Let's continue on with the story of the big day. Remember the crowded Build-a-Bear store? Remember Kelly and her "choice" dilemma? Remember Phoenix's admirable job at handling the crowds and serving each customer? How about Jill and Silver's thrilling birthday shopping spree? Let's re-join the crowd at the BY (as in Baby Yoda) clothes bins, where the twins are picking out little robes with fluffy collars for their new cuties. "This is the best birthday ever!" Jill was grinning from ear to ear.
While the twins inspected each robe, Phoenix helped Zale pack up her beautiful water-colored bear (that just happened to match her backpack and shirt). "Would you like a box for him?" "No, thanks. He fits in here so well that I'll just take him on my walk this way. I wonder if he likes the beach . . ."
Next to check out was Harold. Being the most active member of the Islandshire Merry Man Club, he'd found the perfect large plush of Little John the Bear from Disney's animated Robin Hood. "This is exactly what I need. He'll look great sitting in the Merry Man clubhouse. Wait 'til the other chaps see him." Such a lot of happy customers. Phoenix was feeling pretty happy, too. A little tired, but happy!
By now, Jill and Silver had selected robes and dressed their Baby Yodas. "Stand still, girls, and hold your Babies. Smile. Let's have a birthday picture."
"Time to get them ready for their trip home. Oh, and don't forget their special birth certificates and collectible photo inserts." "Oh, boy! Thanks! Those are neat. That'll look cool on our bedroom wall . . . or maybe as a decoration on our pin board." The twins closed the boxes and paid with their birthday present: a Build-a-Bear gift card. "Thanks for a great birthday, Phoenix!" They chatted and giggled the whole way home . . .
Customers continued to file in and out, the little bell on the back of the door nearly always jingling its song. Phoenix went to see if she could help anyone, but it looked like they were all doing very well . . . except for poor Kelly, that is! Oh, my. She was still having trouble making that final decision. Wendy and Johanna had arrived and thought they might be able to help their friend make up her mind.
"What about a bear? Or a seal? Ooh, that penguin is super cute! Then, there's always Baby Yoda, you know. He's so cute that you just have to love him -- and he's the newest thing." Johanna made her suggestions in her best selling voice. Wendy looked at everything pointed out, and while Kelly still couldn't decide, Wendy knew that she needed to go home with her own Baby Yoda. She selected a cute face from the top of the pile and headed right over to the stuffing machine.
In the meantime, Masami and Sun-Ho were digging through the bins of plush. It didn't take too long to find what they were looking for. Masami spotted the perfect unicorn-colored llama that just happened to match her outfit (a very color-coordinated gal). Sun-Ho's choice was more in the line of his favorite theme: UP! Since Build-your-Own-Kevin plushes weren't available, he opted for . . . yep, you got it . . . "Oh, Masami! Look at that . . . SQUIRREL!"
"If you guys will just step right over here, we can get your new friends in their boxes for the trip home," said Phoenix, holding out a cute little cardboard house. Masami's llama looked almost excited to be getting into it! Kelly just stared, wondering if she should have chosen one of those . . .
The shop was really filling up now, and customers were crowding in. Benny and Raito came in together, with Nanea and Janie close behind, leading everyone's favorite Islandshire Grand Champion chicken on her leash. Raito had quite a shopping list, with plans for taking presents home to friends. He and Benny got right down to business and started looking at the Baby Yoda choices.
It did not take long for Raito to start filling his arms with Baby Yodas. "Let's see . . . I need to take one home for my sister. She'd never forgive me if I came home without one for her! And I definitely need one for Angela . . . and I can't forget Wanda . . ." Benny started filling his arms with the matching outfits and suggested buying one of the pre-stuffed display models to save time in the stuffing line. "Great idea, Benny!"
While the boys were picking out their Baby Yodas, Nanea and Janie took Flossie over to see the stuffing machine. The bouncing motion of the stuffing seemed to mesmerize Flossie, who just stared with deep concentration.
"Excuse us, girls." Benny and Raito came up to the stuffing machine with their arms full of Raito's purchases. "We've got a lot of stuffing to do!" Janie's eyes got as big as saucers, and Nanea wondered silently how Raito was going to fit all of that into his suitcase with the other souvenirs he was already taking home.
Phoenix came over and fit one of the unstuffed Baby Yodas onto the end of the stuffing machine. "You can turn the crank, Raito. That gets the stuffing spinning right into your plush." Raito couldn't get started fast enough. "Oh, boy! This is cool!"
Obviously, the boys were going to be at this for quite a while, so Nanea and Janie decided to show Flossie all the plush choices. "Let's start with Baby Yoda, since that's who everyone is excited about," said Janie as she sat down to put a Baby Yoda in front of Flossie. "What do you think?"
Flossie waddled over to stand near Baby Yoda and gave him one of her very serious looks. She let out one small "cluck", which clearly meant that she did not want to take one of these home. "Don't worry, Flossie! There are all kinds of other stuffed animals to look at. Let's go over to the shelf." Janie dearly loves Flossie.
