School-year hours: 9:30-5, Tuesday-Sunday, closed Mondays

Hours: 9:30-5, Tuesday-Sunday, closed Mondays

School-year hours: 9:30-5, Tuesday-Sunday, closed Mondays

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Hours: 9:30-5, Tuesday-Sunday, closed Mondays

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Sale Dates: July 21-22, 2018
Location: 8830 N. Greenview Drive, Middleton, WI 53562


Many thanks to everyone who made the 2018 sale such a success.

Mark your calendars for July 20 & 21, 2019!


The American Girl Benefit Sale, run by Madison Children’s Museum, offers great deals on authentic American Girl dolls, accessories, and books. The inventory is all donated by American Girl and Mattel, and the proceeds go to support the work of Madison Children’s Museum and American Girl’s Fund for Children, which supports a number of charitable programs for children. The sale is not run by American Girl or Mattel.

The benefit sale is in two main parts, the Saturday Sale which requires paid tickets, and the Sunday Markdown Sale, which has paid tickets only for the first hour, and free, walk-up tickets for the rest of the day. Discounts begin at 30% or more off retail prices on Saturday, and many items are further marked down on Sunday, often to 70% off retail prices. The sale is in-person only, located at a warehouse in Middleton, Wisconsin. Items are not sold online or by phone.


Quick Navigation

About the Sale
Ticket Information
Sale FAQ
Rules and Regulations
Sale Layout
Sale Shopping Procedure
Other Activities at the Sale
Area Information – Visit Middleton
Hotel Information
Questions and How To Volunteer


Girls holding American Girl dolls

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About the Sale

General Information
Inventory and Pricing
Payment at the Sale
Parking & Shuttle
Food and Water
Shipping

General Information

The annual American Girl Benefit Sale attracts up to 7,000 shoppers from all over the country and raises around $1 million dollars each year. All funds raised go to support the exhibits and programs of Madison Children’s Museum and American Girl’s Fund for Children, which provides grants for charitable programs for children throughout Dane County.

Over the past 31 years, Madison Children’s Museum has restored and resold overstock and returned merchandise donated by American Girl and Mattel. The benefit sale serves as the museum’s largest fundraiser and has raised an overall total of $24 million. A dedicated corps of 150 museum volunteers work year-round to prepare for the event, with an additional 150 on site during the sale. More than 30,000 volunteer hours are logged annually.

Sale Inventory and Pricing

All of the merchandise is either overstock or returns donated by Mattel and American Girl to Madison Children’s Museum. Saturday Sale prices are approximately 30% less than a catalog or store purchase. Some items may be reduced even further depending on how much inventory we have. The Girl of the Year dolls are an exception since they are no longer available to the general public. Girl of the Year dolls will sell for approximately $120. Madison Children’s Museum has the right to change the prices based on availability from year to year.

The Sunday Markdown Sale prices are based on what does not sell on Saturday. You can expect up to 50% off on most items, with the Girl of the Year dolls an exception.

Donations of sale items from American Girl and Mattel come in gradually, some arriving just days before the sale, so we are not able to release a comprehensive list of available items. Shortly before the sale, we do publish a list of prices for general categories of items, such as Truly Me or Bitty Baby dolls, and may include prices for specific items where we have larger quantities in stock. We do not provide prices or confirm the availability of items not included on that list. We also cannot guarantee the availability of any item at a particular time during the sale.

There are purchasing limits on most of the inventory. The limits are set to provide more people the opportunity to buy certain items we may not have in excess. Limits will be included in the item list published before the sale. To ensure that you receive all sale communications, please subscribe to our email list.

Payment at the Sale

We accept cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express—no checks or travelers checks. Outside merchants in our vendor fair may have other payment preferences.

Parking & Shuttle

There is free, on-street parking located near the sale, usually within a 5–10minute walk. You may also park at the Capitol Ice Arena. The shuttle will pick up at the arena.

A limited number of accessible parking spaces are available near the warehouse for those with disabled parking tags.

