Boarding your Disney Cruise Ship: Getting familiar day one

Traveling on a magical family vacation sometimes feels unimaginable. I know when we were deciding on our cruise line I thought how could the Disney Cruise line be that much better than other cruise lines? Well the answer is “it’s the magic”.

I was expecting wait times and dead time that I was going to entertain my kids prior to boarding like most cruise lines. We did a quick Target run and grabbed some lol dolls and hot wheels cars and coloring books and crayons for the kiddos. But little did I know how magically quick our boarding would be.

We arrived for our early boarding time to the terminal where our parking shuttle delivered us with our luggage. A porter immediately checked our bags straight through to the ship and left us with our carry on bags. You know the bags you have your electronics, swimming suits, medications, toys, snacks and boarding documents and of course your carry on bottles of water.

Minnie Mouse was there to greet the arriving passengers until 1:15pm, as they entered from security and approached checkin. She was standing in front of a model ship that was a replica of the cruise ship we were boarding. Our family was directed into a checkin line almost immediately where they looked at our documents and took one family picture where they used face recognition to assign the “Key to the World” cards (room key cards) with the appropriate person. It was one snap and they handed us our cards and we were finished. Magic! They didn’t have to make each child stand independently and hope to catch them looking at the camera.

We didn’t have to entertain our kids and wait in the terminal but rather we were shown to a Mickey Mouse archway that welcomed us to the gangway to board the ship. We showed our key to the world cards and they took a family picture to start our cruise and without a wait we boarded our boat.

The crew asked our children for our family name immediately winning them over. We proceeded to our room and tried to familiarize ourself with the days activities. Most times you would board the boat and hit the pool deck and take advantage of short lines for the water slides and sip a cruise beverage poolside while soaking up some early cruise rays. In our case it was raining so the planned activity of poolside wasn’t an option.

The kids were excited to explore the ship to find our room and leave our carry on luggage. The veranda room was a lot roomier than I expected. Our queen sized bed could be draped off from the kids beds for privacy at bedtime. When we found the room there was a couch and a flat screen television and a large counter/vanity area with plenty of drawers and cabinetry and that hid the refrigerator and whatever else you wanted in the room and then luggage could be stored under the queen sized bed. There was one door with a sink and a toilet followed by another door with a sink and a shower/tub all in one.

The balcony was enclosed up about four feet. It is important to watch children at all times on the balcony and not allow them to stand on the chairs for the risk of falling in and to watch that they don’t crawl under the gaps into your neighbors verandah.

It was a rainy day so we headed to check out the kids club. The Oceaneers club, the on board kids club, was having an open house for the kids and were giving the kids their wristbands and checking them all in. During open house all children of all ages and their parents are welcome to come play but if not in open house mode only the registered age appropriate child could participate and was checked in with their wrist band and checked out with your key to the world card, their wristband and your secret word. There is a magic play floor, a Star Wars flying simulations, movie rooms, and an animators area where kids could draw various pictures. There are scheduled events like sloppy science where our oldest made flubber one day and other Oceneers Club events that are scheduled. If you had a dining reservation or if your child didn’t want to attend dining with you, children could eat meals in the club but only during designated times. During the open house all our kids even the two year old wanted to stay and play after they were assigned their wrist bands.

Next we proceeded to the it’s a small world nursery. Our 2 1/2 year old ran right in. The nursery can be reserved before the cruise or the first day they have plenty of extra hours you can schedule for your cruise. Nursery runs $9 an hour and they will feed them, play with them, change them, and they have beds if they feel like napping. Our little one absolutely loved her two hours she spent with “her friends” the third day of the cruise while we did an on board experience. On board experiences are open to reserve a month or so before your trip but there are many that will see “sold out” on the experiences you might want. Good news for you! They hold back spots so you can sign up the first day when you board just don’t delay and head to the guest services to ask about them.

