American Girl Dolls are some of the most expensive toys on the market, with a single full-price doll costing around $115. At the time of this post, American Girl Dolls were on sale for $98 each, which is still a lot of money for a doll. There are plenty of other retailers who have gotten into the 18-inch doll market in the last decade or two, with the most notable players being Target and Walmart. This year, Aldi also entered the game.
Just before the holidays, Aldi introduced its own line of Bee Happy 18-Inch Dolls (Product Code: 13392) for $19.99 each. Similar dolls at Walmart in the My Life product line range from around $20 to $35 at the time of this post, depending on what doll you get. Similar dolls at Target in the Our Generation product line range from around $22.50 (on sale) to about $35 at the time of this post, with some dolls available in more deluxe packages with books and extra clothing. So the Aldi dolls are the least expensive, but not necessarily by a lot.
There are three doll choices at Aldi: a ballerina, party host, or outdoorsy girl. I’m kind of partial to the outdoors girl, as I think she’s the cutest of the group.
Bee Happy is a toy product line exclusive to Aldi, offering a range of toys from stuffed animals to blocks to toy cars and more. Their products often show up in time for Christmas, and we see them around Valentine’s Day and sometimes during the summer months as well.
The Bee Happy dolls’ features include:
- Compatibility with leading brands
- The opportunity to match your doll with the coordinating ALDI Children’s Holiday Pajamas
- A poseable body and a soft torso
- Eyes that open and close
- Soft, long hair that can be brushed and styled
- Suitable for ages 3+
I noticed the dolls are not diverse in terms of skin color, and it would have been nice to have some choice there, especially because most other retailers who sell 18-inch dolls offer some variety.
Similar to American Girl dolls, these do have soft torsos and eyes that open and close. Looking at the dolls in the store, each one also has a pair of red and black plaid pajamas tucked into the package, so kids can change the dolls’ clothing. I didn’t see the coordinating children’s holiday pajamas mentioned in the specifications, but the ALDI Find aisle is a busy place during the holidays, so I may have missed them.
So, what are the pros and cons of buying an off-brand doll like the ones at Aldi versus a name-brand American Girl doll?
As a mom of two girls, I have several 18-inch dolls in our house, ranging from official American Girl dolls to a couple of off-brand imitation dolls. I even still have my old American Girl doll, Kirsten, from my childhood, although at 31 years old, she’s not in the best condition for playing with anymore.
In my experience, where name-brand American Girl dolls really stand out is in the quality of their hair. Off-brand dolls often develop stiff, knotty, or frizzy hair after a while, and it’s difficult to restore it to its original shine and smoothness. I don’t know how the hair on the Aldi dolls will hold up, but my guess is it will be similar to other non-name brand dolls. On the other hand, American Girl dolls, with moderately decent care, have terrific hair that looks great even when the dolls are several years old.
In all other aspects, I have found the knockoff brands to be just fine. The doll’s plastic and cloth bodies usually hold up well, and off-brand clothing, accessories, and furniture are usually decent quality (my kids have a sizable collection of furniture and accessories from Target’s Our Generation line, in particular). I would expect this to be true of the Aldi dolls as well.
So if having a doll with luxuriously beautiful tresses is a priority for you, you might want to shell out the money for the real thing. If you just want a cute doll for your kid and you don’t mind if it doesn’t look perfect after some play, an off-brand doll like the ones from Aldi might be just what you’re looking for. A cheaper doll like the Aldi one is also ideal if you’re buying for a younger child who is not ready for the responsibility of caring for a more expensive doll.
If you want to get an Aldi doll, though, you’ll want to move quickly. They’re an ALDI Find (Special Buy), which means they’re only available for a short time, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. Happy shopping!