My daughter’s room has many tiny outfits, play sets and a few cute dolls that will greet you when you walk in. Two years ago she became obsessed with the 18 inch dolls made so popular by American Girl. She saved her money to buy a Target brand doll to show us that she would care for it well, and asked for a real American Girl doll for her ninth birthday. Right around that time, the American Girl Store was slated to open at CoolSprings Mall, so we told her we would go if she cared for her doll well. She played with that doll, read the book that came with it, and had a friend over to play dolls together. The store opened a few months after her birthday and she was rewarded with a doll from her grandparents. She had saved up money to buy items with it and we headed off for our first trip to the amazing store. One of many trips we have made since then to the beautiful store.
American Girl can be very overwhelming for newbies. There are many dolls; some historical themed, some made to look like the girl picking them out, and one doll that changes every year called the Girl of the Year Doll. There are clothes, play items, books, pets, and furniture for each doll and it can all become very overwhelming for parents and girls. So, I will give you a few ideas of our trips to the store, to help you on this fun and exciting journey to 18 inch dolls.
First we requested a free catalog sent to the house to look through and study. Once she got the catalog we talked about the dolls, looked at all the fun stuff, and then we decided to study more about the historical doll she was interested in. We headed to the library and got a book about the doll to read together to see if she wanted that doll for real or not. We also started watching all the American Girl movies together on the weekends to help in researching the dolls. Emma quickly fell in love with one of the original dolls, Samantha. Then we looked through and discussed our budget for the shopping trip and made a list of items she wanted to see in person at the store. This really helped keep her understanding what she could buy or might be able to buy. Prices vary on items for the dolls so discussing budget beforehand may keep your girl from wanting the large items when you are not ready to buy those.
When we got to the store, we spent time looking and playing with the items on display. The fun part of the store is they have a lot of items out to play with and explore. The staff is very helpful and asked her what she wanted to see and helped her find the items. After we explored and played, we made decisions on items that she wanted to buy and take home. We got a bag and started finding the items she wanted. It really helped that she kind of knew what she wanted in advance and got to touch and feel the items in person. She then got to go to the cashier and buy her very first doll and the fun things to go with it. One item we bought was the brush from there to care for her hair as well, which is important to know how to care for these dolls as well as play with them.
On this trip we did not eat at the bistro, we kept it to just shopping. However, she really wanted to eat there and we decided to hold her tenth birthday there almost a year later. I called and talked to the reservation team and choose the package that sat you and your child with two friends at a regular table. It is called the Birthday Celebration Package, they sent me invites and thank you cards in the mail, and took care of goody bags as well. Win-Win for this mom!
Emma picked two friends, and we made plans to pick the girls and dolls up for lunch. When we got to the bistro, each girl and doll were seated with pretty cloth napkins and cute little hair ties for the girls to keep. The dolls had little tea cups and plates to be kept as well. Each of us got to order an appetizer and main dish, and then a cute pink and white cake was brought out for my daughter to blow the candle out. It was so cute! Then they cut the cake and brought it with ice cream in little cute clay pots. The food was good and each child got to order and eat what they wanted. I had an amazing chicken salad! The cake was delicious as well. Then each girl was given a cute goody bag with items for their doll and a book. It was so much fun. My daughter got a special sticker saying it was her birthday and the whole store treated her so special. The girls played, ate, took pictures, and shopped with their dolls. I will never forget the smiles on my daughter’s face. She had a blast with her friends. I highly recommend a birthday there. They offer a few different packages you can choose from depending on your budget and size of party. We did the smaller package because that is what we wanted.
We have also attended a few of the store special events. We have been to two release parties for dolls. Both parties were fun for my daughter! She really loved them because they normally have a giveaway for the dolls, like a shirt or something related to the new doll. This is a fun way to add to your doll collection without spending any money and it is normally not sold in the stores so it is unique to the events. They also normally have crafts and snacks at the parties. For the latest release event, the staff was even dressed in the time period of the new doll, which was really cute and fun. There are normally lots of fun people to meet and talk about dolls together. So, watch the American Girl website for upcoming events and check out a few when you have time. It will be a fun experience for your girl and dolls too.
A few things to know in general before you go to the store with your girl. Dolls are welcomed to be brought in with your girls. We typically take at least one doll or a carrier with two in it. They welcome the dolls and love to see them with the girls. There is a hair salon, where my daughter loves to have her dolls hair cared for. The prices vary depending on hair style picked out. They will even clean the limbs and paint the nails for a small fee. They talk to the girls about caring for the doll and the girl even has to sign to pick them up once they are cared for. We also head to the salon area first and get a time slot assigned for our doll. Do not worry about what to do with your doll when you need to go to the bathroom, they have special holders for the dolls in each stall and by the sinks. They are cute and fun to hang the dolls on while you take care of business. If you eat at the bistro, they have special chairs for the dolls to not get dirty at the table. They are super cute and you can sit a few dolls at each table no problem.
Have fun and enjoy this special time with you girls. They will not be young forever and these moments should be cherished. Have fun and explore American Girl in Cool Springs soon!