Saturday, November 30, 2013

Journey Girls "Dana" by Toys R Us

In my part of the world, there are four inexpensive and readily available 18" play dolls that provide an alternative to the more expensive options like American Girl, My Twinn and Carpatina.  Target offers the Our Generation line by Battat, Walmart sells the My Life As dolls by Madame Alexander, AC Moore has the Springfield Collection girls, and Toys R Us carries the Journey Girls line.   I have reviewed the Our Generation dolls and looked at a My Life doll, and have been eager to see how these dolls compare to the Journey Girls.  When I'm browsing at the store, the Journey Girls always stand out to me because of their vinyl torsos, expressive faces and pretty eyes.

There are seven Journey Girl characters to choose from and they sell for just over $30 each.  I have had my eye on Kelsey (the green-eyed redhead) for a year or two, but it was actually the smiling, bespectacled Dana who finally tempted me to make a purchase:

Journey Girl "Dana," by Geoffrey, LLC (Toys R Us).
About six months ago, I purchased the Dana doll that comes with a black coat and tweed shorts, and I have been waiting for the right moment to review her.  The other day, though, I was at Toys R Us and saw some of the dolls from the newer Paris collection and Paris Dana was especially appealing because she's wearing a grey horse shirt.  I decided to buy the newer Dana for a review and give my older version to a local toy drive.  I should note that of the five Paris Dana dolls in stock, only two had eyes that were positioned correctly.  So, I would recommend hand-picking these dolls if you can.

Here is Paris Dana:

She comes in a large cardboard window box with a picture of the Eiffel Tower.  I really like Dana's short hair, eclectic outfit, glasses and cute expression:

The six regular Journey girls are pictured on the back of the box. The seventh character is not shown on the box--she is a holiday exclusive named Jordana.  

Chavonne, Kyla, Meredith, Kelsey, Dana and Callie.
I love all of their names, but I prefer "Siobhan," the original spelling of the Irish name Chavonne.

Each of the characters has a real child model who portrays her, and these girls are pictured at the bottom of the box and along one side.  The girls look about 10-12 years old:

On the back of the box, there's also a short summary of how the girls have just landed in Paris together for a sightseeing vacation.  This description is printed in English, French and Spanish:

I can't help but wonder about the nature of this Paris trip.  The girls can't be there alone (too young), so maybe it's a school trip?  A group family trip?  A Girl Scout adventure?  Hm.

Dana is attached to a cardboard display that slides out of the main box.  She is held in place by a wire tie, some clear stretchy rubber bands around her feet, and a plastic band around her neck.  The trickiest thing about de-boxing her is that there are two well-disguised plastic ties in her clothes that have to be cut before she can come out of the box.

The only decorative element in the box is a cardboard display with a photograph of a real chid and a short description of Dana's animal-loving personality.

The cardboard has a pale travel-themed design with a repeating image of Dana's airline ticket:

Here's Dana out of the box:

The red bow around her belly offers nice contrast to the more subdued colors of her shirt and skirt, but it makes her look a little bit like a wrapped gift:

Dana comes wearing a herringbone cap and her short hair comes tied back in an interesting way.  On each side of her face, there are two clumps of hair crossed over each other and tied with brown thread.  I suppose this is to keep the short strands of hair away from her face and glasses while having some hair showing near her chin so that it's clear that she has short hair.

The cap comes down over her eyebrows and touches her plastic glasses:

The plastic lenses of her glasses produce a lot of glare.
Dana's glasses are tied to her head with clear rubber bands.  Her hat is plastic-tied right into her head on both sides.  These plastic ties are very tight and quite difficult to cut without damaging the hat.  

Random dark areas of the hat have stained my Dana's head:

So, with the hat and the glasses removed, Dana is left with holes on either side of her head that have pokey bits of plastic sticking out of them, and also two large purple stains.  I tried to remove the stains with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and with acetone, but they appear to be permanent. 

I can pretend that they're birth marks, I guess.
It took me a while to get the clear rubber bands out of the earpiece hinges on Dana's glasses:

The glasses are made out of lightweight plastic and have a very simplified brown and black tortoiseshell pattern. They are not as nice as American Girl glasses, but they are not as expensive, either.

Here's Dana without her hat and glasses:

Her hair is a bit messy under the cap, but it brushes out nicely, leaving behind some subtle waves where the thread used to be:

The cut of the hair is very sloppy in some areas, with multiple long scraggly strands:

Dana has an oversized head with large, fixed blue eyes and a smiling, closed mouth:

Her profile is sweet, but the area just under her eyes seems a bit sunken:

Dana has very simple light brown eyebrows with about ten individual hairs drawn in.  She has black painted eyelashes that are thick and long on top and very short and thin on the bottom.

