“ Brand: Hasbro / Type: Doll Accessories „
When I was a little girl I adored My Little Pony toys, my sisters and I had a huge collection but sadly as we grew out of them our mum gave them away to my cousin who subsequently cut all their hair off! In the 90's the ponies saw a bit of a facelift becoming shorter, thinner and looked nothing like their former selves but toy makers Hasbro eventually saw sense again in 2002 and released the 3rd generation of ponies, chubbier and more curvy, they looked much more like the originals and the craze for pony collecting kicked off again. My own little girl was born in 2006 but I knew that if the ponies were still around I'd start collecting some in ready for when she'd be able to play with them.
The My Little Pony Ice Cream Parlour is one of many play sets in the range which includes the parlour, accessories and a selection of ponies. The parlour itself is designed like a sweet old world shop, with plastic moulded awnings, large windows and an adorable level of detail that includes roof tiles, ivy on the outer walls, post box, flower pots, a small swing door and even a lovely sign above the window indicating the ice creams you could buy in store. It is made of 2 halves fixed together with a hinge and opens wide enough that both halves can sit side by side, the inside of the parlour is on 2 levels with the walls and floor on the lower levels featuring stickers depicting floor tiles, cupboards, counter etc....
The set comes with 3 ponies- Butterscotch, an orange pony with yellow hair and lollipops as her rump symbol. Likety Split, a purple pony with blue and yellow hair and a sundae as her rump symbol and finally Cupcake who is a pink pony with yellow hair laced with glitter hair and cupcakes as her symbol. Each pony comes with a matching coloured hair brush to keep their lovely hair neat and feature the unique G3 (generation 3) magnetic hoof which I believe was tried with the G2 ponies but has really taken off with the G3s. They are all well moulded out of durable plastic and very sweet features like their wide open eyes complete with twinkle star, happy smiles, a heart on one of their hoofs and high levels of detail in the small symbols on the rumps. Their hair is well threaded into their heads and will stand up to even the most enthusiastic of hair dressers and you can also use the ponies in the bath tub, just be sure to let them drain out properly afterwards.
Other accessories you get in the set are a drink stand that features 2 cups with straws which appear filled with drink, when the ponies stand at the stand their magnetic hoof activates the drinks and the pink "liquid" inside the cups drops down appearing like they've drank it. There is also a picnic style table with a sticker covering depicting a table cloth, plates, cutlery etc....and a cash register and desk with a Wedding style cake on, like the drink stand the cash register is activated by the magnetic hoof which has to make contact with a small pad at the front of the desk which will then open up the drawer on the cash register. Like the parlour itself the accessories are all well moulded and highly detailed.
I bought this set as a gift for my daughter a year ago but at the time she was really a bit young to use it so we popped it under her bed and waited until she became a bit more aware of imaginative play and started showing an interest in the ponies. As much as we tried to hide it she would always pull the box from under the bed and so in the end we gave in and I opened it up for her, I was quite amazed that at 18 months she happily started making the ponies trot along talking to each other and pretending to drink from the cups. I will shame facedly admit that it took us all a while to suss out the magnet thing, with both myself and my husband noticing that the drawer on the register was able to open but not being able to find a way, half an hour later I had the "Eureka" moment and placed a ponies hoof to the step on the desk, lo and behold the register popped open and so began my daughters obsession with trying to get real money in it (a 5p will fit!)
Elsa loves playing with her ponies and the Ice Cream Parlour adds a little extra to the experience, instead of the ponies just walking around talking to each other, or to Christopher's transformers, they can stop off for an ice cream or a drink. Elsa loves playing shop so being able to combine being "shop lady" with playing ponies really makes her day, there's nothing quite as cute as watching her make the ponies "pay the lady" before they have their drink and when it's home time for the ponies Elsa will close up the parlour and move away with the ponies to start brushing their hair and putting hair bands and clips in the manes and tails.
We've now had the set for a year and it's still in brilliant condition, the hinge on the main parlour is really strong and looks like it could stand up to a fair bit of abuse, the accessories are all so well made that they're still like new although the table is designed to come apart so fixing together the 2 pieces each time Elsa wants to play can get a bit tiresome. All the stickers are still immaculate and show no signs of wear or tearing, I have been quite strict that drinks aren't had in our living room and kept to the table so there's been no risk of liquid damage to them. Each of the ponies brushes still have all their bristles and the ponies themselves are in great condition with no signs of wear, no pen marks, rubs to the symbols, or bite marks, the hair can get a bit manic when they've been pt away in their basket but with a quick brush they look as neat as ever.
I find it had to find any negatives about this play set, it's really durable, obviously good quality and has given Elsa hours of fun so far, she rarely gets bored quickly with the set and it's been great for stimulating her wonderful imagination. The only down side to the set is that the upper floors of the parlour don't really seem large enough to serve any purpose, you can fit a pony up there but they are rather squeezed in and I'm pretty sure the cramped conditions would warrant animal cruelty! You can however store up to 6 adult ponies in the parlour when it is closed which is brilliant as it saves a lot of space and also keeps all the bits and pieces together.
The Ice Cream Parlour is available in many toy stores and I purchased ours in The Entertainer for £12.50, it's available on Amazon for the full price of £29.99 although I'm not sure I would have paid £30 for it even with all the extra's and the fun it's given Elsa. For any My Little Pony fan or collector it's a great set. It is suitable for children 3 years and over but Elsa plays with it perfectly at 2 ½ and did when she was 18 months too.