Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Toy Review 2: Disney Princess Super Playhouse Tent with Lights
Picture from toysrus.com
Next up comes the toy with the absolute worst rating from us. This is a toy that will be returned for sure. I'm not sure where this was purchased because it was bought by a family member for Annie. Let's first put aside the whole Disney princess character debate, okay? Okay. Thanks. The real problems with this toy have nothing to do with its nourishment for the young girl's soul.
All right, all right. In the interest of staying positive, I will say that Annie was thrilled when she got this. Though we already have a playhouse type thing, she is much more into castles than she is into cottages, so we acquiesced and opened it despite my distaste for duplicate gifts. The thing is humongous and can fit all three of my kids comfortably for a little tea party or refuge from attacking skeleton armies (I'll let you guess which scenario belongs to which child's imagination).
Now onto the cons. My first and biggest complaint is that the tent just doesn't work. The poles (plastic, of course) are meant to be inserted into channels in the fabric shell, but almost all of the poles are about an inch too long to fit into the channels! This means that they cannot be secured by the velcro flaps and slide out with just a bit of jostling by the children, forcing the roof to collapse. I looked online at various sites to see if others had this problem, and they had. In fact, this product got only 2 stars on the Toys 'R' Us website. There were also poles to expand the turret rooms, but the channels for these were actually sewn shut on our particular playhut.
The problems mentioned above are easily and cheaply solved (wood dowels cut to size, paring down the plastic poles, etc.), but when you pay $50 for an item, there shouldn't be any immediate need to fix things, right?
Did I mention that the playhouse actually requires batteries!? There are LED lights around the doorway of the castle, apparently "for safe nighttime play" (toysrus.com again). So... polyester shell, plastic skeleton, battery-powered LED lights, foreign made... not the most eco-conscious toy on the market.
I would absolutely not recommend this product to anyone.
Overall rating (out of 5 stars): *
Educational value: **
Ease of use: *
Environmental Friendliness: *