As Nanea and Janie made their way across the shop, they noticed Mabel and Joan on the hunt for something cuddly. Bunty's cousin, Sioned, was chatting with Kelly and showing off the cute little Irish bear that she planned to take home. Kelly thought he looked pretty cute, but she still couldn't decide on what she should take home.
"Here's the perfect little kitty cat," squealed Mabel, holding up a calico kitty with a lot of personality and very soft fur. "Oh, yes! This is just what we're looking for." The twins marched off very happily with their new little friend packed safely inside its cute "house box".
Janie and Nanea stood in front of the wall of plush and let Flossie survey the shelves. Janie wondered how a chicken was going to make up her mind. Nanea was pretty sure she knew what Flossie was going to pick, but she didn't want to say anything before Flossie made her own decision. Can you guess which one Flossie will pick?
Well, if you guessed the little pink and red chicken, then you're right! Flossie hopped right up to the shelf to nudge the cute little plush. "That's what you'd like, Flossie? Alright, we'll go get a box for her." Janie couldn't decide if Flossie thought it was a long-lost cousin or just something to look at. It didn't cluck back . . .
"This is a first! A chicken plush for a Grand Champion chicken," said Phoenix when she brought the box. "I think we should have a picture of you guys with Flossie. Say 'cheese'!" Even Flossie looked like she was smiling.
By this time, Raito and Benny had everything stuffed and boxed. The Baby Yodas were so cute that Benny had decided to take one home for himself. (Move over little Olu and Minnie Mouse, because a newcomer would be joining the plush collection in the Island House!) It wasn't hard to find a Baby Yoda that had just the expression he liked, but it was really neat to find a plush shark lurking at the bottom. "Hey, man! Look at this. They've got a plush shark. I definitely have to take this one home." Benny grinned while Raito admired the shark. "What's your fascination with sharks, Benny?" Nanea heard the question from across the store and came running over to say, "There isn't time to hear the story now . . . maybe later over a campfire."
The happy group left with all their boxes of plush, Flossie waddling out in her own champion-chicken fashion. The shop was emptying out by now, but there were still a couple of shoppers -- including poor Kelly, who just couldn't make up her mind. Bunty and Eliot came in, pushing their Godchild, Truannie, in her pram. The sight of such a cute little baby took Kelly's mind off the plush for a few minutes. "Hello, cutie pie! Are you here to find a new toy?" Truannie looked up with her round blue eyes. "Googy."
"Oh, look! Here's the perfect pet for you, Truannie." Bunty put a cuddly white cat into the pram. Truannie immediately sucked on its ear. "Googy." "That's what she says when she likes something." Eliot was a little more realistic in his interpretation. "That's what she says for everything. It's the only thing she says."
While Eliot pushed Truannie's pram around the store, Bunty did a little shopping of her own. First, she found an adorable black-faced sheep that would look just fabulous on her bed. Then, she found an amazingly fluffy lamb that fairly jumped into her arms. "Brighton really needs this lamb! I just have to get it to send to her. What do you think, Eliot?" But Eliot hadn't heard her; he was in deep conversation with Truannie.
Sioned, standing near the shelf of plush, had already found a little Irish bear for herself. "Bunty, you just have to see this very cute bear here. Doesn't he make you think of something?" she asked, as she held out the light pink bear.
"Oh, yes! Our Joint Venture!" said Bunty. "He'd make a perfect mascot, wouldn't he? Shall we buy him?" It was a purely rhetorical question, since the girls had already moved to the checkout counter and were sliding the little bear into a box. (More about the secretive Joint Venture is forthcoming in a future issue of the Gazette.)
"Thank you so much, Phoenix! This has been a great shopping experience. We'll have to bring Truannie in again for another plush, but she needs to get home now." Sioned left with the trio, leaving only Kelly in the shop with Phoenix. "It's almost closing time, and I still haven't made up my mind. There are just so many cute animals . . . and I like them all."
While it crossed Phoenix's mind that there weren't as many cute animals left to choose from as there had been when Kelly was one of the first to arrive this morning, she didn't think that mentioning it would help the situation. Instead (being a very caring salesman), she took Kelly over to the shelf and pointed out a very colorful cuddly bear. "You know, I think you should really consider this bear. He's got French Fries on his little patch, and that's almost your favorite snack. He might be just the one for you."
"He's perfect! Why didn't I notice him before? Wait 'til I show Lori what I picked out!" Phoenix boxed up the bear, and Kelly walked happily out of the door, humming all the way.
Whew! What an exciting day! Phoenix locked the door, placed the "Closed for the Day" sign in the window, and fell into a chair. Everything had gone off quite well, and even the stock of Baby Yoda had lasted through the all-day rush. It's a good thing she had the weekend off, though, because it was going to take a lot of time to restock the shop. "Ah, well, never do today what you can put off until tomorrow. I think that's the way the saying goes . . ." Right now, it was time to head over to Connie's house (taking along her own cute Baby Yoda, of course) to relax and watch a movie . . . a quiet movie . . . with a small cast and little noise . . . maybe a silent . . .
