Showing posts with label Toys R Us. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Toys R Us. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Kidz by Götz

I haven't made much of a dent in clearing out my doll room yet, but I did find three 18-inch treasures a few weeks ago.  Two of the dolls I found are Happy Kidz from the German Götz company.  I bought them in January of 2016...although it feels like yesterday.  Happy Kidz are not sold in the United States, and so I shopped online at My Doll Best Friend, a fantastic London-based store that happily ships to Maine.  The third doll is an FAO Schwarz Classic doll that was also made by the Götz company.  I found her on sale at Toys R Us way back when Toys R Us was still a thing and when they were still carrying 18-inch FAO Schwarz dolls.  I think it was around six years ago.

All of these dolls are variants on the Götz Hannah line (formerly called the Sarah line) which I've been coveting for over a decade.  Most of my recent coveting occurred while gazing at the beautiful pictures on the My Doll Best Friend blog, which, if you've never seen it, is well worth a visit.  Or many visits.  Here's a link.

The FAO Schwarz Classic dolls came out in 2011 and are essentially Hannah dolls that were made for the United States market.  The Happy Kidz, first introduced in 2012, are very similar in size and proportion to the Hannah dolls, but they have different face molds and extra joints.  Here's Clara, one of my Happy Kidz:

Götz Happy Kidz doll, Clara, £85.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Fan Girl Black Panther and Black Widow by Madame Alexander

During my final shopping trips to Toys 'R' Us a few weeks ago, I purchased a few things to review in depth, including two of Madame Alexander's Marvel Fan Girl dolls: Black Panther and Black Widow.  The Black Panther character was sold out at my local store, but she was still in stock online (and even on sale!).  So, I purchased Black Widow in person and ordered Black Panther online.  Black Panther took forever to ship, but I feel fortunate to have ordered her before the Toys 'R' Us website shut down.  These dolls were Toys 'R' Us exclusives.

One interesting thing about the Fan Girl line is that each character has a variant that's harder to find than the standard-release version.  These variants are called Fan Girl Finds and have specially-marked boxes.  The Fan Girl Finds cost the same as the other versions of the same doll.  For reasons I don't completely understand (movie popularity?), both of the Black Panther variants cost considerably more than the other dolls.  Toys 'R' Us sent me the Fan Girl Find variant of Black Panther ($79.99) and I purchased the regular version of Black Widow ($49.99).

In this review, I will take a close look at my Black Panther doll and do a quick overview of Black Widow.

Black Panther Fan Girl, gold variant ($79.99).

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Goodbye, Toys Я Us

For a while I thought that my beloved Toys 'R' Us store in South Portland would stay open while other branches around the nation closed...but it looks like all Toys 'R' Us locations are closing or being sold, and even the website has been shut down to future orders.  It's officially the end of an era.

I didn't want the occasion to pass without doing something, so I decided to take a few trips to the store and bask in the feeling of being in such a large space, entirely surrounded by toys.  I don't know when I might get that feeling again.

I visited two weeks ago (before the closeouts started) and then again this Friday.  I bought a few things that I'll review really quickly today, and a few other things that will get bigger reviews in the near future.  I'll mostly just pretend that you were there shopping with me, and show you what caught my eye as I wandered through the familiar aisles for the last time.

I'll start with a picture that I took last summer.  This is the temporary Toys 'R' Us that was set up in Times Square for the holidays:

Temporary Toys 'R' Us branch in Times Square, 2017.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

American Girl Create Your Own Clothing

As many of you know, I'm waiting for the arrival of my redheaded Create Your Own American Girl doll, Eliza.  I expect her to ship sometime in mid-November.  When I ordered Eliza back in late August, I also ordered a few custom outfits for her, just to see what the quality is like.  These items all arrived at the beginning of this week and I thought I would quickly show you what they look like in person.

Since Eliza herself can't model these clothes yet, I've asked Keira and Melody to step in and help out:

Design Your Own clothing by American Girl.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday Surprise: Blind Bag Spirit Riding Free Horses!

Before I dive into today's review, I thought I'd mention that my Create Your Own American Girl clothing is on its way (it shipped--as promised--just shy of a month from when I ordered it) and should arrive sometime next week.  I'm excited to see how the outfits look in person!  I still don't expect Eliza herself to arrive until mid November.

In the meantime, I thought this Sunday would be a great time to write a companion piece to my Spirit Riding Free review from last week.  In this post, I'll contrast the blind bag surprise horses that are being offered by Breyer and Just Play.  I also have a few non-mystery Spirit toys that I want to share, including two unexpected Just Play horses that I found at Toys R Us today, and a small horse and rider set from Breyer.

To start things off, here's a sneak peek at one of the Breyer blind bag horses--this is Spirit himself!

