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Toon Tuesday : Are you ready for the walkaround versions of the Disney Fairies ?

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Toon Tuesday : Are you ready for the walkaround versions of the Disney Fairies ?

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I'm sure that you're familiar with the animated version of Tinker Bell that appeared from Walt Disney Productions' 1951 release, "Peter Pan" ...

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... not to mention the live-action version of this pixie that periodically appears in fireworks displays ...

Photo by Jeff Lange

... and parades at the parks.

Photo by Jeff Lange

But what with Walt Disney Home Entertainment getting ready to roll out four brand-new "Tinker Bell" films ... Disney's Character Programs & Development department (i.e. the folks who are in charge of all of those characters that you see walking around in the parks) was tasked to come up with walkaround versions of five of the Disney Fairies. With the hope that these new face characters could then be used to help promote these home premieres (The first of which -- "Tinker Bell" -- hits store shelves on October 28th).

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And given that the CG versions of the Disney Fairies ...

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... look significantly different from the Tinks that we see in the parks (Or -- for that matter -- are quite a departure from the Fairies that we were first introduced to back in August of 2005, when this new Disney franchise first took flight) ...

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... Character Programs & Development spent more than a year perfecting the look of these walkaround face character versions of these Disney Fairies.

The prototypes for the walkaround face character versions of
(L to R) Iridessa, Rosetta, Tinker Bell, Silvermist and Fawn.
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Now you've no doubt already heard that Tink & her pals will booting Ariel out of her grotto at Disneyland later this year. But where will the walkaround versions of these "Disney Fairies" face characters be settling once they fly into Orlando? The smart money right now is on Ms. Belle and her cohorts taking over one of the Judge's Tents at Mickey's Toontown Fair over at WDW's Magic Kingdom.

Mind you, these walkaround face characters are only one component of the "Tinker Bell" movie promotional campaign that the Walt Disney Company will be unleashing later this year. Just wait 'til you get "Pixie Hollow" ...

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... the new virtual world that Disney Online will be launching this fall. Where Fairy fans will actually be able to explore by making use of some new Internet-connected toys called Clickables.

And that's just the start of Disney's new "Fairies" -based initiatives. There's also those three other home premieres (i.e. "Tinker Bell: North of Never Land," which is tentatively slated to be released in 2009; "Tinker Bell: A Midsummer Storm," which is supposed to hit store shelves sometime in 2010 and "Tinker Bell: A Winter Story," whose premiere is pencilled in for 2011). Plus cool toys like that remote control Tinker Bell flyer that WowWee FlyTech will be releasing in the Fall.

But all of that is still months away. Right now, the folks at Disney's Character Programs & Development are concentrating on finding just the right performers to play these "Disney Fairies" walkaround characters in the parks. Which -- in Tinker Bell's case -- means that the Mouse is looking a performer who's 4' 11'' to 5' 2" feet tall. In the case of Fawn, Iridessa, Rosetta and Silvermist, performers can be a little bit taller -- 5' 2" to 5' 5" feet tall.

So what do you folks think? Do you have what it takes (i.e. "faith, hope and pixie dust") to become one of a "Disney Fairies" ?

Walkaround face character versions of the "Disney Fairies."
(Back Row, L to R) Iridessa, Tinker Bell and Fawn,
(Front Row) Rosetta and Silvermist.
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Your thoughts?

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  • While I'm a fan of multi-cultural inclusion, I am not a fan of blatantly marketing to multi-cultural correctness just to make a buck.  The image of the fairies smacks of multi-cultural profiteering--without any real substance.  Case in point: Sesame Street discusses cultural identities and has multi-cultural inclusion.  The products division that's behind the Fairies appear to be slapping a bunch of skin tones on CG models to sell products to all the major ethnic demographics in America.

  • So it's okay to have a set of fairies who are "diverse" as long as you don't make a buck off it? What a wacky take.

    Okay, my turn to complain. How come all the CG fairies look like they've been copied off the "Bratz" model sheet. I know a lot of mothers of little girls who are not going to appreciate that if it makes it into a movie or toy version.

  • rufus3698 said: So it's okay to have a set of fairies who are "diverse" as long as you don't make a buck off it? What a wacky take.

    Hey, that's not what I said.  I said I had a problem when the marketing of diversity becomes the exploitation (or profiteering) of diversity.  So there's the Asian fairy.  And the African-American Fairy.  And a couple of white Fairies.  (Is that a Native American fairy?)  And so on.  But their skin color is displayed in such a way that it becomes one of the focal points of this campaign--when ethnic identities are not part of the narrative substance of these stories at all.  

  • My first impression is that the original characters designs were a bit more interesting. The new versions feel like the faeries just are more generic.  Here are some samples from JHM with the original designs. Got to love big hats made from flowers.


