It started online. I went to the American Girl Place website to make a reservation for tea at their flagship store on 5th Avenue in New York City. Just for fun, my daughter sat on my lap and we built a doll for her together. When it was time to checkout, the grand total was $357, due to some $107 bathrobe and a few other upgrades she had declared necessary. That doll will never be purchased. I made the reservation for tea anyway.

American Girl Place NYC is enormous and quite a scene. My daughter was literally shivering with joy. Expensive dolls, clothing, furniture and more is for sale everywhere you turn. We walked over to the build-your-own doll section where almost every color of hair, skin and eye combination is available. Online, La Jolla Girl decided she wanted a little strawberry blonde, blue-eyed girl just like her. Instead, $108 later and after serious negotiations, we walked out with the doll below…

Tea at American Girl Place New York City…a doll that looks like her mother. We have the same skin tone and everything. Needless to say my cousins and sister-in-law, who were joining us in the cafe for tea, also found this funny. I’m just hoping she doesn’t have buyers remorse somewhere down the line. We did not have time to have the doll’s hair done, but this blows me away every time I see it.

Yep, it’s a doll salon.

New York’s American Girl Cafe on the 3rd floor is decorated entirely in black and white with hot pink highlights. Tea is from 4:00-5:00pm, though you may book for lunch or dinner too. When we were seated at our table, the new doll, Dora, was given her own high chair and tea set. They have loaners available at the cafe for those girls who forget or don’t have dolls.

But here’s the thing, almost every little girl in the cafe already had a doll that looked exactly like them and a lot were even wearing matching outfits.

We had a proper tea set with peanut-free, kid-oriented sandwiches and desserts. They were also very careful to ask about food allergies when I made the reservation, which I appreciated. Adults can even order a mimosa or a glass of wine, if need be. The price of the tea, excluding alcohol and some specialty coffee drinks, was $20 per person and well worth it for the experience. We kept the flower in the dessert pot as well as the hair ties that served as napkin rings.

All in all, it was a nice experience to share with family members we don’t see very often and I’m pretty sure that La Jolla Girl will remember it. She was in a quiet awe the entire time.

But, seriously, if your daughter is into American Girl, how do you manage the cost? Yikes. And you’ll love that this is the first question we pulled out of the conversation starter box on the table.

Read about our experience with the birthday package at American Girl Place Los Angeles.

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. Soooooo thankful my daughter isn’t into this *at all* (though my son once had a Thomas the Tank Engine habit that was quite costly.

    Love that her doll lools like you – and find it appropriate that the moms can order a glass of wine (which surely helps the $108 bathrobe make total sense)! LOL

    Better you than me my dear friend. 😉

    1. Yes, this is entering an entirely new level that likely will require loads of wine. Hope to see you SOON!

  2. My daughter, now 13, loved AG from ages 6-10. I remember this stage so fondly. We lived on the East Coast at that time, and my mother in law lives in Chicago-so we had many opportunities to visit both stores-and got to experience the brunch, lunch and one of the stage shows. Her dolls, and all of their accessories and clothes (some of which never made it out of their wrappings!) were holiday and birthday gifts. Now they’re all packed away (sob) and we’ll just hang on to them in hopes of having grand daughters someday!!

    1. Ok, well that makes me feel better that there may be some longevity! My daughter is only 4. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Pingback: American Girl Place Los Angeles Packages – Worth The Upgrade?
  4. AG has had a long standing in my family. I was 7 I believe when first came out and literally cried when I saw my Samantha doll, now retired sitting there waiting for me at Christmas . I then later received Molly. I loved these dolls dearly. When my daughter turned 3 I was able to enjoy these dolls again. We started with Bitty and now have moved to the bigger dolls. She has 4 dolls now not including my two. They are birthday and christmas gifts. The way I justify them is their longevity and age apropriatness. I see so many toys out there that are not worth a $1. I love how AG teaches my daughter about history. Her favorite is Kit who is helping her to learn about things that can be relatable to our time now. I hope your daughter enjoys them for years to come.