Personally, I thought it was better. The story was great, it was not your cookie cutter princess fairy tale, it was creative and imagiative, the characters were relatable and fun, the animation was beautiful, the music is fantastic.
How to train your dragon was a great movie as well, but it didn't make me tear up at the end, and I didn't buy any of the toys.
I got two of the Merida dolls, the one with the bow and the one with her horse Angus (not the uber expensive one that makes noise though, just the $25 Angus). I also bought another of the Merida dolls for a young friend for her birthday.
I'm not really into all the disney princess stuff, but I really like the Merida dolls they made. They captured her essence nicely I think.
Though I saw the set with Merida and Elinor today in the store, and while the dolls were nice, Elinor's hair was not nearly long enough. In the movie it goes down to the floor, but on this doll it only goes down to her butt, so I won't be getting that doll.