There’s no hiding my deep love for Disney’s Frozen. Don’t believe me? Read my review of 41062 Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle, one of my favourite LEGO sets from last year.
LEGO has upped their game in 2016 with two new Frozen sets under the Disney Princess theme and they’re both excellent offerings for anyone still suffering from Frozen-fever. It is with great pleasure that I present my review of 41068 Arendelle Castle Celebration!
Name: Arendelle Castle Celebration
Set Number: 41068
Price: AU$89.99 (AUS LEGO.com link) (US LEGO.com link)
Dimensions: 27cm high, 22cm wide and 13cm deep
Exclusive to: N/A
Theme: Disney Princess
Year of Release: 2016
Instructions: LEGO 41068 Arendelle Castle Celebration
This set is not out in Australia as of this review but you can purchase it online. The expected Australian release date for 41068 Arendelle Castle Celebration is March 2016.
Arendelle Castle Celebration is based on Frozen Fever, a short animated feature that takes place several months after the events of Frozen. It is now springtime in the idyllic fairy tale kingdom of Arendelle and Queen Elsa has planned a massive birthday celebration for Princess Anna but tragedy strikes as Elsa comes down with a cold.
Determined to power through to ensure that Anna has the perfect day, Elsa tries her best to fight off her worsening cold, which as you can imagine for someone with magical ice powers, conjures all sorts of strange events, mishaps and laughs. It’s also funny because in the smash hit Let It Go Elsa famously sings “the cold never bothered me anyway”.
Frozen Fever premiered in front of 2015’s live action Cinderella movie and is a great watch if you’re hungry for more Elsa and Anna adventures. I find it puzzling that it’s still not available to watch online on Youtube. Best I can do is embed the trailer! Enjoy, before we jump into the proper review.
Here’s the Arendelle Castle Celebration sticker sheet which as you may have noticed in the photo has gotten slightly mangled which is a slight annoyance. It’s 2016 and LEGO still can’t ship sticker sheets with cardboard backing – quite worrisome. The stickers are mostly the transparent decal-type which is a lot better quality than papery ones and also look so much better when stuck unto tiles.
There are 22 stickers in total which veers towards the higher side of things but they’re all relatively easy to apply. Most of them go on tiles and are rectangular-shaped which makes things much easier. Younger LEGO fans will probably need the assistance of an adult with steady fingers.
There are 2 minidolls included in the set – Queen Elsa and Princess Anna. They both have fancy new threads fit for the warmer spring weather, complete with gorgeous floral-themed designs.
Anna looks very much like her usual self, with an attractive bright, almost sky-blue blue dress which has some daisies printed near the hem of the dress. Anna’s torso is also pleasantly detailed, with her green vest (minus cap sleeves) and yellow and black top with more flower motifs on it.
Her face is similar to her previous outing as a minidoll in the Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle set, except she’s sporting a new hairdo with some very elaborate braids knotted into a bun.
Elsa on the other hand has got a pretty bizarre dress on that looks like nothing like the one in Frozen Fever. The general design is the same, and it does look very nice but the colour just doesn’t match the on-screen one. Instead, we get a lush lime green number that’s adorned by colourful flower petals across her bust and dress.
She has a cape peppered with flower designs as well. And yes, I’ve deliberately flipped her cape around – I just prefer the way it looks with the flowers on the outside rather than inside. Elsa has a massive staff (that looks like it was Loki’s) which is really odd since she never once wields a staff in the animated feature. It’s a cool accessory nonetheless.
I still dislike Elsa’s hair colour. As I mentioned in the previous Frozen set, it’s way too blonde and not silvery/greyish enough. It’s an exceptional hairpiece but I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t manage to get the colour right the second time around.
Here’s how Elsa and Anna look like in Frozen fever.
This is a look at their backs, which gives you a better view of their detailed hairpieces and Elsa’s cape.
Despite Elsa’s shortcomings and design flaws, I still really like this “Spring” version of her – the printing across both minifigures are incredible with bright and vivid colours that make the LEGO version of 2 of Disney’s most popular princesses a great addition to any collection.
Here’s a comparison shot of Elsa and Anna from Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle vs the Arendelle Castle Celebration ones.
If you or your kids are a fan of LEGO Frozen, the alternate dresses are absolute must-haves, especially Anna’s as she looks almost identical to her Frozen Fever on-screen counterpart.
