Friday, July 15, 2016

American Girl Wellie Wishers Willa and "Make it Great" Playset Review

Time to catch up with another post you've been waiting for! :) Today we'll take a look at Willa from American Girl's Wellie Wishers line, as well as the Wellie Wishers "Make it Great" playset. Willa was purchased by my mom and borrowed for review. :)

I'm late enough getting this up that most of you should be aware of these little gals, but for those of you who aren't, the Wellie Wishers are a brand new line of dolls released by the American Girl company. It appears that the Wellie Wishers are replacing the Bitty Twins line. At 14.5 inches tall with an all-vinyl body and slimmer build, they are geared towards girls ages five and up. There are five dolls in the line so far, and they retail for $60 each.

Willa in her box:

Here's a closer look at the doll herself. 


Willa has beautiful eyes and light freckles across her nose and cheeks.

Her outfit

Her boots, or "wellies," are wrapped in foam to protect them from the rubber bands that hold her in place.

Her headband is attached to the top of the box with a strand of white thread.

Inside the box is a small pamphlet on the Wellie Wishers. (At least at this point in time, the Wellie Wishers do not come with a book.)

There's a smaller little pamphlet that tells you how to care for your doll: 

And a bigger one that tells about the Wellie Wishers line: 
Willa with her friends Emerson, Ashlyn, Kendall, and Camille.

Here's Willa free from her packaging.

Much like regular AG dolls, her neck is surrounded by foam to protect it from the bands that hold her head to the box.

Willa's wellies have adorable ladybugs on them.

Willa from the front...

...and from the back.

Her headband reminds me of bunny ears.

Like many of the more recent American Girl headbands, it has a ginormous tag attached to it. Thankfully, the tag can be tucked beneath the headband or snipped off with scissors.

Willa's sweet face. You can see that the Wellie Wishers have the signature "two teeth showing" look of the larger 18 inch dolls.

A closer look at her pretty eyes.

Also like the larger 18 inch dolls, Willa has wigged hair instead of rooted.

The back of her head has a ton of short, curly hairs to cover the wig cap. Since Willa was not my doll, I didn't feel comfortable taking her hair down, so I don't know if this hair would work okay in styles other than pigtails.

To be honest, I wasn't that impressed with her hair. It was already frizzy when I'd barely touched it, and didn't have nicer feel of regular 18 inch doll hair. I expected better since American Girl dolls are normally known for their high-quality hair.

Willa's outfit is adorable and is well made. I originally thought that her shirt featured a rabbit, because of the whiskers and the rabbit-like look of her headband.

However, as you can see from this closer look at her skirt, the animal appears to be a hedgehog instead.

Another look at her ladybug wellies.

They have slits in the back for easy removal.

The bottoms of the Wellies also have a small "R" and "L" to let little doll collectors know which wellie goes on which foot:

Her hands have a nice sculpt that is different than the 18 inch doll hand sculpt: 

Her arms have a fairly limited range of motion. They just go up, down, and behind her, not out to the sides: 

She sits with her legs splayed out to the sides, even farther than the larger AG dolls.

I think the thing that disappointed me the most was the discovery that her head only moves back and forth and is not able to tilt to the sides like the Hearts For Hearts Girls dolls: 

Willa's all-vinyl body has noticeable seams on the sides. 

She has identifying markings on her lower back...

...but nothing on the back of her head or neck.

She has "built-in underwear" that has the Wellie Wishers W on it.

***

When I first heard about this line, the thing I was most curious about was how the dolls would compare to other lines.

Here is Willa next to Charlie, my American Girl GOTY Mia doll.

As you can see, the style of their face molds is quite different... 

...and their proportions and body style differ, too. 

In some ways, like the Hearts For Hearts Girls, Willa is a better match with the discontinued BFC Ink line from MGA Entertainment.

Willa and Britt. 