She also has a double row of black plastic lashes that attach into the upper part of her eyeball:

Her plastic inset eyes are a vibrant blue, but they're very realistic and have an iris pattern that I have not seen in other play dolls.

Dana has a sweet, crooked smile and thick lips that are painted with a very nice, natural rose pink.  You might notice in this picture that Dana's glasses have left behind faint, shiny dents on either side of her nose.  These have not gone away or diminished yet.

I have those dents around my nose, too.

I have always been impressed by the Journey Girls eyes and facial expressions.  I like that they have unique faces and lovely, detailed eyes.

Dana's hair is rooted and has a natural dark brown color with no highlights.  It feels fine, but it's nowhere near as silky and smooth as My Twinn Annie's short hair, and it's much thinner than the Our Generation dolls' hair.

The rooting is pretty sparse and the hair plugs are large, giving the scalp a prickly, unattractive appearance:

The scalp has a faint spray of brown paint, presumably to try and decrease the alarming amount of visible pale vinyl.

The area around each hair plug is free of paint, making the scalp look spotted and strange:

Dana's outfit consists of a grey jersey knit shirt, a red belt, a lacy fleece skirt, a pair of black lace leggings and tall black vinyl boots:

The red belt attaches in back with velcro and is easy to get on and off.

The zig-zag stitching is sloppy:

The grey horse shirt is my favorite piece of clothing in this outfit.  It is soft and nicely made and I love the horse silhouette.

It opens all of the way down in the back for very easy dressing and undressing.

The white skirt is made out of a fuzzy lace that feels like fleece.  

The lacy overskirt is plastic-tagged to a simple white underskirt:


The lacy black leggings are very thin and simple.  They have a fishnet background with a pattern of tiny flowers:

They are not hemmed at the ankle:

The black boots are undecorated and have a wide slit up the back for easy dressing:

The dark leggings have stained Dana's legs in several areas:

She even has a purple spot on her arm, which doesn't make any sense given that her shirt is light grey and doesn't seem prone to color transfer at all.

What's up with that?
Dana has a cloth belly with vinyl arms, legs and chest.  She has five points of articulation.

My particular doll tips to the left all of the time--I think because one of her legs is attached closer to her body than the other:

She's got a hitch in her gitalong.
Her cloth body is smooth in front and has two seams in the back.  I find the collar bone sculpting a little odd with this doll--maybe it's just that this level of detail seems out of place based on the smoothness of the rest of the doll's features.

Dana does not have great arm movement.  Her arms can only move until they are at about a 45 degree angle to her torso:

Her legs are more flexible and she is able to sit nicely on the ground and do her splits.

My doll's uneven legs make her a little hard to balance, but she can strike some simple walking poses if she has support or is wearing boots.

Dana's head only swivels around, it can't move up and down at all.  My doll has a head that is always looking a little bit up into the air.  Furthermore, as she turns her head, she looks up more and more:

The Journey Girls have a very nice, delicate hand shape that seems much less robotic than a lot of other 18" play dolls:

Here is Dana next to Target's 18" play doll, Our Generation Kendra:

Our Generation vs. Journey Girls.
Kendra has much nicer, thickly-rooted hair and sleep eyes, but Dana has more realistic eyes and I like her face mold better.  I also prefer Dana's vinyl chest because it allows her to look good in a wider variety of clothes.  Dana has slender limbs and a more visually appealing body, but Kendra's body is not crooked and has better balance.

Here is Dana next to my 18" My Twinn Annie (whose body is exactly the same as an American Girl body):

18" My Twinn vs. Journey Girls.
Annie's face and hair are what really set her apart from Dana.  Annie has a lot of realism in her features and her hair is wonderfully silky compared to Dana's slightly coarse hair.  Again, I like the shape of Dana's body better than Annie's, but Annie's vinyl is prettier, she feels more solidly made, and she can stand up straighter.

Last, here is Dana next to my Karito Kid, Gia.  Gia's body also has a cloth belly and a vinyl chest, although she stands several inches taller than Dana:

Karito Kid vs. Journey Girls.
Other than the construction of the body, there's really not much to compare between these dolls.  Gia is heavy and her vinyl is very high quality.  Her proportions are more realistic than Dana's, especially in the head.  Gia's hair is also long and silky and feels like real hair.  She is incredibly well balanced and well made.  The biggest difference in the articulation of these two dolls is that Gia has elastic-strung joints that offer much more flexibility--especially in the neck.  

Here are a few shots showing how Gia can strike a pose much more gracefully and realistically than Dana:

Frustrated by Dana's limited arm movement, I tried to peek into the shoulder joint to see what was going on in there:

There's a hard plastic cupped disc inside the arm joint, and a hole in the soft vinyl of the upper arm fits over this cup:

I got a little too curious as I was investigating this joint, and the arm eventually popped right off.  Here's a picture of the hole in the top of the arm, showing the ragged, cracked vinyl around its edges:

Here's the body at the shoulder joint with the full plastic disc exposed:

The disc attaches to the vinyl body through a small hole in the center of the shoulder socket:

After seeing this joint, the limited arm movement makes a lot more sense.  Unfortunately, after considerable effort, I was unable to get the arm re-attached.