Apart from the pearl gold staff, Elsa also comes with a transparent blue “flame-piece”which has specks of glitter in them to represent her icy powers.
Joining Elsa and Anna is the bumbling provider of comic relief, Olaf and three mini snowmen who are also known as Snowgies! Olaf is exactly the same as the one from Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle.
He looks all right, with sharp printing on his face, an orange Unikitty horn for a nose and is assembled out of about 7 pieces. I still wish that they coloured his mouth to make his bucktooth more visible.
The Snowgies are definitely one of the highlights of the set. These curious mini snowmen are conjured out of thin air every time Elsa sneezes (Snow + Boogies = Snowgies) and steal the show with their adorable antics. Their faces are printed on round spheres and are attached to plain white minifig heads.
Three is a… decent number to own, but if you’ve watched Frozen Fever there are literally thousands of them scurrying about Arendelle. I will be considering picking up many more on Bricklink if the price is right. Who doesn’t want their own Snowgie army under Olaf’s command?
Here’s Elsa getting acquainted with her magical snot.
The build starts off with the assembly of a small table that holds a massive double decker birthday cake. The ice cream cake itself is brightly coloured and relatively similar to the one in the animated short.
The table comes with two clear goblets (always nice to have more of these) and a cupcake platter. The two stools have floral decorations on the sets courtesty of stickers.
One of the key storylines in Frozen Fever is Elsa’s quest to spoil Anna with as many birthday presents as possible. A gift box with a stickered lid is included which contains a ribbon for Anna.
Here is Arendelle Castle in all its glory! The first thing that jumps out to me about Arendelle Castle is the abundance of Aqua-coloured elements used for the roof. From afar, the triple pointy roofs combined with the opened windows evoke a very classic fairy-tale vibe.
The ground floor on the other hand, is busy with all sorts of festive birthday party details and yes, there is a slide attached to the side of the castle – because why the heck not.
Arendelle Castle follows the same build style as Elsa’s Ice Castle – a complete facade with an exposed back to give it a dollhouse feel. It may seem like LEGO taking shortcuts to save on piece-counts (partly true to keep costs low) but it works quite well as a display piece – since you’ll realistically only be viewing the set from the front.
The ground floor bustles with party decorations. With balloons, a slightly frozen entrance to the main door which is decorated with a really eye-catching zig-zag stickered tiles.
You’ll also notice plenty of flowers scattered around the castle on the left border and window sills – a really nice subtle Springtime design touch that juxtaposes all the other frozen elements.
Speaking of icy elements, the frozen fountains that flank the entrance are the standout decorations. You get 2 excellent translucent wing/fire (?) pieces which have an awesome gradient colour scheme complete with glitter speckles in the plastic.
They’re extremely simple but I love the balloon stands. The plain minifig heads in rare pastel colours (light blue, lilac (?) and magenta) are a nice score for parts-aficionados and the paler purple flower stalk is also another fascinating new part.
If you haven’t picked up by now, Arendelle Castle Celebration is a smorgasbord of valuable parts in peculiar and rare colours. Same goes for these white leaves, a very exciting part that’s bound to be incredibly useful for Winter-themed foliage.
The bunting tile is unfortunately stickered but they add a very festive feel to the entire facade.
The ground floor quickly transforms into a hive of activity once you place all the party elements and characters around.
On to the upper levels of Arendelle’s Castle facade, I cannot stop gushing about the gorgeous and generous number of Aqua slopes that are used for roofs of various angles. The cleverly use brown slopes inside to create the illusion of curtains which works quite well, and I like the placement of accessories in the room that peek out from the windows.
There are icicles that hang from each window. In a set plagued with quite a high number of stickers, I’m proud to report that the tiles beneath each window sill (with the triangles and dots) are printed! All three of them!
One design element that doesn’t really work well is the space in between the middle column with the transparent blue glass panes. It’s meant to look frozen and all, but I get too distracted by the horizontal lines. A totally clear transparent blue piece would’ve done a much more effective job.
And here’s a look at the transparent blue giant snowflake/ice crystal that tops the castle. It’s quite a rare element, having only shown up in a couple of Belville sets previously and makes for a useful piece if you’re ever in need of a massive snowflake.
