Disney and Toys for Tots Go Way Back

December 3, 2013 at 8:30 am , by

Fun fact: Walt Disney and his animators personally designed the original Toys for Tots train logo that’s still used today. You can check it out while you’re participating in our Virtual Toy Drive, which is running this week on behalf of Toys for Tots.

All you have to do is click “LIKE” on our Facebook feature of Disney’s awesome Planes Dusty Crophopper toy and Disney will contribute – up to $5,000 in value – toys to kids this holiday season through the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation!

Disney has supported the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation since 1947, helping to bring joy to kids during the holiday season. Click here to learn more about their efforts to promote the happiness and wellbeing of kids and families!

Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Q&A with Peggy Orenstein

January 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm , by

Cinderella Ate My DaughterLast week, I had the chance to chat with Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter (Harper), which went on sale Monday and is quickly becoming a must-read for mothers around the country. LHJ’s February issue contains an excerpt—about girls and body image—but the book is about so much more. In it, Orenstein takes on the extreme “girlie-girl” culture that pervades the lives of young girls today. I was eager to hear more from Orenstein. Could all the princesses, pink and pop stars inundating our daughters’ lives be hindering the development of their identities?

The title of your book suggests that you don’t think too highly of Cinderella. Just what is so bad about princesses?

What concerns me is that the emphasis on appearance and play-sexiness is getting younger and younger. In the last five years the percentage of elementary school girls who feel that their appearance is very important and more important than their schoolwork has gone up. Nearly 40 percent of 6-year-olds regularly wear lipstick and lip gloss and in the last two years the percentage of 8- to 12-year-olds wearing mascara and eyeliner has doubled. I find those to be troubling trends. We know that fixation on those things is unhealthy for girls. It puts them at risk for negative body image, eating disorders, depression and unhealthy choices in intimate relationships.

One of my favorite chapters in the book was about how every item sold to girls these days is pink and princess-y, and how marketing for these toys, games, makeup and more is aimed at ever-younger girls.

It’s true, and this princess culture is so huge that we’ve almost forgotten that it’s only ten years old. Fifteen years ago, there was the occasional movie but you didn’t have princesses on everything from hand sanitizer to diapers. When she was three, my daughter wanted paper cups with Cinderella on them only because they had Cinderella on them. Our daughters should be able to develop the broadest and healthiest possible definition of who they are, and pink and princess everything is not going to get us there.  Why do we need a Scrabble set “for girls” that says FASHION on the box? I don’t care if “fashion” is a seven-letter word.

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Finding Princesses: An Insider Disney Guide

May 13, 2010 at 5:52 pm , by

I’m lucky enough to have parents that have a house about an hour from Orlando so we get to visit Disney World almost every year. (In fact, I bet that was part of their thought behind getting the house. More visits with their grandkids!) Recently, we spent a quick 1-day visit in the Magic Kingdom and it did not disappoint.

Sure we rode the Carousel and Pirates of the Caribbean but our main mission was simple: Find princesses. If you have little girls who love princesses, follow these tips for a royal day:

lilysnowwhiteandsophia1) Make a reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the castle. It’s a fortune but well worth it. It gets booked months in advance but we were able to get in the day before on a cancellation. (Note: There’s a 24-hour cancellation policy so keep calling the day before you want to go.) First we were escorted into the castle where Sophia and Lily got to meet Cinderella herself. Then we went up to breakfast where Aurora, Ariel, Snow White and Belle came around to each table. They take time to talk to you, sign autographs and pose for pictures.  Seeing Sophia that excited was enough to make her Grandma tear-up. Me? Oh, I just had something in my eye. (The princesses are different every day so don’t count on all of these!)

withalladinandjasmine2) Call the ‘Toon Finder Hotline at 407-824-2222 at 9 am on the day of your visit and they’ll tell you where and when the characters will be available for meet-and-greets. We found out that Jasmine and Aladdin were going to be near the Magic Carpet ride at a certain time so we got there 10 minutes before. No waiting in line!

3) Get to Toon Town early. You can find lots of characters at the Hall of Fame, plus Mickey and Minnie at Mickey’s house—but don’t wait for the scheduled 10 am opening time. They actually open the gate at about 9:45 so if you’re there early you can save yourself a lot of wait time.

storytimewithbelle4) See Storytime with Belle. This 20-minute interactive show is offered about 5 times a day near the castle. (Check the daily schedule for times and get there early to secure a seat.) It’s a great show where Belle comes on stage and tells the story of Beauty and the Beast with help from the audience. Somehow Belle could tell that Sophia was the dramatic type so she was lucky enough to get to play the role of Lumiere!

It seems as though the folks at Disney have figured out that kids really love meeting princesses so word has it that there are new meet-and-greet venues being built, like Sleeping Beauty’s cottageThe Beast’s Castle, Ariel’s Adventure, and even Pixie Hollow for those fairy fans. I can’t wait! Oops—I meant to say the kids! The kids can’t wait! (Who am I kidding? I love it as much as they do!)

Steal Alice In Wonderland’s Look

February 26, 2010 at 11:55 am , by


I’m really excited about the new Alice In Wonderland movie coming out next weekend. For one thing, Tim Burton is a visual effects master and I’m wild about the over-the-top surrealist look.

I can only imagine the talent of the hair and makeup team for the movie. Which got me thinking…how would Alice get ready to start her day? Her look is pretty natural—she’s young—but she’s traveling through a topsy-turvy world, so I can imagine that she’d be open to a little experimentation after awhile.

First, Alice would start with a sweet, girly shampoo, like this Cherry Blossom Ginseng, $7, from Organix. (Good to know: The brand has a sweepstakes starting March 10th for a vacation to London. Click here or find more info on their Alice-themed bottles.)

Urban Decay’s Alice In Wonderland Book of Shadows, $52 is packed with 16 eyeshadows that range from easy-to-wear nudes to bolder, vibrant colors. My favorite is the earthy, not-quite-brown, not-quite-gray, Mushroom shade. I think Alice would love the warm purple Queen.

And because a look is never complete without a great manicure, Alice has a fabulous polish job with OPI’s Off With Her Red, $8.50. Although I’m pretty sure by the end of her adventure, she’d be sporting her signature, Absolutely Alice, a sparkly blue.

For more on the movie, check out our March issue, on newsstands now.