American Girl store in Orlando offers free and low-cost summer activities

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Orlando is one of the limited cities in the United States that is home to an American Girl store. For years, my daughter was enthralled with the dolls and the brand, and we spent many happy hours in the store. But before our store opened, we actually traveled to the Miami store on vacation, and I’m sure some visitors to Central Florida also will find our American Girl store a vacation must-do.

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The store itself offers many interactive experiences every day: The Bistro for dining with dolls; the Doll Salon, where new hairstyles and spa treatments can be purchased; the Creativ-Tees kiosk for designing matching T-shirts for girls and dolls; a photo opportunity with the American Girl Doll of the Year backdrop; and separate rooms for private parties.

But in addition to all that, the store at Florida Mall is hosting several special events this summer, and most are low-cost or free to the public. Some require reservations and pre-payment, which can be made by calling 877-247-5223. Choose from the following activities:

** Let’s Get Crafty: Join us on the first Wednesday of each month for a fun and free craft! Each month will feature a different craft and theme, including: Girl of the Year, Contemporary Characters, BeForever, and more. (June 7, July 5, August 2 from 1 to 3 p.m.) This activity is free and does not require advance registration.

** WellieWishers Friendship Tea Party: Put on your wellies and hop into American Girl for a special WellieWishers Friendship Tea Party! Parties will include a special menu, crafts, fun WellieWishers-inspired conversation cards, and a cupcake-decorating activity. (June 11 and 25, July 9 and 23, August 13 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.) This activity costs $13.50 per person, gratuity not included. Reservations required and prepaid event reservations are non-exchangeable and non-refundable. Girls must be at least 5 years old.

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** Father’s Day Brunch: What could be a better Father’s Day treat than a special outing with your girl? Together, you’ll savor a delicious meal in our restaurant, and you’ll make new memories both of you will cherish! When you check-in for your reservation, you’ll hand your girl a fresh-cut flower. Then, your together-time will fly by with a fun dice game, a make-your-own “memory board” craft, and lots of conversation. Plus, you’ll get a spiral book to record the best moments of your daddy/daughter outing, as well as a picture frame. (June 18 from 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.) The cost is $28 per person, gratuity not included. Reservations required and prepaid event reservations are non-exchangeable and non-refundable. Girls must be at least 8 years old.

** Summer Vacation & Beach Cupcake Decorating Event: Get ready to hit the road for a summer adventure with American Girl! Your girl can enjoy a fun-filled time playing games, creating cupcakes perfect for a beach picnic, and personalizing her own craft license plate. She’ll get to take her craft license plate home – and it’s the perfect décor to show off her wanderlust! Her doll will get to rock her own cute travel style, too, with a summery T-shirt. This event will get your girl ready for summer adventures, whether it’s a cross-country road trip, or fun set right in her backyard. June 25 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.; June 26 to 28 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.; July 2 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. This activity costs $10 per person. Reservations required and prepaid event reservations are non-exchangeable and non-refundable. Girls must be at least 8 years old.

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** Doll Hair Salon Spectacular at American Girl: Your girl can learn new tricks to style her doll’s tresses at our Doll Hair Salon Spectacular! At this hour-long session, girls will learn how to create two cute new ’dos and receive insider tips from our professional stylists, plus get hair accessories for their dolls. Afterward, each girl and her spruced-up companion can pose for a photo op. The event includes a goody bag with a Truly Me craft and tee, a recent issue of American Girl magazine, a set of Bright Highlights, and a $10 coupon for an upcoming visit to the Doll Hair Salon. July 23 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and August 18 from 6 to 7 p.m. This activity costs $20 per person. Reservations required and prepaid event reservations are non-exchangeable and non-refundable. Girls must be at least 8 years old. An Emergency Contact Release Form is required to attend this event.

If your girl is not going to be near an American Girl store, she can still kick off the start of summer at home with the release of a new American Girl movie. The Amazon Original Special “An American Girl Story: Summer Camp, Friends for Life” will premiere June 9 on Prime Video. The movie focuses on friends Z and Paz, who arrive at S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) camp excited about technology only to have the use of their devices restricted. But maybe the summer isn’t as doomed at they fear. Adults who are not already Prime members can sign up for a free trial at www.amazon.com/prime.

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