Since it was raining we were looking for entertaining boat activities. We found a onboard ship detective station much like the Perry the platypus Epcot detective experience but customized to the boat with a choose your own adventure from three different case files. You will find moving picture frames and other secret clues on the boat. A great on board activity that is a fun way to explore the ship. I will say our kids were initially excited but lost interest when they decided they wanted a snack. Lunch is served right when you board the ship at Cabanas, the buffet on the pool deck, but don’t miss it they close it at 3 pm. We helped ourselves to shrimp and crab and chips and hamburgers.

And then… we found the unlimited soft serve station.

Maybe it was the full tummies or the ice cream but the Muster Station Drill seemed to be more bearable as well. Maybe it was the Disney magic, or the good company around us or the staff that was trying to help us wrap it up as efficiently as possible so we could go to the cast away party as we leave the port. We attended the Cast away party as we were all funneled into the main areas with the closed staircases so as to not give you a choice but that you would have to participate. You can navigate over near the opposite side elevators for a fabulous view. The show introduced the entertainment staff, including the cruise director and all of the characters. Mickey, Minnie and their friends came down the grand staircase and welcomed us aboard.

Onboard the ship the Disney cruise navigator app is your quick reference for the days activities. You can see your reservations and your daily activities and shows you have hearted. The app also immediately links you with the people on your reservation but you can add others on the boat with their chat ID and allows a chat between you and whoever else is on the boat with fun Disney emojis, and runs on the ships basic free WiFi. The first day you are given 100 mb, per stateroom, of data for free other than the app. Additional days can be purchased through their WiFi plans. We opted to use the first day free 100 mb and then only use the navigator app and this worked well. We were notified of all the activities that including which dining room for dinner.

The Dinner staff welcomed us with a beautifully set table with lids on the kids drinks with their names. We had table mates that we would be seated with the whole cruise. It happened to be a couple with a 17 month old and lived in our same state but across the city from us. This was also the time the servers introduced themselves and showed me the items marked on the menu with the GF were Gluten-Free. Speciality smoothies are available at dinner for a small additional charge but our kids loved them.

We left dinner at the Royal Palace to head to the onboard live show that was in Walt Disney’s Theater and there were little princesses and princes getting down to a live musical performer right outside of dinner. Our kids got their jam on for a little bit and it still left time to make the show.

The show is open seating so find a seat that works for those in your party. They sell popcorn and other snacks as you enter so if your little ones want to munch on popcorn opting for the bucket is a good idea. Refills are $1.49 and there are plenty of opportunities to eat popcorn.

I wasn’t sure if the broadway like musical show was going to keep my kids’ attention for an hour but it did and they loved the dancing, songs and costumes. The show was a hit and ended in about an hour which for our little people it was perfect timing for bed.

Magically our room transformed for bedtime and everyone was happy to find chocolates and a towel origami crab wishing them goodnight. The kids beds, a Murphy bed, a top bunk (that dropped from the ceiling) and the lower bunk (the couch back folded forward and the mattress was on the back), were prepared and ready for the kids to climb into bed. They were prepared during turn down service while we were at dinner.

Disney made our first day easy and magical. The staff was warm and friendly and the room and the ship were beautiful.

Wondering where to start? We planned our Disney Cruise with Kristi Russell with polka dots ‘n’ travel on instagram @kristi.r.travels https://www.instagram.com/kristi.r.travels

Advertisements

Deck of Scarlet Review

After being targeted by Facebook and Instagram marketing I started seeing the deck of scarlet in my face multiple times a day I decided to shock it out…I’m not receiving anything for this review btw. I’m just a mom who is leery of any subscription and especially makeup since we all know we run around all day with kids that are constantly wiping stuff on us and kissing us with their messy faces.

I went on eBay and purchased a deck of scarlet pallet. I needed to try this out without the subscription since I have sensitive skin. Within a week I had it in my hot little hands and last night I popped that baby open and tried it out.

