When we first heard about an AG store coming to Kansas City, I was STOKED. Camille was too, once I told her. Yes, the Appleton outlet is close to Grandma Jo and, yes, I enjoy the once a year experience. But a full on store? With the clothes AND dolls AND a t-shirt making place AND a hair salon???? The eight year old who remembers opening Samantha as a late Christmas present from my aunt was excited.
And, yes, so was Camille. :)
The store opened at 9 am and Camille, Cole, Baby Josie (her Bitty Baby) and Baby Josie the second (a Bitty Twin) and her double stroller arrived at 8:30. With the exception of Cole, none of us had eaten breakfast... and there was a line.
I saw a small tent and thought that it was for prizes and events but that was the first 100 people in line. We joined a third line and learned that we had to get "group tickets" to the event. When our group number was called, we would line up and be able to enter the store.
We saw alot of AG dolls peeking out of backpacks, purses and the newer doll carry bags. I was surprised at the number of teenagers who showed up with a Kirsten or Samantha held proudly in their arms. When I was a teen, back in the dark ages, it was okay to admit that you had an AG doll but they were usually packed away or given to a younger sibling. I was the only person I knew who still had them out... I'm glad to see that this has changed! (And, no, they weren't dorky looking, immature teens- they were wearing the typical stuff teenage girls around here wear but had a doll in their arms. So sweet!)
We were in group 5 and once we had our tickets safely tucked away, we hit Panera for bagels, smoothies and coffee. The mall was still mostly closed but a few stores, like the Disney store and Bath and Body Works, were open. I guess all the excitment opened my purse strings a bit, because I bought some items I normally never buy, like air fresheners for the bathrooms. (Our house still occasionally has a musty smell and certain children who REFUSE TO FLUSH TOLIETS don't help!) While there, we met a girl and her mom who were number 13 in line. If you were one of the first 100 people, you got two free AG books, a shirt for your doll and a magazine. The first two girls recieved free dolls! They had camped out the whole night, sleeping in the mall. I know it sounds silly but if Camille were older, I would have done it. Totally. I mean, people camp out days in advance for movie tickets, books (Harry anyone??) or game tickets- why not something as wholesome and FUN as American Girl dolls?
After that, we ran into another family with a baby who had a Sophie the Giraffe and told us you could buy one at Nordie's- so off to Nordie's we went!
This is definatly a "keep away from Higgins" toy!
After that, we checked back at the mall guide, which had a scrolling light on the top that would give you the group number lining up. It was at 3, so we went to Baby Gap and happily discovered that their playwear was on sale for 7 a piece. Since Georgie likely needs new pants, I picked up some for the winter- score!
We were in Gap for 30 minutes and when we got out, the screen had just changed to group 5! We got free coupons to CFA and lined up, me nursing Cole the whole time. The sercurity guards were really helpful and got my tickets out for me. When we were standing in line, a little girl talked to Camille about her dolls and showed Cami her (the girl's) Lanie. That handed alot throughout the day. Mothers and girls would stop to ask Cami about her dolls or tell her how cute she looked with her stroller. It was so nice to easily chat with people about these toys- truley something to be treasured.
In line, you could play word puzzles or color or write a thank you note on the wall, so we did:
|"Cami" is written in the center of the photo|
And then... we were IN!
It was... awe inspiring to walk into the store. I am so old school. I remember when it was just Kirsten, Samantha and Molly with only three stories and you could buy only the books in the stores, not the dolls or clothes. I remember the burganday boxes with real ribbons and how NOTHING was plastic. NOTHING. And, yes, the company has changed. Totally changed and, no, I don't think it is all for the better. But to have THIS. A store FULL of all the things I dreamed about when I was eight. All the items I drooled over whenever the catelog would come in the mail... and to share it with my daughter?
We went straight for the craft table, which she made while I entered to win a doll.
I had a mother come over to me and tell me my daughter was very polite and adorable when she asked for a flower for her craft! :)
Then we hit the Bitty Baby (Baby Josie) section:
At first, she pulled a "Wings and Things" box off the shelf. No, I wasn't planning on buying her anything and found myself saying, "We just bought Josie a Halloween outfit. Let's look around."
We made our way through the crowd and went back into the historical/ Girl of Today section. The crowds were busy but everyone was polite and helped us around.
Camille picked out a little doll "purse" like she saw the older girls carrying and... well, I knew Adam would KILL me. I knew the dolls were super expensive without a birthday or Christmas. But the GRAND OPENING! Of the LOCAL STORE! With my DAUGHTER!
Yes, I whispered to her, "If you like, I will buy you a doll." Her eyes LIT up and we went to the look- alike section. She spotted one and said, "HER!"
I said, "Are you SURE?"
I made her look around, but she kept coming back the doll with long blond hair, blue eyes and bangs. Finally, I got down to her level and said, "This is a BIG TREAT. This will be your last treat for a LONG TIME. You need to be very careful with this doll and treat her nicely." She nodded.
The salesclerk went to the back, got her the doll and we checked out.
She was pretty beat but still managed to charm the sercurity guard, who let us out the front, instead of going through the crowded store. She got her photo taken by someone offical looking but I'm not sure who!
She crashed on the way home but enjoyed watching Cinderella with "Smarties." You know, like the candy. Yes. she named her doll after a CANDY.
Ah, the addiction continues! Mom and I need to get sewing, as this doll has no clothes. I mean, she might fit into Josie's clothes but... yeah, a girl's gotta have her own stuff, you know!
(Oooohhh, this means I can buy Camille those pretty holiday dresses that come with a matching dress for her 18 inch doll! SCORE!)