During the run up to Christmas an advert for the Disney Princess Magic Rise Oven caught my daughters eye, and so to the top of the list it went!
** What is it? **
The Disney Princess Magic Rise Oven is a toy that enables little princesses to make and decorate their very own cakes. Just pop the cakes in the oven, wave the magic wand and watch the cakes rise! Once the royal treats are baked it's time to decorate and serve to guests!
** What's included **
The Magic Rise Oven comes in a nicely decorated cardboard box. Inside the box comes...
- An oven (comes in a few seperate pieces)
- 2 Magic Rise cakes (one large, one smaller)
- 2 Decorative cake dishes
- 2 Cake frosting toppers
- A tiara shaped 'candy' topper and Cinderella shaped 'candy' topper
- A wand
- A rolling pin
- A serving tray
- A cake stand
- A flour box, sugar box, play can and petit four
- Stickers (and instructions).
** Our experience **
None of us were really sure what to expect with this toy. When we picked it up in the shop we were quite surprised at how small it was, as it seemed slightly bigger on the advert.
My daughter (who is 3) was thrilled when she opened her Magic Rise Oven and was eager to play with it. The oven was relatively easy to set up, though it definitely required an adult. You must place the stickers onto the oven yourself - there is a paper guide so you know where to stick them. The oven requires 4 x AA batteries which aren't included and the big cake frosting topper requires 3 x AG13 batteries which are included. The oven looks extremely cute, pink and girly - you wouldn't expect anything less from the Disney Princesses! All of the favourites make an appearance - Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Belle and even Princess Tiana.
We thought it would be quite simple to operate so didn't bother reading through the instructions to begin with - my daughter soon started complaining that her cakes weren't getting any bigger! It was only when I read the instructions that I realised you had to push all the air out of the cakes and flatten them down before putting them in the oven. You can use your hands or use the rolling pin that is provided - my daughter generally uses her hands as she finds it easier. She sometimes requires my help to flatten the cakes but is able to do it by herself - it may prove a tricky task for children under 3 years (the toy is actually recommended for children 3+).
There is a circle shape on the inside of the oven - the bottom of the cakes have to placed directly on to this circle (the cakes are made of a foamy plastic material and the bottom of the cakes are made of solid plastic). If the bottom of the cake doesn't match up to the circle the cake will not rise. This is quite frustrating for my daughter as she regularly slings her cakes in the oven (thinking she has lined it up properly) and waits for ages before having to open the oven up and reposition her cakes. I can't help but think the circle should have been made bigger - the toy is aimed at young children afterall. The circle rule also means that you can only bake one cake at a time.
Once the cake is propely lined up the magic wand should be swept over the heart shaped button on the front of the oven. The oven then makes an enchanting noise and the cake magically starts to rise, which is very clever indeed. It only takes about 5 seconds for the cakes to fully rise - I think it should take a little longer personally, but my daughter doesn't seem to mind! She squeals with delight as the cakes rise and cannot wait to get them out.
The cakes should then be placed into their dish and the correct frosting topper should be placed on top. The dishes and frosting toppers are made of solid plastic. Both frosting toppers have a small hole in the top to place the candy toppers - both candy toppers fit either frosting. If you wave the magic wand over the big cake the candy topper will magically light up. The cakes look very nice when they are decorated and my daughter is always proud of her work! She often prepares her cakes on the cake stand, then serves them on the serving tray.
She sometimes uses the flour box and sugar box when she is pretending to add ingredients to her cakes, but they are made from a really poor cardboard material and are falling to bits. The play can is of better quality and she doesn't really use the petit four for anything - most of these things just sit on the shelves unused unfortunately. My daughter has a great imagination so can use anything (or nothing!) to spice her cakes up! The oven has 2 lots of shelves - on top of the oven and around the back of the oven (where we tend to store the wand, rolling pin etc).
There is a switch on the bottom of the oven which has 3 settings - 'play with wand', 'play without wand' and 'off'. These settings have come in very useful because my daughter has misplaced her wand a few times but that hasn't stopped her from being able to play with her oven. To use without the wand you just need to press the heart shaped button and the cakes will rise as normal. There is also a small button on the big cake frosting topper which when pressed lights up as normal.
To round up the advantages of this toy I would say that it's a magical toy that most little girls would love playing with (my daughter plays with it on a regular basis), the magic wand aspect is very good, it can be used with or without the wand, it's a unique toy, it really encourages imaginative play, it's a pretty set and the cakes look lovely once they are finished.
To round up the disadvantages of this toy I would say that the cakes can be awkward to flatten, they don't take very long to rise, there should be more than 2 cakes included in this set (especially for the price), the cake positioning inside the oven is a bit silly, you can only bake one cake at a time, it's not quite as spectacular as the advert makes out (it never is!), the flour box and sugar box are way too flimsy and the shelves on top of the oven are also very flimsy (I keep having to clip them back into place).
If I were basing this review on my thoughts alone, I probably would have given it 3 stars. However taking my daughters thoughts of this toy into consideration (she is the most important judge on this occasion) I have decided to give it 4 stars.
** Price & Availability **
We brought our oven from Tesco for around £30.00. As of February 2011 it is also available at Argos (£34.99), Sainsburys (£29.99), Toys R Us (£32.97) and Amazon (£40!).