Witness The Beauty + Wonder of Hasbro’s ‘Tangled the Series’ Toys [Review]
Disney's Tangled is nearly seven years old, but the adventures of Rapunzel have never truly ended. The golden-haired princess has continued to live an exciting life in Corona with her betrothed Eugene, best horse Maximus, and everyone's favorite chameleon, Pascal, through a series of direct-to-video stories. Then this spring, those animated escapades turned into a full-fledged series with the arrival of, you guessed it, Tangled the Series on the Disney Channel.
In conjunction with the release of the first season this summer, Hasbro has crafted an entirely new line of Tangled toys based on the animated show. Unlike the current Hasbro Disney Princess dolls, all of which are based on the versions of the princesses that appeared in the movies, the new Rapunzel toys closely emulate style of the new show. There's a dramatic difference between the 3-D CGI version and the more 2-D version on the show, but both are unmistakably Rapunzel, and both capture the character's boisterous spirit quite well.
There are more than half-a-dozen different Rapunzel dolls in the first wave of Tangled the Series toys, and each of them brings something a little different to the table. All of them have the same basic build, giving you the right balance between playability and poseability. With each of the dolls, Rapunzel's long locks do affect how well the toy can stand on its own, but you can get them to stand upright rather easily. Additionally, each of the dolls has a distinct dress, with the skirts coming in different patterns so that no two Rapunzels are exactly the same. That's also true of the portraits: each showcases emerald eyes and ruby lips, but with slightly varied expressions of joy.
We didn't get a chance to check out the Musical Lights Rapunzel, which actually comes with a recording of voice actor Mandy Moore singing along with the series' theme song, "Wind in My Hair." We did, however, get to mess around with the basic Rapunzel, the Rapunzel and Royal Horse Maximus two-pack and the Swinging Locks Castle set. Each has strong points, but the Swinging Locks Castle is the clear winner of the day as it's the only toy that comes with an individual Pascal accessory.
The core Rapunzel doll is a solid offering and fits seamlessly between Hasbro's other entry model Princess toys. There are no accessories to speak of, but this Rapunzel doll has a bendable braid that you can use in whatever way you see fit. It's attached to the left side of her scalp, but you can use it to hang her on objects as if she was dangling from a tree, or to wrap her hair in a more controllable style.
The figure itself is eight inches tall, and the hair — silky and smooth — is about two or three inches longer — it's lifelike, and better executed than comparable toys'. This is true across all the dolls in the line, which is a testament to Hasbro and Disney's effort in making sure a character (partially) defined by her hair lives up to the legend.
The Rapunzel and Royal Horse Maximus two-pack is a bit more exciting, as it comes with the two aforementioned toys and a handful of accessories. Where the base Rapunzel's dress is defined by a simple, sparkly skirt, this Rapunzel has one with those wonderful sun patterns all over. She also comes with a brush, satchel and some cardboard inserts like a photograph of Maximus and apples to store in the included luggage. Most importantly, she comes with a frying pan, which she can "hold" by sliding the handle over her open palm. Frying pans are the weapon du jour in Corona, and my only gripe with that accessory is that it seems too small — it looks more like a mirror than a pan, but Tangled fans will know what's up.
Maximus has some slight articulation in his legs, to make it appear as if he's running, and in his neck, to give him the ability to look up or down. His mane is sculpted in tight buns, but his tail is made from synthetic hair that you can style if you so please. Rapunzel also comes with some hair bands to style her in sportier fashion for horseback riding, but my hands were just a little too big to mess with such tiny accoutrements. Given that this set is just a little over twice the price of the basic doll, it is a bit more appealing from a value standpoint. That's especially true if you already have one of the original Princess Rapunzel's Hasbro previously released.
We've saved the best for last obviously, as Pascal is the true star of Tangled, and I will not hear one word otherwise. His inclusion in the Swinging Locks Castle set makes the product the greatest accomplishment in Hasbro's Tangled the Series collection, even though the playset could stand on its own well enough. Just having that little bug-eyed dude as an accessory puts it over the top into GOAT territory.
The Swinging Locks Castle is based on the royal castle of Corona and, more specifically, Rapunzel's room. There are bookshelves filled with novels of adventure and her art work, a long bed and a little nook with a window out of which she can stare at the countryside while dreaming of the next excursion. This Rapunzel doll's skirt features various woodland creatures in a stylized print, and she comes with accessories to show off her artistic side. If the mood struck you, you could set her up to make it look like she was hard at work painting the family portrait that's included with the brush and palette.
The main appeal of the set, though, is the hair slide and swing on the exterior. Running from the tower's top to the front door, the sculpted slide is meant to emulate Rapunzel's magical hair, and makes a clear path for her to get to the ground floor without having to use the steps. A little sculpted hair swing, which Rapunzel snaps into rather easily, hooks on and can be pushed from the top to get her where she needs to go. It can also be attached to the tree out front for a makeshift swing. The clasp is big enough that it can fit some other thin-waisted dolls, but it's clearly not made for any figure that's wider than a few inches.
As for Pascal, he gets up and down with the help of a little bucket on the side of the castle. Ordinarily, travel by bucket could feel demeaning, but Pascal quite enjoys it, and the look on his face says it all.
When the only true negative you have for a figure is how it's packaged (those plastic fasteners are a bit of a nuisance), it does say a lot about the dolls themselves. Disney's Tangled the Series is still going strong, and already has a second season in the works. That bodes well for continued support of this line into 2018 and beyond. All we need to see now are Rapunzel's friend Cassandra and Pascal get a bit more love so the homemade adventures aren't quite so one-sided in the future.
Hasbro's Disney's Tangled the Series dolls and playsets are available now. The Swinging Locks Set retails for $39.99, the Rapunzel and Royal Horse Maximus two-pack retails for $29.99, and the stand-alone Rapunzel doll is $12.99. All of these toys were provided by Hasbro for review.
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