Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Review of Madame Alexander Travel Friends Doll 'India'

  Before I forget, (as I keep doing!), I want to welcome our newest followers, Universoplastico, Deeble, whose story of a doll lost and found you may have read here recently, and Barb the Evil Genius. Barb has a few blogs you might want to check out.
  The weather is finally getting to be springlike, but the grass is still gray and the ground is muddy and disgusting. Our border collie Piper's poo has appeared en mass after the snow thawed and left it high and dry. Pretty gross, but the spring rains will wash it all away and my grass will benefit from the fertilizer...I hope.
  I had my blood drawn again yesterday to check out that abnormal thyroid result. You have  no idea how much I hate having my blood drawn. I am BAD with needles. I had three children without pain medication or even an epidural. I don't take pain bills for my bad back, (or shoulder, or...well, you get the idea.) unless I get to the point where I can't even move.I even have my teeth drilled without numbing. But come at me with a needle and I totally freak.(I have to admit, the last two ladies who drew my blood both did a really good job and I hardly felt it.) The whole idea is just too much for me. I can't handle the very thought of the needle. But it's over and all's well. We'll soon see what the doctor has to say about my thyroid.
  Today we're having a look at one of my recent birthday gifts from shopping trip number 2.

                                              Beware of naked plastic, all ye who enter here...

She's a Madame Alexander Travel Friends doll.
Namaste is defined by The Urban Dictionary as: "an ancient Sanskrit greeting still in everyday use in India and especially on the trail in the Nepal Himalaya. Translated roughly, it means "I bow to the God within you", or "The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you" - a knowing that we are all made from the same One Divine Consciousness."

There are quite a few dolls in this series. The countries include France, India, Ireland, Germany,Kenya, Russia, Italy,Mexico,and China. The boxes all have 'Hello' written in the native language of the character in front of the name of their country. The dolls are all pretty, (Of course they are. They all have just about the same head mold.), and the clothes are all really cute.

Left to right: France, Italy,India,Kenya,Ireland,Mexico, Germany,China, and Russia. They are listed on the Madame Alexander site at $16.95. Our local Toys R Us had them for $9.99.Apparently they retail in Toys R Us in other parts of the country for more.
I had never seen them before I found them at Toys R Us on our shopping trip.They caught my eye because not only were they very pretty, they were jointed at the elbows and knees.
  Toys R Us didn't have all the countries that day. On the shelf were France,India, Kenya,Ireland, and Germany. I loved France and Germany's outfits,(Lederhosen!), and I nearly went for Ireland's red hair. In the end though, I had to pick India as the doll that was actually the prettiest. Looking at the whole group I have to say I like every body but Russia.I don't care much for China's outfit though.
  The boxes of the dolls are made of a very thin cardboard. It could be looked at as seeming cheap,or it could be seen as a good idea, as it's probably more biodegradable.The front is all clear plastic, so the doll shows really well.

The sides of the box are decorated with 'travel stickers' from the countries of all the dolls available. Apparently Toy Fair this year had American, Spanish,and British dolls displayed too. Maybe they'll come out later, or maybe they've been dropped. Their 'travel stickers' aren't depicted on the box.

The back of the box gives some information about the character and the country she's from.

The web site shows all the dolls. There are a couple of other lines due out soon that use the same head mold and jointed body as the Travel Friends. One of them is the Storyland Collection, and includes Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella,Rapunzel,Beauty, and the Frog Princess. There is also a Snow White, but for some reason she doesn't show up under the Storyland Collection. She seems to be alone. Toy Fair exhibited a mermaid too, but you never know if she's been discontinued, or is on the way later. The Storyland dolls are listed as being $16.95. Toy Fair also displayed Nascar and  'I Dream' dolls using the Travel Friends molds, but I didn't see them on the site.
Snow White. I love her!

The Frog Princess, another favourite from this line.
And Beauty, my other favourite.

The India 'logo' is printed several places on the box, in case you forget what you just bought.
And the bottom of the box has a strange warning: "Outfits and accessories are intended for use with dolls only." What did they think I was going to do with them? Are they afraid I'm going to try to wear the outfits? Put them on my pets? I think those shoes might fit Irving, my parakeet...

The tape circle at the top of the box was easy to remove and the insert with the doll attached slid out easily.

My first look at her without plastic between us. She's just beautiful. Her hair is pulled out of place a little on her right side.

 But then look at this mess!

They are really afraid I'm going to get this doll out of the box. I'm afraid I'm not. Not only are there wires, plastic, and stitches, the whole thing is covered with a whole sheet of tape!

The giant sheet of tape from the side.

Once the tape is removed there is still all this!

This plastic thingy was forcing her velcro open. Now it doesn't want to stay closed.


 She can stand on her own, even in a walking pose if she's carefully balanced.

Her hair is really long and her braid is thick.

She takes advantage of her freedom to test those jointed arms and legs.
Her joints are very stiff and have to be forced. It feels like they will break.UPDATE: Please read the comments, and buyer beware!

She holds a pose well, but those joints just feel precarious. How long would they last with regular play?

They plastic looks a bit cheap, not what you expect from Madame Alexander. The vinyl head looks a better quality than the body.

Her dress is pretty, but it doesn't look very good quality. The top part looks a bit cheap, and is badly put together. It pulls to one side on my doll.

It doesn't even seem to fit very well in the back either.

The petticoat is actually a separate piece.Some of them seem to be stitched to the skirt with a single thread, but mine wasn't stitched at all.
Here's a good look at the plastic and the jointing without the clothes in the way.

