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Disney Lost to Warner Bros. in Fight for Barbie Fame

disney warner bros pictures barbie movie greta gerwig margot robbie ryan gosling toy story epcot walt disney world 1994 barbie and disney mattel
Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

Barbie is a doll that’s been around since 1959, and everyone knows her name. Now the iconic feminine doll is back in the spotlight due to the massive success of Warner Bros. 2023 Barbie movie. She’s one of the few globally recognized characters not owned by the Walt Disney Company, but that’s not for lack of trying. As Intellectual Property of the toy company Mattel, Barbie has been licensed out to Disney a few times, most notably for its Toy Story film franchise. But in 1994, Walt Disney World’s EPCOT tried to do more with Barbie.

disney warner bros pictures barbie movie greta gerwig margot robbie ryan gosling toy story epcot walt disney world 1994 barbie and disney mattel

Credit: Pixar Animation Studios

In 1994, Walt Disney World threw a magical but nearly forgotten experience celebrating the Barbie doll’s 35th anniversary. The “birthday party” was released on a VHS tape showing Barbie and her friends debuting new 1994 fashion in the live Barbie Show at EPCOT. It’s equal parts advertising for EPCOT and Mattel.

Here’s part of the description on the box,

WOW! It’s time to get ready for the Barbie Stage Show, Lisa and Stephanie will take you backstage where you’ll experience everything from set building to hair styling. What’s more, you’ll actually see Barbie and her friends dancing and singing in great costumes in an exciting sneak peek of the new show.
You’ll love every action-packed minute! Happy Birthday Barbie!

disney warner bros pictures barbie movie greta gerwig margot robbie ryan gosling toy story epcot walt disney world 1994 barbie and disney mattel

Credit: Walt Disney World

That’s right, Barbie was a full-out Disney Parks character for a little while in 1994. The Magical World of Barbie lasted from January 1994 to May 11, 1995, in the American Adventure Pavilion of the World Showcase. While the plot of the show is not super clear, Barbie seems to travel the world with new outfits to match each destination.

While Barbie and Disney obviously didn’t create a box office hit like Greta Gerwig and Warner Bros Pictures, it’s still an interesting watch. I wonder what Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling would think of this Barbie and Ken…

Check it out here!

 

About Lana Porter

Lana has never lost a Disney Trivia night. Maybe it’s the hundreds of times she’s been to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, her love for Disney’s ’90’s era hand-animated musicals, or the fact that she’s often likened to cartoon characters, but Disney and its magic have a special place in her heart. Her favorite Disney experiences include the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, eating Mickey Bars on the PeopleMover, and crying during the Magic Kingdom fireworks show. One day she hopes to be chosen as the rebel spy on Star Tours. When Lana isn’t Park Hopping, she’s at home reading books of all topics, watching her favs on Disney+, or snuggling her two cats, which she swears are not named after Disney characters. She loves surprising people with her knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but admits she is still catching up with Star Wars. She is happy to combine her excitement for writing with her love for Disney-style storytelling and share what she can with the world!