My Experience at the American Girl Benefit Sale

This past Saturday my mom and I traveled to Middleton, Wisconsin for the annual American Girl Benefit Sale, aka Madison Children’s Museum (MCM) sale. I thought I would share the particulars of my experience for those interested. Before you read my ramblings I will sum it up by saying I am glad we went and would go again, but it was not what I thought it would be and the actual time I spent in the warehouse consisted of moments I do not wish to relive any time soon. 

My day started at 2:15 a.m. I can’t say I had ever seen what 2:15 a.m. looks like before, so that was new. I had gotten extremely lucky with the ticket lottery and gotten 7:15 entry time tickets, the second earliest possible. The downside is it meant our four hour drive had to start essentially in the middle of the night. After four hours of solid doll talk, we arrived to the warehouse (pretty easy to find) and found street parking relatively close. 

All the vendors were getting set up and everyone was getting lined up according to every time, three slots at a time. Everyone in the tent was excited and seemed pretty amiable. We were in our own little world, just so happy it was here after months of anticipation! 

We got to go in at about 7:20. The moment we entered the warehouse everything was different. People pushed, shoved, and were out for blood. More on that in a sec.  

I first looked at Saige, who was right there with Isabelle when we came in. My true love is the historicals, but I had become infatuated with the pictures I had seen of her even though I definitely don’t need another classic mold red head. When I picked her up, though, I just didn’t feel….it. The rush of holding a new doll just wasn’t there. So, I knew it just wasn’t meant to be, and feeling slightly let down I moved on to the historicals where my mom picked a beautiful Julie and a special girl caught my eye, too. All of the current historicals were available including Caroline, but there were no archived dolls. There were some in their pre-Beforever outfits, though. The historical doll table was actually the least crowded and most enjoyable to look through. 

The book area was navigable and the Truly Me section was busy but manageable. They seemed to have most all of the Truly Me dolls, though my mom had been hoping for # and she didn’t seem to be there. 

The real issue happened at the table with all the outfits and accessories, both historical and Truly Me. I was after the skiff, but for the life of me could not get close enough to the table to get it. It was complete gridlock as rude people took there precious time looking at who knows what. I felt myself getting more and more smooshed, but was unable to move in any direction. While waiting for the skiff, I spied Rebecca’s purple meet outfit and was able to catch the eye of a volunteer and ask if she could please hand it to me. I was not within reaching distance, so she handed it to the lady in front of me to pass it back. The lady grabbed it, was about to hand it to me, but then saw it was the last one. She have me a nasty smile, shoved it in her bag, and said, “Sorry, but I want this.” I was outraged! Who does that??? Rude. Rude. Rude. Rude. 

I finally got my skiff and got out of there. I would have liked to have taken a good look at that table, but I just literally couldn’t get close enough. They did have a number of items not on the list, the ones I took note of were Kirsten’s nightgown, Molly’s partial meet outfit (minus sweater), and both of Julie’s meet outfits, but I think they might have been partial. There seemed to be a number of Truly Me outfits and accessories, but I wasn’t able to take a good look. 

We checked out and walked outside, almost too shell shocked to speak. Mainly due to the restricting crowds, we had been there for close to an hour. 

There was a nice coat check sort of area where you could leave your merchandise while you looked at the vendors. We did that and finally started enjoying ourselves as we got a snack and walked around. The silent auction was intriguing. There were a lot of retired dolls and outfits and there was a buy it now option for some of the dolls. They were priced much higher than the warehouse dolls (well, much higher even than retail actually) but with the help of my persuasion my mom brought home Cecile! She is gorgeous and I can’t wait to show some photos soon! 

On the streets outside there were some unofficial vendors selling merchandise from their collections or purchased from the outlet. Those were lots of fun to go through; it was more of a relaxing shopping experience. 

Now for the fun part… What I got! 

I didn’t plan to get a historical because I got Caroline so recently, but I am so glad I did because she is my favorite purchase of the day! I got amazing, beautiful Rebecca in her original meet outfit. She is gorgeous, so I am withholding photos until I can do a proper photo shoot to do her justice (soon!). 

I got two other dolls, too: 

These pretty ladies are going to be assuming new identities as the two best friends of one of the other historicals in my collection. Any guesses who?  

  I got Caroline’s skiff, which is simply beautiful. It is extremely well crafted. I really don’t have room for big items like this, but I realized that if I ever have a daughter I would love her to be able to play with this. 