It's open! Let's go NOW! It's time! The big day on Islandshire had finally arrived, and the place was buzzing with excitement. Baby Yoda's at Phoenix's Build-a-Bear! There was almost as much excitement about this as there has been before the pre-Grand Opening sale of Kelly's Disney Pin Trading store.
Phoenix was at the shop before sunrise. Even the birds weren't awake (so the early worm was still safe). There was lots to do before the door could be unlocked, and Phoenix is a very "prepared" little gal. Loads of her friends had already told her they were going to be there "before the crowds arrive". With that many people coming early, they would bring "the crowds" with them, and she didn't want to disappoint even one person. "I hope I ordered enough Baby Yodas . . ." The other stuffed animals seemed to be staring at the pile in the center of the store with what appeared to Phoenix to be a bit of the old "green-eyed monster". (In Baby Yoda's case, you might call it the old "green-eared monster"). Phoenix shook her head to clear the daydreams away and got to work.
It didn't take long for Phoenix to ready for the customers. The stuffing machine was loaded and ready to spin. There was a large stack of take-home boxes waiting for the customers. The check-out counter was crowded with plush, birth certificates and special photo inserts to accompany The Child on his homeward journey. The sun had barely crested the trees, when she noticed the first two customers already standing in line outside while others hurried in from every direction. Take a deep breath. Oops, straighten up that pile. Shove that extra bin of stuffing under the counter. Okay . . . it looks like everything is ready. Boy, everything looks really cute! I hope they like it!
Phoenix unlocked the door, and the crowd rushed in (in an orderly fashion, of course, because everyone on Islandshire is very polite). The little bell jingled on the back of the door as they pushed it open, but no one heard it over the excited squeals and gasps at the sight of Baby Yoda.
Jill and Silver were the first ones inside. It was their birthday weekend, and they had come to build Babies for their special day! Of the whole Island crowd, they are definitely the craziest about Baby. They even came wearing t-shirts appropriate for the release. (That's Jill on the left, Silver on the right.)
"I found the one I'd like. How 'bout you?" "Ditto! Ready to stuff them?" By the time they got to Phoenix, the shop was pretty full of customers, and a line had already formed at the stuffing machine. "It's a good thing we got up early and stood in line before the store opened." (Jill's hearing aid helps a lot in normal settings, but the din of loud crowds unsettles her a bit. Too many people talking at the same time just sounds like a lot of noise to her. She doesn't mean to appear rude or snobbish, but she can't always tell that people are talking to her. Then it looks like she's ignoring them. Anyway, Jill and Silver try to avoid large crowds, and this showed all the signs of being a VERY LARGE crowd!)
Meanwhile, the place had filled! Leo had no trouble spotting a precious little pink pig with a pretty pink bow on her neck (pink bows are Leo's favorite things). Some of the others, though . . . well . . . decisiveness isn't everyone's virtue . . .
Poor Kelly! She loves plush, collectibles and licensed things . . . but she has a little trouble deciding what to buy. With all the choices staring her in the face, it was almost too much for her! "What should I pick? I like them all! The Child is so cute, and I love that bear . . . and I really like that pelican. Oh, my . . . What's a girlie to do?!"
Lori sensed Kelly's dilemma and came to the rescue. "Come on, let's look around together. There are lots of great choices, but something will jump right out at you." Lori is everyone's idea of the best Personal Shopper, and Phoenix was glad to see her here so early.
By this time, the shop was packed, and everyone was hard at work trying to choose their own special creation. Mariamne (pronounced Maryanne), ever the people person, contentedly looked around and made up a poem for the occasion: People came from everywhere to be at Phoenix's Build-a-Bear. Some have a favorite color in mind, Others a favorite animal kind. Some know what's going in their box, Still others seem to stare in shock. Kashook . . . stuffer works like ne'er before, and still more crowds come through the door. When day is done, and Phoenix locks up, will Baby Yoda take the Winner's Cup?
Phoenix had pre-stuffed some of the animals, just in case someone didn't want to stuff their own or wait in the stuffing line. She had bins of unstuffed animals to dig through. There were tables, shelves and bins everywhere! Eloy was hunting for something . . . he just didn't know quite what.
Even Minnie was here . . . and she doesn't usually brave crowds or large events. But who can resist Build-a-Bear and Baby Yoda?!
As some of the others moved towards the line at the stuffing machine, Mariamne and George brought Kelly over to the display to suggest some fun choices for her collection of plush. "This French-fries bear is so cute, Kelly! And that's your favorite snack, so he might be just perfect for you." "Or what about that really cool frog?!" (George is all boy.) "I just don't know . . ." Kelly was still overwhelmed with all the choices.
Eloy and Leo were the first to finish stuffing their plush and selecting accessories. The little pink pig and Eloy's black bear were tucked safely in their fun take-home boxes, and Phoenix made sure that each one went home with their birth certificate.
Jill and Silver, having never been in the store before, needed some help stuffing their Baby Yodas. "Baby even looks cute while he's being stuffed! Oh, I'll never forget today, as long as I live!"
"Come on, Silver! You can turn the handle to keep the stuffing all fluffed." Phoenix had done a good explaining everything, and Jill and Silver were quick learners. "This is the best birthday ever! This is the way!"