Food and Water

There will be food and water available for purchase during the Saturday Sale.

Shipping

The UPS store will have a booth on-site for you to ship your purchases home directly from the sale.

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Pile of ticket stubs

Ticket Information

How do I purchase a ticket?

Tickets for the July 21 & 22, 2018 sale are now closed. Tickets for the July 20 & 21, 2018 sale will go on sale in the spring of 2019. Subscribe to our email list for updates.

Tickets are distributed in three phases:

  • the Ticket Lottery Presale offers motivated shoppers the chance to get the earliest possible entry slots for the Saturday Sale, and for a limited number of the earliest Sunday entry slots. Tickets are purchased online and every shopper who places a ticket order on the same day has an equal chance of getting the earliest slots available that day.
  • the General Sale offers shoppers the chance to select from their preferred time for Saturday tickets. Ticket times will be after those distributed duirng the Ticket Lottery Presale.
  • Free Tickets to the Sunday Markdown Sale are distributed on-site on Sunday morning, for entry times after the early-entry tickets sold during the Ticket Lottery Presale. All free Sunday tickets are first-come, first-served. Tickets are distributed at the sale information booth, located at the street entry to the sale area.

How much do tickets cost?

Ticket prices depend on date and entry time 2018 prices were:

  • Saturday Sale tickets – $8 per person
  • Sunday Markdown Sale, 8-9 a.m. – $20 per person
  • Sunday Markdown Sale, after 9 a.m.– free tickets will be distributed on-site, starting at 7 a.m.

All persons entering the sale, including children, must have a ticket. Children under 3 are not permitted in the sale building, due to safety issues.

Ticketing Policies

  • We will only honor one ticket per attendee. (For the 2018 sale, due to increased inventory, we allowed attendees to purchase a second ticket to re-enter the warehouse. Those who have purchased a reentry ticket may enter the sale after 2 p.m. or at the time on their ticket, whichever is later. This may or may not be repeated in future sales, depending on inventory.)
  • Tickets are non-refundable.
  • We reserve the right to revoke or refuse to honor tickets that have been resold for more than the face value of the ticket.
  • Tickets held at will call will only be released to the attendee who purchased the ticket.
  • There are purchasing limits on most of the sale inventory. (For more information on limits, please see the pricing and inventory section.

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Sale volunteer behind table

Sale FAQ

Who benefits from the sale?

All sale proceeds are divided between Madison Children’s Museum and the American Girl Fund for Children.

Who runs the sale?

Madison Children’s Museum oversees the logistics of the sale, but the event is a success because of our dedicated volunteers. Approximately 150 volunteers work year-round at the warehouse to repair dolls and organize inventory. Over 300 volunteers are on-site sale weekend.

Should I attend Saturday, Sunday, or both?

The Saturday Sale will have more merchandise, priced at an average of 30% retail. Per-item limits are higher on Saturday to preserve selection for as many shoppers as possible. If there is a particular doll or item you are looking for, we recommend you shop on Saturday.

Sunday Markdown Sale product will be what did not sell on Saturday but at a further reduced price. Per-item limits are increased for many items on Sunday. People like to shop on Sunday for the deepest deals and to buy multiple items, but there are not as many choices as on Saturday, and individual items sell out more quickly.

No product is held back or added to the floor at any point during the sale. Some shoppers choose to attend both days!