I also wanted to compare her with an earlier alternative line from American Girl, the Hopscotch Hill line. As you can see, there is quite a difference between these two as well. I think that the Wellie Wishers are more compatible with regular AG dolls than the Hopscotch Hill dolls were.

The Hopscotch Hill dolls were much more flexible.

Hopscotch Hill Hallie

Wellie Wishers Willa

(Gotta love alliteration.) ;)

I think the line I was most interested in comparing to the Wellie Wishers was the Hearts For Hearts Girls line. These little cuties from Playmates are some of my very favorite play dolls. So how do they compare?

As you can see, they are very similar in size.

Willa and Lauryce have almost the exact same eye color. ;)

Here are some undressed pictures of both dolls to show the slight differences in build: 
Front

Back

Lauryce's head (on the right) is slightly larger than Willa's, and has a more stylized/exaggerated look, especially in the eyes.

Willa is slightly wider in the shoulders and wider and longer in the torso than Lauryce.

Willa's arms are a little wider as well.

Willa's legs are a bit shorter and wider than Lauryce's.

Here are Willa and Dell from the back. Again, you can see the slight difference in their torsos.

I hate to draw attention to it, but Willa's bottom is a little odd looking compared to Dell's. ;)

Willa and Lauryce's feet are similar in shape and size, but Lauryce's (shown on the right) are slightly longer.

Willa (L) and Lauryce (R) 

So the real question is, can they share clothing?

Here is Willa in Lauryce's undies and Lauryce in Willa's.

Lauryce's undies are a pretty tight fit on Willa, but I did manage to get them on.

Willa's undies, by comparison, are a nice, roomy fit on Lauryce.

And here they are in swapped outfits. As you can see, they can share shoes. However, I wouldn't want to keep Willa in Hearts for Hearts Girls shoes for too long, because her feet were slightly big for them and might stretch the shoes out. Lauryce can wear Willa's wellies, but they're a little big for her.

Lauryce's dress technically fits Willa, but there is absolutely no breathing room in the bodice.

The Velcro is just barely closed, too.

Willa's outfit fits Lauryce with a bit of growing room to spare. The shirt is a little baggy, but works. The skirt had no problems staying up in spite of the slight difference in their waist sizes.

No problems with the Velcro here (the shirt is supposed to separate like that at the bottom).

Hope this doesn't confuse anyone, but this is Willa back in her skirt again. I was pleased to see that Lauryce's silver bracelet fit Willa in spite of the differences in their arm sizes.

So Lauryce's dress basically fit Willa, but I wanted to try Dell's outfit on her. Dell's shirt is looser than Lauryce's dress bodice, and Dell's shorts are pretty form fitting.

The shirt fit nicely.

The shorts looked great from the front...

...but had a slight problem in the back. ;)

So basically, the Hearts For Hearts Girls are able to wear Wellie Wishers' clothing, but the Wellie Wishers will not be able to wear most Hearts For Hearts Girls clothing, aside from looser shirts and dresses.


Time to share my thoughts on sweet little Willa.

Pleasing Qualities: 4 out of 5
   Willa has a darling face and an adorable, high-quality outfit. I love her coloring and her smaller size. However, she doesn't appeal to me as a collector quite as much as I thought she would. I was really excited about these dolls when I first saw them. And she's a great starter doll for younger girls. After seeing her in person, though, I much prefer the Hearts For Hearts Girls line with their more posable arms and heads and better hair quality. The Hearts For Hearts Girls are supposed to be re-released this coming winter, and if they have the same quality as before (and solve the dreaded purple eye problem), I think they will be a definite source of competition for the Wellie Wishers. I guess time will tell.

Posability: 3 out of 5
   I really felt like I had to dock points in this category. I wasn't expecting super posability from this doll, but the lack of extra movement in the head and arms was a major disappointment to me. I felt so uninspired to photograph Willa, as lovely as she is, because I couldn't quite capture the personality I wanted to, and might have been able to if I could have titled her head from side to side. I know that sounds a little silly, but it does make a difference.   