The deck of scarlet didn’t come with your foundation, concealer or brushes. But it did come with 3 shadow pigments, a blush/bronzer and a highlighter, 2 lip shades, a twist up eye liner and a twist up lip liner. Everything except the liners were packaged in a cute compact that I get like I could color if I had a doodling itch. I have individual MAC pots with eyeshadows running around and when I’m doing my makeup my two year old thinks it hilarious to take my makeup. The one compact idea solved me reaching for my shadow that wasn’t there anymore or the tears from prying it from her fingers…I’m using it the whole time and it doesn’t give her a chance to grab and run. So space saving, easy to use and a magnetic closure. I’m a fan of the packaging.

The pigment options in the shadow were highly concentrated. A little bit went a long way and you can layer the color to make it as deep or light as you want. Normally after a couple hours of wear my shadows crease or my eye liner has transferred to my crease (I know totally weird but it happens all the time and it drives me nuts) but after my application everything stayed where I put it!

The lip colors seemed a little iffy and I wasn’t sure about the practical wearability of them. Im picky about lip products. I don’t like a cheap greasy feel or if they are really sticky. In addition I always have a problem with lip color or gloss staying on my lips. All those kisses I’m giving to my kids and constant water drinking makes my lip colors go bye bye. But this lip color didn’t disappear, even after a hands on meal with a cocktail, two regular beverages, super buttery corn on the cob and roasted chicken leg and thigh on the bone. Not to mention it didn’t transfer to my kids when I kissed their cute little cheeks.

A lot of makeup these days in made in China. But I did take notice that this line I received was made in Germany. Being aware of Fair Trade and fair wages for those that make the things I use if I can I like to use those from areas where there are safe working conditions.

So as a mini van driving diva who loves to save money and time I’m a fan of the Deck of Scarlet. I’m running from this school activity to this after school activity to making dinner, potty training, wiping buggers off the wall, playing Minecraft, braiding hair and everything else. This is a great way to make your makeup ritual more efficient and fun with the different combinations. As women and moms we are beautiful we don’t really need makeup but it is fun and Deck of Scarlet helps by maybe pushing us out of our normal go to eyeshadow and to really make it fun. Here was my look. (I am not an affiliate nor do I receive any compensation for my review and purchased my product myself. All the opinions mentioned are my personal opinions)

Pizza always Wins! 

    
My daughter is blessed to have a spring break birthday. The options for celebration are endless. The class party is always the most exciting showcase of birthday hoopla and as a kindergartner this right of passage to the age of 6 is kind of a big deal. 
Upon planning the birthday hoopla of course the Mylar balloons were a must. But something changed when I asked her if she wanted cupcakes or pizza for the class. Now usually I would ask cupcakes or cake but I thought we would live in the edge and throw out a good option. My soon to be 6 year old jumped right in it and was on board with pizza. 
So is pizza healthier than cupcakes? Well it didn’t matter but I did know that celebrating the birthday at the end of the day and sending kids home hyped up on sugar was the gift that no parent would look forward to. Instead kids come home starving from school. I’m not sure why but they can’t eat enough. 

My daughter has a class of 19 and little Caesars pizza has $5 hot and ready pizzas that has 8 slices. When I called ahead the sweet girl offered to double cut the pizza giving me 16 slices. The teacher thought pizza was a great idea and suggested two slices per child so 3 pizzas for $15 is where we ended up. 

I did bring child size waters for the kids and noticed after their first piece they were all about the water heading into piece two. They had a fabulous time and the kid with a nut allergy didn’t have to worry about anything. 

So the next time you are trying to do a class party for under $25 consider pizza. It can be less expensive than the custom cupcakes and more filling. Those kids did not go home hungry, the best party favor anyone could leave with. I was only slightly surprised and the excitement around this option from the kids and to see that pizza always wins 

DIY Outside baby playard

Living in Georgia our weather has been crazy this year. It’s hot then it’s cold then it’s yes then it’s no…needless to say when we get a warm sunny day we are headed outside to take advantage of our pre-pollen season . Pollen will soon be upon us. Not familiar, well it’s pretty incredible how there can be so much yellow pollen that attracts itself to your car in the matter of an hour. 