Luckily, I had my older Dana doll as a backup, and so I can use her to finish this review, and also to offer some comparisons between the Journey Girl Paris collection and an older doll.  

The older Dana, who I will call "Winter Dana," comes in a black fleece pea coat with a purple tee shirt and purple tweed shorts over black nylon tights.  She is also wearing a sparkly silver knitted hat and black vinyl boots and carries a shiny black purse.  

This doll's hat is also very tightly attached to her head with two plastic ties.  I actually cut the silver hat trying to get it off--and I was being pretty careful.  Under the hat, this Dana has the exact same hairstyle as Paris Dana:

Her hair is caked with stiff styling product, though, which I did not find on the newer doll.  It was very hard to brush this mess out:

This Dana also has a very messy haircut--even worse than the other doll:

Houston, we have a quality control problem.
Under the black coat, this Dana is wearing a wonderful purple v-neck tee shirt:

Her shorts are also cute and could be worn alone or over the black nylon tights that come with the doll.

I think I'll have Dana wear the shorts on their own since the black tights have stained her legs and feet:

Winter Dana has short boots with a fur cuff and no slit up the back:

These are my favorite boots.  
Her body is exactly the same as the other Dana, but this doll can stand up straight because her legs are attached correctly.  Unfortunately, this doll's neck is lopsided, so she can't hold her head up straight:

Her head always tips to the right.

Here are the two Danas together--you can see that Winter Dana has a pinker tinge to her vinyl while the Paris Dana looks yellow in comparison.  I much prefer the warmer, natural look of the older Winter Dana:

My Twinn Annie was wearing a Journey Girl outfit in her review, so I knew that at least some of the Journey Girl clothes would fit American Girl and the new 18" My Twinn dolls.  After trying the Dana outfits on some of my other dolls, I've found that the Journey Girl tops fit standard 18" dolls perfectly, but the bottoms can be a little tight.

Humpty Dumpty bottom.
Most American Girl, 18" My Twinn, Our Generation and Springfield Collection tops and dresses will fit Dana nicely.

Springfield Collection dress.

American Girl dress.
Dana's vinyl chest is great for this dress, but the cut of the neckline is very wide for her slender frame.

Notice her funny head angles in these last two pictures:

Our Generation shirt.
However, Journey Girls are slender through the torso and hips, so standard 18" skirts and pants can be too loose in the waist for Dana:

Our Generation skirt...falling down.
Also, Journey Girl feet are narrower than American Girl feet, so American Girl shoes don't fit Dana very well:

I dressed Winter Dana in a combination of Journey Girl clothes and added in the fuzzy My Life panda hat that matches the black and white in this outfit:

Winter Dana's coat, shirt, tights and boots
with Paris Dana's skirt and a My Life As hat
I like this fleece coat, but it has a white net lining under the collar that sticks out and is difficult to conceal:

Bundled up like this, Dana was ready for a short trip out into the snowy and frigid woods here in Maine:

She wandered out onto some thin ice and was lucky not to fall in (we know what lurks in this stream...):

But I love how her smile radiates contemplative enthusiasm for her wintry surroundings...

Bottom line?  I was really expecting that the Journey Girls would be my favorites among the bargain 18" play dolls.  I am discouraged that my conclusion isn't that simple.  This doll has some frustrating flaws that hold me back from loving her as much as I thought I would.

Dana does not have awful hair, but the careless cutting, cumbersome styling gel and thin rooting pattern detract from what could have been great play doll hair.  As it is, Dana's hair is not as nice as the Our Generation doll hair, although I prefer the feel of this hair to the synthetic texture of the My Life doll hair.

Dana's body has a vinyl chest design that I really like and that makes a wide variety of tops look great.  I don't care for the visible seam between the vinyl neck and cloth body of dolls like American Girl and My Twinn.  However, both of my Dana dolls have body construction flaws that interfere with their posing and/or balance.  Under the best of circumstances, these dolls still have neck articulation that restricts head movement and arm joints with a plastic cup design that significantly limits shoulder flexibility.  Also, the shoulder joint was impossible for me to fix when it came apart.

I really like the style and construction of most of the Journey Girl clothes that I bought.  The clothes are more interesting and fun than My Twinn clothes and much cheaper than American Girl clothes.  I wish the Journey Girls could share clothes with other 18" dolls in a more reliable way, but the Journey Girl waist is narrow, which limits the sharing of pants and skirts.  The Journey Girl shirts and coats are wonderful and can be shared around nicely.  There's a lot of mix and match potential with these fun, multi-piece outfits.  Despite my overall appreciation for the clothes, the number of permanent stains on my two dolls is upsetting.  The facial stains on my Paris Dana are downright unacceptable and the herringbone hat should have been lined, displayed away from the doll's head, or removed from the ensemble completely.