Breyer Spirit Riding Free blind bag Stablemate, Spirit.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Disney's Rapunzel from Tangled: The Series

Over the years, I've chronicled my increasing frustration with the Disney Store and its Classic Princess dolls.  My problem with the company centers primarily around their inability to design functional and durable knee joints.  That was not a huge deal back when the dolls cost $13, but now that the prices have crept up and the limbs have gotten more fragile...I think it's a big deal.  In fact, I was so exasperated with this trend that I decided to stop reviewing Disney Store dolls altogether.  But--as many of you know--I made an exception to that rule when the live action Belle doll was released last spring.  My love for the Belle character inspired me to try and take a fresh-eyed look at the doll.  Sadly, even when I ignored Belle's predictably bad knees, she still disappointed me in other ways.  I figured that review would surely mark my last Disney Store purchase.  Wrong again!

Back in May, during my Bratz Secret Date review, Sév and Dmitry encouraged me to consider the Disney Store's 10.5-inch Tangled:The Series version of Rapunzel.  They told me that this doll has a completely new body, with--wait for it--a new knee joint design.  I've literally been waiting five years to write those words.  Not only that, but it's a Rapunzel doll, and I love Rapunzel even more than I love Belle.  So, I broke my promise to myself one more time and bought another Disney Store doll:

review
The Disney Store's Rapunzel from Tangled: The Series, $19.95.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Shibajuku Girls By Hunter Products

It's become a bit of a yearly tradition for me to make the toy store rounds just before Thanksgiving.  I always like to see what's out there for the holiday shopping crowds, and this year I was also trying to find a Hatchimal.  I did not find a Hatchimal (no surprise), but I did have a fun time looking through the impressively well-stocked South Portland Toys R Us.  I've never seen this particular store so full of toys.

I had a great time wandering through all of the aisles, looking at the dolls and eavesdropping on earnest conversations and negotiations between little kids and their parents.  So sweet.  I also enjoyed seeing the new American Girl display, which takes up half of the front of the store now (and has displaced the Journey Girls completely).  I got to see all of the WellieWishers characters and admire the ocean-loving Camille in person (her hair looks great!).  It was a wonderful, indulgent morning.

As much fun as I was having on this outing, though, I found very few new items that I was interested in buying.  Then, finally, on my second sweep of the Lalaloopsy aisle, I spotted a doll I'd never seen before--jammed in between the boxes of a different brand.  She had pink hair and looked vaguely like a Pullip.  The box revealed that she was a Shibajuku Girl by Hunter Products.  I scoured all of the doll aisles one more time, looking for this doll's original shelf.  Finally I found it: a spot on the very bottom row, tucked away and easy to miss.  There were five or six more Shibajuku Girls there, some of the boxes tipped on their sides, some obscured by Miraculous Ladybug merchandise.  I hunkered down in the aisle and carefully inspected all of the characters.  After about twenty minutes of analysis and deliberation, I left with a big smile on my face and Shibajuku Yoko tucked under one arm:

Shibajuku Girl "Yoko" by Hunter Products, $29.99.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Madame Alexander's 9.5-inch Doll Factory Dolls from the (Closed) Manhattan F.A.O. Schwarz

There's a pretty long title for this review, so let me explain.  My boys and I were in Manhattan last week to visit family, and of course I was eager to check up on Toys R Us or F.A.O. Schwarz--outings that were canceled during our last trip because of my broken leg.  As I was trying to decide between these two flagship stores, my mom mentioned that the F.A.O. Schwarz store was closing--or had already closed, she couldn't remember.  I need to pay more attention to the world because this sad news took me completely by surprise.  I panicked a little and immediately wanted to head uptown to see if the store was still open (and if there were any toys left in stock).

As a matter of fact, the Manhattan F.A.O. Schwarz store closed its doors on July 15, just two days after our visit.  F.A.O. Schwarz has had a store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan for over 100 years (21 years at 303 Fifth Avenue, 55 years at 735 Fifth Avenue and 31 years across the street at 767 Fifth Avenue).  The location has become a beloved stop for me and my family over the last few decades--made even more appealing to my growing boys with the arrival of the Apple Store as a next-door neighbor in 2006.

My eldest son, my mom and I all went to pay the store our last respects.  I'll share a little bit of that visit with you, and I'll also review the two dolls that my mom bought for me while we were there.  Even before we arrived at the store, I knew which dolls I was hoping to find: the customizable 9.5-inch Doll Factory girls by Madame Alexander.  I have been eyeing these cuties for years and, as far as I know, they were only available at the F.A.O. Schwarz brick-and-mortar store.  This means that the dolls are--temporarily--no longer available.  Much to my relief, even though most of the doll brands were sold out by the time we arrived, the Doll Factory was still functional...kind of, and the smaller dolls were on sale for around $20.