  • Uh, I'm curious....why is a dark-skinned fairy automatically an "African-American" fairy? Maybe she's just plain African?

    See the tangled web we weave?

    Of course, since fairies come from, by their nature, an alternate world/universe/dimension that may or may not be of this earth at all, maybe they're ALL just plain ALIEN fairies?

    Bottomline? Who CARES what their alleged ethnicities are? I mean, isn't "fairy"

    a "race" all by itself, too?

    And y'know...since Tink comes from the mind of the very ENGLISH J.M. Barrie wayyyy back when, she probably isn't an ANYTHING-American, is she? Isn't that just a touch of cockney accent to those tinkly noises she makes?

    (smile).....and now that we've done the old reductio-ad-absurdum with this....the costumes are okay, but the HAIR! OH my.....

  • To answer your question (Are you ready for the walkaround versions of the Disney Fairies ?), Jim, "NOOOOOOOOOOO"!

    And I have a 6 year old daughter, who I'm guessing is their core audience.  It just seems like too much too fast.  I loved Tink for years, but this is just feeling sooooo "marketed."  I think I've reached character fatigue...they've had so many new movies and introduced so many new characters in the last 10 years, I think I'm ready for a slowdown.  What was this, 5 new fairies at once?  I hope they just focus on Tink, and let the other ones pop up rarely and unpredictably so they keep some "magic" about this whole thing.  Hmmm, we gotta show up at 10 for this fairy, 11:30 for that fairy, 1PM for another to fill in our fairy signature book?  That ain't gonna happen for this family!

    I don't want to be burned out on Disney, but I'm feeling that feeling...

    Sue in Texas

    ...DL in June, WDW in August...

  • The entire "Disney Fairy" is dependent on what Lasseter had done to the movie, which resulted in its much delayed release. If this direct to video movie is as good as I'm hoping it could be (remember it resulted in the resignation of Toon Studios president), then I'm all for the walk-around face characters.

    If the movie is not good, then it is pure marketing. These characters will be driven to poularity by good stories behind them. If that isn't there, it will be "Tinkerbell and those other ones".

  • I have a DREAM!  That one day...  White fairies and Black fairies can be joined together in the bounds of racial fairitude...  I say I have a DREAM!  That one day we won't judge fairies by the color of their skin but by the content of their character...

  • What ever happened to not having Tink in the parks because of scale issues?

  • For the record, I consider the whole "Disney Fairies" concept absurd and just a blatant marketing ploy to sell product based on characters without real "character". These CGI fairy friends of Tink are all exactly the same design, distinguished solely by different clothing and hairstyles - there is no attempt at individual personality in the designs themselves. Even the attempt at creating multi-ethnic fairies falls flat due to the sameness of the features. Why aren't the little black and Asian characters allowed to look like who they're supposed to be? Why the politically correct homogenizing of the facial features into one generic and bland design, equal to all the others?

    I've also noticed this same unfortunate trend in the "Disney Princesses" line, where all of the characters' faces have been homogenized and blandly softened through excessive airbrushing until they all look like pretty much the same girl, lacking the distinctiveness of features that their original film counterparts have. I variously refer to them as the "Plastic Princesses" and "The Stepford Princesses" due to their utter lack of real personality and charm.

    Ironically, these walkaround "Disney Fairies" may be a rare case of the live versions improving immensely on the animated originals. At least with the casting of these young actresses, you have a group of attractive girls who really do look distinct from each other, naturally creating visual variety that is so much more appealing to the viewer. Perhaps if the powers-that-be over at Disney Consumer Products weren't so stifling of the creativity of their art staff, we could see animated designs that were just as interesting as these real life portrayals, only caricatured in the tradition of time honoured Disney cartoons, not this politically correct visual pablum we get served these days...

  • What I want to know is what happened with WITCH.

  • The Imagineers were right. You guys will complain about anything.

    Since I'm one of you guys, I guess I should find a problem with these Fairies as well?

    Hmm.......What about the Blue Fairy? What about Flora and Fauna? How could they leave Walt's masterpieces behind. If he were alive today, he'd puke.

    How was that?

  • Silly me. I thought there were already plenty of fairies walking around WDW now.

    Okay, okay, but SOMEbody hadda say it.


  • John Wayne said: Uh, I'm curious....why is a dark-skinned fairy automatically an "African-American" fairy? Maybe she's just plain African?

    Oh, I don't know.  But I'll bet dollars to donuts that she speaks very clear Americanized English and not Sawhili.  You on for that bet?

  • Obviously that should be Swahili.  Saw the typo as I hit submit.  Point remains the same.

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