Saturday, September 10, 2011

Madame Alexander Friends Boutique Dolls at Walmart for 2011

So, as I mentioned earlier, when I went to Walmart this week, I saw one of the new Madame Alexander Friends Boutique dolls for this year's line.  I went ahead and purchased her so I could take pics.  I figured it was worth the risk because:  1.  I wasn't tempted to keep her and 2. Walmart is really close to my house, so following through with returns is pretty easy compared to other stores. ;)

The other reason I wanted to get some good pics is that the back of her box shows all of the new dolls for this year.  This time around, they decided to give each doll a name, which I love!  Not that you have to keep the name, but somehow it gives them a little more personality.  (Plus, you might not end up with doll names like "Reverend Mother", "Strawberry Shortcake", or "Blah Blah Blue Blue"...all of which have been doll names in my household, by the way!). ;)  I thought you'd enjoy seeing pics of all of the new girls. :)

Here is sweet Sadie.  She has red hair and pretty blue/green eyes.  She was the only one available at my Walmart so far.  The Friends Boutique dolls retail for around $28.99.

Here's a closer look at her pretty face.

I was so excited to see all of the different dolls for this year on the back of her box! :)  It's always fun to see all of your options before you pick which one is coming home with you.

I must confess, Emily is my very favorite out of all of them.  Once again, the brown haired, brown eyed doll wins me over! :}  But seriously, I'd be tempted to buy her just for her absolutely adorable hat!!  Her shirt and boots are pretty cute, too.  I'm not a huge fan of leggings myself (which is funny, because I love the Cozy Sweater outfit from AG this year...which comes with leggings), but I guess they work with this outfit.

Here's Sadie as she appears on the back of the box.  I must say, I know I'm no fashionista, but I really don't get the whole blue scarf/blue headband/red tulle/red tights thing.  I mean, didn't anyone ever teach her about matching colors? ;)  Maybe she's being patriotic?

I think Ella is my second favorite doll from the current line.  As I've shared before, I absolutely love this African American face mold.  I wish her hair was just a tad darker, but she's still sweet.  Her outfit is cute, too.  And everything matches.

Now we come to Lola.  She's a cutie, too.  I don't know how well you can tell from the pics, but she's a brunette with blue eyes. 

Here's Sophia, a curly-haired blonde with blue eyes.  I love her outfit...except for the shoes.  I mean, I like the shoes...just not with this particular outfit.  I think it would look really cute with some Mary Janes.  Maybe I'm just getting too old. ;)

Lastly, we have Avery.  She has long blonde hair and blue eyes.  I wish the pink in her scarf had a little less of a salmon color and more of a pink color, personally, but now I'm just being picky! ;)

Here's the description from the back of the box.  I laughed when I saw the asterisk after "fabulous hair for styling".  I know they did that just for their little explanation at the bottom, but since the hair is the least "fabulous" part of these dolls, I found it pretty humorous. 

The label on the front of the box. 

I've reviewed these dolls before.  For a detailed review, you can read my post HERE (interestingly enough, my Friends Boutique review remains my most popular post of all time...most likely due to the odd lack of Internet information on these particular dolls).     

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this line of dolls.  On the positive side, they are a fairly affordable starter doll for a young one interested in American Girl or other more expensive 18" dolls.  I found it interesting that the box says ages 3 and up!  These dolls have sweet faces and (for the most part) cute outfits.  There is also usually a line of accessories to complement the dolls (although I personally think that the Target Our Generation accessories are superior in quality).  Their poseable legs and arms give more options for play and display.

On the negative side, their poseable limbs make it more difficult for them to stand, and getting them to sit can be tricky too.  Their limbs don't turn in their sockets quite the same way as normal doll limbs because they are more rubbery.  And on that note, I have heard of at least one person having a latex allergy type reaction to the plastic in the legs and arms, so if you have latex allergies in your family, you might check into the doll's materials further before making a purchase.  Some people have also commented that the Friends Boutique dolls have an odd smell to their plastic.  I didn't really notice this with my doll, but most plastic smells don't really bother me, so I'm not the best judge. 

