I went to American Girl Place to see the WellieWishers and all I brought home was the catalog.
Why no buy? I think overall I was underwhelmed by the dolls. Up close and personal and able to touch and pose the dolls I did not love their hard plastic limbs and body. It is not that I am complaining about the lack of a cloth/stuffed torso, but rather I found myself comparing the shiny hard finish of the plastic WW dolls to the high quality silky matte finish of BeForever and Truly Me 18" dolls. If WW were made of the higher quality silky matte vinyl featured on the 18" doll lines I am pretty certain I would have bought a WW or two today.
I also felt the WellieWishers lacked in many small details, such as the lack of definition in their fingers and fingernails vs the 18" dolls. The face paint on the WW dolls was also extremely shiny and less life-like than the 18" dolls. Side by side, so on and so forth, WW are not on par with BeForever or Truly Me dolls. I wish the hair on the wigs was a little more hardy, the limbs of the dolls had more range, and the clothing for these dolls was made with better quality materials.
These dolls are aimed for 3 - 7 year-olds, so my fussing is from the perspective of a collector and adult. None of the above will likely deter a young fan and many older fans may also love the dolls regardless.
That said, my mini awards from today's first hand viewing and handling of the WellieWisher dolls and accessories:
Best Hair - Camille has terrific hair that will likely hold up the best over time followed by Ashlyn (the straight haired wigs). I could flip and twist her hair and it would fall back into place in a perfect cascade.
Best Meet - Kendall has the cutest meet outfit! Her skirt has the perfect flair and the colors and prints are precious.
Best Winsome Smile - Kendall and Camille have the best expressions when viewed in person (but they are all cute).
Best Extra Outfit - The Enchanted Garden PJs are adorable in person and are made of a lovely material and the slippers are soft and "real" and not plastic blobs. I thought I would prefer the Showtime Ballet Costume, but the cheap crinkle of the dress and blob plastic shoes were disappointing, though the outfit is fine for creative play.
Best Accessories - Kendall's Make-It-Great Play Set and Willa's Nature Explorer Set. I want these even though I don't have a WW doll. I wish they made these in the 18" size.
Best Crossover Accessory - Carrot and Hutch. The bunny is soft and plush and would work perfect in any of the 18" doll worlds as a small or young rabbit. Additionally, the hutch crosses over nicely into the Truly Me world.
Best Rubber Chicken - Poor Emerson did not officially win an award today since in-store I was not drawn to her even though in the catalog pictures she is my favorite. However, her rubber chicken is hysterical (and petite!) in person.
Extras of Note - The Playhouse looks like a lot of fun but many of the pieces are very obviously plastic. If I were five years old I would want it. In fact, if I were five years old, I would want it all. If you have a pre-schooler or young-schooler, enter the American Girl Place store with extreme caution.
Will I ever bring home a WellieWisher? It is possible, but I am in a wait-and-see mode for now. Namely, I am waiting to see what comes out this fall for new rumored clothing and accessories for the the 18" doll lines--holiday dresses, a modern kitchen, a 1950s pink refrigerator, new outfits for Josefina and more.