While the twins were busy stuffing their Babies, George found just what he was looking for . . . a brown bear with the British flag on his chest. "Wow! This is like something Prince George might have. Cool." Kelly peeked over George's shoulder to see what he'd picked out. "That's a nice one. Maybe that's the kind of bear I need." She sighed. "It's such a hard decision. I just don't know what to pick!" "There'll be something that stands out a little more than the rest in your mind. That's the one you should pick, not what someone else likes!" George is very decisive and never has trouble making up his mind.
Kelly sighed. "I don't know, George. It's not that easy. They all look so cute . . ." She turned around to see who else was in the store. Nachito and his sister, Nautilus, weren't paying any attention to Baby Yoda. They were excitedly digging through all the plush bins and seemed to know what they didn't want. They also didn't seem to mind that it was taking a good bit of digging to find what they did want. Hmm . . . Kelly didn't think that method was for her. Everything looked so cute. How does one decide?
"Here it is!" "Here it is!" They stood up and shouted at the exact same moment. After the laughing died down, they realized they were in a real pickle here. Each had found a really cute little fish . . . but which should they buy? The orange one? The cute little spotted one?
Nachito and Nautilus were going back and forth, back and forth. He liked the plain orange one, because "it looks like a boy". She liked the spotted one with pink fins, because "it looks like a girl". Phoenix came over to see if she could help out, since it was obvious that there was only one solution to the problem . . .
"Why don't you just buy them both?" Phoenix held up two birth certificates and handed one to each of them. "Well, fish do get lonely." "Yeah, you're right! They're better in pairs." Those fish were boxed up and paid for in no time flat. Good job, Phoenix! That's good salesmanship. And those are two happy customers.
The next customer was Connie (who is pretty shy in big crowds). She timidly looked at the wall of plush, having a picture of something cuddly in mind. Connie likes to sit at home on her little pink sofa and watch movies, so her stuffed animal needed to be something soft and lovable.
Phoenix walked over to the counter and picked up a one-of-a-kind bear. "Look here, Connie! I think Pooky is exactly who you need. Can't you just see him sitting on your sofa?" Connie was smiling her sweetest smile and held out her arms in excitement. "Oh, Phoenix -- he's perfect! He's the bear I've always hoped for. Come here, little Pooky, I'll take you home now." "Don't you even want a box?" "No, thank you. Pooky doesn't like to be in dark boxes. I'll just carry him home." Connie walked proudly out the door and down the street, ready to show Pooky to her friends as she made her way home.
By now, the crowd was bigger than ever, the shop nearly bursting at the seams! Phoenix knows how to handle it, though. "Time to get everyone checked out who's made their decision and let the others look around on their own." Lori had her arms filled with boxes: a Baby Yoda (because "He'll be a cool collectible to have one day.") and a black and white cat which she'd already named "Ollie". "Would you like me to help you with your packages," asked Harold. Always ready to be the man of the situation, he didn't like to see a girl so weighed down with big boxes. "No, thanks. Nice of you to offer, but I'll be fine. I've got a couple more shops to visit before going home. Bye, Harold, and thanks again!" "But how will you see to find your way home?" Lori just kept on moving . . .
To be continued.
The fun's not over yet, but this issue of the Gazette has about all the photos it can handle. Check back for Part 2 very soon for more fun photos of Baby Yoda, Flossie the Chicken and others!
Things are buzzing on Islandshire right now. Not only are a few new arrivals expected to the crowd in the coming week or two, but Phoenix's Build-a-Bear shop is getting ready for an exciting new release!
It all started early in the morning. Zale was out taking a brisk walk before any of the local shops were open (she has to keep in shape for all her swimming and diving) when she noticed a new display in the Build-a-Bear window.
Baby Yoda?! Baby Yoda!! On Islandshire! And it must be coming pretty soon for the window display to be up already! Zale looked around to find someone else -- she just had to share the news. Not a soul in sight. "Oh, well, Nachito and Nautilus will be up by now. I'll just go tell them." Zale took off back the way she came.
Not two minutes later, Nanea and Janie came strolling down from the other end of the street. Flossie's morning walk, you know. While walks on the beach are Flossie's favorite, she does love a good stroll past all the shops. Sometimes their friends come out with a treat for the island's only Grand Champion Chicken. This morning, however, treats were forgotten, as the new window display was enough to bring both girls to a sudden stop. "Janie! Look! Look, Janie! It's BABY YODA!!" shouted Nanea. "We'd better get home and tell Raito and Benny about this right away. They're going to want to camp out to be first in line." Janie looked at the picture of the adorable little Child plush. "He has two-bow ears, like me!" "Well, sort of, Janie. Hmm. But he's a boy, so I don't think he wears fashion accessories." Janie took a bite out of her Minnie Mouse ice cream cone. Imagine not wearing fashion accessories.
Flossie took a close look at the window display. Or was it her own reflection? Nanea and Janie couldn't decide if she liked Baby Yoda or not. "Oh well, we'll bring her to release day. She can pick out her own Build-a-Bear then." Nanea patted Flossie on the head. Flossie clucked.