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Rules & Regulations

  • All persons entering the sale warehouse must have a ticket. This includes children over 3 and support people assisting those with mobility difficulties.
  • Children under the age of three are not permitted in the sale warehouse. This includes infants in carriers. Their safety is our concern. Please plan to have another adult care for your child outside the warehouse.
  • You may enter the warehouse once per ticket. Please double-check your shopping list before you check out; you will not be able to reenter the sale without another ticket. Those who have purchased a reentry ticket may enter the sale after 2 p.m. or at the time on their ticket, whichever is later.
  • Merchandise limits are per-person, not per-ticket. You may not present more than one ticket at checkout to increase your purchase limits. The Saturday item limits will be published with the price list on Wednesday, watch your email then!
  • Sale entry times may be delayed at times due to warehouse overcrowding. We have re-engineered our ticketing process and our warehouse layout to speed entry; however, the record-large inventory donated this year may slow shopping, offsetting some of our efficiency gains. We will be posting real-time updates on the line and entry times; watch your in-box on Friday for more details.
  • No wheeled devices are allowed in the warehouse, except for wheelchairs and other devices to help people with mobility issues. This includes strollers, wagons, or wheeled luggage. You must be able to carry all your purchases. Please realize the space in the warehouse is extremely crowded. It is best to be able to walk independently or bring someone to help you through the crowd. 
  • A current, valid disability parking permit must be displayed for disabled parking. We are not able to provide a special time for entry for those with mobility challenges. If you need assistance, you will be able to wait near the warehouse door at checkout, rather than stand in line. Please let a volunteer know if you are not able to stand for long periods.
  • No animals are permitted on the sale grounds, with the exception of trained service animals.
  • There is little or no cell phone reception in the warehouse, and there isnot space for you to return to the entry to consult with those outside. Everyone who needs to consult on a purchasing decision should buy a ticket and come with you into the warehouse.
  • Previously purchased dolls are not permitted in the warehouse. As dolls are sold in open boxes, we do not want to mistake your current doll friend as one that is for sale and have to charge you again. A “doll daycare” area is provided for your doll to wait until you have finished shopping.
  • There are NO returns! Items are refurbished returns and overstock and sold “as is.” Please check all your purchases in the warehouse so you don’t get any unpleasant surprises when you get home.
  • Madison Children’s Museum does not ship, hold, or accept telephone orders. All orders must be placed in person. Our local UPS store will have a booth where you can ship your own purchases.
  • Smoking is not allowed in the warehouse or on the grounds.
  • Please DO NOT contact American Girl or Mattel regarding this sale. The sale is run solely by Madison Children’s Museum’s staff and volunteers. We cannot accept coupons or gift cards issued by American Girl or Mattel.

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Vendor tents at sale

Sale Layout

The sale grounds comprise an outdoor paved area; which includes the line-up tent, information/will-call tent, silent auction, raffle, and vendors; and the indoor sale warehouse where all of the product is kept.

An information/will-call booth is located at the entry to the sale grounds from the street. Please see the information booth to pick up will-call tickets, to purchase walk-up tickets (when available), to receive free tickets on Sunday, to buy reusable shopping bags, or for questions about sale procedures.

The parking lot at the sale, behind the information booth, is reserved for those with disabled permits, and for those picking up purchases in the loading zone. A roped walkway connects the street access with the main sale area. All pedestrians should stay in the walkway.

The outdoor, paved area includes the vendor fair, raffle, silent auction, food vendor, come and play area, doll daycare, UPS shipping booth, and the warehouse waiting area.

The warehouse contains all sale items and checkout. You may enter the warehouse as determined by your ticket time or number. See below for more details on warehouse entry and procedure.

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Warehouse entrance

Sale Shopping Procedure

Sale Ground Hours
Arrival and Entry
Saturday Sale
Sunday Sale
In the Warehouse and Purchasing
Taking Your Purchases Home

2018 Sale Ground Hours

Saturday:

  • 6 a.m. First arrivals may line up in the upper parking lot
  • 7 a.m. First paid ticketed entry begins, sale grounds open
  • 3:00 p.m. Final entry into the warehouse
  • 3:30 p.m. Sale grounds close, those in the warehouse will be able to complete their shopping.

Sunday:

  • 6 a.m. First arrivals
  • 7 a.m. Free ticket distribution starts
  • 8 a.m. First paid-ticketed entry begins, sale grounds open
  • 9:15 a.m. Free-ticketed entry begins
  • 11:45 a.m. Final entry into the warehouse
  • 12 p.m. Sale grounds close, those in the warehouse will be able to complete their shopping.

