Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hallmark Has Another The Little Mermaid Ornament Winner With The 2017 Ariel's World!

The Good: Decent sculpted details, Affordable, Neat coloring accents
The Bad: Slight left-bias, Sloppy paint job on scalp for Ariel
The Basics: The 2017 "Ariel's World" ornament from The Little Mermaid is a good argument for why Hallmark can get away with churning out yet another Ariel ornament; it's that good!

For the last several years of reviewing Hallmark Keepsake ornaments, I have kvetched about the annual ornament featuring Ariel from The Little Mermaid and begged Hallmark to produce ornaments based on other characters from The Little Mermaid, namely Ursula and King Triton. In 2017, Hallmark seemed to split the difference by finally making a limited edition Ursula ornament (reviewed here!) and producing yet another Ariel-themed The Little Mermaid ornament. The standard release The Little Mermaid ornament is called Ariel's World and it is quite good!

For those unfamiliar with The Little Mermaid (reviewed here!), Ariel and her fish companion, Flounder, head from a sunken wreckage to a small island where they meet a seagull. After eluding the villainous sharks in the sunken ship, Ariel swims with the fork she found and Ariel's world seems to encapsulate the moment when Ariel and Flounder are nearing the surface of the water with Ariel's new "treasure."

The 2017 Ariel's World is actually a very cool mobile style ornament that features the surface of the water from which hangs Ariel, Flounder and strands of beads meant to represent bubbles! This is a very cool ornament and it is surprisingly well-executed.


The "Ariel's World" ornament recreates Ariel, holding a fork, Flounder, bubbles and a translucent disk that they hand from which appears to be the surface of the ocean. The ornament, released in 2017, is an incredible sculpt of the mermaid Ariel, especially for the smaller scale, and is instantly recognizable to anyone who loves The Little Mermaid.

Measuring five inches tall, two and a half inches wide by two and a quarter inches deep, the "Ariel's World" ornament is on scale with the majority of the other Disney ornaments. Even with an initial release price of $17.95, Ariel's World feels like a value for the quality of the ornament.

The Hallmark The Little Mermaid "Ariel's World" ornament is made of durable plastic and wire and has Ariel, swimming up toward the ocean surface, with Flounder hanging similarly nearby. Ariel holds a fork in one hand and is sculpted with a big smile on her face. Hallmark got all of the sculpted details absolutely right, from the subtle veining on Ariel's tail to the fine cute nose on her face. Flounder is featured with fine fins on his side and top and decent sculpting for his smile.

The paint accents on the "Ariel's World" are generally good. Ariel has a blush to her cheeks and Flounder is painted with sharp, distinct lines. Both characters have incredibly well-rendered eyes. Ariel's tail has some sparkle accents to it, which are very cute! Unfortunately, while Founder has very clear lines for his blue stripe, the three copies of Ariel's World that I looked at each had sloppy painting where Ariel's hair meets her head. All three featured orange paint that was well off the hair portion of the ornament and onto Ariel's face. Given the attention to detail on the rest of the ornament, this is noticeable, but not a dealbreaker for fans.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, The Little Mermaid "Ariel's World" could have a sound or light function, but Hallmark opted to make a less-expensive ornament option for fans of The Little Mermaid instead of augmenting it with a feature. The mobile structure of the ornament is feature-enough for most!


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake The Little Mermaid "Ariel's World" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Disney movie Christmas Tree, the "Ariel's World" ornament is a great addition, despite having a minor balance issue. The ornament has the standard steel hook loop embedded into the top center of the top of the water, the uppermost portion of the mobile. Unfortunately, from that vantage, the ornament has a left bias; Ariel and her bubbles are a little heavier than Flounder and his bubbles. Because of the flat surface of the water, the balance issue is noticeable, but even this is not a dealbreaker with the ornament; I quickly discovered that the hanging bubbles can actually be used to wedge up Ariel and Flounder in such a way that the balance issue gets fixed . . . even if it slightly alters the appearance and free-floating mobile nature of the ornament.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Within a few years, every major franchise from Star Wars to A Nightmare Before Christmas to Indiana Jones started making Hallmark ornaments. "Ariel's World" is one of many The Little Mermaid ornaments the company has released and one of several Disney ornaments on the market for 2017. This ornament appears to be resonating with fans and has sold out at several of the Hallmark shops I have gone to! As a result, I was unsurprised to find it already increasing in value on the secondary market. That suggests that it will be a good investment piece, even at its full, original release price.


Fans of The Little Mermaid, Disney, Ariel, and Hallmark ornaments are likely to love the The Little Mermaid Ariel's World ornament, despite the minor balance and hair-paint issues. If Hallmark keeps making ornaments of this quality alongside future limited edition The Little Mermaid ornaments like Triton and the chef (with a sound clip of Rene Auberjonois singing "Le Poisson"), it will be okay that we end up with an armada of Ariel's!

For other Disney's The Little Mermaid Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2016 Under The Sea ornament
2015 Ariel's Thingamabobs ornament
2014 The Little Mermaid 25th Anniversary ornament
2013 Under The Sea The Little Mermaid
2013 Ariel's Big Dream The Little Mermaid ornament


For other ornament reviews, please visit my Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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