"Hurry up, Nanea!" Janie hollered between bites. Well, as much as you can "holler" when your tongue is frozen. "Let's go tell the boys!" Off the trio went down the street. Flossie's slow waddle normally wasn't a problem, but the girls scooped her up and ran towards home.
A little while later, another trio came strolling by. This time it was Eliot and Bunty taking their God-daughter, Truannie, for a walk in her stroller. They looked in each shop window as they passed, but nothing had caught their eye yet. While not much of a shopper, there's nothing Eliot likes better than finding little presents for Truannie. "Look at this, Eliot!" exclaimed Bunty, pointing to the new display. "Maybe Truannie wants her own Baby Yoda!" Truannie just hugged her little lamb toy and sucked on its ear.
"I don't know . . ." Eliot surveyed the size of the Baby Yoda display and wondered if it would even fit in the stroller with Truannie. "Well, why don't we plan to bring her on release day? She's bound to find something she likes." "Good idea. Do you like the sound of that, Truannie?" "Googy."
Bunty turned the stroller towards home, anxious to get there soon enough to let all of her friends know to clear their calendar.
With everyone gone to tell the others, Main Street was strangely empty. The Build-a-Bear window display shone out like a little beacon of excitement, announcing the big day that was about to bring Baby Yoda to the island! No pre-order on Islandshire, just lots of fun with friends. Check back soon for lots of photos and fun . . .
The two previous posts talk about all of the new June 2020 releases, but we hadn't been to the store since January . . . which means that there were new things from the February/March and May releases. There were also some updates to some other dolls.
Updates to Previously Released Dolls
We'll talk about doll status as far as eyes and hair goes first -- TM #79 and Luciana were still being sold with the bad eyes and fabric. No good options in the store. TM #65 had the new good eyes and fabric, but her eyes seem to have changed color just slightly. They are a more vibrant deep blue that almost looked more like Saige. There has been a bit of a rumor going around that the Sonali-mold Boy Doll TM #76 had changed eye color, but they were the same Amber/Light Brown eyes. All of the boy dolls had good eyes and fabric. They had updated the boy dolls in the main TM cabinets to show all the current eyes and hair. But other display models still showed the bad eyes and old hair style.
That brings us to the idea of updated wigs. There was definitely an update in quality control on TM #74. Usually, he always has a wide variety of odd wig cut and some trouble with the eye placements. All of the #74s there with updated good eyes also had much nicer, even wigs. There wasn't a huge difference between any of them. It was TM #75 who definitely got a new bit of a look with the eye/fabric change. Not only were those all good now, but his wig has definitely been updated. Where that doll used to have a straighter cut in the front (meaning you couldn't really give him a side-swept look from his part across his forehead), every one of them now has a more evenly cut wig that sweeps to the side a bit. Here he is:
This change in wig cut definitely improved the overall look of this doll and each one of them was very consistent. There wasn't a huge difference from doll to doll, and all very pleasing. They look like real boys staring at you! The new eyes definitely improve the boys!
Colored Hair Truly Me Dolls
This was the first time we've been at the store since the release of the three Truly Me dolls with colored hair -- TM #86, 87 and 88. TM #86: The store had a lot of display models of #86 and a number of them available for purchase. She appeared to look different in every display, and it has to be the lighting. It's purple hair with light brown two-tone in it. She has Tenney's light brown eyes.
TM #88 (Unicorn Hair) was displayed everywhere, but there were none to purchase. The two colors are very pleasing in her hair, but they didn't look particularly great when braided. You couldn't see the colors mixed well and it looked like a bad dye job. Several people were there to buy her and were disappointed that she wasn't available. I would imagine she'll be a hot seller for a while!
There was no evidence that TM #87 even exists. She was not in the display case and no boxes for purchase. It looks like they are keeping a space for her in the case (filled with the Friends book).
Pet Shop & Pet Stuff
All the new pet stuff was on display. The orange cat was adorable. Some of the pieces in the Pet Shop were really cute, but it seemed pricey. The blue cat tree house looked nicer than the pink one.
Farmer's Market Stand & City Market Goodies Set
This was our first time of seeing the Farmer's Market stall and Market Goodies set in person. They were really nice and looked great. The Market stand had a nice selection of items, and the stand itself was pressed wood board with metal frame. If we didn't have so many stands, we would have needed this one! But then, we found that it's on sale today online for $80.00 . . . so, I think this is coming to Islandshire.
The Market Goodies set was as nice in person as expected from the photos. My sister had to grab it right away. The food pieces are great. The pies are a variation of Melody's Block Party, and the bread is the same mold as Rebecca's. This is a fun set! The bag is sturdy fabric and looks just like something Bunty could use to carry knitting and wool to different places.
