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One of the things that my three year old likes best is to be just like her big brother. He has been into Playmobil for a few years now and, for his little sister's birthday, he decided that he wanted to buy her some of her own... I'm not 100% sure if this was because he thought she'd like it, or because he wanted to stop her playing with his (always an ulterior motive where my two are concerned), but it was a sweet idea so we went along with it. On close inspection of the Playmobil shelves in the toy shop, he settled on the 'Magic Castle Carrying Case' for the following reasons - it was pink (always a winner with three year old girls in my experience), she loves anything that vaguely resembles a bag and it had a princess in it.
* The Product *
The 'Magic Castle Carrying Case' is a relatively small-scale set which contains the following; a Princess in a massive white wedding dress (think giant meringue-style), a unicorn, a peacock, a swan and an assortment of castle-themed furniture accessories including a mirror and dressing table. There is enough in there to keep a little girl entertained for a while, but it would obviously be better combined with other sets. The quality of the items is very good although, retrospectively, it wouldn't have been my first choice of set for a three year old who is under the recommended 4-10 age range, because there are a lot of small parts and fiddly items to attach to the Princess such as the necklace and tiara. All the bits fit neatly into the carry-case which is perfect for storing it, although you need to get the princess in her giant dress in at the right angle to be able to close the case!
* Playability *
The playability of this set is about average for one of the smaller Playmobil sets. My little girl mostly makes the princess feed her animals (even though there is no animal food in the set) - they eat out of the pink fruit-bowl and she 'pours water' for them from the jug. She isn't particularly interested in the furniture yet - she likes the mirror and that is mostly used by the dolls house family, but the rest of it tends to stay in the case. The princess also 'gets married' to various male Playmobil figures - knights from my son's castle, policeman etc - and is occasionally a 'Mummy' to some of the Playmobil children. Overall, I think this is a set where the play value would be considerably enhanced by the addition of other sets on the same kind of theme. Obviously it would fit perfectly with the big castle which, sadly, is somewhat outside our budget but there are also other princess / fairy themed sets which I think it would work with.
* Price *
We bought this for £9.99 from John Lewis - it is marginally cheaper on Amazon. I think this represents reasonable value for money as it has a fair amount of bits included and the quality is good.
* Final Thoughts *
This is a lovely gift for very girlie girls who are into the whole 'Princess' thing. My daughter, although very fond of all things pink, isn't really into the 'princess' thing as such yet - she likes to dress up as a princess, but she doesn't really know what they 'do' so she finds it a bit tricky to play imaginatively with this set. However, with a trip to Disney planned for next year, I'm anticipating that all things Princess-themed will suddenly get a whole lot more popular in this house and this set may well get played with more at that stage. She does like the Princess and her animals, but I think we probably should have gone with something that was a bit more 'relevant' to her that she could relate to her own experiences. Overall, I am giving this set a four star rating as it looks beautiful, is good quality and is reasonably good value for money... and I think a slightly older girl would love it.
Model: Magic Castle Carrying Case / Take-along carrying case with compartments to store characters and accessories / You can take it everywhere with you / Piece count : 34 pieces.