The other main problems I have with this line are the fact that their heads are much bigger than some of the other 18" dolls, so sometimes they look a bit out of proportion next to them, and the fact that their hair is such horrible quality doll hair.  As I've stated before, rewigging is always an option, so if the hair is the only thing holding you back, maybe it's time to try your first rewigging project! ;)  [Helpful side note here:  I've discovered that wigs made for Blythe dolls fit these dolls perfectly!  My favorite Blythe wig seller is eBay's shopoholican. :)]

I actually prefer the Madame Alexander doll line that was released in 2009, the year before the Friends Boutique dolls first came out.  They were called "Friends 4 Life", and they had the same cute faces as the FB, but had regular arms and legs instead of poseable.  I think these might provide more stability and less frustration for little doll collectors.  You can read my review of a Friends for Life doll in my doll comparison post HERE  and decide for yourself. :)

And speaking of preferences, I also prefer the Costco Alexander Girlz dolls to the Friends Boutique dolls.  Their faces are sweeter and their head size is a little more compatible with American Girl dolls and others of similar size.  I just wanted to include a Friends Boutique doll post because I know as a mom and a purchaser of dolls myself, I like having as much information as possible before committing to a new doll.  There is so little info out in cyberspace about the lower end Madame Alexander play line dolls...I think it's a shame!

So, what do my readers think?  Which doll line do you prefer?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

52 comments:

Lucy said...

We don't have any of the MA play dolls here yet, but we think they're usually rather cute. Like you, I'm drawn to Emily and Ella.

Bama said...

I don;t plan to purchase any of these dolls, but I do think they are cute. I love the outfits! I'm a fan of leggings with the right outfit. I think the red, black & white outfit is very cute, but I'd remove the blue headband and scarf. Tacky! LOL! I think my favorites are the same as your's. I'm glad they are culturally diverse like real little girls. I still think all doll companies should be required to produce dolls for all ethnicities. They should have added an Asian to this group.

beast'sbelle said...

Thanks for commenting! :)

Lucy, you have such good taste! ;)

Bama, I didn't even think about the fact that they didn't have an Asian doll until you mentioned it. That's really a shame. I believe they've had an Asian doll the last 2 years that they produced these (first in the Friends 4 Life line and then in last year's Friends Boutique line). Maybe they'll add more dolls later if these sell well!

Oh, and I agree that the outfit would look much better with the scarf and headband removed. ;)

Elliebob said...

I think I like sophia best. :)

beast'sbelle said...

Thanks for commenting, Elliebob. Sophia is cute, even with her odd choice of footwear. ;)

Elliebob said...

yup! :D

Shari @For the Little Doll In Your Life said...

I also like Emily best, although her outfit is rather somber color-wise. If it's the outfit you're after, why not skip the whole re-wigging process and just make something similar for one of your existing dolls. Here are free directions for making a beret for your 18 inch doll
http://www.american-doll-outfitters.com/free_beret_pattern.html
Fabric flowers like that aren't too difficult to make either. Search online for a tute.

beast'sbelle said...

Thanks, Shari! :) I was honestly going to be good and not purchase a doll just for the hat. ;) This could be a fun project, though. Thanks for the info! :)

Emily said...

Thanks for posting! I came across these dolls while cruising the toy isle at Walmart. My daughter's name is Sadie so I thought it would be neat to get her the Sadie doll. I had to laugh at your review because my only hesitation was her outfit. It doesn't match at all.

My daughter is only one so won't be playing with it in the near future, but I did end up purchasing the doll. Eventually I will be buying her an American Girl doll because in my opinion they are much nicer.

beast'sbelle said...

Hi Emily! Thanks for commenting. :)

Yeah, the outfit is pretty...original on Sadie. ;) I agree that American Girl dolls are much nicer, but this one should make a nice starter doll for your daughter. :)

innerdragon said...

Thank you for the review. I'm looking for a doll with decent hair as I have a daughter that loves to play at braiding etc. I know I can't afford an AG doll so I was looking at either this doll or the Favorite friends line. I appreciate your blog. :)

beast'sbelle said...

You're welcome! :) Glad to help.

