Annabel’s 6th Birthday at the American Girl Store in Atlanta

We went to the American Girl store in Atlanta for Annabel’s 6th birthday so she could pick out her very first American Girl doll! We have been looking through the fancy AG catalogs for over a year now, so we were all excited to drive the five hours north from Jacksonville to finally see these dolls in person! Annabel had decided she wanted Isabelle, the Girl of the Year. Isabelle will only be available for purchase in 2014. That made Isabelle the perfect choice. She also has Annabel’s same hair color and she’s a dancer. Annabel was counting down the days until our trip. We arrived in Atlanta on Friday evening and had a fun Valentine’s dinner as a family. Then, we were off to bed so we’d be ready for our big American Girl adventure. Saturday was Annabel’s actual birthday, so after a special room service breakfast, we headed out to get Isabelle!

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The American Girl store is in the North Point Mall in Alpharetta, a suburb of Atlanta. We were staying in Buckhead, so it was a quick 20 minute drive. There are closer hotels, but we had plans to explore downtown that afternoon so we wanted to be central. The store was a lot bigger than I expected! It has its own library, hundreds of boutique shelves filled with dolls, clothes, and accessories, a separate doll hair salon, and an American Girl Bistro in the back for lunch, dinner, tea, or parties.

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I booked an 11:15 AM lunch, so we arrived at 10:30 AM. Note: You need to book your bistro appointment as early as possible. I originally wanted a Noon appointment, but was happy to get 11:15 when I saw how fast it was booking up. I booked six weeks in advance, but I would suggest months in advance, especially if you are planning a party with your daughter’s girlfriends. When we arrived, we checked in at the front desk to meet our “personal shopper.” I know the “personal shopper” part sounds super fancy, but it’s a free service and I definitely wanted a chaperone to navigate us through the store. And since it was Presidents’ Day weekend, and Atlanta families had been stuck inside their homes for two days because of an ice storm, the store was super crowded. I was glad I had someone to help us out.

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Our personal shopper met us at the check-in desk and we were off to explore. Annabel could not wait to find Isabelle. She also picked out Honey the puppy (a gift from her brother, Daniel) and Isabelle’s Dance Barre set (a gift from her Grandma and Grandpa.) I told Annabel she could buy one Isabelle outfit and she picked an adorable rosette leotard and gold tutu set that was out of stock. No! But our personal shopper ran to the back room and found us the very last set in the store! Win! (And another reason to book a personal shopper.) I was also preparing myself for all the “upsells” (“You NEED this suitcase for all her clothes!” and “Don’t you want to buy some accessories and shoes while you’re here?”), but none of that happened. That was refreshing. Well, she did convince us to buy the official American Girl hairbrush so we could “spritz Isabelle’s hair with water each night and brush it gently.” I definitely recommend the brush because Annabel’s favorite thing to do is play hair salon. (A gift from her GG.)

When we were done, the personal shopper took us directly to the front of the check out line. We filled out an information card, paid, and then Isabelle was ready to party. Annabel was overjoyed and could not wait to hold her new “sister.”

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We headed over to the American Girl Bistro. After all that shopping, we were starving! The Bistro was my little girl’s bright pink fantasy. There were flowers on the ceiling and sparkly chandeliers everywhere. They seated us right away and gave Isabelle her own doll chair for the table. Annabel, Isabelle, and Honey received birthday crowns and Isabelle was handed a small tea set.  There are two party package options. We opted for the “Bistro Birthday Celebration” so everyone at the table received a drink, appetizer, and entree. The kids had their first ever Shirley Temples! Then they picked the warm pretzel bites and spaghetti with little meatballs. Hubby and I picked the tomato and mozzarella caprese salad and the herb-roasted salmon. (Here’s a sample menu.)

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Everything was savory and delicious and perfectly seasoned. It also looked so beautiful on the plates. When we were done eating, the wait staff gathered to bring out Annabel’s pink and white cake and sing “Happy Birthday.” Annabel blew out the candles (with a little help from her big bro) and then they took the cake away. They returned with it perfectly sliced and served with an ice cream flower pot. Is this not the cutest thing EVER?

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We took a ton more pictures and then Annabel received her party goody bag. It had a “Happy Birthday” T-shirt and red balloon for Isabelle and an American Girl activity book and stickers for Annabel. I was so glad we made the trip to the American Girl store for Annabel’s birthday. It is such a special memory. And I know it’s a moment Annabel will never forget.

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Annabel’s and Isabelle’s matching pink pajama set is from Chasing Fireflies. I couldn’t resist.

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And all the cute instant photos were taken with my new pink Fujifilm Instax camera. I love it so.