Arrival and Warehouse Entry

(all times are for 2018, updated times for 2019 will be published in the spring of 2019)

On Saturday and Sunday, please do not arrive at the sale area before 6 a.m.

All Saturday Sale tickets have a printed entry time. Entry times are listed in 15-minute increments. You will have the same entry time as many other shoppers. On Saturday you may arrive after 6 a.m. to line up in the upper parking lot. The sale grounds, including the vendor fair, will open at 7.

On Sunday, all 8-9 a.m. tickets will have a printed entry time. Free, walk-up tickets for after 9:15 a.m. are ordered numerically, and your ticket number will be unique. You may arrive after 6 a.m. Two lines will form, one for those seeking free tickets, the other for those who have already purchased first-hour tickets. Free tickets will be distributed starting at 7 a.m. Once you have your free ticket you may depart the sale grounds. Free-ticket entry will start at 9:15. Those with paid tickets will be escorted to line up at the warehouse at 7:30.

You are welcome on the sale grounds from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, and from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sunday. Anyone is welcome to participate in the raffle and silent auction, or visit the vendor fair with or without a ticket. You may only enter the sale warehouse based on the time or number on your ticket (see procedures below). Once you have completed your purchase, you may stay on the sale grounds to shop the vendors; visit the raffle, auction, and crafts tents; watch the performers; or socialize with other shoppers as long as you want.

Saturday Sale Warehouse Entry Procedure

(all times are for 2018, updated times for 2019 will be published in the spring of 2019)

Once the time on your ticket has arrived, sale staff will permit you into the warehouse as soon as it has emptied enough to permit safe and comfortable shopping. If the sale warehouse is too full, your entry time may be delayed past the time printed on your ticket.

If you are concerned with entering the sale as soon as possible, you can wait in line with those holding the same ticket entry time as you in the designated waiting area. New, for 2018, only those holding tickets for the next entry time will be permitted in the line-up tent. For example, once 9:15 B has entered the warehouse 9:30 B may line up. Sale staff will tell you as soon as your entry time has been called, and you will walk to the warehouse. Once your group is called, those in the waiting area will be admitted to the warehouse first. Those with limited mobility can go to a special waiting area with seating next to the warehouse door.

If you are not concerned with immediate entry you DO NOT have to stay in the waiting area. You can explore the vendors, crafts, and other activities on the sale grounds, and just periodically check at the warehouse entry door or the waiting area to see if your group has been called yet. After your group has been called you can enter the warehouse at any time, so you cannot miss your spot.

We will post current entry times at the door to the warehouse and in the waiting area. We will also have a mobile broadcast system which will announce entry times and other news on the sale day – more details to come later this spring.

Final entry on Saturday is at 3:00 p.m. Shoppers will have at least 45 minutes to complete their shopping after the grounds close.

Sunday Markdown Sale Warehouse Entry Procedure

(all times are for 2018, updated times for 2019 will be published in the spring of 2019)

For those holding 8-9 a.m. tickets, the procedure will be identical to Saturday ticketed entry, by timed entry groups.

For those with free, walk-up tickets, sale staff will permit you into the warehouse by number as the warehouse has emptied enough to permit safe and comfortable shopping.

If you are concerned with entering the sale as soon as possible, you can wait in numerical order in the designated waiting area. Sale staff will tell you as soon as your number is called, and you will walk to the warehouse.

If you are not concerned with immediate entry you DO NOT have to stay in the waiting area. You can explore the vendors, crafts, and other activities on the sale grounds, and just periodically check at the warehouse entry door or the waiting area to see if your number has been called yet. After your number has been called you can enter the warehouse at any time, so you cannot miss your spot.

We will post current entry times at the door to the warehouse and in the waiting area. We will also have a mobile broadcast system which will announce entry times and other news on the sale day – more details to come later this spring.

Final entry on Sunday is 11:45 a.m. or when all merchandise has been sold, whichever comes first.