I haven't had a chance to try a Favorite Friends doll yet. Since it costs a little bit more, I'd assume the hair would be a little better, but you never know. :}

Anonymous said...

whats funny is all the outfits and shoes u didnt like...those were my 6 yr olds favorites. :p i think we r getting old!

beast'sbelle said...

We must be! ;)

Anonymous said...

Im in love with these dolls for the simple fact that im jsut not quite ready to pay the high price for the American girl doll...my daughter is in love with "Emily" as she thinks it looks like her :) ive been looking for days and i cant find the doll any wheres not even online...any suggestions?

beast'sbelle said...

Hi Anonymous. They are really sweet little dolls. :)

Unfortunately, there is no way to order them online, but if you'd like to email me at nevergrowup.beastsbelle@gmail.com, I can give you some more info. :)

Anonymous said...

@beast'sbelle - There are at least two more dolls not featured on back of box and one of them is an Asian doll. She's very pretty. There's also a brunette not shown and I would have got her, but she had no name and although my hair is as dark as hers my daughter has lighter hair than I do.

I just bought Lola for my little girl but now i'm rethinking it. My Walmart only had 3 outfits to purchase and I didn't like any of them. I might have to look into the line mentioned at Target. unless the outfits there will fit these dolls. I've noticed how some of these separate lines of dolls make sure that the bodies are different so that you can't interchange the outfits.

beast'sbelle said...

Hi Anonymous. :) I've seen some of the other dolls you've mentioned. If they don't have names, they are most likely the Friends Boutique dolls from last year. I've seen several of those at my own Walmart. They do have some lovely ones. :)

The outfits at Target should fit the Friends Boutique dolls. The Play Wonder dolls have the same bodies, and the Our Generation dolls have bodies that are very similar in size, so there shouldn't be any problems. I've noticed the different sized outfit lines myself, but thankfully in this case, the body differences are minimal enough that they should be interchangeable. :)

summertime said...

You are right - I can't find any info on these! I want Ella for a family in need, but i can't find her anywhere. any thoughts?

beast'sbelle said...

Hi summertime. Unfortunately, the only place to get these is Walmart. I'd keep checking your local Walmart. You might also try eBay. If I get any more leads, I'll let you know. :)

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to comment....My daughter got one of the Friends Boutique by Madame Alexander for Christmas just this morning and absolutely loves it...She got Sadie... she wantes to collect them now so plan to get them all..we love the outfits-such personality. My niece also received the one of from the Target line, her name is "Lauren" she is so pretty too....so I think we will be busy collecting both lines as they are much more affordable than the American Girl Dolls & We personally find cuter :)

beast'sbelle said...

How exciting! Thanks for sharing. :) I love getting the word out about some of the other compatible 18" doll lines that don't strain the wallet as much. :} I'm glad your daughter is enjoying them.

Merry Christmas! :)

jennycherie said...

We just got 'Lola' for my daughter. We are new to this type of doll. The box says the clothes are removable, but they are all stitched together. Do we have to cut them apart? This is a really expensive doll to us and we don't want to ruin it!

beast'sbelle said...

Hi jennycherie,

These dolls are definitely made to have removable clothes. Sometimes they'll stitch the clothes together to make them look nice in the box. There shouldn't be a problem with cutting the stitching apart...as long as you just get the thread and not the clothing itself! ;)

Merry Christmas...I hope your daughter enjoys Lola! :)

Anonymous said...

My tomboy 7yr old really wanted an American Girls doll this Christmas, but I did not want to pay the money if she didi not really want to play with her new doll much after the holiday. After much searching for a less expensive option with brown hair and eyes, I was so excited to find the "emily" doll. My daughter LOVES her! The hair is not as nice as AG dolls, but has handles being brushed day in and out so far. Also, the outfits found at Target do fit these dolls. Good thing, as they were the only outfits I could find. I am hoping that these brands will start making sports clothing and less super frilly clothes for those girls who are more active and into sports. In my opinion they are missing a big market!

Anonymous said...

sadie's beautiful i love her i dis agree wth other comments about her i'm sad no one commented something positive on her she's beautiful

beast'sbelle said...

