Friday, July 29, 2011

New Dolls at Target

I had heard on AG Playthings that Target had brought out a new line of 18" play dolls, so I decided to drive up there today and check it out. :)

The new dolls are called Play Wonder dolls, and have the same body style as the Madame Alexander play dolls (vinyl poseable head, vinyl arms, legs and chest, and cloth torso).  In fact, one of the sets of shoes had "Alexander" stamped in the sole, just like the shoes that my MA dolls came with.  Their face molds are the same as the Madame Alexander play lines in Sears and Kmart.  I don't care for their faces quite as much as the Friends Boutique or Alexander Girlz dolls, but they're not terrible.  I think the main problem I have with the face mold is they tend to paint such severe eyebrows on them.

The Play Wonder dolls are dressed in styles that are pretty Hannah Montana/ Disney Channel tweenish.  They are also a major throwback to the 80s...lots of tulle and neon! ;)  If you're into those styles, you'll be excited by the separate outfits being sold to complement the dolls.  Each outfit has 3 different "looks", made possible by mixing and matching the separates.  The outfits are selling for $16.99 each, and I believe the dolls were $24.99 (I was mistaken...they're actually $34.99).  There was also a set of 3 shoes:  furry boots, tennis shoes, and flip flops.

And that brings me to my next interesting point.  One of the dolls had feet that were visible (the rest were in boots or close-toed shoes), and I saw that the big toe was separated from the rest of the toes, making it possible for the dolls to actually wear flip flops and similar styles.  Her toenails were also a dark shade of pink! ;)

I haven't decided what I think about them yet.  Like I said, the face mold isn't my favorite, and the clothes aren't really my style.  I do kind of like the face on the African American girl with crimped hair.

I was hoping to get some pics of them for you, but I checked, and Target doesn't allow you to take pics in the store.  It was a nice thought...

Another interesting thing is that they've repackaged all of their Our Generation doll line.  They are now in open pink packaging.  If you have a local Target, you may want to stop by and check things out, because all of the OG stuff with older packaging is on sale.  There wasn't a whole lot left at my Target (I think the sale has been going on for a while), but they did have one wardrobe left for $38, 3 beds for $38 each, several outfits for $8.60 each, and 2 or 3 dolls for about $24 each.  It was VERY hard to leave the clearance aisle with an empty cart...but I did it! :)

When I was in the aisle with the Play Wonder dolls, I also noticed another new line of dolls.  These ones were 14" all-vinyl play dolls called the Hearts 4 Hearts girls.  They actually remind me a lot of Karito Kids.  They are dolls from all around the world, and when you buy a doll, a percentage of your purchase goes toward charity (sound familiar?).  They also have an online world that can be unlocked with the purchase of the dolls.  The company producing the dolls is Playmates, and they are affiliated with the well-known charity World Vision.  I found the online site linked to the dolls, which you can view HERE

I'm trying to decide what I think about these dolls, too.  My Target only had Nahji, Tipi, and Lilian.  As happens sometimes, I found that the faces were not as cute in person as they are on the box or online.  I thought Nahji and Tipi were pretty cute, though.  Lilian had a really spaced out look.  I think part of it was the huge, blue eyes staring at me. ;)  They were right next to the BFC, Ink dolls.  I thought they would make kind of cute little sisters for those dolls.

Has anyone else seen these?  Do you have any thoughts on them?  Feel free to comment below. :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Princess Sale at! :)

Hey everyone, just had to do another quick post.  I got an email from this morning, and right now they have a sale going on all of their Disney princess dolls.  Any Barbie-sized princess or prince dolls or their wardrobe sets are on a 2 for $20 sale.  This finally includes the Rapunzel and Flynn dolls...but more on this later.

The mini princess play sets are also on sale.  These are the ones I reviewed a while back (you can read the post here).  All of the mini princess sets are $15 each instead of their regular $19.50.  I had a difficult time locating the mini Rapunzel set...she didn't come up with the others, but she is there!  HERE is a direct link to Rapunzel's play set. :)  You can also get her in one of the sets of 4 princesses.  She comes with Jasmine, Snow White, and Cinderella.  Oh, and to help you avoid frustration, I've included a link to the mini doll play sets HERE .  Some of the mini play sets can be hard to find if you just look up "princess dolls".