Yesterday Daddy and I took our 8 month old outside with my almost 6 year old and my 3 year old. Everyone wanted to play something different on the front yard and daddy was riding his bike in the culdasac. After holding the baby for 15 minutes I realized that I needed some non holding baby time too.

I looked in the garage and saw our lovely blue plastic hard sized kids pool. It’s just big enough to move with one hand. I grabbed that baby put a sheet in the bottom for a little padding and some baby friendly inside toys and sat my little non mobile 8 month old right in the middle. She loved it! She had her toys, she could sit and she could see 365 degrees around her. This was a mommy win for sure. 

  
What you will need:

A baby that sits

A hard sided plastic pool NOT filled with water

Baby toys

A blanket or sheet for padding
Make sure to place the pool on a flat surface. You will thank me later.

Share your Baby tricks and tips below. 

The Best Eggplant Parmesan Gluten-Free

  
Gluten-Free Eggplant Parmesan 
My Italian great great aunt Aurora Virga, or as we called her, my “Auntie Lotta” would be proud. It was always a special treat when she would make “melenzani” or as I heard it as a six year old “Millie and Johnny” (eggplant Parmesan). She was a sweet lady who after taking care of her parents in her twenties never married. She was an amazing kind but blunt little old lady who worked hard in her garden and made amazing dishes like Millie and Johnny.

Eggplant’s naturally spongy texture is a turnoff for folks like my mom. Eggplant basically acts as sponge and its texture is a result of its internal fibers ability to  fill with water. Release the water and a tender eggplant slice will stay behind and will be perfect for your dish.

 After finding out about my flour sensitivity and going gluten-free I had to figure out something. Now I make delicious “Millie and Johnny” and am happy to say it’s gluten free. Not fat free but gluten free. So this is a modified version of the eggplant Parmesan.  
Ingredients 

1/8 cup salt

1 large eggplant sliced into 1/2″ slices

4 beaten eggs

1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 

1/4 cup canola oil 

4 cups mozerella cheese 

3 cups pasta sauce

Nonstick cooking spray 
Eggplant prep:

You can skip the eggplant prep if you like a more dense spongy eggplant texture. 

   Prepare a cookie sheet with paper towels and a cooling rack. Lay out your slices of eggplant on the cooling rack. The papertowel will absorb the water that will be exiting the eggplant and the cookie sheet contain it.
   Sprinkle half of the salt on the eggplant. Let sit for a half hour or 45 minutes and then flip over and repeat. Let sit for another hour or hour and a half.

   
  Rinse the salt off of the transformed eggplant slices and pat dry. 

 
  

Dredging:

Get out two bowls. Mix your gluten free breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in one bowl. 

   
 
  In the other bowl beat your eggs.

  
  Set up your work station to get ready. 

Dip your eggplant in the breadcrumb mixture.  
  Then into the egg. 
Frying:

Place four tablespoons of your oil in a frying pan on medium to medium high heat.

  After dredging the eggplant put the eggplant into your pan and cook on that side until golden brown approx 3 minutes. 
 Turn over and cook for three more minutes. 
Assembling:

Spray your 9×13 pan with some nonstick cooking spray and put down a 1/3 cup of your pasta sauce.

    Arrange your eggplant in your baking dish.
 Put two to three cups of pasta sauce over your eggplant covering them.    

  Put your sliced fresh mozzarella on top.  And put int the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minute so. Cheese should be melted and a little brown. You can serve with pasta or with vetables. 

5 Awkward New Mom Moments 

 5 awkward moments 
As a mom of three I recently was reminded of a few social situations every new mom should be prepared for with the knowledge and understanding that comes with experience and repetition. Here are 5 common awkward new mom moments mothers currently or in the future will relate to.

1. Incorrect baby gender guessing.

Rarely is someone intentionally trying to incorrectly guess the gender of your baby. There is a 1 in 2 chance they will get it right which is better odds than winning the publishers clearinghouse.