9.5-inch Madame Alexander Doll Factory doll from F.A.O. Schwarz.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Lalaloopsy Girl "Spot Splatter Splash" by MGA

I've said this before, but I am not a big fan of the traditional Lalaloopsy dolls.  I like the mini dolls a lot, but the larger characters are not my thing.  I think they look very enticing in the store--with their cute faces and clever, colorful, diverse themes, but I have never fully bought into the idea of a plastic "rag" doll.  The dolls don't seem especially cuddly to me, and they can't stand (or even sit) on their own, which limits how they can be used for play.  Because of this opinion, I don't review very many Lalaloopsy products.

Recently, several of you have recommended that I purchase one of MGA's new 9-inch dolls from the "Lalaloopsy Girls" collection.  I've noticed these dolls in passing a few times at Target and Toys R Us over the last few months, but couldn't initially appreciate the appeal.  I mean, how many sizes of Lalaloopsies do we need?  Besides, it didn't look like these new dolls would be able to stand on their own any better than the originals--a feature that would irritate me in a fashion-style doll.

It was actually a comment over on Facebook that convinced me to open my mind and finally take a closer look at these dolls.  Tanya's comment mentioned that she, too, was skeptical about the dolls at first, but ended up falling hard for these spaghetti-limbed newcomers.  I took her words to heart and bought the Lalaloopsy Girls version of "Spot Splatter Splash:"

Lalaloopsy Girls "Spot Splatter Splash"
Lalaloopsy Girls "Spot Splatter Splash," $14.99.

Monday, September 15, 2014

New Kitty Surprise by Just Play

Once again, I got sidetracked from another review I am writing because of a routine stop at Toys R Us.  I don't regularly check the stuffed animal section at this store, but the other day there were no new dolls to look at, and so I wandered into some less-frequented aisles.  To my amazement, I saw three pink boxes with Kitty Surprise plush inside!  I absolutely love surprises, and so this is one of my favorite toys of all time.

The "Surprise" line of stuffed toys started way back in the early 1990s with vinyl-faced plush dogs, cats, ponies, bears and bunnies that came with an undisclosed number of babies in their bellies.  The original animals were released by Hasbro.  Playskool (a division of Hasbro) re-introduced the line in 2005 with a few changes.  The new animals (only cats, dogs and rabbits this time) did not have vinyl faces and resembled more typical stuffed toys.  A couple of years ago, I looked at some of the Puppy Surprise toys that were made by Playskool in 2005.  Those toys didn't last long on the market, and so when they were discontinued, I figured we had heard the last of this brand.

As it turns out, the line has now been turned over to Just Play (whose Doc McStuffins doll I recently reviewed), and the design has gone back to a vinyl-faced version similar to that of the original toys.  So far, there are only dogs and cats in this new collection.  I found several of the cats at my local Toys R Us, and thought the pink and white kitty, "Snow," was especially cute:

Kitty Surprise Just Play
Kitty Surprise "Snow," by Just Play, $24.99.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What Were They Thinking?

This is not a typical review, I just want to quickly show you two dolls that I saw last week at Toys R Us.  When I first laid eye on these two, I had a hard time believing what I was seeing.  Both of them have potty humor themes to one degree or another, which is not something I can say I've seen very often (if at all?) in the mainstream doll world.  I ran into both of these dolls on the same day, at the same store, within about three minutes of each other.  This left me scratching my head and wondering if I was in some kind of crude alternate reality.  I actually bought one of the dolls--so that I could show her to you, but also because most things about her are very cute and ordinary.  She's a Moxie Girlz doll with bright red hair and a colorful pet unicorn.  She cost me $14.95.

Poopsy Pet Kellan doll
Moxie Girlz "Kellan"...and her pet (by MGA Entertainment).

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Monster High "Jane Boolittle"

The poll results are in and the majority of you wanted to see a review of the fabulous new Monster High character, Jane Boolittle.  Barbie's redheaded friend Midge was a close second place in the poll, though, so I will try to review her soon.

Since I have talked about Monster High dolls so many times before, I can just get right down to business and introduce the lovely Miss Jane, who gets her second cover shot in a row!

Monster High Jane Boolittle
Monster High's "Jane Boolittle."

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).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Toys "R" Us and FAO Schwarz in Manhattan

I am back from a short trip to Manhattan and I'd love to share a few pictures with you while I get unpacked and organized for the next review.  My mom lives in New York City and so we visit every now and then--although nowhere near as often as I wish we did.  When my kids were little, trips to FAO Schwarz and the massive Toys R Us in Times Square were nice rest stops in between more educational outings.  Now that they are older, my boys are more interested in the Apple Store and the jazz scene, but I am still drawn to these two behemoths of toy retail.

I think Times Square is impressive no matter how many times you've seen it or how old you are.  Between the massive screens and billboards, the throngs of fascinating people, and the sidewalk sideshow-like attractions, there's always something unexpected.  On this visit, the scene that had me stopped in my tracks was this:

Times-Square-Toys