Disclosure: I participated in this sponsored campaign for One2One Network. I received monetary compensation and product to facilitate my post, but all opinions stated are my own. Read my full disclosure statement here.
Just the word evokes some serious nostalgia. I was OBSESSED with Barbies when I was a child. I remember transforming my bedroom into elaborate Barbie cities, with houses spanning from bed to closet; utilizing boxes, chopsticks, paper cups, whatever I could to create the perfect DIY dream house for my Barbie dolls.
Because of my memories of hours spent dressing Barbies, playing make-believe and entertaining myself, I have often [secretly] looked forward to the day that my daughter is old enough to fall in love with Barbie as well. I held off on buying her any until last Christmas, when she received a ballerina Barbie (she was taking a dance class at the time, so it seemed like a good excuse). She played with her from time to time, but the instant attraction wasn’t quite there yet.
When I got the opportunity to review the new Barbie Dreamhouse, I jumped at the chance to finally introduce Mia to the full world of Barbie and all her over-the-top accessories. She is an extremely creative and imaginative child, just as her mother was, and I had an inkling that she would take to it now that she was a bit older.
When the HUGE box first arrived on our doorstep and she saw the pictures on the outside, she was over the moon. By the time we finally opened the box (she needed to “earn” it and it took 3 days – I’ll spare you the details of her misbehavior) and my husband started assembling it, she couldn’t control her excitement and picked up and touched every piece – which, of course, drove my husband nuts. I may have been a little excited too and made things worse by playing with Mia and showing her the pieces, but that is neither here nor there…
Unfortunately, the assembly was anything but quick. My frustrated Mr. informed me that the instructions included in the box are less than sufficient and a little hard to follow. Not to mention, there are several pieces that aren’t even mentioned in the instructions so you are sort of left on your own in trying to figure out where to stick them. Luckily, the company has recently created a video to help with assembly. Sadly this was not available when we were in throngs of erecting Barbie’s massive Malibu mansion.
Once it was assembled and she began to play, I sat back and watched her create stories, position her Barbies, and experiment with each and every inch of the Dreamhouse. I was reminded of why Barbie is an American staple in the lives of so many little girls; there’s nothing quite as magical as this lovely little doll who you can move and manipulate into any scenario you can dream up. And with digs and accessories like these, the possibilities are endless.
Barbie certainly isn’t lacking with her newly “renovated” Malibu Dreamhouse. This thing is 3 1/2 feet tall, features a walk-in closet, two pull-string elevators, lights and sounds throughout the 6 rooms and 3 stories, and comes with 50+ pieces. And it’s pink – really, really pink. That Barbie really knows how to live.
Mia is a pretty big fan of the kitchen, where she can move the food from the fridge to the pink “stainless steel” oven and the TV where she can change the channels. She also loves positioning the Barbies in the furniture and taking them out to the balcony for some Malibu sun (she’s a California girl at heart).
As a child, my most prized possession was my own Barbie Dreamhouse, which was actually a folding house that converted to something that looked like a plastic briefcase. Although it was pretty cool, it had a balcony with no stairs or real way of getting to it (which my logical little brain always had a problem with), so I was pretty impressed with the updated Dreamhouse’s inclusion of an elevator. FINALLY Barbie has a logical way to visit every story in her home, and so I can now sleep soundly.
Unfortunately, these elevators aren’t quite all they’re cracked up to be. Ours tend to get stuck at each floor and it was only recently that I found a video online showing you how to fix the problem for the main elevator. It did, in fact, fix the issue for one elevator, but not the other – and who wants to be looking up videos on how to fix their kid’s toys? The elevators work on a string pulley system, and when they stick they are too hard for my 3 1/2 year old to use. It’s a bit of a bummer since one of the Dreamhouse’s main selling points is their “two working elevators!”.
I was also a little disappointed in the quality of some of the furniture that came with the house. The chair legs, for example, simply fit into the chair seat but do not snap in; therefore, they are always falling off and ending up in random places in my house (yesterday I found one in the bathroom drawer). The tiny pieces that come with the house seem to end up everywhere as well, like the forks, and toothbrush and toothpaste… I’m not sure why such tiny pieces are necessary, but I am sure that either my 3 year old or my 15 month old will ingest at least one of them at some point.
This is probably much less of an issue when you have a 6 or 7 year old playing with the house who is actually interested in keeping the pieces in place instead of moving them from her purse to her purse and walking around the house leaving a tiny Barbie popcorn trail behind her.
Despite the Dreamhouse’s shortcomings, how can you not feel joy when you watch your little girl smiling from ear to ear as she plays with a toy that most girls only dream of having? No matter how I feel about it, this girl loves it. I have never pushed anything girly on my child; in fact, I try to keep Disney Princesses, pink and plenty of other girly cliches to a minimum. And yet, this girl is innately attracted to her Barbies. There must be something about that golden blonde hair and her super tiny forks that just draw little girls in – it certainly worked on me.
All I know is I love seeing my daughter engrossed in the same magical world that I knew and loved as a child. And even though I may curse when I step on those little pieces and the Dreamhouse will inevitably find its way in and out of the closet from time to time, I am happy that I was able to give her the chance to experience the beauty of Barbie in all its glory (since, had I not received this for free to review, she most likely would never have received such an elaborate and pricey toy).
And when she came up to me the other day and said out of the blue, “Mommy, I’m so happy that you got my dollhouse for your work,” I knew that she was pretty smitten with it too.
Barbie’s Dreamhouse can be purchased at Walmart and retailers nationwide. Suggested retail price is $184.99.