If you’ve got an American Girl fan in the house, you may have heard that the Wisconsin-based brand was moving its New York flagship store from 5th Ave. to Rockefeller Center. Two years in the making American Girl Place Rock Center has finally arrived, just in time to greet holiday shoppers and throngs of tourists alike. We stopped in on opening day — here’s what’s in store!
While the new American Girl Place is technically smaller than the brand’s previous digs on 5th Avenue, the still-sizable 38,000-square-foot bi-level space feature a more customer-friendly layout. (It’s less vertical, offers more room to roam and check out product comfortably.)
Visitors will find a new color palette and over all feel to the Rockefeller Center store. The new location also features two ways to get in and out, which helps with congestion and crowding.
Extra Special Features
The American Doll store experience quite famously offers opportunities for dolls to receive primping treatments in its salon (hairstyling, ear piercing, manicures), the New York store will now also offers these treatments to doll owners as well. (Although parents should note: there’s no cutting of actual hair, just fancy and fun ‘dos.)
Make Your Mini-Me
Another special feature of the flagship stores (located in NYC, Chicago and Los Angeles) is the “Create Your Own” option, which lets customers truly customize their doll, selecting skin tone, hair color and style, and individual outfits with more than a million combinations possible. (The “results” are shipped to customers in about two weeks.)
“Julie”, from the 1970s, rocks her clogs while eating deviled eggs in her egg chair.
A Doll for Every Decade and Age
The full range of American Doll products can be found here. That includes the Doll of the Year (Gabriella is 2017), the dolls from the historical series which represent different places and times, as well as the Welli Wishers line (“younger dolls for kids ages 5 to 7), and babies, for kids wanting a classic baby doll.
Doll Deep Dive
The lower level of the store nicely showcases the different doll options and their corresponding accessories. (Which while very cute, will bankrupt you if you’re not careful.) The historical dolls area features enticing display boxes and interactive stations related to each of the dolls.
Additional sections of the basement floor showcase American Doll books (each doll has a story), age-appropriate titles on childhood development (empathy, sharing, siblings, etc.), journals and activity books, and assorted American Girl videos. (A little “content hub” lounge area screens selections and provides a spot to recharge.)
Brunch, Lunch, Parties & More
Of course, dolls and their owners will be able to break bread together at the store. The lower level features a large cafe area, which serves, lunch, brunch, tea, and dinner; tiny chairs (i.e. “treat seats”) clip onto the tables so the dolls can partake as well. (If you happen to forget yours, or just want some additional doll company, the store has loaner dolls in chairs on standby.) The cafe area also has private party rooms that can be booked for celebrations and even feature projections of the guest of honor on the walls.)
Before You Go
Word to the wise: If you’re thinking of partaking in any of the special extras (a salon session, a meal at the cafe) it’s strongly suggested you make a reservation, which is easy enough to do online. Do it now before things get booked for the holiday season.
American Girl Place
75 Rockefeller Plaza
Will you be heading to American Girl Place? Tell us in the comments!
— Mimi O’Connor