Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Day at the American Girl Store

I admit it. I was just as excited as my girls (if not more so) to head up to the American Girl store in Washington DC two Saturdays ago. A lot of readers from my Facebook page wanted to know how it went, so today I'll take you on a little tour of our American Girl store. I never had an American Girl doll, which is probably why I was so excited when my girls both received dolls for Christmas. It worked out nicely that as part of Michaela Byrd's January birthday, my mom and I decided to take the girls up to check it all out.

(Photos from my point and shoot, so forgive the quality)

American Girl has no idea who I am, so this is not in any way a sponsored post. Just a real look at two real "American Girls" enjoying their first time in the store.

Side note: If you aren't familiar with American Girl dolls, the company offers a line of dolls and books from different historical periods. They also carry dolls, books, and accessories geared towards modern day girls. The neat part is that they really stress good character, creativity, and good self-esteem.

The Washington DC store is actually about an hour from our house, in the Tyson's Corner mall, which is a complete nightmare to get to if you are not a fan of high traffic roadways. Luckily, my mom grew up in the area, so she navigated!

We parked in the first parking spot we could find and trekked through the mall to the store. Luckily, Michaela Byrd's "Bitty Twins" came with their own roller cart, and Natalie promised that she could carry Kit without losing her in a Nordstrom rack somewhere:

The shop is every little girl's dream come true. Lots of light, bright colors, happy faces everywhere. Wide open space with pretty stuff everywhere you look!

It was busy, but nearly so bad as the NYC store at Christmastime. There was plenty of room to walk around and gaze at the displays, and the wait for check-out wasn't bad at all. The girls were overwhelmed by the doll salon, t-shirt shop, and real bistro where you can dine with your dolly friends.

It was so much fun to see the excitement on my girls' faces as they hopped from one display to the next. The AG people are so clever with their displays. They set things up so that girls want to rip stuff right off and play right there in the store. Good thing most sets are in cases. Michaela Byrd couldn't stop exclaiming, "Oo, I want 'dat one! I want 'dat one too!"

There is nothing like a gigantic toy store to bring out the kid in you. I oohed and aahed over all the goodies as much as the kids did!

Natalie chose a violin set for Kit, and Michaela Byrd picked out a snack set for her Bitty Twins...apparently they were hungry after a long morning of shopping. We also picked up a copy of the Kit Kittredge DVD, which they have viewed approximately 56 times this month.

The girls loved the photo opp on the way out with the new doll of the year.

My only complaint was that it doesn't seem like they planned well for the size of the bistro. It books up weeks in advance...we couldn't even go in for a snack or drink. We'll plan ahead next time, but we managed to lure the girls out of the store with a promise of lunch at Panera.

Then it was time to hop on I-95 South and brave the traffic home, thinking the whole time about when we could go up again! If you're planning on visiting a city with an American Girl store, and you have your kids with you, I highly suggest making a stop. It was an all-around enjoyable day, and I hope my girls hold special memories of our fun for years to come. Can't wait to head back up!

Do you still remember a special outing that you went on as a child?

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  1. So fun! We were just up there this last weekend and my girls loved it as well! Thanks for sharing.

  2. We enjoyed this post. My daughter just went there for her first time and she was using your pics to describe her very fun adventure once again. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Now, I seem to remember that Panera is one of your faves, too, so I think the lunch location was a win for all.

    Looks like a lot of fun. I was growing up right as American Girls were getting popular. I actually have five of the dolls and their book sets, although one or two are no longer available. I was still getting the catalogs throughout college. If we have a girl, I hope she likes American Girl, because she has a jump start. I'll definitely be all about the store - there's one a few hours from us in Chicago.

    Also - I always loved all the home stuff for the dolls. There were canopy beds and wardrobes and kitchen sets. I think my love for decor started earlier than I realized.

  4. What a fun trip! I love looking through the AG catalog:) I remember thinking they were the coolest dolls when I was little. I love the doll in the bathtub with rollers in her cute is that!

  5. I just took my daughter to the Seattle store the day after Christmas. The bistro there books up MONTHS in advance, so be thankful! It's worth making a reservation at the bistro for next time. It was such a sweet treat, good food and fun attention for the girls and the doll. I'm so thankful that I have good garage sales with lots of cheap AG stuff at it so when I walked into the store I was in complete sticker shock! Such a fun trip. Glad you got to enjoy it.


  6. Pure BLISS for girls!!! Looks like you had so much fun, my girl is in LOVE with all things AG too!

  7. My girls had the dolls growing up, they had just come out with the Bitty Twins and the Girl of Today doll. The store and bistro here opened long after they were playing with them, but we've visited a number of times for my nieces and other little girls in our lives. It is such a neat place. While the dolls are a bit pricey, the quality can't be beat and I love what they stand for. Ours, along with all their accessories are just waiting to be played with by future grandchildren! And, if my hubby has his'll be a long ways off. LOL

  8. Oh, how I wish I had girls to go to the American Girl store. I guess when my nieces are bigger I'll have to go with them. It must be little girl heaven.

  9. I love having boys. . . but I have to admit that American Girls make me wish I had a daughter. I remember ready the books about Molly (or is it Mollie?) years ago--I was so impressed! And the dolls with their accessories are just brilliant. So smart. And such smart marketing. The AG folks are to be saluted for the way they do things--again, just brilliant!

  10. I love American Girl. I had Kirsten. :) I never visited a store, though, until I was an adult, but oohed and ahhed just like you did. There's so much cute stuff to look at!

  11. Growing up I had the Molly doll and my sister had Samantha. I "had" to have Molly since we both wore glasses:) gotta love my mom for that logic.

    My 4.5 year old has been asking for one for the last few months, I stalled with the line that she needs to be able to read the books in order to enjoy the dolls. Although, now that I see your girls, I think we will ask the grandparents for one for her 5th birthday. I just can't wait anymore!

    Thanks for sharing.

  12. This is adorable! I'm 22 years old and still have every single American Girl item I ever owned! haha!

  13. So glad I found your blog! What fun and great photos!! My daughter has been once to the store for her cousin's birthday party. We didn't get to eat in the bistro as their parties are super expensive but they did offer a party where they provide pink lemonade, cake pops in a glass full of pink sugar and the table was decorated with pink flowers. So cute! For girls that don't have their own dolls, they let you "borrow" a doll for the party and she even has her own little highchair she sits in. My daughter is only 5 so we didn't buy her a doll yet but I told her maybe when she is 6. For now, she is happy with the My Generation doll I got her for $30 at Target! lol If she can take care of this one, then I may get her the real deal.

    Glad you had such a good time!

  14. What a fun day for you, your mom, and the girls! They look like they are having an absolute ball!

  15. The girls looked adorable and your mom is gorgeous!!!Now I see where you get your good looks!!
    Glad you had fun

  16. This sounds like a blast! I remember my first visit to a Disney store with my mom as a little one. So much fun.

  17. AWWWWW! We made a trip up to the Seattle AG store last September, and I was as excited as my girls! :) It was such fun! Your post brought back wonderful memories.

  18. I am a 11 year old with a blot and I turned 11 June 15 and my whole family is going to American girl store Dallas do you have any tips? ?


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