The other princess items on sale are the 17" Singing Princess dolls.  They are normally $29.50 and are on sale for $15!  If I had some rewards dollars on hand, I'd totally go for this deal.  I've been wanting to try the singing Belle for a while. :)

I also noticed some Disney Princess and Me items on sale (not many...they've been on clearance for a while) and some plush Princess dolls, too. 

The 2 for $20 sale is a fairly recurring promotion at, but the other sales are definitely more rare.  I just wanted to let all of you know in case you'd been thinking about trying one of the princess dolls. :)  Click HERE to see the Disney Princess sale! :)  [Note:  there are a few items on this page that are not part of the sale.]

As I mentioned earlier, I did want to talk a little bit about the Flynn and Rapunzel dolls.  These dolls are not the same ones that I purchased (you can read my earlier review of my Eugene and Rapunzel here).  Disney is calling them the Flynn and Rapunzel "Classic Dolls".  Basically, this means that they have cheaper clothing and no extra accessories.  My Flynn had a knapsack that actually opened with Velcro and came with Rapunzel's tiara and a child-sized (albeit very small!) tiara to match.  My Rapunzel came with a hairbrush, a paintbrush, and an adorable Pascal that could sit on her hand.  Their clothes were amazing and extremely detailed.

The clothing on the new dolls looks pretty shoddy, to say the least.  I probably wouldn't notice it as much if I didn't have my dolls' clothing to compare it to, but still...come on, Disney!  How about a little more quality?  Rapunzel's dress is covered in glitter and has short sleeves.  The original Rapunzel doll dress was much closer to the movie dress.  The new Flynn's outfit just looks cheap from the pictures.  It's such a shame, because my Flynn/Eugene's outfit was so beautifully detailed and well-made.  In addition to this, the new Rapunzel and Eugene come with no extra accessories (except shoes for Flynn and a brush for Rapunzel).

As for the dolls themselves, Flynn seems to be unchanged.  Rapunzel has just a few changes.  She has painted on eyelashes (the first Rapunzel didn't), which makes her face a bit prettier.  She also does not have the iridescent strands in her hair like mine does.  This means her hair doesn't look like her magic glowing hair from the movie, but according to the two customer reviews on the site, it also sounds like it doesn't tangle as easily.  Her hair also appears to be a little bit shorter.     

Honestly, if I had the reward dollars, I'd almost be tempted to try the new Rapunzel, just to see the differences in her hair.  Her face is prettier, too.  But if I did, I would keep my original dress. 

Okay, this was supposed to be a short little post!  Of course, by now you all know how much I love to ramble. :}  If any of you decide to go for the new Rapunzel or Flynn, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the quality of the dolls. :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

A New Doll Comparison Post

I really enjoyed doing my first doll comparison post.  However, when I did that one, I was just getting started in the 18" doll world.  I didn't know as much then as I know now.  I also didn't have as many types of dolls to compare.  And, surprise surprise, my first doll review post was really wordy. :)  I'm hoping to make this one a little easier to skim...once I get past all of the initial explanatory stuff! :}  Now that I know a little more and have a better idea of how to do things, I thought it would be fun to do an updated doll comparison post.  :)

In this post, I'll be reviewing American Girl, Alexander Girlz, Madame Alexander Friends 4 Life, Karito Kids, and Gotz Little Sister dolls.  I will especially focus on how each of the last 4 dolls mentioned compare to American Girl dolls, since they are the most well-known doll brand.  I wish I still had my Magic Attic doll for this post.  I think that would have made a good comparison doll too...but oh well.  I'll just have to be satisfied with what I have (and I don't regret getting rid of my MA doll other than for review purposes...she didn't really fit my collection). :) 

This post took many hours of photography, measuring, comparing, and writing, so I hope you all enjoy it. :)

For each type of doll I'll have a list of facts about them, including body style, measurements, and so on.  After I've gone over each different doll, I'll have some photos comparing each doll to my American Girl (or AG) doll.