I like Sadie herself...I think she has a beautiful eye and hair combination. I'm just not really into the color combinations on her outfit. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your information on these 18 inch dolls. I think these dolls are beautiful. Probably because Sadie looks just like my Granddaughter..big head and all. I do wish they could be ordered online. I had to go to several Walmarts; in a 200 mi radius to find a Sadie.
I do have a small collection of MA dolls from my youth. I would like to know if this face mold has been used on any of their other dolls.
Thanks again,
Nana

beast'sbelle said...

Hi Nana, thanks for commenting! :) I'm glad I could help, and I'm glad you finally found your Sadie.

As far as I know, this face mold has only been used for the Friends Boutique dolls and a similar, non-poseable doll line from 2009, also sold at Walmart: the Madame Alexander Friends 4 Life dolls. I actually prefer the Friends 4 Life dolls myself, as I'm not as impressed with the poseability of the Friends Boutique dolls. I hope this helps! :)

Anonymous said...

I have recently purchased three of the Walmart MA dolls. I am not sure which one I will keep and which ones I will give to grandchildren. One was on clearance for the price of her outfit.
I don't think the MA dolls have ever had the kind of hair that little girls like to brush and style. I have often wondered why they don't have at least some of their dolls with hair, like so many other dolls have, that can hold up to a hair brush in a three year olds hands.
I would like to add that I think their skin color is odd. I have two red heads and the skin color on their eyelids does not match their face complexion??? I think the skin color looks like something that would go well with the Monster dolls... they look like they are anemic.
Thank you for all your research and information. Information about these dolls is very difficult to find.
All that said I think they will bring hours of joy to little ones, and that is what it is all about.
Nana

Anonymous said...

i got sadie because she looks like my best friend and my friend has her toosulusse and we're sad that there's nothing positive about her and her outfit is beautiful

beast'sbelle said...

Nana, thanks for all of the info. :)

Anonymous, I'm sorry that more people aren't into Sadie, but as long as you like her, that's all that matters! :)

Jen said...

My daughters got the Alexander Girlz dolls from Costco this Christmas and they are exactly the same dolls. They only sold 3 styles there and they were in combo boxes consisting of a doll and then an extra outfit. They had the Lola, Emily, and Sophia type of dolls. The hair is the exact same style as the friends boutique dolls you have pictured. I agree that the hair is less than desireable for my 3 and 5 year olds. When it gets too knotted I spray on detangling spray by Johnson and Johnson. The Play Wonder clothes sold at Target are actually made by Madame Alexander (inside tag has the name). I would like to get my girls one of the red heads...does Walmart still carry these or was it just a Christmas thing? They are having a blast with these dolls.

beast'sbelle said...

Hi Jen, thanks for commenting. :) I've done posts on the Alexander Girlz dolls from Costco (which I personally prefer to the Friends Boutique) and also the Play Wonder Dolls at Target (you can find the posts on my "Doll Product Reviews" page at the top of the blog). I was aware the Play Wonder dolls and clothes were also made by Madame Alexander when I saw the "Alexander" print in one of the shoes. :)

I would caution you about using the detangling spray. I used that with my daughter's Alexander Girlz doll, and while it worked great for a while, it ended up ruining her hair. Human hair products aren't always the best in doll hair since it is synthetic hair. I would suggest using a small spritzer bottle with water. It might take a little more work than the detangler, but the hair will last longer.

If you're hoping to find another Friends Boutique doll at Walmart, I'd check quickly! Last year they had them all year round, but this year my Walmart has been clearancing them out! This won't help you, I'm afraid, since it's the dolls you already have, but I picked up an Emily and a Lola that I'll be listing on eBay tomorrow. I'll start the bidding at the clearance price I paid. I've had so many people ask me about these dolls...I thought this was a way I could hopefully help someone get ahold of one at a nice price.

Hope you find your redhead doll! And again, thanks for commenting! :)

Anonymous said...

I have Sadie and she is beautiful. I renamed her Arielle. I've heard about a doll from this company that's Asian and i find adorable. The problem is is that i can't find any information about her online and I've never seen her once at Walmart where my friend who owns the doll said where she should be. Any help please?

P.S. I love this doll and would love to add her to my collection. i have 4 dolls.

beastsbelle said...