Melody's Easter Outfit & Accessories
Poor Melody. The dress may have been fine, but we didn't see it without the whole accessories. The shoes were cute, but the hat was so small that it had to squish onto her head. Poor girl. Here's a picture of her:
Here are a variety of photos. This is the only display of this piece at the Columbus store, and they should have done without it. They didn't have any of the accessories with it, just one used Joss stuck in there and a pair of used doll sneakers. The wipers had scuffed and scraped the whole windshield up, and the whole thing was a mess. In fact, Joss' whole area looked terrible, and I can't imagine they'll sell any of these campers. They should just display a photo for better results. Silly enough, they had a gorgeous display right next to this of Blaire's Restuarant (in a closed display case) which looked very appealing. But is now discontinued and totally unavailable. So, I think Joss' big item is not going to go far in Columbus.
Maryellen's Seaside Diner Bakery Case
From the photos, this had looked a bit pricey. When you see it in real life, though, it's fabulous! We had to come home with this one (justified as a birthday present, since we just had a birthday a couple of days ago). The counter and cabinet are adorable! The food is fun, the dime donation can is precious . . .
One interesting thing was that the picture on the box is not the same as what you actually get in the pie department. The box shows pies with a removable slice that fits down in the pie to make it whole. But what you actually get are two slices of pie that are recreations of Addy's pie slice with whipped cream or ice cream stuck on the sides. So, you can't make a whole pie. Just a heads up!
This was a great set and definitely has a lot of possibilities for set-ups and homemade accessories. ------------------------------------
Well, I think that's everything! If anyone has questions, just send a message or leave a comment.
Continuing with photos and comments about the new release at the Columbus AGP. For photos of the new dolls and meet outfits and accessories, see the previous entry.
Not all of the new items were in the store (no Kitchen, Table and Chairs, Spaghetti Dinner Set or Percussion Set). No one would give a straight answer . . . but it sounded like they just hadn't unpacked them yet and didn't have plans to do it too soon. So, to get to the photos of the new things -- Excuse the pink/orange tint on all photos. It's so hard to get good color in the store!
Team USA Outfits
These were displayed in two different areas and very well stocked. All of these outfits actually looked a lot nicer in person than in photos. The quality was very nice, and if you're into sports you'll probably be thrilled with them. The little shorts had a tendency to be a little short in the wait at the back, so sitting the doll down will probably pull them down a bit . . . but everything looked really cute. Interestingly, none of the Columbus shoppers seemed to give them a second look. Here are some various photos of the outfits on the display dolls. (For all it's worth, the Unicorn Hair of #88 did NOT match this set well at all.)
Chinese Take-Out Set
This is one of the cutest food sets from AG . . . ever!! We didn't get a picture of it in the display, because we had to ask where it was, which was in the farthest corner you could find. When we found it, we got so excited about it that neither one of us remembered to take a photo of the display! That's okay, because Sun-Ho is more than happy to model.
This is a great value for the price, and very original in pieces and design. Two pieces of the food can fit into each take-out box. The chop sticks are the traditional bamboo color, rather than the fancy black from the Sushi set. The take-out bag is made of tyvek-type material and folds down to velcro closed. It feels very nice and sturdy! The fortune cookies are a grouping of three that split in half for the fortune to come out from the center cookie. The little cookie bag is the only fragile-feeling thing in there. It's a sticky resealable bag that feels like it will only open and close a few times before splitting. We'll probably leave it closed. Everything here is SO cute! If you have the chance, definitely add this to your list.
Explore the Parks Outfit and Accessories
This outfit and accessory set was very nice quality. Nice fabric, and the fit on the doll was very good. The backpack and pieces were nice and thick, very sturdy. The pants look in the style of Isabelle's meet pants (similar), but they are a soft knit and almost felt lined. The sandals were cute with a plastic shaped sole. The boots weren't modeled on this doll, but they were on another doll with a different outfit. They were nice quality and very like the old AGOT black boots (though the laces were pretty thin and would be better replaced with something a bit sturdier for hiking). Very nice.
Explore More Travel Outfit and Luggage Set
They had plenty of the luggage set and airlines set, but no display of the latter. There was a TM #85 modeling the luggage and outfit, but they didn't have the outfit for sale at the Columbus store. The luggage is nice . . . typical of the usual luggage sets, just with updated designs and colors. The outfit was thin fabric but actually quite cute. The skirt is actually culotte shorts in a rayon fabric and looked cute! If you have this outfit, then you need #85 . . . she looked great in it! :) The bag is a pink-tinted clear jelly bag. This whole set reminded me of stuff we wore in the 1990s.
AG Fashion Show Mix-and-Match
Here are a couple of photos. There weren't as many displays of these pieces as usual. Nothing really seemed outstanding to us. The quality is so-so, mostly because of the cut/fit. It seemed like some pieces were too bulky and some too tight. The Kawaii high-tops would be cute without the pom-pom! The glitter shoes are Isabelle's meet shoes in a new color, but they are a rough glitter texture. Very cute.
Student Council Election Outfit & Set
The overall quality of fabric and materials on these didn't look that bad . . . but that's about all you can say for them. I'm sure someone will like it, but I would have to personally vote this one zero stars. It totally looks like a fashion mess. The shoes were cute, but they look 1990s.
