China Toy Fair


Beauty and the Beast Series 2 Comes to Funko Pop! Disney Line

MrsPotts&ChipFunko has added additional characters to its Pop! Disney line. The Beauty and the Beast Series 2 is now available, and includes Peasant Belle, Cogsworth, Lumiere, and Mrs. Potts with a special addition Chip. 

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Will Feature New Music and The Hollow

DisneyFantasiaThe Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved video game by Disney Interactive and Harmonix Music Systems will include multi-player gameplay, an all-new realm, and new songs from award-winning artists, including Lorde and David Bowie. The two-player game is played in cooperation through friendly competition. Players can collaborate and choose unique remix paths to discover new melodies and beats in the songs.

Disney and Harmonix have also revealed “The Hollow,” an all-new interactive discovery realm. When users perform songs, they will interact with the world to add light, color, and characters to the forest environment.

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved is a musical motion video game and will be available for the Xbox One and Kinect this year.

COMMENTARY: Animation Has Long Been a Promotional Vehicle for Toys

BrandonEngel1by Brandon Engel

You’ve likely heard about the massive success of The Lego Movie, and maybe you were even one of the millions worldwide who have gone to see it. Despite its financial success, some have blasted the film for essentially being a glorified, expensive commercial for Legos. I don’t think that anyone can deny that The Lego Movie is obviously commercially motivated, but does that make it wrong? Is it all that different from children’s movies selling toys based on the film?

BrandonEngel2Last Christmas, the Frozen Castle Playset and matching Barbie dolls from the Disney film Frozen were at the top of many children’s lists for Santa. Every time a commercial appeared for the movie or the toy, they advertised each other. Is The Lego Movie any different just because the toy existed before the movie? Here is the bigger question: In an age where almost no image is spared licensing of some form, where does the line get drawn between entertainment and commercial? [Read more...]

Disney Celebrates Valentine’s Day With Mickey and Minnie Collection

Feb10.ValentinesA new line of Disney Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse products are rolling out just in time for Valentine’s Day. The collection includes fashion, accessories, and sweets in a number of stores.

The “So Sweet” collection is available at Target, featuring chocolate-filled mugs and chocolate covered pretzels. Children’s Mickey and Minnie graphic tees and accessories will be available at Macy’s, Children’s Place, Target, and the Disney Store. Women’s Mickey and Minnie tees are available from Delia’s, Wet Seal, and the Disney Store. Hallmark also has Valentine’s Day cards featuring the couple along with the “itty bitty” plush collection.

COMMENTARY: Makeup Kits for Girls Are Fun and Inexpensive

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 4.13.43 PMLittle girls love to play with makeup. I know I definitely did. Unfortunately for me, my mom mostly stuck to neutrals, earth tones, and pale pinks—”boring” colors, in my young opinion. I wanted to open that makeup bag and see electric blue eye shadow, fire engine red lipstick, bright pink blush, vermillion glitter nail polish—you know, the works. But I made do with what she had, bland though I may have thought it, because it was fun to play with. For years, I’ve said that if I ever have a daughter, I will keep a stash of all the fun stuff (that I would never wear myself—I now, of course, completely understand why my mom kept the palette she did) and let her have at it as a special treat. However, there are lots of great makeup kits for girls available today, which may save me a trip to the cosmetics aisle of my drugstore.

Alex Toys’ Mix & Makeup Nail Sparkle kit lets girls ages 5 and up create their own sparkly nail polish. Kids make the polish themselves by mixing the colors and glitter in the included mixing cup, then pouring their creation into the cute candy-shaped bottles with the funnel. The polish is easy to apply, and easily peels off. [Read more...]

eKids Launches High Tech Stylus Creativity Crayons

Jan22.CrayonseKids has launched a new line of Creativity Crayons, a new tablet and smartphone stylus designed for kids. The stylus comes with a soft rubber tip to make the mobile devices more user friendly. The Creativity Crayons came after the launch of the eKids Disney Creativity Studio app, where Disney artists provide step-by-step instructions to trace, draw, and color classic Disney characters. The Creativity Crayon takes the real life feel of a crayon and combines it with the advanced technological capabilities of the app.