Volunteers at checkout with numbers

In the Warehouse and Purchasing

Once you are admitted into the warehouse there is no limit on how long you can shop; however, we ask that you do so efficiently so as to permit waiting shoppers to enter as soon as possible. Please be respectful of other shoppers. Owing to the limited space, you will need to keep moving while you are shopping. Please do not stand in one area to tally purchases or wait for others.

Please note that you will need to carry all of your items within the warehouse—wheeled carts or wheeled bags are not permitted. Very large reusable shopping bags are for sale in the waiting area, and a limited number may also be for sale in the warehouse. You may also bring your own bags.

You may only enter the warehouse once per ticket, so please make sure you have picked up all the items you wish to purchase. There is very poor cell reception within the warehouse, so anyone who needs to weigh in on a purchasing decision should have a ticket and enter with you.

When you are ready to check out please join the exit line. When you get to the head of the line, a volunteer will escort you to a tally station. There, another volunteer will make a list of all of your goods and their prices and give you an invoice. You will then take the invoice and items to a cashier who will accept your payment and give you a receipt. After paying you will exit the warehouse. A guard will quickly check your items and receipt to ensure that all items have been paid for.

Family leaving sale with bag

Taking Your Purchases Home

Once your purchase is complete you may carry your items out yourself, take them to the UPS store to ship them home, or volunteers with shopping carts can help you transport your items to the loading area.

If you wish to use the loading area, you will be able to leave your items in a numbered shopping cart with a volunteer while you go to get your car. Your cart number will be written on your receipt, which you will take with you. You will get your car and drive it to the loading area, and present your numbered receipt to reclaim your items. Please be as efficient as possible in bringing your car around, and double check that you are claiming the correct cart and items. Once your car is loaded you will need to remove it. If you wish to return to the sale area you will need to re-park your vehicle and walk back in.

You may only enter the warehouse once per ticket, but you are welcome to stay on the sale grounds until the sale closes at 3 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. on Sunday.

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Girl looking at doll and dress for sale from vendor

Other Sale Activities

Vendor Fair

There will be over 40 crafters on site at the sale. Seamstresses and craftsmen sell 18″ doll clothes, furniture, accessories, and other custom-made items. On Saturday a food vendor will sell food and drinks.

Become a Vendor

To learn about becoming a sale vendor, please email our American Girl Benefit Sale Coordinator.

Event Raffle

The raffle will include a variety of American Girl items. Tickets are $1 each for a chance to win. All proceeds support Madison Children’s Museum.

Silent Auction

The silent auction typically features American Girl products that are no longer available or not easily purchased. All proceeds support Madison Children’s Museum.

Girls crafting together

Activities Area

Our play area is a wonderful place for your children to have some creative fun, including making a craft to take home.

Off-Site Activities at Madison Children’s Museum

We encourage shoppers to visit the museum and experience the wonderful exhibits and activities that you help support with your purchases. During the weekend of the sale, Madison Children’s Museum often offers activities and workshops created with doll enthusiasts in mind. 2018 event details will be posted here in early summer.

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Area Info

Learn more about our host town at Middleton Tourism Commission. Find out more about Madison and the surrounding area at Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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Hotel Accommodations

In early spring we open room blocks at nearby hotels. Participating hotels are all located in Middleton, approximately two miles from the sale.  Subscribe to our email list or follow our Facebook page for announcements about hotels.

Hotels for 2018 have been announced. View the list and select rooms here.

Previously participating hotels include:

  • Courtyard Marriott
  • Residence Inn/Marriott
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites/Marriott
  • Hilton Garden Inn

There are a limited number of rooms in these blocks. So, once they are available, please do not delay reserving a room.

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Questions?

If you have any questions that can’t be answered with the information above, please email our American Girl Benefit Sale Coordinator.

Want to Volunteer?

The sale would not be possible without the work of many dedicated volunteers. If you would like to learn more about volunteer opportunities email the American Girl Benefit Sale Coordinator.

Get the Latest News

Get information and updates on merchandise and more by subscribing to our email list or follow us on Facebook.

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