At first glance, the two Dana dolls I bought seem to be identical except for their outfits.  They even have the same hairstyle and glasses.  However, after closer inspection, I feel that the older Winter Dana is superior (she's cheaper now, too, for those who are holiday shopping).  She did not have any facial staining, nor does her outfit put her at risk for that kind of damage.  Also, her vinyl color is more appealing to me, with a pinkish tone that is more natural and vibrant than the yellow tinge on the newer doll.  I like Winter Dana's outfit better, too, even with my fondness for Paris Dana's grey horse shirt.

I adore this doll's face and her beautiful blue eyes, and when she's bundled up in her cozy, attractive outfit, she seems wonderful.  I find her face more charismatic and sweet than any of the other inexpensive 18" dolls I've owned.  What's frustrating is how many flaws and shortcuts she's hiding.  Both of the Dana dolls I opened had imperfections that would make me pause before purchasing another Journey Girl.  I wish I could take Dana's lovely head, have Battat root her hair with the level of quality that they give to their Our Generation dolls, and replace the hard plastic articulation of her joints with a more durable, flexible alternative--while keeping the versatile vinyl chest.  That would be a pretty amazing doll.  Until a doll like that comes along, I'd recommend carefully hand-picking one of the older Journey Girls and avoiding outfits with dark clothing.


  1. She's gorgeous. Wish the hair quality were better.. She's much prettier thatn the MyTwinn, Carpatina, Battat dolls. I saw a girl at Walmart carrying one, a much loved and cared for Chavonne, and her hair was not in good shape despite it being carefully styled. But, oh, she was very pretty. I think that some of these lines could take a lesson from the eyes being used in JG as they just make for a far prettier doll. Some of those dolls look like zombies. It's all in the eyes.

    1. It's neat that you saw an older Chavonne at Walmart, Catherine! I love seeing dolls out in the real world once they've been loved for a while--it gives me a much better idea about how well they're made. Thank you for sharing that!

      I agree that the eyes are really important. I am very picky about doll eyes! :)

  2. I think she's really cute! Her eyes scare me a bit, though.

    PS. FIRST!!!

  3. The staining on those dolls is awful. That would be so disappointing for a child to get a doll like that! The rooting seems to really thin on most of them. My daughter has the African American one. That doll has thick springy curls so I think it is the only one that doesn't have the scalp showing through. That doll is actually quite cute and has held up well to a 3 year old dragging it around. It's too bad the others seem to have so many issues because their faces are really cute!

  4. That staining is horrendous, oh my god. If you want her to be able to wear her tights, soak in a large bowl of cold water with a cup of vinegar in for awhile, and then rinse thoroughly. Then voila, no more stains! I had to learn that one myself - thanks to Neth - because I got that handmade winter gear for my AG and the black tights stained her legs so bad I almost cried.

    She is a pretty doll, yes, but I dunno. I think I'll just gank outfits for the AG gang from them and leave the dolls to everyone else. Thanks for the review!

    1. Soak what in vinegar, the doll or the tights? I have the same staining problem, but with a different vinyl doll. The clothing doesn't stain any more after a good wash with detergent and conditioner.

  5. I've heard of people having success with removing stains like that from doll vinyl with Oxy 10, an acne cream with 10% benzoyl peroxide, and leaving them in the sun. I know it works on similar stains left on Monster High dolls like the stains Heath's oven mitt left on his hand, so it might be worth a try to save your Dana!

    1. Yes, Oxy10 with benzyl peroxide will take out most staining. When my Favorite Friends Fashionista arrived she had maroon and black staining on her arms, legs and torso from the clothes she was wearing. I covered the stain with Oxy10, covered that with clingfilm (you call it Saran wrap I think) and left her in the hot sun for hours, covered up with a towel except for the bits that needed bleaching. With several days' treatment I got 95% of the stains out - and they were really bad when I started.

    2. I've heard that, too! I found it online when I was bidding on a badly ink-stained (but adorable) doll. I am really curious about how well it might work. Thank you for the tip, Christina! :)

    3. I completely removed blackish stains from a Tonner Sydney using acne cream and sunshine. I wish doll companies could come up with a way to solve this problem.

  6. Oh wow. Now I feel really bad, I bought my daughter a journey girl Kelsey & compared to this she came out perfectly.

    1. Don't feel bad--that's wonderful! :D Kelsey is beautiful and I am really glad she doesn't have any serious issues.

    2. My daughter has a Kelsey doll since last Christmas and it is her favorite!!! Goes everywhere with her and she takes excellent care of it, however, her nose, chin, toes and fingers started to discolor about 1 month ago. I called Toys R Us and they refunded our money but that doesnt solve the problem of the doll discoloring. I tried everything!!! Looks like dirt but I think it is a dark color coming from underneath:( My daughter is getting so many accessories for her this Christmas and the doll is getting worse:( Not sure what to do???

