‘Princess and Me’ Dolls to Compete with ‘American Girls’ Line

Just in time for Christmas, Disney is introducing a brand new way to experience their iconic princesses.  A new line of “friend dolls,” complete with accessories, are making there way into the stores, and presumably onto Christmas wish lists everywhere.

The category of dolls, characterized by figures that are 18 inches tall and are more appealing to five to eight year olds, has been dominated by the American Girls dolls, which are manufactured by Mattel.  The major difference between the Princess and Me dolls and American Girls?  Price:  Princess and Me dolls retail for $49.99, while American Girls start at $95.

At first, the two sets of dolls don’t really seem similar, and one wonders how Disney might fare against such a mature competitor.  After all, American Girls have been around for 24 years.  Each doll comes with her own story and lots of accessories that enable the owner to live out the story right along with her. 

But in this way, the dolls may be more similar than it would at first appear.  After all, Princess and Me dolls bring to the table wildly popular stories as well:  the movies in which the princesses appear.

In addition to the dolls, Disney is introducing a limited number of accessories, such as furniture and clothing.  Each of the dolls – Belle, Ariel, Cinderella, Tiana, and Aurora (not pictured) – come dressed in their trademark gown, but other outfits, like sleepwear with matching robes, are also available.

To personalize the “friend” experience, once a doll is registered, its owner receives a personal letter on her birthday from her favorite princess.

It will be interesting to see if the idea catches on with the older princess-loving set, and if the line does indeed compete with the American Girls.  Certainly, making the dolls available to a wider range of consumers by offering them at a lower price point will most likely be welcome this holiday season.

I’m off to conduct my own market research with my very own princess.  We shall see what she thinks.



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