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Children / Colorado Livin' / Events / Humor

Our American Girl Adventure

For Claire’s fourth birthday, her grandparents gave her a brand new baby doll, and she named her Rose. Baby Rose is an American Girl Doll. Normally, when I tell people this, I get one of three possible reactions: They either look at me with a blank stare, swoon while gasping, or they go pale and get a slight twitch.

To be honest, I wasn’t even sure what an American Girl Doll was. I seemed to remember someone telling me about how his daughter was obsessed with her little look-alike doll, and how the doll’s clothing and paraphernalia threatened to take over his house. I have younger friends who tried to school me in the importance of an American Doll and how great their relationships with their very own dolls were. I’ve had mothers of older daughters share their stories of mother-daughter bonding.

…but, to be honest, I didn’t give it much thought.  I mean, it’s just a doll, right?  It’s not like we’re going to become obsessed.  (Do you hear that?  Is that ominous music playing?  I’m sure it’s nothing…)

Baby Rose was a huge hit, and because Claire’s November birthday is perfectly poised as a jumping off point for Christmas, Claire and Baby Rose didn’t have to wait long for all the added necessities that come when there’s a new baby in the house.

It was all so cute, I could hardly stand it. A crib, matching outfits, and way too many teeny-tiny super-cute shoes later, I understood the people who swooned and the people who started to twitch.

For the record, PaPa and Grandma started this, and Santa is an enabler.

That being said, Claire and Baby Rose had some gift money threatening to burn a hole in the pockets of their matching outfits, so we decided to do some shopping. Imagine my surprise at finding that Colorado didn’t have an American Girl Store! We had to shop via catalog or online only!?

I know that e-commerce is where things are headed, but there is just something magical about getting to hold something before you buy it. Getting to see something in person and look over all your choices is a great experience. I even called the company to see if they’d made a mistake by not including Colorado on their map of store locations. They hadn’t. We were out of luck.

Until now…

Last weekend (Saturday, March 27th, and Sunday, March 28th) the brand new American Girl store opened just south of Denver in Park Meadows! This is American Girl’s eighth store, and will be the only one in Colorado. Claire and I (along with Claire’s Baby Rose) had the incredible opportunity to check it out in VIP style on Sunday.

Claire and I were going to check it out anyway, so imagine our delight when we were invited to check out the Inverness Hotel and the American Girl packages they have in place! We got to tour the rooms at the Inverness and check out the amenities of each package, and if American Girl is your thing, and you’re looking for a nice treat for you, your daughter and her American Girl, check this out! (Package prices range from a weekend rate of $149 a night up to $499.)

Here is where our connections paid off. Not only did Claire and I get a personalized tour of the Inverness Hotel, a nice goody-bag from the staff there, and a lift to and from the mall with our very own driver, a few phone calls and a couple of business cards later, we got escorted by Security into the store without having to wait in line.

Part of me felt a little guilty about cutting in line in front of so many people, but the other part of me tried to keep from skipping as we went right into the store.

I had the opportunity to chat with Wade Opland, Vice Preside of Retail at American Girl, and he said that 8,000 people had visited the store on Saturday! (Yes, EIGHT THOUSAND.) The wait to get into the store on Saturday ranged from 3-hours to 7-hours, and after seeing the lines there on Sunday, we knew it was going to be a long day for American Girl fans on Sunday, too! People said they’d slept in line the night before to be the first in on Sunday, and I believe them!

We were greeted by a complete mad-house, but it was a super-fun and really cool mad-house. Up front you have the Doll Hair Salon. No, I’m not kidding. I even took pictures so that my husband would believe me. (Oddly enough, he politely declined in joining us in our adventure. Wussy.) The rest of the store was just like an American Girl catalog, only seeing it in real life adds a whole new dimension.

Claire was enchanted, overwhelmed, and practically beside herself with pure joy at getting to see all the American Girl Dolls and their accessories in person. She had the opportunity to do a little craft project, and we had a great time wandering around the store and checking out all it had to offer.

We had an agreement that if everything went well, she could pick out a dress for Baby Rose and one to match for herself. She tried really hard to be good, and I tried really hard to stick to our budget. We both succeeded!

We will definitely be going back, and we’ll be sure to take Grandma with us. The next time we go, we won’t be armed with personal drivers, magical business cards and phone numbers, so we’ll just have to take our chances with the lines and the crowds.