Playability: 5 out of 5
   That being said, Willa's simplicity makes her an excellent choice for her recommended age group. Her basic articulation and easy-to-remove clothing and shoes will make her easy to play with for little doll collectors. However, I would probably recommend one of the straight-haired dolls for young ones, because I think Willa's might be hard to take care of with its curls.

Price: 3.5 out of 5 
    In my opinion, $60 is a little high for Willa. I would probably be willing to pay $25, or maybe even $30 for her (the same price I would pay for a Hearts For Hearts Girls doll...at least when they were originally on the market). 
    At the same time, when you compare her price to a regular 18 inch American Girl doll (which is now over $100), $60 doesn't seem so bad. For those who are used to going to an American Girl Place and buying new dolls, $60 will probably be much more acceptable. For this mama, though, $60 is a little too steep to pay for what you get, even with the cute clothes and darling face. 


***

When my mom ordered Willa, she also ordered the "Make it Great" playset from the Wellie Wishers line. I thought it would be fun to take a look at that as well. 

Willa wants to know what's in the box!


The set includes:
An apron...

...some safety goggles...

...a hammer...

...some scissors...

...a notepad...

...a ladybug tape measure...

...and a pencil.

The apron is darling and well-made.


It has lots of great pockets...

...to hold all of the tools and supplies from the set.

The safety goggles are a little big on Willa.

They fit Charlie a little better, although it was hard to get them over her ears without her wig interfering. 

They look cute perched on top of Willa's head.

Her hammer is nice and colorful.


I love that the pocket for the hammer has a bit of ribbon to hold it in place since it's so tall. 

Her ladybug tape measure is super cute.

It pulls out to three inches, but when you turn the handle on the side...

...it rolls back up into the ladybug.


The scissors fit her hands nicely...

...and open and close, too: 

Willa can hold the pencil and notepad.

The notepad has ladybugs to match her tape measure.

Each of the pages has a Wellie Wishers W on one corner.

Her pencil.

I love how everything fits in the pockets so nicely. Willa is all ready for a new project. :) 

Pleasing Qualities: 5 out of 5
   This little set is super cute, well-made, and works great with the Wellie Wishers dolls. I'm sure these accessories could be used for other doll lines, too. Even with the slightly large goggles, there's still plenty to make this set enjoyable.

Posability: 5 out of 5, or N/A ;)
   Even though "posability" normally refers to dolls, I figured I'd give this category a 5 out of 5 for all of the fun little moving parts, like the tape measure and the scissors. AG could have just left everything simple and non-functional. Kudos to them for the added bonus of moving parts. :)

Playability: 5 out of 5
   This set should inspire imaginative play for kiddos, and seems well-made enough to hold up to playtime, unless you have a super rough five-year-old. ;)   

Price: 3.5 out of 5
    The "Make it Great" playset is $24.00, which, again, is consistent with AG pricing, but still more than I would want to pay for this set. It is super cute, but for $25, I'd rather buy a small doll from another line...or two or three, or perhaps one of the cute 18 inch AG separates, like that adorable plaid shirt or hooded denim jacket. (I could almost buy both for the same price.) ;)

***
I didn't get my daughters' thoughts this time around because I'd already waited so long to get this review up. They all thought Willa was super cute. I found it interesting, though, that when the new catalog came out with all of the summer releases, and they made their wishlists, none of the Wellie Wishers made the cut. And, in all fairness, my girls are technically past the recommended age group for these dolls, especially my older two. The 18 inch dolls are a bit more appealing to them. (My oldest, actually, is talking about packing away her 18 inch dolls.) *Sniff* 

I think the Wellie Wishers will be great starter dolls for little girls who aren't quite ready for a "big girl doll" yet. I love that little girls can buy a pair of clear wellies and a set of socks that match all of the wellies the different dolls wear, and that the emphasis of the line is kindness. I sincerely hope the Wellie Wishers are a big success for American Girl. For our house, though, it's looking like the Wellie Wishers will not be joining our collections, at least at this time.