Here’s a look at the playset from behind. The back is entirely exposed to create the dollhouse look which should come familiar to fans of LEGO Friends or Disney Princess. Despite being a medium-sized build, there’s plenty of space in both the upper and lower levels for the you to place the characters around.
Proportionally, it all looks quite good, the size of the furniture and how the rooms are laid out are quite pleasant to the eye. Let’s take a closer look at the contents of the room.
On the ground floor is a fireplace made out of sand green bricks. There’s a little magenta rug with some stickered details.
On the other side of the room is a bench or some sort of bed, and a really nice looking grandfather clock (love the stickered transparent piece) which has a small chamber for storage of ice skates.
My favourite thing about this section of the room is the sticker painting on the wall. Keen-eyed Frozen fanatics will recognize the painting from the Frozen movie, from the memorable “For The First Time In Forever” song sequence.
This is hands down my favourite Easter Egg in the entire build.
On to the top level, there is a small “exposed” room that serves as the entry point to the slide. Props to Arendelle architects for injecting some much needed fun and interactivity into the dwellings of royalty.
Disregarding architectural conventions to emulate a playground is so nonsensical that it is yet another reminder that LEGO is a toy and toys are meant to be fun.
Here’s Anna enjoying her slide. It makes for a very efficient method of getting to the ground floor.
This is the main bedroom, which I can assume is Anna’s based on Frozen Fever. She has a large bed with a very ornate raised headboard. Plenty of stickered tiles are used here for decorative purposes which give the room some much needed detail.
Do I wish these were printed tiles? Hell yeah, but the stickers don’t look TOO bad.
There’s also yet another fire-place and a small pink table with a cup and an unknown transparent container.
Like the ground floor, the upper level has just enough detail and furniture to give it enough personality. Younger fans will also be delighted as there’s plenty of space to place the characters around, and playable elements like the door that you can open and shut.
What I liked:
- Amazing selection of parts in exotic colours
- Alternative dresses for Elsa and Anna
- Combination of being a great display piece with plenty of roleplay opportunities
What I didn’t like:
- Elsa’s inaccurate hair colour
- Price is a little too high
- Not enough Snowgies
Final thoughts: The largest Frozen LEGO set yet is an impressive and delightful expansion of the Disney Princess theme, melding popular characters in alternate dresses with a very satisfactory display model, yet is weighed down by the exorbitant price.
Its $89.99 Australian pricetag is incredibly hefty, almost double that of its predecessor, Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle but struggles to deliver double the value.
Arendelle Castle Celebration gets many things right – LEGO parts fiends will have a field day with the dizzying array of parts in uncommon shades – most of them in fairly generous quantities too. The minifigures, barring Elsa’s too blonde hair and incorrect dress colour both look fantastic and will be very very popular with fans of Frozen.
The Snowgies are by far the cutest things that I’ve come across this year (yes I know it’s only been 8 days) and I wish I had at least a dozen more of them to populate the castle.
Speaking of Arendelle Castle, it looks really good on display due to its relatively large size. It towers almost 30cm high and has a well-designed facade which does a great job of capturing the essence of what Arendelle Castle looks like. For younger kids, the dollhouse design provides plenty of opportunities to roleplay and re-enact some of your favourite scenes from Frozen Fever.
Unfortunately, the set falls flat when it comes to pricing. Chalk it up to cashing in on Frozen-mania (which large seems to have subsided by now), the set’s AU$89.99 pricetag is simply ridiculous for only 477 pieces. If they had thrown in more charcters, it would slightly justify the pricetag. Slightly.
A set that costs AU$89.99 should at least be 30% larger. Look at Cinderella’s Romantic Castle – for only $10 more, you get a massive model and plenty more parts.
Taking it on its own, Arendelle Castle Celebration is a fun and very satisfactory set but once the sticker shock set in, I did question myself about paying full price for a set that I should’ve only really considered at a 20% discount.
LEGO Frozen fans will find plenty to love with the set, but for everyone else who doesn’t quite get Frozen (and is tired of Let It Go), there’s little value here to be had.
I do believe that LEGO will make plenty of money off this set from parents pressured into buying the latest Frozen toys for their kids but its unattractive and borderline extortionist pricetag leaves regular LEGO fans with little to celebrate.
What do you think of Arendelle’s Castle Celebration? Let me know in the comments if this set is on your radar?