Hi, Anonymous. Unfortunately, there's not much I can tell you. They are only sold in Walmart. The only other advice I could offer is to check eBay frequently. You can sometimes find them off and on there. I'd also check your local yard sales and thrift stores...you never know where they might turn up! :) Hope this helps! :)

SAHM said...

Thank you for posting. My little girl is in love with my porceline doll and asks to hold it every day. I let her hold it while sitting just before bedtime and then we tell it night-night & put it back.
I've been wanting to find her a usable, affordable doll that looks very much like my porceline "Kim" doll. I was ecstatic to find & buy at Wal-Mart a Baby Boutique doll, and it even has red hair like my daughter, which is hard to find! It's a smaller 13-ish inch size doll (similar size as my porceline doll) from the Friends Boutique line (which she'll likely get next if they come out with a red-head). I wish it had a soft body like the Friends Boutique dolls, though. This doll is one of the "Hair Fun Baby Boutique" dolls. I haven't seen it online.
Do you have any more info on the Baby Boutique dolls, as well as red-hair dolls? TIA. :)

beastsbelle said...

Hi Tia, thanks for commenting! :) I haven't even heard of Baby Boutique dolls yet. I'll see if I can find any info on them. If I do, I'll be sure to let you know! :)

Anonymous said...

My daughter received one of the Friends Boutique dolls for Christmas. She is the blond haired doll that comes in the purple dress with white sandals. She is a beautiful doll - the clothes are nice quality. Unfortunately, she has such an offensive odor that we had to put her away. I washed the clothes twice to rid them of the odor and now my daughter used them with her other dolls. I contacted MA but did not get a response. I would not recommend this line due to the offensive odor.

beastsbelle said...

Hi Anonymous. I'm sorry to hear that you weren't pleased with your doll. It's been a while since I've had one opened, so I don't remember the odor very well. I do know you're not the first to comment about the smell of these dolls. I seem to remember it was a sort of rubbery smell. While I'm super sensitive to odors like cigarette smoke and the like, I've found that doll odors generally don't bother me, so I don't always think to mention them (I've had people mention the unpleasant "crayon" smell of the Gotz Little Sisters dolls, which I rather like). :}

Anyway, thank you for making mention of this in case it is an issue for anyone else. :)

Anonymous said...

Yesterday I went to Walmart and had to stop by the toy isle and when I passed by the doll section I saw 2 new FB dolls, one I'm saving up for which has blonde hair and a t-shirt with a panda on it.(my favorite animal)For some reason I didn't bother looking at the names. The second new doll has brown hair and bangs and is made in many different outfits, but she is more expensive, instead of the dolls normal 29.99 it was 31.99. Also, have you ever noticed that when you look at the dolls, there is actually a lot more Sadie dolls out on the shelves. And post by anonymous about the dolls smell is true, my sadie is always the last to be dressed since I dread the smell, so I'm preparing for the new doll I'm saving up for!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just found a tag on my Sadie friends boutique doll that says to not wet the hair, Which I already have did when misting her hair with a spray bottle, is okay to do or should I just not wet it at all? Her hair gets pretty tangled when I play with her and when I don't.

beastsbelle said...

Hi Anonymous. Thanks for your comments! :) I haven't seen any of the new Friends Boutique dolls at my Walmarts yet (there are two in my area). I'll have to keep my eye out for them! :)

There were a lot of Sadies left in my area, too. Although the last doll left here now is Lola.

As far as the hair question, I've never heard of that warning. Quite honestly, these dolls are not known for their hair quality. I would think if you didn't wet it all the time and didn't get it soaking when you brushed it, there shouldn't be a problem. My thought was always that these dolls would have to be rewigged eventually anyway. :)

Have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for answering my questions! I was the one who posted about the tag on my Sadie doll and about the 2 new dolls in my Walmart.I finally got the new doll I had been wanting! She was a newer version of Sophia that i renamed Arizona. She is a beautiful doll and has a really pretty hair color. The only problem I had with this doll is that her smell is really strong and it gives me headaches. :( That and she has two sets of side bangs that were held back when I first got her but when I took them down they hung right in front of her face. :( Oh well I got what I paid for and she's adorable so I love her :O)

P.S. I'm sorry I've made such a long comment I'm just in a really typey ( Yes I know typey isn't a word) mood. :)

beastsbelle said...