…but something tells me it will be worth it.

So, are you an American Girl fan? When someone mentions it, do you give them a blank stare? Do you swoon, or do you start to twitch? Tell us all about it!

Read the story about the American Girl store opening in The Denver Post.

View a slide show of the opening of the Colorado’s American Girl doll store.

View a slide show of the store itself.

JoAnn
Author: JoAnn

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13 Comments

  1. We are fans, our Bitty is called “Bitty”. We also have Samantha and Julie. I love AG, but sometimes have to reason with my girls because of the size and prices of some of the accessories. We can’t wait to visit, I’m thinking the 3rd Tuesday of March 2011, the crowds may be better! Oh the anticipation…

  2. Denise, *hopefully* you’ll be able to visit sooner than that…by a couple weeks anyway. 🙂 My husband said, “Surely it will calm down after this week!” The poor man just doesn’t get it. (Personally, I’m afraid he thinks AG will make him a poor man.) HA! Just couldn’t resist.

    😉

  3. What an awesome opportunity! I am so glad you had a special day with Claire. She’ll always remember it. The dresses are so cute.

    I’ve been to the American Girl store in Chicago. My daughter and I flew there, spent the weekend, ate at the cafe, saw the show, soaked in the store and Chicago. She only has one American Girl doll, but at age almost-13 she still plays with it sometimes. She snatches the catalogs when the arrive in the mail.

    I have big plans for my 3-year-old daughter, too. I hope to repeat the trip with her in about 5 years. I have to admit I was a little dismayed they opened a store here because my excuse to fly off is gone! 😉 A trip to Lone Tree isn’t very exotic.

    I also went to the Chicago AG store when I went on a mom’s weekend 2 years ago, sans daughter. It wasn’t as fun without a starry-eyed girl dragging me around.

    If the AG store opening is any indication, can you imagine what the IKEA opening will be like in 18 months? Eeeeeek.

  4. Gretchen, I remember hearing about your Chicago adventure, and after experiencing the one in Lone Tree, I can imagine how much fun you had. I mean, we had a BLAST, and it wasn’t even in Chicago!

    If you check out those links to the Inverness Hotel packages, they really do things up in STYLE. There is a turn-down service for you, your daughter, AND her doll…complete with mints on pillows. (Not to mention a tiny bed provided for her doll!)

    Granted, it’s not the windy city, but if you find that jet-setting off to another locale won’t work for you, this is a great option. 😉

    And, as excited as we are for IKEA, I’m afraid. Very. Afraid. 🙂

  5. I just found out from the VP Retail of American Girl that they had 4,000 people go through the doors on Sunday. So, that’s about 12,000 people for the opening weekend! Wow!!

  6. Barbie, WHO? 🙂

  7. Rajean, my siblings (two sisters and a brother) and I had *a* (as in one) Barbie and *a* (as in one) Ken. And, we had to share. (After walking to school uphill both ways. Just kidding. We had to ride a school bus from dawn ’til dusk.) 😉

  8. Yes, we too have started the American Girl adventure at our house. And like you, the grandparents started the torture… I mean fun. We started with Nikki (the Colorado Girl of the Year from a couple of years ago), added a Bitty Baby, and now have Kit as well.

    The accessories soooo fun, but I will only buy clearance online (I know, boo-hoo, what a cheap mom!). Now that we have a store nearby I have to decide whether or not I will actually tell my daughter that little fact!

    Honestly, as much as I loath doll clothes that cost more than I would pay for my own, I love the traditional dolls that teach wonderful moral values, history, and a respect for diversity (among other great things). I feel like a love for American Girls helps to keep my sweet daughter a “little” girl for a little longer.

  9. Jenna, that’s true! My husband and I were joking that I spent the same at American Girl as I would have spent at Victoria’s Secret…and the amount of material used was about the same. 😉

  10. I am sooooo glad this turned out so well! I had NO IDEA what American Girl was until I went to Chicago and everyone kept telling me I HAD to go.

    So cool Denver now has the sme cool opportunity!

  11. American Girl is opening a new store in Overland Park, Kansas this weekend and I plan on being in line with my 7 year old. She is over joyed!!! Can anyone tell me what the free gift was in Denver for those first 100 girls?

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