In the past year, I have had the opportunity to interview some of our most notable Disney-inspired artists and beloved icons, as part of our “Celebrating the Art of…” series. Kicking off the series for 2011 is Entertainer and Doll Designer, Marie Osmond, who will debut her newest Disney-inspired Princess and the Frog doll at the Disneyland Resort later this month.
Michelle: This year the Resort is celebrating the memories that guests make on trips to the Resort, and we’re asking guests to share these memories in the form of photos and videos. We have truly enjoyed having your family visit the resort on many occasions. Can you share with us one of your favorite experiences or memories?
Marie: “I was realizing the other day, while looking through scrapbooks that so many of my favorite family photos were taken at Disney, because everyone in the family is smiling from ear to ear. I think one of my personal favorite memories, which I’ve experienced eight times individually, is being on ‘it’s a small world’ with each of my kids for their first time and watching their eyes discover a whole new world. Then, they would almost always spend the rest of the day singing ‘it’s a small world.’ Even my now grown children still want to go to Disney for family vacation days.”
Michelle: You’ve been considered one of the top doll designers in the industry for almost 20 years. When did you first start to design for Disney? And while we’re on the subject, what has been your favorite doll, and why?
Marie: “I’m a founder of Children’s Miracle Network, since 1982, which helps more than 17 million sick and injured children every year. In the early 1990s, when I had just started out as a doll designer, we created a series of dolls called “Miracle Children.” One of the first sets, a boy and girl, wore Mickey Mouse ears and were on an adventure at Disneyland Resort. Soon after, Disney and I partnered to make my personal signature sculpt doll, Adorabelle, into the signature tour guides for various attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion. I can’t pick a favorite doll from all of these years, but I can tell you that my collectors continuously seek after the Tour Guide Adorabelles. It makes me so happy that they love them.”
Michelle: Not only do you create exquisite dolls for collectors worldwide, but you have also collaborated with Disney on Disney Theme Park exclusive dolls such as your newest release inspired by Princess and the Frog. Where do you draw inspiration to create your Disney-themed dolls and what can you tell us about this newest doll that makes it so special?
Marie: “For Disney’s 50th Anniversary year, I had the best time designing dolls of the three favorite Princesses from the stories which I had grown up loving: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and, of course, Cinderella. They were gorgeous, very limited edition, dolls and are now a hard-to-find collectible because so many of us adored these Disney princesses. They are still favorites, but now I see kids, including my own little girls, who want to hear the stories of the more modern princesses, like my newest Disney exclusive doll: ‘Disney’s The Princess and the Frog.’”
“Her gorgeous gown was inspired by the story and her delicate features and raven colored hair are breathtaking. Wait until you see her in person!! I love every aspect of this porcelain doll. She’s a stunning addition to any collection. I’ve got a place set aside on my own shelf for this one!”
Michelle: I’m sure our Disney Parks Blog fans look forward to seeing what’s next on the horizon from you. Without giving too much away, can you give us a glimpse into what we can expect to see in the future?
Marie: “I’m heading into my 20th anniversary of doll design in 2011. I think my collectors appreciate that I have always taken the chance to bring them the types of doll designs that I feel are collection stand-outs, both traditional and also trend-setting. I know my doll team has a great year planned, so…let me just say ‘Happy New Year!’ because it will be one for all of us who love to collect dolls.”
Special Tip: Entertainer and Doll Designer Marie Osmond will be on hand at The Disney Gallery on Main Street, U.S.A., on January 15, 2011, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a special appearance and signing of her newest doll. Hope to see you there!