When my four-year-old told me she wanted to go to the American Girl Store and pick out a doll for her fifth birthday, I knew I wanted to make her experience the best ever. I was familiar with American Girl and actually wanted one of the original dolls when I was little. Visiting the store was on my childhood bucket list, but I never got the opportunity to go, which made this trip even more special.
The American Girl Store at Galleria Dallas made it so easy to create a memorable day. My goal was to give my daughter more than your typical “buying a new toy” experience. Doing a little bit of research and planning ahead made all the difference.
Here is my best advice for planning a visit to the American Girl Store at Galleria Dallas:
TIP #1: HEAD TO THE WEBSITE
I knew there was an American Girl store local to us, but I wasn’t exactly sure what it had to offer. So I went to the American Girl Store website and found out that our location has so much going on!
There are so many seasonal activities on the calendar. Some are free and some are pay-to-play. We’re looking forward to the Santa Brunch on December 12 from 9:30-10:30am ($38 per person). The price includes a delicious brunch and a visit and picture with Santa. Reservations are required.
AG Galleria Dallas has nine different birthday party packages ranging from 18 months to 6 years and up. All of the packages come with a meal, birthday cake and ice cream, and a special gift for the birthday kiddo. Reservations are required.
Currently, the AG Dallas Bistro serves lunch and dinner (brunch and afternoon tea are temporarily unavailable). Reservations are required.
The salon offers doll styling, pampering, doll ear piercing, a doll spa, and ear piercing for kids. Reservations are required.
An AG Store associate will be your personal shopper for 30 minutes, which includes a tour of the store on your first-time visit along with doll and accessory recommendations.
I decided to go with the personal shopping and a special mommy-daughter lunch at the bistro. Both require reservations in advance due to COVID precautions, and I was able to make my reservations online with ease. (Note: They allow you to make online reservations a few months in advance if necessary.) I decided we should do the personal shopping first, so my daughter could have lunch with her new doll after. A week before our visit, the store reached out via email to confirm our personal shopping appointment and dining reservation. They also asked what type of doll my daughter was interested in and if we were celebrating a special occasion.
TIP #2: SET SHOPPING EXPECTATIONS
American Girl dolls, while beautiful, can be expensive. The original collection, especially, can come with a hefty price tag. This is why I love that the American Girl brand has expanded from the original collection, not just with more diverse dolls, but also diverse price ranges. If you’re not quite ready to pony up $100 or more for a doll, I would highly recommend WellieWishers. This collection also comes in a range of diverse races. The dolls are slightly smaller and the price point is under $100, but the AG quality is still there.
Before our visit, we went to the website and my daughter selected the WelliWishers doll and accessories she wanted, so I knew ahead of time how much we planned to spend. The store is huge, and there are so many beautiful and amazing dolls and accessories—it was tempting during the personal shopping experience to buy everything. But setting my daughter’s expectations early helped to reign in any serious unplanned spending.
Our personal shopper greeted us on the day of our visit with a special birthday badge for my daughter to wear. She knew ahead of time that it was our first visit, so she gave us a tour of the store, and specifically the WellieWishers section, so my daughter could pick out her Kendall doll and accessories. *Please note that masks are required inside all areas of the store at this time.
TIP #3: RESERVATIONS ARE KEY
After our personal shopping experience, we headed upstairs to the second level to the AG Bistro for my daughter’s birthday lunch. Due to COVID, bistro seating is BY RESERVATION ONLY, and obviously, it fills up quickly. There are no exceptions to this rule. While we were waiting to be seated, we witnessed another mother-daughter duo try to get in for lunch (without reservations), and they were told they would have to make reservations for another day.
The AG Bistro is located next to the AG Hair Salon, so we could watch one of the AG hair stylists working on a doll while we waited. My daughter really got a kick out of it, and we plan to come back with her doll so she can get a new ‘do.
When our reservation time came, we were greeted by our hostess and led to a shelf lined with doll seats. We selected a seat and headed over to our table. There were only three other parties in the restaurant, and everyone was spread out, which I appreciated. There was a beautiful table setting not only for us, but for my daughter’s doll, too. The little touches really helped to make our lunch even more special.
We enjoyed a delicious two-course meal of appetizers and entrees. For dessert, the AG Bistro staff came out with a cupcake decorating station for my daughter and her doll. They added a candle to her cupcake, and made an announcement in the bistro that it was her birthday. Everyone was encouraged to sing “Happy Birthday” to my daughter, to her delight and surprise.
The menu has dishes for both children and adults. The portions are generous, so definitely come hungry. Depending on what time of year you visit the AG Bistro, you can guarantee it will be decorated beautifully to reflect the season. I highly recommend looking at the menu ahead of time, and if you have any special requests or food allergies/restrictions, make that known when you confirm your reservation.
TIP #4: STAY PRESENT
It’s so easy to get caught up in taking selfies during your visit. You want to capture your child’s excitement, and there are so many cute photo moments. But don’t forget to take time to be present and enjoy the experience as it happens.
We had a wonderful time on our first visit. I highly recommend this store to anyone whose child enjoys American Girl dolls and is looking for a unique birthday experience, or just a fun trip out!