  7. Thanks for reviewing these... I was kind of curious about them, now I know it's probably best for me to just stay away. :( Sorry about your staining and sudden amputation! I almost wonder if it might be worth trying to re-root a journey girl's hair. Of course, that would require removing the old hair, getting new hair and learning how to re-root. :P And I'm pretty sure her head is much harder than the squishy, easy to re-root Monster Highs or Barbie. Happy December!
    ~Muzzy ♥

    1. Happy December, Muzzy! :D The staining is bad, but I have to take full responsibility for the amputation! I get too curious. ;) I considered re-rooting for a moment--she would really benefit from some thick, nice hair. It might even work to just add more plugs to her current hair and increase the thickness a bit. It'd be impossible to perfectly match the color, but a contrasting color might give her pretty highlights!? Hm.. You're right about the head, though--it's very hard. I almost wish she was wigged because it's much easier to replace a bad wig!

    2. If you wanted her to have a wig, you could always just shave off the old hair and put on a wig (evil grin). Sorry about her staining, that sucks! Anyhow, nice review!

  8. Hi Emily!

    I'm so happy to see a new review from you! I feel like I haven't commented on any of your posts for a while, which I'm sorry for -- I was hospitalized last month.

    Anyway, this was a fun review to read! I didn't find Dana's face appealing at first - I preferred the looks of the other girls, especially Callie - but it grew on me by the end of the review, probably due to all your wonderful pictures.

    I feel what would make Dana a lot cuter to me would be some thick, dark brown eyebrows - her current eyebrow color just blends in and doesn't match her hair color at all! And I think thicker brows would give her a lot of character.

    I was admittedly amused by Dana's purple stains, because I thought they looked like tiny bruises (I think bruises are pretty) or some tropical disease. And with her amputated arm, she could be an sick and injured dolly!

    Dana looks super cute bundled up in her winter outfit, tromping around in the snow. With some improvements in quality, these girls could be really special! Maybe this line would be worth another look in the future?

    Hey, at least you got some cute clothes out of your adventures with Dana, yeah? Especially that horse shirt!

    Thanks for the great post! Hope you're doing well and having a lovely holiday season. (⌒∇⌒)

    -Lissy (I finally signed up for this site with my Google account so I could follow you!)

    1. Hi Lissy! I hope you are doing ok--sorry to hear that you were hospitalized. :(

      You're right about the eyebrows! I could easily add in some darker (make thick?) brows with a pencil. Her coloring definitely needs darker brows. I will try that, and maybe post a picture of it comes out well! Thank you for the suggestion. I love these comments because I have so many new ideas for how to make Dana better!

      The spots definitely look like bruises or petechial hemorrhages (small broken capillaries). Especially because they're very purple and not black. I like trying to think of them as beauty marks, but with that color they seem more malignant.

      I do love the clothes--especially the coats! I had a doll coat shortage around here and the Journey Girls have helped with that considerably. You're right that I especially love having that horse shirt. :) Overall, I am glad to have Dana. The older version, especially, when she's all dressed up and just displayed around the house is very cute and personable.

      I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season, too, Lissy! It's great to have you following the blog. :)

  9. Even if I'm not into 18' dolls, I love reading your reviews of so many different lines,and it's always interesting :)

    I hope you can fix her shoulder. Did you try to get the vinyl softer with warming it with an hairdryer? Maybe it will be easier to put back in place?

    1. That's a good idea! I thought about warm water, but didn't want to get water trapped in her arm. I had not considered a hair dryer, though! That might be the trick. I will definitely try it--thank you for the suggestion! :)

  10. I think that she has such a cute face and her outfits are great. I also love the journey theme and that they use real girls in the photos on the packaging. I'm not crazy about the seam on the neck of many of the 18'' dolls either but I also don't like a rigid, hard, full vinyl torso. So, she should be just right... What a shame that not enough thought and care has been put into her hair and protecting her from staining. You should give the Oxy 10 a try. Blythe is very prone to staining and everyone seems to use that to fix her up. Having said all of that, I think that $30 is a good price for this doll and she would make a great first doll for a younger doll fan just starting out with 18'' dolls. Thanks for the review Emily. x

  11. I originally brought Kyla about 2 years ago, but never removed her clothes. She came with black leggings. I found a dress I really liked for her and when I removed her tights her legs were stained from the black tights. I was very disappointed. I decided to buy a new about 2 months ago, and since she had black socks I was afraid her ankle would be stained. I opted to buy Chavonne, I fell in love with her face mold and she did not have on tights or stocking. As soon as I got home I removed her dress and was totally disappointed, she has stains from her blue dress all over. I really like these dolls because the upper part of their body is vinyl. I won't be buying another because of the staining. Since Chavonne is dark complexion will the Oxy 10 work, or will it discolor her. I really want to save both dolls.