The table was nicer quality than the stock photos showed. The legs are metal and the top appeared to be plastic (this was only behind glass in one display). The size was very nice to the dolls. The voting box and mega phone look to be high-quality plastic. The clipboard was cute, and I wish you could get it without the whole set! All in all, they are not bad pieces, but they seem like a high price for what you get.
Make Some Music Outfit
Sorry to say, my sister and I couldn't find one redeeming thing about this outfit. It looks very cheap. There were two dolls wearing this, and one was in an open display. The pants are a shiny stretch in faded gold-tone that looks like it's peeled onto the doll and will be easily picked by velcro or any little thing that touches it. The shoes are red glitter jellies that look okay on the stand but don't grip the foot super well. Once they've stretched a bit, they'll be hard to keep on. The shirt is more of a design for Courtney than a Truly Me doll. It's very tight on the modern dolls, so I don't think this would fit older ones.
They did not have the Percussion Kit on display yesterday.
Double the Fun Sleepover Set & Let's Sleep Over PJs
This was only on display behind glass, so we couldn't feel it or anything. The socks looked really cute on the doll! The cookies and milk were all remade versions of previous nice food pieces. It looked good. The shorts looked a bit small, but the shirt looked like it fit very well. The set definitely looked cute in the display.
Extra Add-On Pieces
The Born to Sparkle watch was there, but we forgot to take a photo. This really looks exactly like the previous watches you could get for $10.00 -- just a new design.
The Swim goggles look adorable. My sister bought them, but we haven't taken them out of the package. Very pleasing colors and would look good with TM #88!
Rose Gold glasses for dolls . . . they were very cheap, thin plastic. These aren't the quality of the other AG glasses, which you can kind of see in this photo.
Art Class Set
This outfit and set were in one display under glass. We were surprised to see the size of the Art Class set items, which was much better looking than the stock photos show. I think the easel is a re-done version of Saige's art easel. It looked nice. All plastic, but cute with the doll. Apparently, you can use heat or water to "paint" the art items. The palette and brushes were cute. The pottery wheel and vase were a nice size and looked fun. The pieces in this set definitely looks like plastic, though.
Be Creative Outfit
We couldn't feel this outfit, but it didn't really impress either my sister or me. The color was fun, but the fabric looked rather like thin rayon. It had a really "dumpy" look on the doll and made her look like she was outgrowing her clothes. The boots are a pink glittery version of Luciana's meet boots. Very cool!
Joss' Beach Jumper & Beach Grill Set
I'm thinking this is the last of the new 18" doll items that were on display at the Columbus store yesterday.
Joss' jumper looks like a cross between something modern and something from the 1990s. The bottom of the jumper is sewn about 1/8" from the bottom and then the bit of fabric left to ravel into fringe. That looked a bit odd. The shoes were cute sneakers.
The grill was very cute and looks like the old camping grill on a stand. Some fun food, too. The box said they get grill marks to show on the food when you rub them or something like that. It was only behind glass, so we didn't try that! For the $55.00 price tag, you'd really need to want this item. It's definitely all plastic looking. That said, it was really cute, and I bet it's going to be a good seller.
Okay, I think that's everything that was on display from the recent release. They did not have the Kitchen, Spaghetti Dinner, Percussion Kit or Table and Chairs (bummer, because I probably would have come home with that).
There is another post coming about updates to older items, the state of doll eyes and some pictures of items that came out in the February and May releases! Coming soon . . .
The big Summer release was last Thursday, and this was quite a haul! We decided to wait over the weekend before heading down to the AG Store in Easton -- hoping they would have all of the new items on display by this week. We went down yesterday (Tuesday) and got in around noon. We kind of expected low crowds, but it was actually the most crowded we've ever seen the store (excepting GOTY release days). Lots of people actually shopping and buying, too. Lots of girls there getting dolls -- Maryellen and #16 were the favorites.
So, on to the release items! This was a much happier release from a quality point of view, and we had a great time looking and shopping. It was the first time we'd been in the store since Joss' release. All Truly Me dolls got new meet outfits this time, and the cases had been updated with some redressed dolls (old eyes) and some brand new display dolls.
There were three new dolls with this release . . .
This is a Josefina mold with the new light vinyl tone (like Blaire), dark hazel eyes and a long curly blond wig. There were no displays of this doll, aside from the one in the big case. There were four on the shelf in stock. She had face paint quite similar to Blaire. Her wig is the same type as #26, though in the regular blond color. The one on display looked like the wig was a bit too big for her, but the amount of hair looked rather thin for the wig. It was behind glass, so we didn't get to see her too well.
This one was a Jess mold with the same very light vinyl tone and brown eyes. She has pale lip paint like TM #78 and #81. Her hair is very long like #86. She was only in one behind-glass display, aside from the large case, so we couldn't see her to inspect the wig. It looked very nice and didn't look like it would be too thin. It looked like the exact same color of TM #64 (who was standing beside her). The doll herself gives you the same impression as Z. She's cute! There were about eight of her on the shelf to pick from.
This one is the Addy mold with the darkest vinyl tone (like TM #80) and brown eyes. She has long (the old-fashioned "long" -- not the new super long) curly black hair. There were several of her on display in the open, and Mom came home with one of these for customizing, so we got a real feel for this doll.