I wanted to clarify, too, that all of my measurements will not necessarily be 100% accurate.  I'm not a professional or a perfectionist by any means!!  Not to mention that measurements will likely vary between dolls of the same brand.  Just because one American Girl doll has certain measurements doesn't mean every American Girl doll will be exactly the same (especially since AG dolls have changed through the years, most notably when Mattel bought out Pleasant Company in 1998).  The same thing applies for the other doll brands.  Despite all of this, I figured that having an approximate measurement for each type of doll would be helpful to those of you who are seamstresses or doll customizers. :)

To help keep the measurements as accurate and understandable as possible, I took a picture of my measuring method for each doll body part. :)

The head measurements will probably be the most approximate, simply because it was hard to measure the head circumference over all that hair! :}  I tried to measure as close to the wig line as I could, since most people interested in doll head circumference are interested in re-wigging them. :)

When measuring the shoulders, I put the dolls arms straight down, as close to the body as possible.  Then I wrapped the measuring tape around the shoulders.

The arms were really tough because they were curved.  I started right after the socket and measured to the middle finger.  Oh, and for those of you who are wondering, when I did the actual measurements, I did pull the tape straight.  I just couldn't do that and take the pictures at the same time. ;)

When I measured the chest, I put the tape as close under the armpits as I could.

For the waist measurements, I put the tape as close to the middle of the body as possible, usually at the narrowest point.

For the hip measurement, I included the doll's buns and hips a bit above the leg sockets.  I hope this is helpful, because I realize that sometimes the thighs go out just a little farther. :{

When measuring the legs, I started right below the leg socket and measured down one side to the foot.

Feet (length): 
Okay, I realized after I took this picture that measuring this way wouldn't do any good.  I need to measure from the big toe (Duh!).  Sorry, I'm just a little slow on these things sometimes. ;)  After realizing my mistake, I went back and measured the doll feet from the big toe to the heel.   

Feet (width):   
I tried to measure at the widest part of the foot.

For each doll, I've mentioned the availability for purchase.  For dolls only available on the secondary market, some of my favorite places to check are eBay, Craigslist, the AG Playthings Message Board, or   You can also check your local thrift stores. :)

Okay, now that we got through that boring stuff, on to the actual dolls! :)

American Girl  (aka Charlie...renamed Mia St. Clair doll)
(I'm not going to go into as much detail on AG since most of my readers are very familiar with them!) ;)

- Head Circumference:  12"  (size 11-12 wig)
-Shoulders:  15"
-Arms:  6 3/4" long
-Chest:  slightly over 11"
-Waist:  10 3/4"
-Hips:  12 1/4"
-Legs:  7 3/4" long
-Feet:  2 1/2" long; 1 1/2" wide
-Total Height:  18" 

-Body Style:  Vinyl head, arms, legs; cloth body with neck string closure
-Eyes:  Beddy-bye style (they close when the doll is laid down)
-Body Tag: Most AG dolls have a side body tag, although some of the earlier Pleasant Company dolls don't.

-Distinguishing Marks:  "American Girl LLC" or "Pleasant Company" stamped on the back of the neck (see the picture below...sorry it uploaded sideways!) :}

-Availability:  Can be purchased at or on the secondary market


   1. Beautiful, high-quality dolls that are still easily available
   2. Lots of variety to choose from
   3. Historical dolls bring history to life

   1. Very expensive (and prices keep rising)
-Other Thoughts:  It's funny.  When I started this blog, I wasn't as into American Girl dolls.  I really loved my Gotz dolls and my 18" Madame Alexander dolls.  As I've gotten more into the 18" doll world, though, the irresistible pull of AG has gotten to me.  I love the variety of dolls, outfits, and accessories you can find.  I do all of my AG shopping secondhand (see "cons", reason #1), ;) but I find that even more exciting than just buying something at a store.  There's nothing like rescuing a trashed, forgotten doll and restoring it to its former glory.  And really, American Girl is what started my love for 18" dolls, all those years ago when I saw them at our school library.  There's just something about them that's so fun and likable. :)  I love finding dolls that look alike and coming up with my own family groups.