    1. Comment hopping here, sorry Emily!

      I wouldn't risk the Oxy10 on a black doll, because Oxy10 can bleach vinyl, so I'd give it a miss on Chavonne. It should be okay on Kyla though.

  12. I thought Kelsey would be you're choice and I was pleasantly surprised to see it was Dana. I love the eyes of these dolls they are so nice compared to other play lines. I agree about the skin tone on the older doll looking more realistic, and I'm curious to see if this vinyl change is permanent.
    As mentioned before an acne cream with peroxide in it should work on the staining. I bought an AG Emily off of eBay with ink stains all over her feet and legs. With time it took the stains off, just be careful to not get any on the cloth part it will put bleach spots on it.
    Thanks again for another great review.

  13. We have the same taste. Dark hair? Glasses? Paris? Yipeeee! She would have been my choice too. But, the Journey Girls have to many flaws for me to go out and purchase one. After experiencing and learning the Kidz 'N Catz articulation, the high quality of AG Molly, her clothing, furniture, and accessories, and yes, I am now awaiting MY own 18" BFF Twinn. We'll ca;; her Aubrey. She was done in 1 day. I thought she was the wrong doll, but it turns out she was an in-house head, whatever that means. All I know is that banner, "Buy an 18" little sister for your 23" My Twinn doll" was enough to hook me in. I'm too old to fall for that marketing loy, but I ended up buying both my Audrey dolls (little is Aubrey) matching glasses, denim dresses, and sneakers. I chose the outfit you chose. I have high hopes after seeing Annie. I want to come over and squeeze her. Since I also like traveling dolls, she's much easier to carry around than a two foot tall inch girl! I can be either mold - Catherine or Audrey - it depends if you look at her jawline or her profile and nose. I want to stick Audrey's nose on Catherine's face. Or give Audrey Catherine's laugh lines around her mouth. So, your idea of blending the best of all doll lines into 1 incredible doll still is out there. I'd love My Twinn facial realism, American Girl hair and clothing quality, Kidz 'N Catz articulation and the styling capabilities of My Salon Doll. PS - are you interested in Alexis O'Shay from Via-e by Ellen. That big grin of hers is growing on me and she has abundant rooted hair, can get wet, has fingerprints, ankle bones, collar bones, Kidz 'N Catz articulation but not as intricate, very well done. She combines a lot of the features collectors have come to appreciate. Just a heads up at the start of the Holiday shopping season. If only Dana's purple marks would have been brown, she could have had lots of freckles.

  14. Oh, I just love her face! It's too bad about the many quality issues. That staining is totally unacceptable, especially on her face. That would be a 'return' issue for me. I would consider buying some of the clothes for My Salon Doll (dontcha think they'd fit?) but I'd be nervous about the staining. Might try the vinegar trick posted above.

    1. Hi Steph--yes! The clothes fit My Salon Dolls really nicely! I forgot to include this in my review. In fact, even the shoes fit! :D Thank you so much for the reminder.

      I might try the vinegar trick, too. I'd love to feel more comfortable sharing these nice clothes around with no staining worries.

  15. That's strange. I have a Dana and none of these things popped up. Maybe I was just luckey?

  16. I bought Kyla for my daughter and got one for her friends birthday as well. Overall very pretty doll! For the price great deal, hair can be styled little thin though on top. We both like Dana and Chevon so thanks for the review so we can be aware of markings, I would have wanted to take back if all that purple would have been on her doll! Still journey girl dolls have such pretty face to me!

  17. Also want to pop in here and mention that you should try a product called Remove-Zit by Twin Pines, followed up with their Formula-911.
    This stuff was specifically designed to remove stains and mold from vinyl dolls and action figures, I've heard it's amazing. It doesn't need hot sunshine to work, just keep the doll warm to improve the results. They've got some detailed instructions on their website.

    I agree that the level of staining on these dolls is unacceptable, a child would be horribly disappointed when they discovered it. I know I would have been! It's also a shame that her hair is so badly rooted, and that her articulation is so limited. The Journey Girls line has some faces that appeal to me more than most 18" dolls.

  18. Yay, new review! I check all the time for new reviews, and tonight I was pleasantly surprised! Another fantastic, fun read with a great deal of attention paid to details I wouldn't normally notice.

    I'm currently deeply embroiled in a Little Apple Doll obsession (learned about them here, thank you!) and a Pullip obsession, which, obviously, means I may end up living in a cardboard box. Would it be possible to mail dolls to you for possible reviews? I know that may seem pushy, but there are some NRFB Pullips I have in my collection that I would LOVE to get your take on.

