March 16, 2014

MN Tot Spots: Barbie Dreamhouse Experience @ MOA

Noelle and I decided to head out to the MOA last night for a last minute visit to the new Barbie Dreamhouse Experience. It's a new exhibit that just opened about a month ago and will be at the mega mall for the next 2 years. Noelle has never played with Barbies or been exposed to them but last time we were at the mall we walked past it and she was mesmerized by all the pink and wanted desperately to go to the "dollhouse." They weren't open when we came that morning (heads up they don't open till noon M-Th) so I promised we would be back. Anyways, last night I had some extra spending/spoiling money and asked her if she would rather go get a new toy or go to the Barbie House. She said Barbie House and told me "this time they open mama." She remembered! So off we went!

I'm not going to lie. It's spendy. They make adults who accompany children pay, which I think stinks since whose children can attend alone?! Obviously none, so they get you there. It's $23.99/person, $19.99/adult accompanying child, $16.99/seniors, and children under 2 are free. What the website doesn't tell you? Everyone, even free kids, need an interactive bracelet to do majority of the things in the dreamhouse, and those are $5/piece. You need the bracelet to play all the games, to take special photographs inside the exhibit and to unlock a bunch of things. The only thing that eases the pain is that if you return the bracelet at the end of your visit you get your money back, however the line to return the bracelet is brutally long and kind of slow moving.

Here's Noelle with her bracelet before entering the exhibit. We needed to eat our snacks first because there is no food or drink allowed in the dreamhouse. What else you can't bring? A camera. I was so, so bummed. I took plenty of pictures, as you can see, with my phone but those pictures didn't turn out as well. 

Noelle had fun in this room. We called it the "Frozen" room. It was where they displayed all their Christmas and snow themed Barbie dolls. Although we were in Barbie's house, Noelle said she was riding Elsa's sleigh.

Making digital cupcakes. A lot of the games are like this - just like apps on tablets/phones. The games usually produce something at the end that the kids can print out and take home. (For a price!)

Here's Noelle running through Barbie's kitchen. I was disappointed there wasn't more to do in this room. The only thing there was to do was make the digital cupcakes. I thought it may have been fun to actually have play food so the kids could actually, you know, play!

Here we are entering Barbie's living room. This room was cuter, and more fun. 

Noelle was excited to see Tawny the pony.

Noelle really liked the grand pink piano, which had buttons on it that played different Barbie music videos. This was her first time watching Barbie and now we have started getting requests for Barbie at home. 

This was one of Noelle's favorite things in the whole exhibit. This was Barbie's shoe closet and it was filled with, duh, shoes, but also a bunch of lights on the ground that changes color when you push the lever. Noelle thought it was so cool and couldn't get enough. She climbed and ran through there multiple times. 

This is Barbie's master closet, where you can "try on" Barbie outfits. 

You stand in front of these mirrors that dress you in different outfits that Barbie has worn, like ballerina, astronaut, chef, firefighter, etc. Noelle thought it was funny, but she must have also thought it was creepy because she wouldn't do it alone. 

This was one of the silliest things of the house, that of course, Noelle thought was amazing. Apparently there's an episode of Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse where Barbie gets a pet dolphin, and the aquarium also connects to her plumbing. Her dolphin swims through the plumbing and scares her friend who is using the bathroom. Anyways, they included that in Barbie's bathroom and when you push a button the dolphin pops out of the toilet. Noelle thought it was hilarious. I think we had to return to the bathroom 5 times because she couldn't get enough. She thought it was SO funny. We have also now watched that episode on youtube at least 3 times. 

Ahh, Noelle's dream come true...getting pampered. She loved getting her makeup done but I wish I had dictated a little harder when letting her choose her eyeshadow. She picked wasn't flattering. 

Aqua blue eyeshadow...great...

Glitter! Mama's okay with glitter.

Lipgloss to seal the deal.

Admiring herself afterwards. Oh...that blue eyeshadow...

Here Noelle's styling one of the Barbie heads. I loved these growing up. I can't wait to find a good one in stores for Noelle! That way she can stop doing mine and Joey's hair!

Coloring Barbie pictures.

That blue eyeshadow is still haunting me.

On the Barbie bus they played Barbie episodes. There were two kids taking naps in there when we sat in there. LOL! Barbie's dreamhouse is exhausting!

I thought the cutest thing there was the fashion show and stage. They had an area where the girls could dress up in play clothes, like boas, hats, wands, tutus, etc. and they had a pink runway they could walk down and/or a stage where they could dance and sing. This was so adorable and I really wanted to get Noelle to do it but I think she had reached her maximum amount of play once we reached it (of course, they save the best for last and my two year old was already running out of gas from being there for 90 minutes). She didn't want to and I didn't want to push her. She said she wanted food and since you aren't allowed to snack in the exhibit we had to go!

On our way out Noelle did a dance with Barbie.

She really wanted to pose with Tawny.

Then she got really into it and wanted to pose next to everyone. Lol.

On the way out she had to play with the actual dreamhouse...and now we have a Barbie fan!

Would I do it again? I don't know. It was expensive and there wasn't tons of "hands on" activities. I liked that they had the coloring area, the dress up, the Barbie heads, and some other things but 70% of the dreamhouse is digital. There's tons of computer and touch screen activities, which is great since we are living in that world, but I wish that wasn't the emphasis. I think older children would have a blast here, especially ones that can work electronics really well, but a young toddler like Noelle just wants to climb around and play with toys. I was hoping for more actual Barbie dolls!

If your girl loves Barbies then she will love this! Or if she is older, she will probably love this as well. Noelle at 2.5 liked it but not more than she likes going to the Children's Museum, or even the library. Personally, I would wait to take her again in a year or so when she's older. Even then, I'm not sure because I think for the price there should be more to do. 

They also nickel and dime you for pictures as well. You know how you can't bring in a camera? So they have all these cool props for you to take pictures with (like a giant diamond ring that you can stand under, a bunch of fancy Barbie doll boxes you can stand in, etc.) in the exhibit and it gets loaded onto that bracelet you got in the beginning. Then if you want it, you can pay a hefty $10.99 per picture!! Or for $18.99 you get all your pictures in a package. Bizarre! Needless to say Noelle and I didn't get any of those pictures, which is too bad because they were really cute, but it was just too expensive! 

So bottom line? Unless you or your child is a die hard Barbie fan, it's not worth the high price tag. See, if it has been a Princess Castle for Noelle, it could have been a whole different story... ;)

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