Let me first say that we have never been to a Grand Opening at an American Girl store, and my nine-year-old has never been to any AG store, despite her doll love! I was going to surprise her with a trip, but she regularly visits americangirl.com and saw the announcements months ago! She has been saving her money for this trip, even working as a MoonPie mascot at one of our outdoor events (not her favorite job)!
I had gotten in around 2AM after working out-of-town Saturday and got some much-needed sleep before I picked Piper up from a sleepover. Not an early start, but off we went, the two of us, having no idea of the kind of adventure we would have, but knowing that no matter what, we were going to have fun with this special day!
Driving by myself is never a problem and this was only about a four-hour drive from where we live. We arrived around 3:00. My GPS only got us to the Easton Town Center, an outdoor mall of sorts set up in city blocks. The flowers and 'mood' of the area was a treat in itself! Streets were closed off for an art fair they were having and for the store opening! Finding a parking spot was only tough because I had no idea how close we were to the actual store! A miracle happened though and we were only about a block from the ticket tent.
Well, yes. They have so many thousands of girls and their families attend these that they set up large groups of tickets and entry is only permitted when your ticket group is called. Happily, they text you as the group entry number is updated so waiting shoppers can go to other stores, eat, or even leave and return later! (We checked out the Lego store!)
The fun thing is that all the nearby stores and restaurants were in on the fun! A lady on the street overheard Piper and me talking about what to do while waiting for our number. She told us a horror story about the day before: apparently her family got there at noon and weren't permitted to enter until 7PM. Holy cow. She pointed us toward the California Pizza Kitchen for lunch, where they had doll chairs! (That's a favorite place for Piper. As she says, the taste of the pizza matters more to kids than to anyone!) The restaurant was filled with girls and their dolls, like the whole area. That really made it even more fun!
The horror stories from Saturday, happily were not repeated on Sunday, and our ticket number was texted to my phone just as we were leaving the restaurant! Perfect timing! We got in line and waited to be allowed in.
While we were in line, they made everyone as comfortable as possible on a hot, sunny day by offering umbrellas and handing out cold, bottled waters. We were entertained by a lady on stilts and a juggler.
Once inside, it was like little girl heaven...
Piper brought one of her own dolls to experience the doll salon. Her doll's stylist, Natasha, gave her all kinds of tips, like using a toothbrush to smooth doll hair and how to make a doll beauty treatment using baking soda. We also learned that you should never get doll eyes wet... because they RUST!! (Who knew?)
They gave all the girls who came for the Grand Opening a book. (Nice surprise!) Piper had a custom doll t-shirt made, picked up lots of accessories, and left with a spa kit to use at home on her dolls... which she did first thing the next day!
It was a fantastic day that had us home around midnight. Piper thanked me all day long and we really loved our adventure together! Definitely time well spent! I made her pose for one last photo... here you can see the corporate folks, sweating it out in dark suits, guarding the front door of the store after closing--- still full of excited young shoppers and their parents inside!
Thank you for letting me share our adventure! This week is supposed to be digital photography camp for Piper, but there has been a change of plans so she has lots of time to play with dolls! Next up, a jewelry-making class she is taking Wednesday. She will be entering her project in the 4H Fair, something I had no idea we even had here! Back to work for me! Hope your summer is filled with family time ....and more crafting than mine!