How about you? Will any of these sweet dollies be the perfect gift for that little niece, daughter, or granddaughter of yours?

To see all of the Wellie Wishers products, you can visit the American Girl website HERE

I am not affiliated with American Girl or Mattel. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

15 comments:

Barb the Evil Genius said...

It seems like Mattel is just counting on the American Girl cachet to sell this line, which is a shame. For that amount of money, the doll should be a bit more special, I think. I really would love to know who (probably multiple people) is making the decisions at Mattel.

dannyscotland said...

Great review, and I totally agree with your evaluation of these dolls. I don't have one, but I do think their faces are darling. I agree, the price is just way too much for me. Then again, I really, really love the Hearts for Hearts dolls, which as you mentioned are much less expensive. Perhaps some day I will have a Wellie Wisher, but for now I will be forced to admire their cute little faces online. So thanks for sharing this one!

Just My Dolls said...

She is pretty. I didn't notice the freckles until the close up. The eye coloring is so close to H4H that I wonder if it was deliberate especially since they are also made so close in size.

Angela said...

I bought Willa and Emerson. I, too, wanted to know if Willa's hair could be let down without looking too strange in the back, so I did. And it looks fine! I had to spend a little time finger-combing the longer hairs over the short ones, but it ended up looking quite nice. I haven't tried Emerson's yet, but I suspect it'll be the same. I do think the straight haired dolls will be easier for youngsters to care for--Willa's hair especially could be become quite a rat's nest very quickly! They are cute dolls, but I personally think that the Hearts 4 Hearts girls are just as cute (if not prettier) and a better value for the money.

KAF FRUM said...

Thankyou, I was waiting to see if anyone still had a BFC ink doll. I think the WWs will go well with them. I do prefer the smilie face over the H4H.
I'm a little disappointed in the sitting span on their legs though, but maybe they'll be great at leap frogging.
I thought the apron would maybe have had strings to teach little fingers how to tie bows. The wellies split is also disappointing, lucky the doll is all vinyl so if the puddles are too deep it won't damage a cloth body.
Will I be getting a WW, hmm, still undecided

Anonymous said...

Rapunzel 2016 Review?

jSarie said...

Willa is adorable and I love her little animal shirt and ears/headband!

I'm with you on the price point though. The fact that they're adorable doesn't quite make up for the fact that there's not much to account for the price difference between them and similar lines aside from the AG name. I think if I'm looking to buy a doll of this size for kids in this age range I'm going to stick with Corolle for now.

Joanne Mariel Maniago said...

Hello,

My friend is making another Hearts For Hearts doll. This time, it's a doll from Ukraine! Ukraine really deserves to be represented because it is under a state of war.

The Ukrainian Doll's name is Alyona. She has curly blonde hair, brown eyes, a light skin tone, and Dell's face mold.

Alyona's outfit consists of a red bell-sleeve blazer, a white lace dress, and blue flat shoes. The accessories consist of a suede bracelet, sunflower earrings, and a flower crown. The doll also comes with a girl-sized flower crown!

Alyona's bracelet charm is royal blue and the box color is cyan.

If Alyona was released, would you buy her?

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Hey everyone! Sorry it took me so long to respond to your comments.

Hi Barb! I was definitely expecting a little more from this line myself. But again, for the normal AG crowd, I think the price won't bother them as much. It will seem like a bargain! ;)

I'm very curious to see how this line will do.

Hi dannyscotland! Glad you found the review helpful. I think if these were a little less expensive, I might be more tempted to get one myself. But for now I'm content with my Hearts For Hearts Girls.