Gotz Little Sisters  (aka Tess)

-Head Circumference:  about 13" (size 12-13 wig)
-Shoulders:  16"
-Arms:  7" long
-Chest:  11 1/2"
-Waist:  11"
-Hips:  12 1/2"
-Legs:  8" long
-Feet:  2 1/2" long; 1 1/2" wide
-Total Height:  18"

-Body Style:  Vinyl head, arms, legs; cloth body with neck string closure
-Eyes:  Beddy-bye style
-Body Tag: none (at least on my doll); Precious Day dolls do have a side body tag like AG dolls

-Distinguishing Marks:  "305" or "305/16" stamped on the back of the neck (see picture below...sorry it's sideways!!)

-Availability:  No longer being made, but can be found on the secondary market. 

   1. Beautiful
   2. High quality hair and better quality than other knockoffs
   3. Unique
   4. Work great with AG dolls and can fit into most of their clothes
   5. Can be re-strung and repaired using the same methods for repairing AG dolls.

   1.Tend to be pigeon toed, so sometimes they are harder to stand up
   2. Can appear "hunchbacked" because of the way their cloth bodies are stuffed
   3. Tend to have problems with "cloudy pupil" (a milky white color that takes over the pupil of their eye)  [Side note here:  Not all second-hand sellers notice the cloudy pupil problem, so it's always important to ask about this when purchasing a Gotz doll over the Internet.]

-Other Thoughts:  The Gotz Little Sister dolls are some of my favorites.  They have beautiful, high-quality wigs, sweet faces, and are very compatible with American Girl dolls.  Gotz also made a line of 18" dolls called Precious Day dolls.  The main difference between the two lines is that the Precious Day dolls have rooted hair instead of wigged.  They also have slightly smaller eyes and a slightly different face mold.  The differences are so minute that you can hardly tell unless they are right next to each other.  For more information on Gotz 18" play dolls, you can read this excellent eBay guide HERE, written by eBay seller Debonair Designs. :)

Alexander Girlz  (aka Maggie)

-Head Circumference:  12 1/2" (12-13 wig)
-Shoulders:  14"
-Arms:  6 1/2" long
-Chest:  11 1/4"
-Waist:  10 1/2"
-Hips:  11"
-Legs:  8" long
-Feet: 2 1/2" long; 1 1/2" wide
-Total Height:  18 1/2"

-Body Style:  Vinyl, poseable head; vinyl legs, arms, and chest; cloth body
-Eyes:  Beddy-bye style
-Body Tag: Long tag on the left side, right at the waistline

-Distinguishing Marks:  "Alexander Doll Co" and year stamped on the back of the neck (see picture...sorry it's not very clear!) 

-Availability:  These are usually in stock at Costco around Christmas time for around $25.  Of course, I found mine at the thrift store for $4! :)  They can also be found through the secondary market.

   1. Very inexpensive
   2.  The most beautiful of the low-end play dolls (in my humble opinion). ;)
   3.  Great starter doll for little ones
   4.  Poseable head is great for doll photography
   5.  Their vinyl shoulders look much better in a sleeveless top than AG or other similar dolls with full cloth bodies.

   1. Very low-quality hair (I re-wigged Maggie).
   2.  The arms and legs seem to wear out quicker than AG or other more expensive dolls.
   3.  They can't be re-strung as easily because of their vinyl chest.

