An American Girl Dollcation In The Windy City


This summer we were gifted a new addition to the family.

She was made in China, but has an All-American heritage.

Her name is McKenna, and she is the American Girl Doll of the Year for 2012.

After years of rifling through the American Girl catalogs determined not to get sucked in by the hype and exorbitant price tags, we finally caved and let grandma give the gift that every eight year-old little girl in America dreams of.

In fact, we were so drawn in by her charm, beauty, mad gymnastics skills and over-the-top accessories, that we decided to take her on a vacation of her own, now dubbed as the Dollcation to the Windy City.

Chicago is home to an American Girl Place which is the mecca of all things American Girl.

On a stroll through Chicago’s Michigan Avenue shopping district, bright red bags with the American Girl logo are spotted being carried by everyone from tween tourists to business men adorned in pin stripes.

There were no less than a dozen American Girl dolls at the Shedd Aquarium.

They get prime seating at all the best restaurants.

We even spotted a doll life-guarding on the beach in front of Navy Pier.

A lady working the make-up counter at Bloomingdale’s offered me a much-needed free makeover, but no time for human-pampering, we were late for afternoon Tea with McKenna.

What is so special about these dolls that hypnotizes reasonably frugal individuals into spending money like they are a Rockefeller?

Take one step into the American Girl Place and you’ll know why.

The catalog comes to life as each doll is showcased with its complete set of accessories and matching clothes for the doll’s human counter-part.

The dolls can get their ears pierced, be pampered at the salon and have their hair done.

They even have a doll hospital for those plastic beauties that aren’t feeling well or whose eyes have rusted from being exposed to water.

Better invest in some Rustoleum Life-guard McKenna!

The 70’s inspired Julie-doll sucked me into the American Girl vortex immediately with her banana seat bike and a lunch set that included white bread and a Hostess cupcake for dessert.

The memories…the dollars…the divorce papers…

Luckily, I freed myself from the Julie vortex.

After walking the streets of Chicago in the humidity all day, our hair looked like we stuck our fingers in a light socket.

Yet, we gladly allowed McKenna to get the royal treatment at the salon.

The dolls are even the guest of honor at afternoon Tea with their own special chair, cheery mug and place setting.

McKenna ordered an Ameritini when she sat down.  Then, I got really confused and didn’t know if the doll was supposed to be a child or an adult.

However, one thing’s for sure, McKenna was not the only one who was exhausted at the end of the day.

Are we the equivalent of a Toddlers and Tiaras doll owner by taking a Dollcation?

Maybe so.

Maybe girls really can’t ever give up playing with dolls.

And just maybe, after opening up my empty wallet, McKenna looked a little bit like the Bride of Chucky…

Just a little bit.

© 2012 Terri Spilman

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16 thoughts on “An American Girl Dollcation In The Windy City

  1. This one has me laughing ! I can see my involvement as a Nonnie as soon Kate will be pulling us in to American girl. Of course she can’t escape as I played with dolls until I was at least 12 yrs old!! You are very clever!! Love your blog. Thanks

  2. We just got sucked in also. Ours is showing up next month. Yippee!! Now I will have more hair to fix in the morning. Oh, the joys of our precious daughters. Wouldn’t trade them for the world though, would ya?!

  3. Word of warning – one American Girl tends to multiply. Good news? The historical dolls may turn your daughter into a history nut. Kit has made mine an expert (for 11) on the Great Depression, Felicity and Elizabeth did the same for the Revolutionary War. Julie…we are not talking about her and that Barbie doll dream house of hers…I am not a part of history yet, right?? American Girl does a great job of making their customers feel like princesses, and does have great customer service. Make sure to use only a wire brush in the hair, or McKenna will permanently have that humidity frizz. Why else do you think there’s a doll hospital ? Love the blog, and the name. If we moms can’t laugh at the craziness of our daily world, we’ll go nuts! 🙂

  4. OMG!!! You’d think with three boys I’d be free from the American Girl saga, but for some reason, I get their catalog ALL.THE.TIME. Someone, somewhere, is punking me. Anyway, flipping through that thing for 10 seconds made me grateful to have all boys! What the what!! THat is madness right there! Funny, funny post. Maybe next time you can get a fun makeover too, mama! 🙂

  5. Love this! So funny.

    I saved up for a year and bought Molly when I was 10. (Back then there were only three American Girl characters, and I don’t think they were a popular household brand name…) I still have her in my cedar chest and am thinking about sending her to the American Girl healthcare center to get her all freshened up and re-accessorized. Hopefully your little girl makes some memories with her new bestie that keeps you from regretting your splurge! Ha. Enjoy.

    – Sarah

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