    1. Oh! Speaking of which! The Series 5 Little Apple Dolls were finally announced!

      I think Nix is especially stunning.

    2. I have the doll with the horse shirt and she does not have any facial staining. I wonder if the your dolls stains are due to something other the just the dye from her clothing. Could if have anything to do with the temperature she was kept in at the store or warehouse? Some of my dolls devoped purple stains last summer after being stored in a hot room.

  19. I have one Journey Girl, a Kelsey, and I've never had any problems with her getting stained and she's been in a jeans for a few months now. I will keep an eye on it though. I have found that the Journey Girls generally have poorer quality hair than some of the other 18inch dolls, but I love their facial sculpts. They remind me of 11 to 12 year olds, a little older than the AG dolls. I do wish they could share more clothing with My Generation, because while the My Generation dolls scare me (I can't help but think they look like they'd come to life at night and hurt me), I do love some of their clothing. A friend of mine has bought My Generation outfits and been able to alter them to fit Journey Girl's and Carpetina (sp?) dolls, depending.

  20. You should check out the new Beatrix Girls dolls. There is a green eyed redhead doll that I'm sure you would love. :) Plus all these 18" dolls are kinda creepy to me. >.<

  21. Hi, i second Oxy10. I got rid of all staining on my Dolfie Dream. Put generous amount of it on stain and put under desk lamp. Worm make it work better and faster.

  22. She's cute, but I agree that those flaws are a distraction. I recently received a Madam Alexander doll and her hair, while thick and pretty, was horrible out of the box, hard to brush, and may need a slight trim.

    On another note, it would be nice if you were able to love and play with Paris Dana as she is. There are many little girls out there with a similar disability, so seeing a collector being happy with a one-armed doll would be great.

  23. Does anyone have any idea why it is impossible to buy a Journey doll in Canada right now. I've been looking for about a month. I've heard rumors of re-calls but can find nothing on the internet. My daughters Santa list is asking for a journey doll with glasses and it looks like it will not find it's way under my tree?

  24. Did you happen to see Jordanna, the new special edition journey girl, in person? I think she's very pretty, but wasn't sure if she was worth her higher price tag.

    1. I did see her, yes. She has a fancy, dark blue gown and a pretty face and definitely looked tempting displayed in her box. I think what stopped me from buying her is her hair--the highlights didn't seem natural to me. Brown with lighter blonde streaks, as I recall, but the streaks were too distinct--not blended in. Also, as beautiful as the dress looked, I am not that interested in a ball gown for this style of doll. I have to say, though, that the five or six dolls in stock sold out very quickly, so apparently many people found her too lovely to resist!

    2. I purchased Jordanna for my daughter for Christmas, she is beautiful but after we took her out of the box and handled her we noticed blue marks on her skin. I believe the color from the dress transferred from our hands to her skin when handling her. I have now removed the dress and soaked in water and vinegar in hopes that will stop anymore transfer and will try the trick suggested about the zit cream and sun (no sun here right now). I am hopeful the marks will come off but not very happy as this doll was double the price of the others as it was the special edition. I told me daughter not to put any journey girl doll clothes on her AG doll or her Newberry dolls.

  25. My daughters have Kelsey and Meredith. We purchased them in 2011. So far, they've mostly stood the test of time. (One of them as a few stray pen marks on her from a baby brother, but mostly they are still good.) Both dolls have long hair and it's my guess that the length hides the rooting issues because it's a lot less noticable on them than on your Dana doll. Also, both of our dolls can tilt their heads all over the place and hold any head position. I don't know if that's an older jointing method that yours didn't have or what, but ours have a very nice range of movement in the neck.

    My daughter's Kelsey doll lost a leg on the first day we had her. She was heart broken and like you, I was pretty sure I could never reattach the leg. In the end, I pulled the cup part out of the arm with some needle nose pliers. Then I heated it up with a blow drier until it was a little softer and managed to get it all back together while it was warm/hot. I hasn't popped out again and none of the other limbs on either doll have had to be repaired. I added a tiny bit of super glue on the inside while it was open and it makes the movement stiffer, though not any less "articulated" than before. I mention this in case some other reader ends up with the same problem.

  26. Hi Emily,

    I am writing from France, and I just wanted to say that I really like your blog and all the nice reviews you do about dolls ! It is so interesting for all the doll collectionners, we are several Frenchpeople who like your reviews ! :)

    I too recently had problems of black stains from black trousers with my new doll Hannah from Götz, I think you should have returned the doll to the vendor. I know about the acne cream, it works pretty well but takes a long time to remove the stains though...

    As for the yellowish vinyl, maybe it is due to the new composition, which is most often now phtalate-free !



