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Disney Doll Lovers Crash Store Website in Search of Princesses

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Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Walt Disney Co., owner of the ESPN sports channel and the world’s largest theme-park operator, apologized to customers after demand for limited editions of its princess dolls crashed the Disney Store website.

More than 1,200 Facebook users posted comments when the company acknowledged yesterday that the site was “extremely busy” and that it “won’t allow such high volume to check out simultaneously.”

The furor erupted when the Burbank, California-based company put the last five models in its Disney Princess Designer Doll Collection for sale on its website yesterday for $59.50 each. All of the dolls -- the characters Tiana, Jasmine, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and Pocahontas -- sold out the same day, the company said.

“DUMB, DUMB, DUMB! I think Disney should go back to the meeting room on this one,” Susan Herd Collier posted to Disney’s Facebook page.

The company was contrite.

“We acknowledge that this has been a poor experience for many of you, and we are truly sorry for those of you who were unable to purchase,” Disney said yesterday in a statement on the store’s Facebook page.

The Disney Princess Designer Doll collection made its debut on Aug. 23, starting with the Cinderella model and a plan to introduce one more character a week for a total of 10. Trouble started when Snow White went on sale Sept. 19 and it sold out the same day. The company said the doll was “oversold” and blamed a “system malfunction” on its Disney Store blog.

Five More Dolls

“We want you to know that we read your comments on Facebook, saw your Tweets, and our Cast Members have told us what they heard from our Guests who visited our stores,” Jim Fielding, president of Disney Stores Worldwide, said in a Sept. 23 post on the store blog.

Disney said then it would release the five remaining dolls all on the same day, starting Oct. 17 in its stores and yesterday from its website. Customers were allowed to order only one of each character, and even with that limit, demand led to the website crash.

Disney spokesman Gary Foster said the company would have no comment beyond its online posts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ronald Grover in Los Angeles at rgrover5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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