We had a FANTASTIC time at the American Girl Doll Store in LA!! It was such a fun trip! I highly recommend going at least ONCE and doing everything they offer. DD8 absolutely loved it (so did I!). I knew it was pricey going into it, but after we left I felt it was all worth it, and never had that "ugh, I was just ripped off" feeling. I was pleasantly surprised by the entire experience! What: birthday trip to the AG Store in LA! Characters: me, DD8, and her two AG dolls, Samantha & Kit When: Jan 2011 We got to LA Sunday afternoon and checked in at our hotel. We stayed at the Historic Hollywood Hotel. It was so tacky/cheesy but DD thought it was very fancy, lol. And for $50 a night, free parking, and 10 min away from the AG Store, it was fine by me! Clean, although a bit rundown. For one night, it did the trick, but wouldn't have wanted to stay there long enough to have to shower there! (they had painted over the bathtub and it was peeling from the porcelain). The room was slightly musty, but we turned the swamp cooler on and by that night it was fine. Would definitely recommend to someone wanting to save some money for 1-2 nights. We spent the evening at the Farmers Market/Grove. Great shopping and people watching! The fountain show was neat, DD thought it was so cool. The atmosphere was great...big trees, cobblestone roads, lights, and music. We rode the upper deck on the trolley to the FM, so much fun! We ate dinner and visited the Sticker Store (a must!!). Then went back to the hotel and I gave DD a pedicure and painted her finger & toe nails. I also gave her the doll clothes I had been buying & saving for her (just the off brand ones from Joanns w/ 40% off coupons) and she had so much fun opening them and trying them on her dolls. Monday morning we ate at the French Cafe at the Farmers Market (crepes with nutella, bananas, and strawberries...mmmm!!) and then walked over to the AG Store as soon as it opened at 10am. We checked in with our Personal Shopper, Ann...she pierced Kit's ears right away ($14 and you get 6 pairs of earrings included), signed Samantha up for the hair salon, and gave us a little tour of the store. It was so nice to have everything done right away so we could just enjoy the rest of the time there. Definitely reserve a personal shopper...its free and so nice!! I wouldn't do it any other way. DD picked the double ponytail flip at the doll hair salon and it was $20. A bit pricey, but it was so cute, and they did a great job cleaning up Samantha's hair (which was a tangled mess of curls). They combed it out first, and trimmed her hair and bangs, too. And it was just fun for DD to watch her doll getting her hair done...she felt so special! It was worth it to do it at least once. After Samantha's hair was done (they gave DD free toenail polish stickers for the dolls, too), we went and had their picture taken at the Photo Studio. It turned out so cute!! DD picked the magazine cover design and they added her name and her dolls' names in the text, and then glued the 8x10 onto an AG magazine ($25). DD got $75 to spend and was able to pick out a cute food set, some accessories and one of the stuffed pet dogs. It was so nice to not have to wait in line to check out, too...we could just sit and relax in the personal shopper lounge and Ann rang us up on their private register. Oh, and DD got a free poster of their newest doll, Kanani, which she thought was great! We walked around and shopped for about 2 hours. We loved the historical dolls "museum". It was neat getting to see all their outfits and accessories on display. And it was so cute seeing all the little girls walking around with their dolls (and even the teenage girls, lol). ;D Then we checked in at the AG cafe for lunch. Our reservation was for 12:30, and we checked in at noon. Highly recommend checking in as early as possible, they give you a slip of paper with your table number and it gets SO busy and crowded about 20 min before lunch starts. DD was in heaven! So cute in there...everything was black and white striped and hot pink with crystals and flowers and chandeliers...little girl paradise!!! And DD thought it was so cool that the dolls could sit with us in their own little highchairs that clipped to the table, and that they got their own little plate and cup to "eat" from. There was also a little pink cardboard box on the table with paper cards in it that had fun questions on them, so you could ask each other while you waited for your food. It was $25 for me, and $35 for DD (the birthday package added $10 per child). Lunch started with the mini cinnamon buns for a "warm welcome", then the appetizer which was fruit kabobs, carrots & ranch, and pretzel rolls & honey mustard dip. Then we ordered our lunch off the menu. DD had the chicken crispers and mac & cheese with fruit kabobs (which had bits of melon cut out with cookie cutters, very cute), and I had the red snapper with pineapple relish, twice baked red potatoes and green salad. The food was good, albeit bland. I finally realized it just needed a good shaking of salt and pepper and then it was good. Not "gourmet" but not Applebees either...I thought it was very worth what we paid, and the presentation and atmosphere was so nice. The white tablecloths and glass goblets made DD feel very fancy! DD got a birthday paper crown, which was really sweet...it had pop up flowers and glitter and a ribbon that tied in the back. Very nice quality. Both of her dolls got glittery "Happy Birthday" crowns, too. Every server told her "Happy Birthday" when they came to our table. Then they brought out her cake and sang Happy Birthday to her, and she got to blow out the candles (all 8 of them!). She got a goodie bag with stickers, a little AG inspirational quote book, and a paper notepad. They even cut & served the cake for us, and packaged up the rest so we could take it home. They served the cake with the mini flower pot of vanilla ice cream, too. The cake had two white cake layers, and one chocolate cake layer, with frosting in between. The frosting was super rich, but the cake was delicious! Definitely worth the extra $10 to add on the birthday package. (the cake alone would have cost more than that at a bakery!) Then we did the two free Kanani celebration crafts...a paper sun visor and a flower lei for her dolls. After that we left the store (it was about 3pm) and watched a movie (Yogi Bear...yawn), got some preztels and started off for home! But first we stopped at a Starbucks in Hollywood so I could download my audiobook, and as we were sitting there we saw Amanda Seyfried walk by! (of Mama Mia and Letters to Juliette fame). So random, but a perfect ending to our trip! (whats a trip to Hollywood w/o a celeb sighting??) DD was very excited as she LOVES Mama Mia! My tips: reserve your meal and personal shopper a couple weeks ahead of time, check the website to see if there are any extra classes and/or activities offered that day, and have a budget set ahead of time!!! Its easy to be swayed by all the cute stuff! DD knew exactly how much she had to spend, and we went over items in the catalog and online before we went so she had an idea of how much that would buy her. I also reminded her that we could order things online at a later date so she didn't feel feel like she HAD to have it all right then. We picked a few different things and then I had her narrow it down to the three that she was most excited by.