The styli come in a variety of characters, including Doc McStuffins, Minnie, and Mickey Mouse.

Cardinal Industries Turns 70

cardinalIn 1944, a young Les Berger, the founder of Cardinal Industries, started the company in Brooklyn. With his knowledge of plastics, Berger began manufacturing dominoes poker chip racks, hula hoops, and Mah Jongg sets.

Seventy years later, Cardinal has grown to become one of America’s top signature board game and puzzle companies offering more than 400 items including traditional games such as dominoes, checkers, and poker sets, as well as an extensive line of licensed games and lenticular, wood, and basic puzzles. With a worldwide reach Cardinal products can be found throughout North America, Europe, and Austraila. Cardinal has excelled in the licensed puzzle and game arena working with Disney, Marvel, Nickelodeon, Sanrio, Twentieth Century Fox, NBS, Warner Bros, Sesame Street, HIT Entertainment, Lucas, Mattel, and Hasbro, among others.

Spin Master’s Paw Patrol Helps Boost Nickelodeon’s Ratings

paw-patrol-post-2Spin Master‘s Paw Patrol helped to tip the scales in Nickelodeon‘s favor, making it the children’s TV network leader in the battle between Disney and Nickelodeon for kids share, according to a report on Bloomberg News. The battle between these two large players grew even more after last year’s debut of Disney Junior, a channel aimed a preschoolers watching Nick Jr.

Nickelodeon cited Nielsen data that reported it averaging 918,000 viewers a day among kids ages 2 to 11 in the fourth quarter through December 15 compared to The Disney Channel’s 874,000 viewers. According to the Bloomberg News article, the ratings shift, is accelerating ad sales for Viacom, which posted its best quarterly growth in at least two years last month. The battle between the largest players in children’s TV intensified last year after the debut of Disney Junior, a channel aimed at preschoolers who watch Nick Jr.

Zact Introduces Smartphone for Kids Featuring Disney Mobile Entertainment

ZactDisney.smartphoneZact Mobile brings kid-friendly smartphone service with preloaded Disney apps and content to families across the U.S. The Zact Mobile service will come preloaded with the hit Disney apps, Toy Story: Smash It!, and, Disney Infinity: Action! It will also feature access to family-friendly content such as Disney Video, Disney Music, and Disney’s Spanish-language destination, Disney ¡Ajá!

Zact also lets parents manage their kid’s smartphone use, and helps parents remotely control when their child uses the phone, which apps they can use, and who they can contact. Parents can either use a Zact-enabled phone to control their kids phone or they can download a free app, Zact Control, from iTunes or Google Play.

The Disney-themed Zact phone is available on the ZTE Awe, an Android 4.1 device with a 4-inch display and 5.0 megapixel camera. A free 4-month child starter plan is included with purchase.

COMMENTARY: Disney’s Frozen Toys Will Melt Your Heart

The thing that I like most about Disney’s Frozen was that it played with the idea of a typical Disney Princess movie. It touches on the idea of falling in love and being engaged within hours of meeting each other and changes the way the audience thinks about typical princesses and princes. There is, of course, a curse that’s lifted by “an act of true love,” but this act comes from (spoiler alert!) one of sisterly love rather than romantic love. A lot of the plot is focuses on the two royal sisters, Anna and Elsa, and the animation is so spectacular as it brings this truly magical story to life.

To go along with this great movie, Mattel has introduced an entire line of toys that capture the lively, magical spirit of Frozen. With quirky characters (Olaf!), Frozen quickly becomes a new Disney favorite, and the toys are sure to have the same effect on any toy box.

MusicalDollsOne of my favorite toys from this line is the Disney Frozen Musical Magic Elsa and Anna Dolls. These dolls feature glittery and glamorous gowns, but I think also do a fantastic job of capturing the familial bonds that are so important to the movie’s story. When kids hold the dolls hands, the dolls hold each other’s hands, OR you create a circle of humans and dolls holding hands, Anna and Elsa magically light up and play enchanting music. [Read more...]