For 31 years, the Madison Children’s Museum (MCM) has hosted a benefit sale to raise money for their exhibits and programs. The sale is held in Middleton, Wisconsin. Every year they sell authentic American Girl dolls and products at a discount. These items were donated to them from the American Girl Company. The items are brand new overstock or items that were returned to the company. The MCM Benefit Sale runs on volunteers that generously give their time organizing and running the sale. They also repair any dolls that need a little TLC and put a tiny x on each doll’s bottom. The x is to prevent store returns and the doll no longer qualifies for free hospital fixes. Example: The McKenna doll was supposed to have short hairs to cover her wig cap, some didn’t. You could send her into the AG doll hospital for a new head/wig for free. If your McKenna had an x you could still send her in, but you would have to pay for any repairs. The x doesn’t bother me personally. I’ve never owned a doll with an x that had any problems.
This was my fifth year attending the benefit sale. Some years are amazing and I come back with lots of great items, and other years I don’t get as much. To me personally, it all depends on the prices. I save all year long for this trip, but the prices aren’t posted until a few days before the sale. This year they were posted on the Wednesday before the Saturday sale. I make my list of wants, but when the prices are posted it can change the amount of dolls I get. For example, last year the Truly Me Dolls were $50 and this year they were $60. On one doll that’s not a lot of money, but when you are hoping to buy 6, it makes a difference. I live 7 hours away from the sale, so after hotel costs and gas it’s not worth it to make the trip for only a couple of dolls.
In past years, to purchase tickets you would send a check and a self addressed, stamped envelope to the benefit. As the orders came in, the entry time slots were assigned by a lottery based on the postmark. So May 1st postmarks would receive an earlier entrance time than May 5th postmarks and so on. Starting this year, tickets were sold online and also distributed lottery style. Tickets cost $8 per person for the Saturday sale. On Sunday most prices are slashed for quick sale of what’s left. The Sunday sale is free to attend and the free tickets are handed out first come first serve on Sunday morning. For the last few years they have sold Sunday tickets for the first hour they are open, at $20 per ticket. I purchased tickets for both days. This year my Saturday entry time was 12:15pm and my Sunday entry time was 8:15am. Last year my Saturday entry was 7:30am, so I was disappointed with my noon ticket this year. Unfortunately, there were a lot of items on my list that sold out before I was able to enter. But the early Sunday ticket helped me get several outfits and dolls I had wanted the day before at better prices. 😀
The shopping experience on Sunday is completely different than Saturday. On Saturday everyone is calm and casual. You can browse and take your time to look at all of the items. Sunday is like Black Friday on steroids. 😂 It’s awesome and I love it! Everyone is still polite (well most people 😜), but because everyone is buying such large quantities it’s hard to move. Each person is trying to hurry to the items they want before they’re gone, while dragging enormous bags. MCM sells large bags for $5 that holds 9 nine dolls. These bags are a MUST! I tried my first year to make do with my own bags from home, but they can’t compare. All of the doll boxes are open, so the dolls kept falling out of my bags and onto the concrete floor. The MCM bags keep everything nice, organized and safe!
So, wanna see what I bought? Of course you do! 😂 On the first day I bought 5 Truly Me Dolls, 3 Bitty Twin Dolls, Melody’s Bed and Bedroom Accessories, a Horse, the Comfy Couch, Maryellen’s Living Room Set and a few Outfits.
On the second day, Markdown Day 😀, I bought more outfits. My dolls Ella and Emma (#61) that I call the twins, got a whole new wardrobe! Since I dress them identical, I only buy them outfits when they’re on sale. I bought Gabriela, Lea, Grace and multiple Melody dolls. I also got a few more Truly Me dolls to customize. (I love to customize the modern dolls into historical characters.) I have plans to customize the Lea and Grace also.
There are doubles of some items that aren’t pictured. Why? Well, here’s the part that you’ll like! I am adding a new section to the blog … Giveaways! I will now be doing giveaways to my subscribers! I will also have some on my social media pages, so make sure to follow me. I have wonderful things planned for the next several months so stay tuned! To see the current giveaway click here! Win a Mini Gabriela Doll
The benefit sale is lots of fun! If you plan on attending in the future, you will want to sign up for their newsletter. It will keep you up-to-date on any changes and when tickets will be going on sale. Now it’s time to start saving for 2019!