Before we get into the review, though, I have to just say that the amount of Beauty and the Beast merchandise at the Disney Store right now is killing me! Beauty and the Beast celebrates its 25th anniversary this November, and the Disney Store is going all out with all sorts of new dolls, accessories, clothing, and more. (You can see everything currently available HERE.) It's a crummy time to be broke. ;)
And I can't even begin to say how much I'm drooling over the beautiful upcoming Limited Edition Beauty and the Beast dolls. Belle was announced a while back, but just yesterday the Disney Store shared pictures of the Limited Edition Beast and Gaston dolls that will also be available for pre-sale on August 2nd in select stores and online August 3rd. You can read all about it and see pictures HERE on the Disney Store blog.
I've shared before my desire to someday own a Disney Store Limited Edition doll, especially from Beauty and the Beast. Silly me, I was thinking of the dolls that would probably be released around the time of the live action version of the film next March. I didn't even think about the 25th anniversary of the animated version and the dolls it might inspire.
I would LOVE to add Belle and the Beast from this series to my collection, especially since the Beast doll appears to have a better design and more pleasant face than the smaller classic Beast doll. But the timing couldn't be worse. This month has been pretty tight for us financially, and the next few are going to be the same. (I suppose paying bills and getting Oldest Gal her braces are more important than dolls for me, anyway.) ;) So, I'll just enjoy them from afar and hope that those of you who are able to snag these lovelies will post LOTS of wonderful pictures for the rest of us to enjoy. ;)
Okay, enough of that! On to the pretty new Belle doll that IS in my collection. ;) Like my Rapunzel review for this year, 2016 Belle's post will be a little less detailed and more of an overview.
Here's Belle in her box. I really love what the Disney Store has done with the packaging this year, including scenes from the movie in the backdrop and making everything so bright and cheery. There are even little motifs from each film on the boxes this year.
Like I mentioned in Rapunzel's review, I think this could be a fun way to display your dolls if you wanted a nice backdrop but still wanted to at least partially debox them.
When I deboxed my Belle, I was actually able to pull the plastic ties out of her head completely! :D
And here she is, free from her plastic and cardboard prison.
Belle from the front...
...and the back.
Belle's dress this year is a huge improvement from last year's, although it's VERY glittery (sorry for those of you who are not glitter fans). It appears to be similar to the Palace Pets version of Belle from the Disney Store last year, except the trim at the top of the bodice and around the skirt is satin instead of the gauzy, see-through material on Palace Pets Belle's dress.
It looks much closer to the movie version of the dress, including gloves this time (yay!) and a skirt that is much fuller and closer to the original dress design.
The dress has Velcro closure in back. There is a slight gap at the skirt where the twist ties held her to the box, which is pretty common for these dolls. The skirt fits correctly, so with time this should lay flat.
My only disappointment with this dress is that the Disney Store did not continue the folds and layers from the front of the skirt all the way around to the back. :(
Belle's hair has the typical odd separation in the back due to the way she was packaged. However, I do appreciate that it is about the right length and style.
She has a lovely, gentle face. Like 2016 Rapunzel, 2016 Belle's face is almost identical to last year's, but has subtler makeup and rosier cheeks.
My particular Belle had a very slight paint flaw on her right eyelash line, and paint that overlapped the eye line in the face mold (also on the right).
Now, let's take a peek at Belle's little companion, Chip the teacup.
I have to say, I was pretty disappointed in Chip's paint job. I've seen really cute sidekicks come from the Disney Store, but honestly, this Chip looks like one of those poorly painted Disney toys you can find at dollar stores. With a little more detail and subtler paint, he could have been so much cuter.
Chip from the other sides:
He does look pretty adorable with Belle, though. I love that he can sit in her hand, just like he did in the movie.
I'm so pleased with this doll overall. I especially love her kind face and the detail of her dress and gloves.
And now, on to the great Belle lineup! ;D
Here are all of the Disney Store Belle dolls from 2010 through 2016. (Be sure to click on the picture to see more detail.)
And here they all are from the back.
In the interest of keeping things consistent, I took the same style of comparison photos for Belle's review that I did for Rapunzel's. I hope you enjoy this look at each of the dolls individually, including a close up of their faces and dresses. And sorry, I'm all out of creative nicknames, so this time I'll just label them by their years. ;)
Like I did with Rapunzel, I thought I'd share my favorite Belle dolls, even though there are things I love about each of them. :)
2010 Belle (pictured on the left) was the first Disney Store doll I really fell in love with. Even though she doesn't have the most accurate Belle face, this version of Belle is especially dear to me because her twin is the "famous" Belle of Belle's Bulletins. ;)
2011 Belle (pictured next to 2010 Belle) looks closer to her movie counterpart. I've always loved the sweet, innocent expression of her face.
2015 Belle (next in line) is probably my first favorite of all of the dolls. I love her coloring and the beautiful detail of her face paint.
2016 (on the right) is up there with my favorites, too. Just like my Rapunzel dolls, I slightly prefer 2015's version to 2016, but when they're not right next to each other, I hardly notice the differences. ;)
It's a tie for this category as well. Overall, I like 2016 Belle's dress (on the right) the best. However, 2012 Belle's dress is lovely, too. Both dresses include Belle's signature gloves.
And 2012 Belle's dress has the added bonus of a dress design that continues all the way around the skirt, even in the back where it's not visible from the box.
Again, 2012 Belle and 2016 Belle are the winners.
Even though 2012 Belle's hair isn't as accurate to the movie style, it is designed to look like Belle's updated look from that year, when the marketing designs of all of the Disney Princesses got a makeover. I especially love the curly tendrils that frame her face and the fact that her little topknot bun isn't up as high on her head and looks more natural.
2016 Belle's hair looks lovely in photos and is very movie accurate (aside from the height of her bun). 2015's is pretty similar, although my 2015 Belle's hair was even more separated in the back (which you can see in the group photo above).
Beauty and the Beast will always be my favorite Disney movie. I can't believe it's been twenty-five years since I sat in theaters as a ten-year-old girl and watched it for the first time. Belle was the first princess who had brown hair like mine, who loved to read, and who was deep enough to not fall in love with the first handsome guy she saw. ;) I instantly related to her. I'm so pleased to have such a lovely, detailed version of her for my collection.
So, will Belle find her way to any of your collection shelves? ;) (You can find her on the Disney Store website HERE.)
To read my past Belle doll review posts, visit my Doll and Toy Reviews page and check under the "Disney Dolls" category.
I am not affiliated with Disney, just a fan who loves to share about my Disney dolls. ;) All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.