-Other Thoughts:  I really love my Maggie doll.  She has a sweet, expressive face that I love capturing on film.  The fact that her head is poseable allows for great, artistic photos.  I got one of these dolls for each of my 3 daughters as their starter dolls and was very pleased with the results.  While their hair is pretty bad, they can easily be re-wigged as needed.  Plus if you have a little one that wants a big girl doll, but you're reluctant to hand over $100 for it, this is the perfect doll for you.  You can't beat $25!! :)  The vinyl chest bothers some collectors, but I don't have a problem with it.  My only complaint with the different body style is that they can't be re-strung using the AG doll re-stringing methods.  I'll probably just have to send Maggie to a doll hospital of some kind if she ever falls apart! 

Madame Alexander Friends 4 Life (aka Melanie)

-Head Circumference:  12" (12-13 wig)
-Shoulders:  14"
-Arms:  6 1/2" long
-Chest:  11 1/4"
-Waist:  10 1/2"
-Hips:  11"
-Legs:  8" long
-Feet:  2 1/2" long; 1 1/2" wide
-Total Height:  18 1/2"  (note:  I did NOT include Melanie's hair in the measurement!) ;)

-Body Style:  Vinyl, poseable head; vinyl legs, arms, and chest; cloth body
-Eyes:  Beddy-bye style
-Body Tag: Long body tag on the left at the waistline

-Distinguishing Marks:  "2009 Alexander" stamped on the back of the neck (see picture below)

-Availability:  These were available at Walmart during 2009, but have now been replaced with the poseable "Madame Alexander Friends Boutique" dolls at Walmart (which are not as good, in my opinion).  FB are available for around $28, but if you want a F4L doll, check the secondary market.  I've seen a lot of them on eBay.

   1. Another fairly inexpensive, great starter doll for little ones
   2. Beautiful faces (especially the African American version!)
   3. Poseable head

   1. Low-quality hair
   2. These dolls have pretty huge heads compared to other 18" dolls, so if you're into having all of your dolls have the same proportions, this might not be the doll for you. :)

-Other Thoughts:  I definitely prefer these dolls to their newer Walmart counterparts, the Friends Boutique dolls.  While poseability is great in theory, the way they've made the FB dolls poseable makes them hard to stand up and makes them look rather silly with their hollow, bent limbs.  Not to mention that the FB dolls have an odd smell from their rubbery plastic arms and legs.  (You can read my review of my former Friends Boutique doll HERE.)  I much prefer the Friends 4 Life dolls.  They have the same sweet faces but stronger arms and legs, no funny smell, and are better starter dolls for little ones.

Karito Kids (aka Elena...renamed Pita doll)

-Head Circumference:  12" (12-13 wig)
-Shoulders:  13"
-Arms:  7 1/4" long
-Chest:  10"
-Waist:  about 10"
-Hips:  about 11 1/2"
-Legs:  9 1/2" long
-Feet:  just over 2 3/4" long; 1 1/4" wide
-Total Height:  20 1/2"

-Body Style:  Vinyl, poseable head; vinyl legs, arms, and chest; cloth body
-Eyes:  Stationary (do not open or close)
-Body Tag: Side body tag on the lower left hip

-Distinguishing Marks:  Year and "Kids Give" stamped at the back of the neck right at the hairline and also printed in black ink below (see picture below...sorry it's sideways!)

-Availability:  Discontinued; can be found on the secondary market.

   1. Beautiful, high-quality doll

   1. Their proportions are not the same as other 18" dolls, so next to some dolls they look like giants with small heads.
   2. Her clothes do not fit most 18" dolls, although she can fit into some of their clothes.

-Other Thoughts:  These dolls are absolutely stunning.  Pictures do not do their lovely faces justice.  Proportion-wise, they don't always fit with other styles of 18" dolls, but if that type of thing doesn't bother you, I would highly recommend them.

AG and Gotz Comparison

As you can see, these dolls have very similar body styles.  This isn't surprising since the Gotz company was the original maker of American Girl dolls.  Aside from slightly wider shoulders and a darker colored cloth body on the Gotz doll, they are practically identical.  The Gotz doll feet tend to be slightly larger than AG doll feet, so some AG doll shoes are a bit snug on them.  You can't tell very well from the pictures, but the Gotz bodies also tend to be stuffed more like the thicker-bodied Pre-Mattel AG dolls, so some modern Mattel AG clothing can be a bit tight on them.  Also, AG hats don't fit my Gotz dolls very well because they have bigger heads than AGs.

