What do you do when it’s Winter Break, you live in frigid Michigan, and you have an eight-year-old daughter in love with American Girl dolls?
Why, you travel to American Girl Place in Chicago, of course! Which is what the EBM family did a couple weeks ago.
Many of you recall that I also have a son. “How could you take him to American Girl? What kind of mother are you?” you’re asking. Well, I figured that my eleven-year-old would also enjoy the trip to Chicago if we promised him Legos and candy. PLUS (<— and that’s a very big PLUS) his little sister has been dragged to 3,871 of her brother’s hockey and baseball games. She can have a short trip to American Girl Place!
We had such a good time on our trip that I’m mostly going to let the pictures do the talking.
Here we see the dolls packed and ready to ride the rails. It’s a little over 4 hours on Amtrak from our home in Michigan to Chicago:
She took good care of the American Girl dolls at the hotel, as you can see by this picture of her dolls ready for a good night’s sleep:
The next morning it was time for American Girl Place! Here is my daughter leaving our hotel:
We waited a few minutes for the doors to open at 9 am and rushed to the doll salon (which is on the top floor of the store in Chicago). Tip: For the quickest path to the doll salon, wait at the entrance door by the Lego Store.
We were second in line and got Caroline Abbott’s curls restored ($10) and my daughter’s look-a-like doll, Sparkle, styled with braids and ribbons ($20). Yes, it’s sort of crazy to pay for doll hair styling, but those of you who have curly haired dolls know it’s worth every penny. And the braids with bows hairstyle on Sparkle turned out super cute and made my daughter happy. Tip: appointments are booked in 15 minute increments. I suggest you go to the salon first thing to get your appointment scheduled!
At 10:45 we met my husband and son outside the cafe when it was time to check in for our 11 am dining reservation. The waiting area to check in for seating is crazy. No nice way to say it. Kinda like your worst wait in line for a ride at Disney World! Tip: reservations are available online or by phone 2 months out. Book as soon as you can!
Once inside the cafe, we were seated at a lovely table by the window. My daughter was thrilled that each of her three (!) dolls got a chair to sit with her at the table. Each doll also got a tea cup and plate that we could keep. Plus, the napkin rings were American Girl hair ties that we could keep, too. I loved the cafe’s elegant decor and the food wasn’t half bad either. For our lunch, we started with cinnamon rolls, then a fruit, cheese, and vegetable plate. Main dish selections included pasta and sandwiches for the adults and kid-friendly fare like chicken tenders. Everyone gets a scoop of ice cream for dessert.
We sprung for the birthday package, too, which was an additional $10 for the birthday girl and $3 for each of us. Totally worth it, if you ask me! It included crowns for the birthday child and dolls, birthday cake, and a goody bag with a doll shirt, balloon, and activity book. My daughter loved it and we loved celebrating her 8th birthday once more.
After lunch, it was back to shopping for the girls while the men wandered around Water Tower Place, a huge indoor mall. There is so much to see at American Girl that it can be overwhelming. My daughter actually broke down in tears at one point because there was JUST. SO. MUCH.
And she wanted it all!
But, unless your last name is Trump or Rockefeller, you can’t buy it all. She settled on using her Christmas gift cards to buy the gymnastics set. I treated her to the leotard – plus a pair of purple platform sandals.
(I mean, who says NO when you’re at American Girl Place and your only daughter asks for purple platform sandals for her dolls?!)
Finally, we joined her brother and father at the Lego store conveniently located next door.
We had a great time! Have you been some place special with your family recently?