Today while at a warehouse store I had a couple tell me how beautiful my baby boy was and asked old he was. Notice the picture for the blog was taken right before we left with a pink hat and a pink and red flowered onsie…

Most people are so busy they haven’t paid any attention that you went out of your way to put that huge pink bow on your baby’s tiny head, or the hat in my case, to help the new baby ambiguity. Not to mention the hot pink and black car seat cover or blanket you have her snuggled in.

People will always be so excited to speak with you (and at your baby in what they consider acceptable baby talk). So excited that they get all mixed up, and can’t relate pink with girl and blue with boy. Just be kind and move it along and realize it’s not you it’s them and even if you say something like I have her and a son and another daughter they will still continue to call the baby girl a boy. These individuals are in every store, church, baseball crowd, pizza carry out line… So of course I just answered the question of “his” age and didn’t even clarify. They were the sweetest couple of about 50 years old and helped me load my groceries on the belt and then happened to park next to me and helped when I was at the car again.

Until age two or three a young baby to toddler’s physical appearance can be tough for people to associate with a gender for some reason. You may even resort to telling them the baby’s name. There is no help just go with the mentality of “bless their heart” and you will get through it.

 I’m happy to say at age two and a half or three years of age this misidentification will decrease significantly although it may still occur especially if your son wears the fashionable shag hairdo.

2. Post pregnancy people will ask you when you are due or if you are pregnant.

You have grown a human inside your body. Your organs have moved, your body has added the fat necessary to prepare your body to provide nutrition to that new bouncing baby. Your uterus is on the shrink but girl, it took ten months for your body to morph it will not change back overnight or sometimes ever. All women who have born children deal with the comments and you are now part of a very elite club of women.

Don’t take it personal! That person would most likely not walk up to someone and say “you look fat, when are you going to start working out.” There is this social curiosity that exists when it comes to pregnancy and babies. People feel the need to “ask questions” and “engage in conversation” everywhere. They are just trying to strike up a conversation and aren’t sure how and what’s appropriate.

Complete strangers care about the wellbeing of mothers and when their little bundles will be joining them. Letting them know how old your baby only help initiate the regret, their embarrassment sets in and apologies flow out of their mouth. Realize you are beautiful because you are a miracle bearing woman who birthed a beautiful baby and one day you can get back to feeling sexy in your own skin whatever changes may have occurred.

It doesn’t even matter if your new bundle of joy is secured in the cart, the inquisitor totally misses that thing in the cart is a baby.

Of course as a brand new mom of a one week old you feel like you look like your three to five months pregnant.  No one told you it would take “time” for everything to return or move and you are tired like no other. If you are like me, I’m additionally a little irritable for the first three months. Just hang in there and keep your cool. If not for you then for their sake. No one wants to unleash the wrath of the new momma.

3. The baby spitting up in your shoulder in public WILL be brought toyour attention by a stranger.

As a mother of three I accept that I will have spitup, buggers, tears, food and possibly poop on me depending on the day and maybe all at once. I chose this when I chose to be a mother and I know that my days of Banana Republic dry clean only clothes are lost. With baby one the frequency was a surprise, baby 2 it was just inconvenient and now with baby 3 it’s expected and I embrace it. I now just say “yep isn’t it awesome” with a smile and I move it along.

I chose to be a mother. I wanted to be a mother. I waited patiently for that day to come. I knew it would be filled with days of vomit, poop and crying but also days of happiness, smiles, cuddles and the cutest little people ever. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. That doesn’t mean that I don’t try to have a plan in place.

I have found that wearing a cardigan and traveling with an extra shirt is helpful for a quick change and dressing in layers is easy. I have two of my favorite cardigans because one will always be washing while I wear the other. 

So thank you stranger for staying the obvious, that yes, I have a babyand that baby is spitting up and yes that baby missed the tiny Burpcloth or lack thereof (it is the third, I’m lucky if I have one onhand) so just flash them a kind smile and a “thank you” to them and keep it moving. No need to waste time talking about the obvious for I am amother and so many don’t have those blessed days.