The Madame Alexander logo on her back.

 Some of the white paint from her underwear has come off on her legs.

The mold lines on the front of her legs are rough.

I'm not good with hair, but I figure even I can replicate this hairdo.So I decided to take it down and see how the quality of the hair is.
Very thickly rooted. It looks pretty nice.
It's VERY long. The texture is smooth, but it very quickly became annoyingly fly away.
I tried to comb it so that it would hang nicely around her face. It pretty much just wanted to go back to the way it was before I took it down.

Pretty though, isn't she?
 What other clothes fit her besides her own?
 Surprisingly, Our Generation mini dolls clothes fit her almost perfectly. The shirt is a little loose, but looks fine. The skirt isn't too terribly short, and oddly enough, neither are the tights.

Here she is with Our Generation mini Kendra for comparison..
  With her being, at 7" tall, so much bigger than the Our Generation minis, I thought surely the crotch of the tights would be somewhere around her knees. But they're perfect. The boots fit quite well too.
India girl looks really nice, but  India's dress can't close in back on Kendra.
Eden's clothes for their 8" Madeline fit her very well too.
Madeline jacket and tights with random cheap doll skirt.

Madeline shirt and overalls. The legs are a little short.

The shirt fits perfectly.

 Clothes for the original Stacie, (Barbie's sister), fit nicely, but the dresses are slightly long.

Some of the shoes that fit are these Mary Janes for the Mattel jointed 8" Harry Potter Hermione, and these Stacie shoes that are the same as the black ones for the jointed 8" Mattel Harry Potter.

 Regular Stacie ballet flats will go on, but bulge a lot and threaten to split in front.
I've seen other people dress these dolls in American Girl mini clothes, and they look good.
    My usual complaint with Madame Alexander dolls is that they all look alike, even the guys! It's been suggested by a few people that the Travel Friends strongly resemble the 18" My LIfe As dolls.That's true, but I think these girls are cuter, with sweeter faces.
  Final thoughts: The Travel Friends dolls are pretty, and their outfits are cute. (The others seemed better made, with fabric that seems less cheap than India's.) The articulation is nice, but I'm not sure how long the joints would last with regular play. Maybe they're sturdier than they feel, but who knows? The joints are fairly hard to bend into place, but maybe they'll loosen up over time.The quality of the plastic doesn't seem the best, but the vinyl head looks very nice. The hair is thickly rooted and doesn't seem to shed much with combing, but the hair very quickly became horribly fly away and wouldn't lay well. So I'm not sure if I'd recommend these dolls or not. Our Toys R Us is selling them for $10, which is a pretty good price for this type of doll these days. But other Toys R Us stores around the country, and the Madame Alexander site itself, sells them for up to $16.95! That's what I would consider overpriced for a doll of this quality.
  Later this week we'll review Kendra too.


  1. :D Germany in leather pants! That made ne laugh But I must admit they look very nice on her.
    I really like the dolls and agree with you - they have pretty face molds. :)
    But it's a pity with the joints.

    1. Well, they are more velveteen, but I think they're so cute.If I were going to get more of these dolls, (which I might!), my favourites are France, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, and Germany, strictly for the clothes and Ireland's red hair.

    2. I grew up in Germany, and tough we didn't live in Bavaria, my mom put my sister and me in knee-length Lederhosen (the dark green kind) as well as my little brother, because our in-ground sandbox was lined with rough stones, and sitting on that while we played pretty well shredded everything else we had in the way of play clothes. Better insulation, too. :)

    3. Love your story. I can picture the three of you in your heavy duty pants to protect you!

  2. Thank you for the shout-out!

    I'm expecting a couple of these dolls in the mail any day now. I bought mine from Zulily on discount, except I did have to pay for shipping. Just as well, since when I went to my local TRU in Greater Cleveland, they had none of these dolls. Apparently they'd gotten a few transferred in from another store, and those were sold out. That made me feel better, because I did pay more than $9.99 for them on Zulily.

    1. Is your Toys R Us going to get more or are they not carrying them at all? We're in Ohio too. How much was your TRU selling them for? The range of prices mystifies me.

    2. I doubt my TRU will get more in. They made it sound like they had gotten a few leftovers from another store, and that was it. I also don't know how much they were selling for. It took about fifteen minutes for me to get the information about whether they even had some in stock. I think they'd literally only gotten about three or four dolls.

      Forgot to mention before; Confessions of a Doll Collector's Daughter has a Madame Alexander review from Toy Fair that shows new 7" dolls, including some new International Travelers. Looked like at least British and US girls, plus I'm guessing a doll from Spain.

    3. Yes, I saw her pictures. That why I mentioned those three. But as I said, I'm wondering if those have been dropped, since all the other countries that are actually out are referenced on the box and those aren't. With the weird situation you mention at your TRU, maybe the line hasn't been very successful.Our TRU had a spot on the shelf for them and as I said, several dolls. Maybe the lower price means they are being discontinued.

  3. I just got Travel Freinds Doll (Mexico), unfortunately one of her leg joints was frozen and broke when I tried to bend it, right after taking it out of the box. Hopefully this doesn't happen to a lot of dolls. I can imagine a child trying to play with a brand new doll and the shock of it breaking before they can even play with it.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I wondered how long those stiff joints would last. Mine felt as if it would break when I bent it. Apparently this line has been discontinued, but they are making other dolls with the same molds, so buyers beware. A shame, as they are such pretty dolls.


Thanks in advance for your comments.