The Best Way to Shop at an American Girl Doll Store

When it comes to mastering the fine art of shopping at American Girl, I like to think I know what I’m talking about. See, in the last six years thanks to my daughter’s obsession — um, I mean collection, I skipped being a frantic AG mom braving crowds and standing in massive lines to becoming an invited guest and appreciated client of American Girl.

And all it took was one doll on our very first visit.

Over the years, more and more parents I talk to find themselves penciling in time to visit an American Girl Doll store while traveling with their kids to major cities. The moment they hear what an aficionado my daughter has become of the brand, they ask me for advice and recommendations.

“That’s easy,” I tell them. “Become a VIP.”

Become an American Girl VIP with a Personal Shopper

So how exactly does one become an American Girl VIP? It’s probably not as difficult as you think. Did you know that American Girl offers complimentary personal shopping? Yes, as in F-R-E-E. This my friends is the key for eliminating all stresses associated with visiting the doll mecca right off the bat. It will streamline your entire visit and no longer will you be forcing a smile while secretly dying on the inside.

Oh, no…you will be with the rest of us moms and dads in the private lounge, away from the crowds, sitting peacefully waiting for your turn to be rung up in private. It’s equivalent to American Girl Heaven for parents.

And I repeat, this is a complimentary service.

American Girl Personal Shopping Program

Requesting a Personal Shopper is easy. You simply fill out this form to request an appointment at one of the stores in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York City or Washington, D.C. Then, your Personal Shopper will call you to confirm the best date and time to help you shop. Note that appointments can’t be made for the same or next day and must be within the next three months.

Once you begin a relationship with your assigned Personal Shopper, they will create an in-store profile for you. This will allow the relationship to grow as your shopper will keep track of your purchases and help make all of your future shopping trips (and holiday shopping) absolutely pleasurable. Going forward when you plan a visit, all you have to do is simply email or call the Personal Shopping line directly letting them know when to expect you. This alone will determine whether you spend hours in a store enjoying yourself, or hours standing in line at a crowded store.

It’s also the best when you are in a rush. If there are particular items you know you’ll be purchasing, they will put  them aside and have them waiting for you when you arrive.

American Girl Shopping

Dining at American Girl Cafe or Bistros

If you are eating at one of the The Cafes located in the flagship stores (or their smaller Bistros located in the others), you can’t beat the Personal Shopping services. While other guests are wrestling big bulky red bags under their tables, yours are with your Personal Shopper downstairs waiting for you as you enjoy your meal. When you are ready, you just pick them up. All of the American Girl Cafes have special high-chair seating for the dolls, so if you want your doll to join you, that’s fine! Just bring the doll and leave all the other purchases with them to hold. Or, you’re always welcome to borrow one of their loaner dolls to join you.

When calling in advance to set a time with our shopper, I always let her know if we are planning to do brunch, lunch, tea or dinner. She will always go out of her way to help with the reservation or plans or transfer me directly to The Cafe so I can request a partial booth or table.

First Time Visitors to an American Girl Girl Doll Store

The Personal Shopping team understands this is a special day for your child and can even be overwhelming for some parents (especially the dads). Your Personal Shopper will give you a guided tour of the store and collect the things you are eyeing as you go. Don’t worry, you’re not obligated to buy all of it, and you’ll have time to go over each piece later in private before checking out.

American Girl Doll Salon and Ear Piercing

Sometimes when visiting an American Girl Doll store, the same-day appointments for The Doll Salon fill up fast. Your Personal Shopper may not be able to style your doll’s hair, but she sure can get her ears pierced! Oh, yes. We’ve done this many times.

Otherwise, if your child has their heart set on a new hairstyle, make an appointment as soon as you arrive.

American Girl shopping - Hair Salon
One of the most memorable parts of her American Girl shopping trip might be visiting the doll hair salon.

American Girl Doll Hospital

Yes, this is a real thing and the Personal Shoppers will help service your doll complete with hospital gown. Many moms and dads often ask me why they should spend so much money on a doll that “she will never take care of.” They call that at American Girl, “Being well-loved.”

My response? “Unlike electronics or other toys, American Girls go up in value and can be fixed-up when your child is no longer interested in playing with them.”

American Girl Special Events

And did I mention invitations to special events? Yup. And just like that American Girl went from being overwhelming to one of the most enjoyable experiences for you and your child. OK, so maybe your Amex might get a workout, but your little sweetheart will be thrilled and that alone is worth every cent. You will not only be kept in the loop for public events for holidays, new products and Girl of The Year, but also for very special shopping events where they close down the entire store early!

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This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Nicole S. Are you interested in traveling to ? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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