makeover, photos extra.

  14. #14

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    Re: Too Much Focus on Princesses and Fairies?

    StarDustFairy, I am one hundred percent with you.

    At 4 it's fine to want a fluffy, sparkling dress. At 7 I'd rather the kid wanted to be Princess Leia if she still wants to be a Princess. Why does it all have to be so gender-biased? Why can't kids just be pirates or explorers or astronauts?
    "Ignore the Chihuahua behind the curtain."

  15. #15

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    Re: Too Much Focus on Princesses and Fairies?

    That's the whole reason why Disney bought marvel.

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