The choice: have a birthday party at our house with friends (in addition to school and family parties) or spend two nights at Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills and go to American Girl Place at The Grove. I knew she’d pick the latter. American Girl offers a birthday package and “A Day Of American Girl” but there aren’t too many details listed (like price breakdowns) so I thought I’d tell you what you get. Then, you can decide if it’s worth the upgrade.
American Girl Cafe
You can book lunch, afternoon tea or dinner at the cafe. We enjoyed afternoon tea at American Girl Cafe New York City so opted for lunch this time around. Cost per person for lunch was $23 (some drinks, like soda, not included in the price). We were served warm cinnamon buns right after we were seated. Then came a little veggie, fruit and cheese tray with pretzel rolls.
They do serve wine and champagne cocktails, thankfully. I ordered the turkey burger and she ordered the bow tie pasta. I will say that the food was much better than I had anticipated.
Normally, you receive a cute little mousse dessert served in an American Girl flower pot (available for purchase in the store) with a fake daisy stuck in it. We had it in New York and it’s pretty good.
America Girl Cafe Birthday Celebration – Worth The Upgrade
For $35 per child and $25 per adult (that’s basically an extra $15 for the two of us), you can order up the American Girl Cafe Birthday Celebration, which also includes lunch. The cake looks a bit bizarre but I’m telling you it was delicious. Ours had genuine buttercream frosting, two layers of chocolate and one layer of vanilla cake.
It was more than we could eat so we took it back to the hotel and gladly ate it for a few days afterward. She also received an American Girl goody bag containing paper birthday crowns for herself and the doll (Dora), a doll shirt, activity book, small doll balloon (not pictured), and a doll-sized shopping bag with stickers.
I definitely felt this was all worth a $15 upgrade. From what I saw, if you have more children with you, they will each receive a goodie bag and you will pay $35 per child (again, this includes lunch). The staff came and sang Happy Birthday to her, too.
A Day Of American Girl – Maybe Worth The Upgrade
I booked “A Day Of American Girl” in advance, because I was feeling generous and assumed it would be better value for money. We picked up the package at the in-store Concierge. You are told online what is included but not the a la carte prices of the individual items. I assume this is because prices may vary by store. Total price for “A Day of American Girl” is $250. Now that I’ve been, I put the a la carte price (including 8.75% state tax where applicable) next to all of the included items:
- Lunch at American Girl Cafe for 2 – $50.02, birthday package upgrade not included.
- Doll hairdo at the salon – $20
- Photo session with picture on cover of American Girl Magazine – $27.13
- Doll T-shirt – $8.70
- Girl T-shirt (it’s actually cute and matches the doll’s) – $25.08
- Gift card to spend in store – $130
Grand a la carte total = $260.93. I saved $10.93 by buying the $250 package. It’s basically saving sales tax on the applicable items plus a few dollars extra. You are issued coupons to redeem for each item, but do not get priority line status or anything like that. I am positive we would not have done the photo shoot if left to our own devices, but it was cute. So maybe it was good to try something we otherwise would not have.
I will say it still was a nice experience and worth a birthday splurge. La Jolla Girl had a great time (how could she not). And, at least Dora’s hair looks nice.
Also, The Grove is about 8 minutes from Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. They’ll even take you there in the hotel Mercedes, based on availability.
Can’t get enough American Girl Doll? Check out the American Girl Lunch at the American Girl Cafe in New York City.