  I was able to get Rebecca’s purple outfit when someone else decided they didn’t want it (so there, rude lady!) and I think it’s super cute. 

  There were tons and tons of books and I got Kirsten’s mystery, which I didn’t have. I intended to go back and pick through the rest, but I got so flustered that I forgot. 

 I also got these “world” books that are so educational from a street vendor. I bartered down to $25 for all three. 

  I also got Rebecca’s kittens and school set. I more or less paid retail, but the school set is retired (and I have a weakness for the lunches) and the kitties were so cute. 🙂 

We plan to go back next year, but will be a bit more mentally prepared! If you have any questions about how the sale works or anything I forgot to mention feel free to leave me a comment! 


12 Comments Add yours

  1. Maggie says:

    Nice blog post! I had a 7:15 time too, you can actually see a bit of my shoulder on the right in the picture you took! (The red short sleeve with the daisies on it) We had a good time overall too, and I’m hoping we can go next year as well. I too have to mentally prepare myself for next time, the crowds were just awful in certain areas (as you also experienced.)

    But it looks like you got some nice merchandise! Also congrats on getting a Cécile! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Emily says:

      Ha, that’s so funny! Yes, it was definitely crazy but I am very thankful for the nice things I got. Hopefully you found some treasures too! I am going to go visit my mom this weekend and am very excited to take tons of pictures of her Cécile!


    2. I’m a big fan of American Girl dolls and so is my cousin Kialee and she would like Grace Thomas for Christmas! I have my own Grace Thomas doll at home and it would be nice if my cousin Kialee could have her so we can match! I have 7 dolls in my collection and I always take good care of my girls Grace and Julie every single day and night because I sleep with them in my bed and it would be nice if I could stop by and see everything next year because I hadn’t been to the American Girl Benefit Sale before at Wilmot! I like to do Crafts at home but I just don’t have anything to color like say a doll picture!


  2. Boomdiada says:

    I spy #49! I always get happy when I see people picking her up, cause she’s just so dang striking looking! However, this is making me look at Elyse and realize her hair is quite a bit shorter than the others I’ve seen around AGC, hers is not nearly as long as the one up there or any of the ones people have picked up that they’ve taken pictures of. Hm.


    1. Emily says:

      #49 is gorgeous! I am so glad I got her. She and #57 are going to be Linda and Susan, Molly’s friends. I was going to get #60 to be Linda because she looks a bit more like the book illustrations, but #49 was just so beautiful and I think makes a very convincing Linda too. Her blue eyes really pop against her medium skin and her hair is so fun to play with! Isn’t that weird how the same doll can have differences like that? I think your Elyse is stunning in your AGC signature picture, though, and having slightly different hair just makes her one-of-a-kind!


  3. Amelia says:

    Nice finds! I can’t believe that lady! I would’ve imagined a worker would’ve done something about it. Too bad. 😦

    I hope you enjoy Caroline’s skiff! How much was it? Less than retail I assume, I would love to get it but I don’t see much of a use as you can’t use it in water.

    Also, congratulations on getting out of there alive! From all the pictures and stories of it I’ve seen it’s a madhouse.


    1. Emily says:

      Yeah, it was pretty crazy, but I guess it’s all part of the experience. The poor workers were so overwhelmed that I didn’t want to throw a fit about it and cause them more stress. I really love Caroline’s skiff! I do agree, it’s kind of silly to pay money for a boat that doesn’t float, but it was $87.50 (half price) and I haven’t yet regretted it. Right now Caroline is sitting in it displayed in my living room. 🙂 I did contemplate it for a while, but what really made me decide to go for it was thinking about someday if I have a daughter how much fun the skiff would be to play with. I know I would have loved having such a unique, fun American Girl accessory to play with as a little girl, even though I would have had to use my imagination to turn my bedroom carpet into water. 🙂


  4. Jen says:

    You know what? I’m in your picture too! I’m turned around talking to Maggie whom we met in line!!!


    1. Emily says:

      How funny! Too bad I wasn’t a little further up to meet you both!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jen says:

        I really had a memorable time, but not sure we will go this coming year. When AG has a 20% sale, that gets you pretty close to the MCM price on historicals. We bought Caroline, Kit, and a MYAG yet to make an appearance. I also got Kirsten’s nightgown. Very odd that was there. It seems that for all of us 7:15 folks it was our first time there. Wonder if their is a correlation? Jen @ DollsBetweenUs


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