Hi Just My Dolls! She does have a really sweet face, and I love her little freckles. :) I'm not sure if the eye color was deliberate or not, but it's fun that they match. :)

Hi Angela! Thank you so much for stopping by and letting us know about Willa's hair. I'm glad that it looks nice both in and out of the pigtails. :) Sounds like we have similar views on the Wellie Wishers, too. Thanks for commenting! :)

Hi Kaf Frum! I'm glad my review was helpful. I love including my BFC Ink dolls with the smaller doll lines like these.

Lol, I'll bet the Wellie Wishers WOULD be good at leap frogging. ;)

I didn't think about the split in the wellies causing problems with playing with the dolls in puddles. Good point. Like you said, though, at least they have bodies that won't be damaged by water.

Hi Anonymous! Sorry to make you wait so long. The Rapunzel review is up! :)

Hi jSarie! Thanks for stopping by. :) Corolle is another great line! :)

Hi Joanne! Alyona sounds lovely. :) I think at this point pretty much any Hearts For Hearts Girl would be one I was interested in buying. ;) I'm looking forward to seeing this line renewed later this year. :D



Joanne Mariel Maniago said...

Oh, Hey Beastsbelle! I have this very important correction for Alyona's eye color: Alyona's eyes are actually GRAY, NOT BROWN! Alyona is blind, so her eyes have to be depicted as gray. Also, brown eyes are totally overused in the HFHG Line!

My friend, who is designing Alyona, had to make Alyona blind because there isn't a HFHG Doll with a disability yet!

Angie Garcia said...

One thing I would like to know is Why is my AG doll looking darker? I have the truly me doll #25 and I am starting to dislike her color change

Unknown said...

Angie, your a.g doll is looking darker because she is dirty. Clean her up with baking soda paste and a tooth brush.

Karen said...

Great review of the Wellie Wishers dolls. I make doll clothes for a living so I purchased Willa as my model doll. I agree they are a bit overpriced. They are cute as can be, but for that price, I would have expected them to be more posable as well. I came to the same conclusion as you about them wearing H4H doll clothing (or Corolle LesCherie). They are just a little too big and H4H/LesCherie clothes are too snug.. I do think she looks adorable in clothing and I can see where girls undoubtedly love dressing them up and creating their own little world. I use my Willa a lot to not only dress her to model clothing, but as I'm sewing orders to make sure the clothes are sized properly, so she gets man handled a lot. So far she's holding up very well! In my opinion though, I think American Girl would sell a lot more of them if the price was more reasonable, maybe $35-$40 range.

Christine said...

I love the Wellie Wishers. I went to an AG pop up store last fall with a friend. We went in to browse and I came out with Christmas gifts for my granddaughter; Willa, an outfit, book, and accessory pack. As soon as I saw the Wellie Wishers in the window I was hooked. Recently I went to Toys R Us and bought my granddaughter Camille for her fourth birthday.The Wellie Wishers faces are so engaging and I prefer their size to the big American Girls dolls for little girls to handle. I also like that they are all vinyl. I am in my 60's and my childhood dolls are plastic. I have never liked the cloth/vinyl dolls as much. It must be a generational thing. I also think the all vinyl dolls often look better in their clothes. Anyway, my granddaughter loves Willa and will be thrilled with Camille. We have watched and rewatched the Wellie Wishers animated series and the theme song is stuck in my head! I do have an big AG doll I found at a thrift store and she is waiting to meet my granddaughter in a couple of years. I know she will be well loved too.
Thank you for your blog! I was looking for information about the Hearts for Hearts clothes fitting the Wellie Wishers and found your blog. It is filled with information and fun to read! I love dolls, and have all my 1950's and 1960's childhood dolls that my grandmother gave to me.I also have many others I have bought over the years, mostly at thrift stores. They all live happily together in my doll room, a favorite place for my granddaughter and me to play. She calls it her room! After having all dear sons and grandsons, I am thrilled to have a granddaughter to play dolls with. Thank you again for all the information and your wonderful blog!

Meghan Harrison said...

How would Hopscotch Hill dolls fit into Wellie Wisher clothing?