Click on the images above to enlarge.
Her skin tone is very nice, on the reddish side compared the regular dark tone (but not as reddish as Beforever Addy). Her hair is listed as "black-brown" on the AG site, but this is the same exact color as the "black" CYO choices. It has some little bits of dark brown to make it two-tone -- matching TM #75, Kaya, etc. It feels just like and styles similarly to TM #67 -- here are some photos of the two standing side by side. #67 has a very straight part, where #85 has a bit of a zig-zag, though it's more of a division for each curled section than a totally zig-zag design like GOTY Jess.
There were six TM #85s in boxes to choose from. We looked at all of them, and aside from the subtle differences in every doll, there were no major differences to note. They all looked quite similar, allowing for the round-head and thin-head varieties that all dolls have. Definitely good eyes and body fabric, but the zip ties are still really tight with a sharp end that looks like it's going to rip through the fabric. We're replacing the zip tie right away on Mom's, because I don't think the fabric will have long if her head is turned too much with the zip tie the way it is. Here she is in the box:
And here are some pictures of her with her new wig on and her own outfit! This is Marie-Simone!
New Sparkle and Shine Meet Outfit
The meet outfit is not my cup of tea, but it may appeal to little girls. The shiny jacket could be cute with some other pieces, but it's a very shiny material that feels like it would snag quickly. If you're wanting one of these outfits, as a collector, I'd definitely get a new one from someone selling it just off a doll or off a doll you purchase. It doesn't feel like it will have lasting power as a used and played item. The dress feels like it's made of the same type/quality of knit fabric as the last meet outfit. The shoes are the same as the previous, just painted pink now.
A really nice update to the meet outfit -- the panties! These are a BIG improvement to the last ones. They are a lighter pink (barely colored, really) and fit TONS better. Here are some photos of her, and you can see that they fit in the front and back. Very nice!
Click images above to enlarge.
The accessories to go with the Sparkle and Shine outfit are okay. They're sort of "more of the same", not meaning that in a bad way. The tulle skirt is pretty cheap stuff, but girls will probably like it. I think that most of the pieces are just recolored versions of some previous pieces. Here's a photo of the display doll wearing it:
New Boy's Meet Outfit
Okay . . . this is a HUGE improvement for American Girl and an exciting update and part of this release. The new Boy's meet outfit is so much nicer and cuter than the first one. This definitely looks more like something that a little boy would actually wear in real life, and the quality and fit is nice.
The shirt is a knit fabric that is pretty nice quality. This is thinner knit than a person would wear, but it's really nice on the doll. It looks like a real shirt. Velcro up the back as usual with two mini buttons at the collar on the front. They used the letters "AG" on the front breast area of the shirt (where a pocket would be) which is nice -- no big "American Girl" spelled out on the clothes for the boys. The blue color is very similar to Saige's blue eyes!
The pants are a stretchy thin fabric made to look like denim. They have the cutest cuffs on the bottom! They are cut to fit the dolls very well and not fabric-savers that are so skin tight to save a penny or two. They really fit like pants. Nice length, even with the cuff. And the waist is actually better than the last meet pants, too, because they go up to the waist and cover the behind of the doll. They could use a little more room back there to keep them from hiking way down when the doll sits, but these are definitely a big improvement from the old grey pants! Here are photos to show the different angles of the outfit.
Casual & Cool Boy's Meet Accessories
These are REALLY nice and proved a super value for our boys here. My sister bought the previous boy's accessories and knew she wanted these the minute we saw them, and they work really well together (for anyone else who has both).
Three of our boys split this set and couldn't be happier (with Mina hoping to get the watch)! Sun-Ho got the backpack, Harold got the vest, and Benny gets the shark water bottle.
The bottom of the new backpack is made of the same grey corduroy fabric as the matching vest. This backpack is a much thicker, better quality all around than the previous Boy's backpack. The plaid fabric is more a cotton feeling fabric than the previous nylon -- also much thicker. The two straps to go over the shoulder are full nylon band straps, very nice and sturdy. And if you do have the first accessories, this backpack matches the jacket perfectly. Here is Sun-Ho modeling his new backpack.
Click on images above to enlarge.
The vest is nice quality grey corduroy fabric, very soft. The collar is cute, but it could definitely use a little stitch on the front corners, if you want it to stay folded down. It's a great vest, but I think it didn't look good with the shirt from the Boy's meet outfit, because there were two collars. But . . . here is Harold modeling it with some other options. (By the way, size is really nice. Harold is on a mid-2000s body from a #4, so it's larger than the new dolls and very tall -- but the vest fits fabulously!) He has some AG pieces and some non-AG pieces on. In the first photo, those are the first meet pants and Logan's Performance shirt under the vest.
Click on images above to enlarge.
The water bottle is the nice and the same feel and quality of the other AG bottles in this pattern. Personally, I was THRILLED to get a shark water bottle for Benny!
That should be everything about the new Meets, Accessories and dolls! The next post will be about other items and store displays. Coming up soon . . .