4. Anywhere you go and anyone you see or speak to will have the urge to  offer unsolicited advice.

Take it all with a grain of salt and remember the less you encourage the person to continue talking by asking them questions the faster it will be over.
Every kid is different. Every baby is different. Have a trusted group of mommas that you can ask your question and get advice from people who know you and the situation.

Be specific if you are asking for advice to minimize irrelevant information. Always consult with your pediatrician if you are unsure, they are baby professionals and have seen the spectrum of severe to more minor things they will tell you not to worry about.

Be cautious of leading questions. You know what I’m talking about. The stranger asks, “is your baby sleeping through the night?” Or “does your baby always cry like that?” The curious person will then vomit advice regardless of the answer or share a personal story to connect. 

We are all experts on something and mothers on everything mother so the “with my baby…” Will happen. I like to always answer positively and withthe mentality once again of “bless their heart” because they just want to feel like their experience can “help” another. You may be surprised when it actually does. So stay open minded and keep that beautiful smile on your face. Undoubtedly we all are guilty of this on some level. 

5. Your child will break down and cry in a public place and someone will point it out. 

Actually you just might break down crying too. Having a baby is an emotional roller coaster. You aren’t alone although you may feel like it. Not every comment is meant to come out as rude. Rude comments may actually leave someone’s mouth but my laugh it off response is “yep, we were all babies once too. It’s a hard life being x years old”.  More often than not people are not being intentionally rude. 

There will be others there to help and lift you up. I have the outlook that we are all just trying to do our best. My best might look different than your best and vice versa. We should try to be patient with one another. 

I remember having my second baby and having to go to a fabric store with my then 2 1/2 year old little girl and eight week old boy.

Waiting to get fabric cut seemed like an eternity with a screaming baby in my cart and an active two and a half year old beside me. (Don’t let this fool you I am amateur at sewing) I was on the verge of tears. I felt like everyone was looking at me and I told myself that they were thinking, “she just can’t handle that baby and toddler” and “why would she be in a fabric store with a newborn anyway?”. I told myself what I thought they were thinking.

First of all refrain from that internal conversation. I had no idea what they were thinking and thinking about it was stressing me even more. As I was on the verge of crying and water already starting to enter my eyes, A lady came to my aid and offered to console my screaming newborn. My immediate response was “Are you sick?” While already unbuckling him from the seat to hand him over. She wasn’t and the handoff occurred. The other 6 ladies (all sweet as can be) somegrandmas some with children who were out of the house chimed in how lucky this lady was to hold the baby and they had wanted to help too.

They weren’t criticizing me at all. They understood and probably were just too scared to say anything. Now I also knew that if the stranger took off with my baby the other 6 women would chase her down and take care of it.

We don’t have to do this alone. I could have said, “no thank, you I’m fine” but I wasn’t fine. I needed help and those ladies could see it. God knew I needed an angel and he sent me one. It felt so good to have an extra pair of hands. 

The lady wouldn’t stop thanking me when she returned the baby. She said she had wanted to hold a little baby for the last five years. Her kids were in high school and she didn’t know anyone with a baby. She told me it made her year and that she was so happy to help. 

Regardless of what comments are made, or not made and the looks you might get, you are an amazing rocking mom. You are not alone and you can do this. The time of your child’s littleness passes so quickly there isn’t enough time to get hung up on everybody else. Do you. Be there and present for your baby and children. They won’t remember the mixed up gender comments or the looks of people who are staring while they are screaming for whatever reason. They will remember their loving sweet kind mother. 

The Doll Dilemma

  
As Christmas is approaching, if you are doll shopping for a little girl, I’m sure you have been thinking about the pros and cons of buying an American Girl Doll verses a retailer store brand like Target’s My Generation Doll or a toys r us doll. You have asked yourself and your Facebook community to chime in on this delimma of which would be best how the quality compares? Here are a few insights geared to help you choose. 

