Theme Park Ranger
8:26 AM EDT, June 13, 2013
If I were Cinderella, I would keep an eye on that glass slipper.
Disney World is now selling shiny, fanciful collectibles that are shaped like shoes and inspired by beloved animated characters. The shoes, about 3.5 inches tall, can also do double-duty as Christmas ornaments.
The shoes are not reproductions of, say, the footwear that Snow White sported in her 1937 film debut, but instead represent the characters' looks and personalities.
"You have to look at their costumes and their features and kind of represent those in each of the shoes," says Costa Alavezos, one of the Disney Design Group artists who designed the shoe line.
Some are straightforward and easily recognizable. A red shoe with white polka dots and mouse ears on the sides? So Minnie Mouse. Green with wings? Hello, Tinker Bell.
Others might take a moment to absorb all the details before identifying her character companion. Playing cards line the inside of the Queen of Hearts shoe; a peacock motif is on the outside of the Evil Queen shoe. Have trouble identifying characters? Their autographs are on the bottom of the shoe. (Still, it's funny to think of a monarch writing "Evil Queen" as her signature.)
"The queen has a lot more details because of the peacock feathers and the jewels that wrap around, plus you have all the gold and all the glitter," Alavezos says. "I think it was more time-consuming for the factory to produce."
The various shoe forms are not all from the same mold, unlike the majority of Disney's Vinylmation line, which starts with the blank canvas of a Mickey Mouse figurine. The Cruella De Vil shoe is longer and pointier, reflecting the "101 Dalmatians" character's sharp personality.
"You look at her clothing and her hair and whatever else she likes — puppy dogs — so we kind of put a collar on the front with a little dog tag that's hanging on the side." Alavezos says.
The heels get star treatment in several of the 19 designs. Rapunzel's heel looks like braided hair. The shoe of Ursula, footless villainess, rests upon a tentacle heel. Mary Poppins is propped up by the handle of her omnipresent umbrella.
Not all the characters are princesses.
"We know there are fans, yes, of Cinderella and Rapunzel and Ariel, but there are also fans that like some other characters," says Steven Miller, merchandise communications manager.
"It's nice to be able to offer a balance, a good mix of character designs," Miller says.
One shoe distinguishes itself from the other 18: It's inspired by a male character. The high heel for Jack Skellington ("Nightmare Before Christmas") has a bat and jack-o'-lantern motif.
"If he goes well, then there are other male ones" waiting in the wings, Alavezos says.
Each shoe has an eyelet and ribbon so it can be hung from a Christmas tree. Remove the ribbon and the shoe can stay on display year-round as a knickknack.
The shoes, which sell for $22.95 apiece, are available in select theme-park stores and at the Disney's Days of Christmas store at Downtown Disney.
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