AG and Alexander Girlz Comparison

I was surprised how much taller Maggie looks than Charlie.  The Madame Alexander dolls do have a good 1/2" on the AG dolls.  Maggie has a much thinner cloth body, and her vinyl shoulders are slimmer as well, so some AG clothing is a bit loose on her.  It's not enough of a difference to look odd, though.  My AG dolls sometimes have a hard time fitting into skirts, pants or tights made for the Madame Alexander line because of the differences in waistline.  And Tess (my Gotz doll) can't even get Maggie's pants or skirts up over her bottom!!!  [Poor Tess.  I know what it's like to have friends that are skinnier than you!]  Maggie's feet are pretty much exactly the same size as AG doll feet, so shoes can easily be shared between them.  AG hats don't always fit her because her head is a bit wider.  All in all, though, she's pretty compatible with my AGs.

AG and Madame Alexander Friends 4 Life Comparison

There's not much to be said here, since Melanie's body is practically identical to Maggie's. :)

AG and Karito Kids Comparison

The Karito Kids dolls are much taller and slimmer than the AGs.  As I mentioned earlier, Karito Kids can fit into some AG styles, but the Karito Kids clothes are too small for AG dolls.  KK feet are also much slimmer, so they can't share shoes.  The two dolls are technically compatible, although Charlie almost looks dumpy and childlike next to Elena.  The head difference is actually not as bad between KK and AG.  I think I noticed it more between KK and Maggie and Tess, my Alexander Girlz and Gotz dolls.  And honestly, somehow it doesn't seem to be as noticeable in the photos as it is in real life.  Anyway, you can take a look at the pics and decide for yourself. :)

Karito Kids and Madame Alexander Comparison

I thought it would be interesting to put these three dolls side by side since they have a very similar body structure.  As you can see, Elena (my Karito Kid) is much taller and slimmer than my Alexander dolls.  And for those of you who might be curious, Maggie did not fit into Elena's clothes either, even though she's slimmer than my all-cloth bodied dolls. 

"All Together Now"and Final Thoughts

  So, here they all are! (Maggie is never going to forgive me for these pictures.)  ;)  

There are things that I enjoy about each and every one of these dolls.  I'd have to say that my favorites are Gotz, American Girl, and Alexander Girlz.  I do love my Karito Kids doll, I just haven't figured out where she fits in the scheme of things.  Especially since, being an artistic sort, proportions are really important to me!! :}  The Friends 4 Life dolls give me the same problem because their heads are so huge!  Nonetheless, I would recommend any of these dolls for their various positive features. 

I realized as I was finishing this post that it would have been nice to add a Battat doll to this line up (Battat is the company that produces the "Our Generation" 18" doll line at Target).  Since I didn't do that, I'll just take a moment to say that I really don't care for the Battat dolls' oddly put together shoulders (their arms curve very unnaturally compared to other dolls) and their wide-eyed, vacant expressions.  Honestly, I haven't come across a Battat face mold that I care for yet.  I will say that I prefer the quality of the Battat clothing and accessories to most of the Madame Alexander clothing and accessories at Walmart.  (Although the "What a Doll" clothing line at Kmart, also tied in to Madame Alexander, isn't bad.) 

Anyway, if any of you would be interested in seeing a Battat doll compared to any of the others, leave me a comment and I'll modify this post (or do a new one) at a later date. :)

I hope you found this post helpful.  I love seeing side-by-side pictures of different types of dolls myself, so I figured at least some of my readers would enjoy the same thing. :)  If you have any further questions or requests, feel free to leave me a comment or two!  I'd love to get your feedback.

By the way, one of my all-time favorite sites for doll comparisons is  I love using this site to identify and compare dolls. :)

Don't forget to check out my previous post to see details about my 1 Year Blogoversary Giveaway! :D