  27. Someone on Flickr recently did a test on harder plastic and vinyl dolls to remove those dark clothing stains. She soaked the pieces in CLR Outdoor Furniture Cleaner and it lightened the stains after a couple of hours. She even soaked them for 24 hours to see how the materials would react and there was no damage or reaction to them. Just a suggestion for trying to remove those stains.

  28. You can easily get the arm back over the cup by heating the top part where the armhole is in boiling water and then slipping it back over the cup, you may need some assistance with a metal skewer or something similar to get the last part over the cup, but it can be done.
    I know this as we just performed major surgery on our daughters Kelsey doll. The cup had completely broken off, so this is what we did:
    1. Undo the stitching from the back and pull out the stuffing
    2. Remove the plastic disc that covers the plastic chest cavity off from the fabric part
    3.Then remove the joint and find a screw that will fit and be sturdy enough to hold it all back together
    4.Drill a hole in the joint big enough for the screw and then do a test screw, to make sure it's going to work.
    5.Place the arm joint back into the doll and hold it in place with pliers so that it won't move while you screw it back together.
    6.Place the cup over the joint and screw the whole thing back together.
    *7.Reheat the armhole in boiling water so that you can slip it back over the cup.
    8.Replace plastic disc that covers the hole between the plastic chest cavity and the fabric body.
    9. Re-stuff dolly's body and stitch her back up.
    VOILA!! You're done!!
    I hope this will be helpful for someone. I'm just sorry I never took photographs while we were doing it, so people can see what we were actually doing. :)

  29. I have read that Clearsil, that acne stuff, can help remove stains from dolls. And do you think a vinegar soak might help lock the colour in the dark garments so that they no longer stain?

  30. You are my aspiration , I possess few blogs and rarely run out from to brand.I believe this web site holds some very fantastic info for everyone. “Je veux que les paysans mettent la poule au pot tous les dimanches.” by King Henry IV of France.

  31. Recently picked up a preloved Dana wearing only the purple T-shirt. Found the texture and feel of her hair to be nice. However, it was so badly hacked that I'd assumed she'd been given a haircut by a child. After reading your review, though, it seems more likely that this was her NIB cut. As it was much longer on one side than the other, it was necessary to trim it to even it. Then, I used a low heat curling iron... turning the hair under for a body wave. Her hair plugs seem less noticeable than pics I've seen of many JG heads.

    My doll had no stains or marks. Beautiful eyes.

    She has a very stiff neck. To try to turn her head, a firm grasp is required. Also, her head has a tendency to tilt slightly upwards.

  32. In the past couple years I've become somewhat of a doll addict and have bought up many dolls, at first, to send to orphanages and give out at soup kitchens. Unfortunately, I am hooked on buying them and get too attached to some of them that I don't know if I will be able to part with them any time soon. But just today, I was looking to give away a some Kelsey and Dana dolls and decided not to because they looked like they needed Rogaine! I put the dolls side by side and different Kelseys had much different number of hair plugs. I didn't look at the neck to see if it was a model year issue of not, but it looked like a cost cutting effort. Looking for options online was what brought me to this site tonight. It makes me very disappointed that the same dolls that I purchased for about the same price could be so different. Even the better ones aren't as good as the Journeys on my shelves. Just because a child is from a poor family or, in some cases, has never owned a toy in her life is no reason to give the child a doll that looks defective. Even if I re-rooted the dolls, the result would be the same due to lack of holes. Adding more holes might result in cracks like I have seen through the plug holes in some of the dolls. I guess a doll wig would be the way to fix the issue. I'd hate to throw out a doll because her hair is bad, but fixes may end up being cost prohibitive. Maybe there is a doll repair raining program somewhere by an organization like Goodwill that would fix donated dolls for re-sale. The biggest doll mistake I made was telling someone who said they weren't going to send a doll I offered to purchase because they realized it smelled like smoke. I told the person I didn't care. I have tried a lot of different products that are supposed to absorb or neutralize smoke odor. Currently, she is in solitary confinement through no fault of her own.

  33. lurkins working through the blogNovember 2, 2020 at 5:40 PM

    Reading this now, with lots of JG dolls in my collection, I'm actually really pleased to see that, unlike a lot of other doll brands, JG has actually improved over time. They changed the joints so that the heads can be tipped up and down and the joints are more durable, all of my dolls have their legs and heads on straight, they've begun lining all dark-colored outfits to prevent staining, and they've even introduced some non-plastic shoes. There's another blogger (My Journey Girl Adventures) who has done extensive reviews of these dolls for several years, and I figure the company must read this stuff, because I see them actually addressing the flaws. There's still problems - wonky eyes, for instance, are more common than you'd want or expect - but I wonder if they saw this post and someone said, "We should change the joint design." It's different from the normal toy development trend. (Decent -> great -> declining -> bad -> out of business)