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No matter what Disney Studios winds up calling its Rapunzel animated feature, Mattel still has confidence in this character

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No matter what Disney Studios winds up calling its Rapunzel animated feature, Mattel still has confidence in this character

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What with Walt Disney Animation Studiosdecision last week to rename “Rapunzel,” the folks working Mattel’s showroom at the American International Toy Fair were caught kind of flat-footed. You see, all of the signage & product that they had brought to NYC to display at the Javits Center still featured the film’s original title. Rather than this movie’s new moniker, “Tangled.”

But that said, Mattel’s spokespeople still tried to make the best of a somewhat awkward situation. Telling reporters that Disney’s sudden name change would have little or no impact on this toy company’s new product line.

“You have to understand that what we have on display here are just our prototypes,” an unnamed staffer explained. “And since we’re still tweaking the design of a few of these toys, we haven’t actually got into production on any of them yet. So when it comes to incorporating this movie’s new title into the product line … Well, we’ll obviously have to change out the logo that Disney gave us to use on all of our ‘Rapunzel’ packaging. But – beyond that – I think that we should still be good to go here.”

Mattel's display of Disney's Rapunzel dolls at Toy Fair 2010
Photo by Nancy Stadler

And once you can then get past this whole name-change hiccup thing, the people at Mattel will tell you that they’re clearly excited about their “Rapunzel” … er … “Tangled” product line. That – reflecting the active nature of this new Disney Princess – that they really gone out of their way to amp up the playability in this new toy line.

“With Rapunzel, it’s obviously all going to be about the hair,” this unnamed Mattel staffer continued. “So we’re doing everything we can to make sure that little girls can become part of the Disney magic by including wear-and-share hair clips with each doll in this line. Which means that – if you’d like – you can clip Rapunzel’s long golden locks onto the doll or into your own hair.”

And Mattel plans on making this wear-and-share hair clip feature available for all dolls in its “Tangled” product line. From the Rapunzel Small Doll Collectible (which will be available in two forms) …

Mattel's Small Doll Collectible of Disney's Rapunzel
Photo by Nancy Stadler

… to the 10-inch tall Rapunzel Sparkle Princess Fashion Doll.

Mattel's 10-inch tall Disney Rapunzel Sparkle Princess doll displayed at the Toy Fair in 2010
Photo by Nancy Stadler

Which will be supported by Rapunzel’s romantic interest -- the infamous bandit, Flynn Rider – as well as her trusty steed, Maximus.

Mattel's Flynn Rider doll with Rapunzel's trusty steed, Maximus from Disney's animated movie Tangled
Photo by Nancy Stadler

The folks at Mattel are particularly excited about Maximus. Given that this toy comes with an articulated head. Which will (the Company hopes) allow children to create interaction & play between their Rapunzel & Maximus dolls.

Mattel also has high hopes for its Rapunzel Braiding Friends Hair Braider. Which it plans on using as the TV driver for this new product line as we go into the 2010 holiday season.

“Little girls aspire to be able to braid hair. And the great thing about this toy is that – as Rapunzel’s forest friends dance -- they actually do braid this Disney Princess’ hair for her,” the Mattel staffer went on. “Given that the hair is clipped, it’s safe for children of any age to use. This is a real first in toy-making, by the way. Rapunzel’s hair isn’t just twisted by this apparatus. It’s actually braided.”

Mattel's Rapunzel Braiding Friends Hair Braider toy new for 2010 to go with Disney's animated feature Tangled
Photo by Nancy Stadler

But if there’s one toy in its “Tangled” toy line that Mattel is counting on, it’s the Rapunzel Fairytale Tower.

“All of the other Disney Princesses live in castles. Whereas Rapunzel, she’s got something really special. A five room tower,” this Mattel staffer said. “And we’ve made a real effort here to replicate the look & feel of the movie. Right down to Rapunzel’s art studio, where little girls can then change the look of the murals on the wall by painting them with cold water. Or – better yet – poking around this new Disney Princess’ bedroom. Where you’ll find a secret compartment where Rapunzel hides her crown as well as the hiding place where chameleon companion Pascal hangs out.”

Rapunzel's 5 room tower by Mattel includes Rapunzel's companion Pascal
Photo by Nancy Stadler

And just like all of the toys in Mattel’s “Tangled” product line, the Rapunzel Fairytale Tower also features a share-and-wear hair clip. Only this time around, it’s a 30 inch-long hair extension. Which (it is hoped) will help little girls act out some of the more dramatic / magical moments from this upcoming Walt Disney Animation Studios release.

A particularly nice aspect of the “Tangled” display in Mattel’s showroom at this year’s American International Toy Fair is that it included a highlight reel for this film. With is built around this girl who (as Flynn Rider describes her) has “ … more blonde hair than Sweden,” who has to come out of her tower to discover who she really is.

Now I know that a lot of people might use Disney’s decision to rename “Rapunzel” to start talking up “Tangled” as an extremely troubled production. And Lord knows, given the number of years & staff changes that it’s taken to finally bring this story to the screen, there’s plenty of reasons out there for people to start gossiping about this project.

Mattel displayed it's Rapunzel line at Toy Fair 2010
Photo by Nancy Stadler

But as far as the folks at Mattel are concerned, “Rapunzel” … “Tangled” … Whatever title this new Walt Disney Animation Studios release is eventually released under doesn’t really matter.

“Every time we’ve shown the Rapunzel character doll to little girls, they’ve just gone nuts,“ this Mattel staffer concluded. “They love how she looks. They love her long hair. They want to play with her right now. Mark my words: No matter what Disney winds up calling this movie, retailers who stock the Rapunzel product line are going to be very happy this holiday season. And in the long run, the Rapunzel  character itself will increase interest in & add value to the whole Disney Princess franchise.”

But what do you folks think? I’m especially looking to hear from JHM readers who are the parents of small girls? Would any of the “Tangled” products pictured in this article appeal to your child?

Let us know, okay?

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  • O-M-G!!!  My daughter will go nuts!!!!!

    It's blonde!  It's long!! She's wearing purple!!!  And without looking back at the picture, I think it even had sparkles!!!!

    That's the recipe for little-girl toy heaven, at least at my house.  My daughter (8) is just growing out of the "plays with dolls" stage, but for the past four years or so, this would have been a huge hit with her.  Your daughter isn't that much older, Jim.  I wonder what she'd say about these as little girl toys?

    Now, if the script is as good for this as, say, 'Enchanted' was, I think it will be a huge hit.  I loved 'Princess & the Frog' but it definitely needed a better name to sell tickets.  Princess-> eew for boys, Frog - eew for girls.  It makes me wonder who they were trying to attract.

    I think 'Tangled' will work fine for the movie title.  After all, 'The Little Mermaid' wasn't titled "Ariel" and it's not like there's any doubt who she is.

    Sue in Texas

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