I'm glad you got the doll you wanted! :) She sounds adorable. Sorry about her smell. You're not the first one to mention having a problem with it. :(

And don't worry about the long comment...I enjoy comments of any size! :)

Anonymous said...

We have 4. Avery, Sophia, Sadie (renamed Sally) and a Asian doll that Missy named Rosie. The hair is a nightmare exp Sophia and Sadie. Sophia was a rats nest with in minutes after removing her from the box, Sadie's was very thin and cut in about 8 different lengths. They all received a trim after a few weeks so missy could get the brush through the hair. They are OK for the price and since I'm from a town that only has a Walmart, missy can save her money up and pick up either a new doll or accessories when do our bimonthly trip yo Walmart .

Rebecca said...

Try setting your new doll outside during the day (in a safe place) and letting her "out-gas." I have had success with other things, perhaps it will work for the doll. It usually takes at least a couple of days. Any kind of foam bedding etc. I have to set outside. I haven't bought any of this particular doll new so I don't know if it works for them but it is worth a try.

beastsbelle said...

Thanks for the comments, gals! :) Rebecca, great tip! :)

C said...

Walmart cleared out their Friends Boutique stock awhile ago and simply replaced with their own doll called My Life which are in reality still Madame Alexander dolls. The cool thing is that you can purchase shoes to fit these gals for about $2.00/pair in the store. Get them when you see them because they go FAST! Meijer stores also carry the Madame Alexander Favorite Friends dolls. As far a smell, that is the plastic off-gassing. The best solution is take it out of confined or air restricted space and leave them in the open...perhaps in the garage but safe from harm for a few days in perhaps warmer weather to accelerate the off-gassing. Some Barbie Dolls smell nasty too. Other 18" doll options are the My Generation dolls at Target which are actually VERY similar in construction to the American Girl dolls and the Journey Girls dolls at Toys R Us, which are actually more mature in appearance...VERY cute too. Good Luck everyone! :)

beastsbelle said...

Thanks for the tips on the plastic smell. I've purchased several of the pairs of the "My Life" shoes and have noticed that with time the smell has gotten much better. :)

I've actually done a review of the "My Life" dolls, which you can see here: http://nevergrowupdollguide.blogspot.com/2012/08/madame-alexander-18-my-life-dolls-at.html

I also have done a couple of reviews of the accessories and shoes. You can see the first one here: http://nevergrowupdollguide.blogspot.com/2012/08/more-madame-alexander-my-life-doll.html

I really enjoy this line, mainly for its shoes and fun accessories for great prices. ;)

The main thing to remember about the Journey Girls is that they are much thinner than the American Girls, so their clothing and shoes are NOT compatible. So if you're looking for a doll to share shoes and clothing with your AG doll, the Journey Girls dolls are not for you. I've done a review of this line as well: http://nevergrowupdollguide.blogspot.com/2012/07/journey-girls-doll-review.html

Thanks for stopping by. :)

Javene said...

So glad I found your site. I had to research my daughter's doll "Sophia" (I found here that she is actually an Avery and it's only a coincidence that there is a Sophia model too!) because I'm checking her into the MA "Doll Hospital" due to the sudden traumatic loss of her right arm and leg. I couldn't remember the name of the line or what "Sophia's" real name was when we bought her, so this was really helpful.

So...I guess we have an update here, 2014: the wires that hold the limbs on are cheap! My daughter is very gentle and careful with Sophia and hasn't changed her clothes THAT many times, nor sat her down too much (mostly because, as you had mention, they're a little hard to move) so I was pretty shocked when this happened. And dismayed that the joining was such that there is no way for it to be fixed. I just submitted the form on the MA website, so hopefully will get a call soon from a hospital technician and can get this fixed!!! Really bummed out, we just love Sophia, love her sweet expression and super cute clothes. Hope this works out. :(

beastsbelle said...

Javene, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing this info. I'm so sorry to hear about your problems with your MA doll. I hope you get it all sorted out soon. :(

By the way, I would love to hear about your experience with the MA doll hospital and how everything works out. I've been curious about their customer service.