1. Quality comparison

First off I want you to consider how your child “plays”. If your delicate little daisy sips red koolaid in a glass tea cup on white carpet in a white dress and can walk away just as clean and daintily as she arrived then it doesn’t matter what kind of quality you buy. Your princess will be kind and gently and loving to even the most delicate doll. 

This being said, my child may or may not be gentle but her little brother sure is not!! And by the way I would never give my little flower koolaid while wearing a white dress on white carpet! 

The standard of the American Girl Doll quality is far superior to that of any box retailer brand doll. Why do I say that you ask? Because the American Girl Doll Company wants your business for a lifetime…they are in the business of dolls and the world of a doll. They don’t offer deodorant and dvd’s during your shopping experience but detailed doll accessories and vignette play to create a environment for your doll  a hair salon not for you but your daughter’s doll, and of course a bistro that will have a high chair for your doll while you eat and then return to shop of course. 

When baby brother takes your little ones favorite doll and gives it swirlies in the toilet and then a new marker makeover and haircut what can you do? I’m sorry to say most retailer dolls end up in the trash and it can be hard to find another “like” one. Now you did only invest $25 or so which isn’t the end of the world but it is to your delicate flower. American girl has a doll hospital that will repair your daughter’s favorite American girl doll for a fraction of the price of buying a new one. And you can teach your daughter that when we get hurt we don’t get thrown away but we can go to a doctor and get better.

2. Customizable options

American girl dolls can be customized to the skin tone, eye color, hair color you desire and then have matching clothes for your daughter. A lot of Box retailers have preselected combinations.

My daughter could care less what combination of a doll she has. So this isn’t a big deal to our family. My daughter was completely happy with the $50 American girl doll Craigslist special she got last year that had the black square beauty mark in her leg from a non American girl black sock whose color transferred and couldn’t be removed or sent into the hospital in time. 

3. Price

Hands down the box retailer dolls and accessories will be less expensive. American girl dolls and accessories are meant to last and be a doll that your daughter will hand down to her daughter. American girl dolls can range in price from $125 to $150 depending on set combination accessories etc.

 Costco currently has a deal for American Girl Doll gift cards. The gift cards can be combined with discount codes and in store specials. $100 of gift cards for $79.99. So hurry to your local store. Essentially you could save $20 on a $100 purchase. Also keep an eye out for Jill’s steals and deals for crazy flash sales on the American girl dolls as well as zillily.

Here in our household we have chosen to mix box store salon chairs, dogs and carrying cases with our American girl dolls, dogs and beds. My daughter has a our generation doll she got for her birthday and it’s nice but I will tell you brushing it’s hair and dressing the thing is more challenging by far. My daughter asks why the arms are hollow and why it looks different but still plays with it. 

I don’t believe in spoiling a child or overindulging them but if I had a choice between a mega block and Lego brand we all know which one will last. If you are thinking about which doll remember regardless how much you pay that doll will be played with, it will be loved and it will be swung around and thrown by a younger brother or even drooled on. Knowing I can get anything repaired gives me the peace of mind. 

4. Know your child

My daughter doesn’t have to have new. She wears a mix of new clothes and goodwill clothes plays with toys from toys r us and toys from the dollar store. Kids just love to play. Buying her the AG doll was something I wanted to do because my mother had scraped and saved for me to have one for my Christmas  present when I was young. I did the same for mine and decided to sell stuff on my local yard sale site to get her a used AG doll. It makes me see feel good to know her doll has been loved and played with since last Christmas and that if she ever chooses to resell it she could get back the $50 I paid for it. The our generation doll will become a goodwill find one day for $3.00.

I want to add that the American girl doll store makes every effort to service in the salon and bistro all dolls regardless of manufacturer. The hair salon styled my friend’s daughters target doll and made no mention to the little girl that it wasn’t an American girl doll. 

Don’t go into debt for a doll. Your child loves you and will be happy with anything that is bought with love. If you choose the box retailer’s doll don’t worry. If your daughter ever wants the American girl doll help her earn the money to buy one new or used, it will mean that much more to her if you are on the fence because of cost.