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School-Year: 9:30–5, Tues.–Sun. Closed Mon.

Ticket Information

 General Information

Tickets are distributed in three phases:

  • The Ticket Lottery Presale offers motivated shoppers the chance to get the earliest possible entry slots for both Saturday and Sunday. 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. Tickets go on sale March 18, 2020.
  • The General Sale offers and advertises remaining tickets to the general public. Ticket times will be slotted after those distributed during the Ticket Lottery Presale. Update for 2020: sale of General Tickets has been delayed due to the COVID-19 situation. Subscribe to our email list or follow our Facebook page for updates. (Sale entry times are visible and selectable for these tickets; however most people choose the earliest time available, as you can enter after the time on your ticket, but not before.)
  • Walk-Up Tickets on the days of the sale may be available at the information booth. Walk-up tickets are drawn from those tickets that did not sell out during the General Sale, and from extra tickets that are donated back by customers who did not end up using them. For the past two years (2018 & 2019) tickets sold out during the General Sale, so all walk-up tickets were donations from other customers. We cannot guarantee the availability of walk-up tickets so we recommend shoppers buy tickets ahead of time.

Ticket Prices

  • Saturday tickets are $10 per person for all time slots.
  • Sunday tickets are $5 per person for all time slots.
  • A small handling fee and sales tax will be charged for each order.

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 Ticketing Policies

  • All persons entering the shopping area, including children, must have a ticket.
  • Children under three are not permitted in the ticketed shopping area, due to safety concerns.
  • 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, with ID.
  • Shoppers who have previously purchased a ticket during the Ticket Lottery Presale may buy a second set of tickets during the General Ticket Sale to reenter the ticketed shopping area. 

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 Changes to 2020 Ticketing

This year, tickets for the Saturday Sale and the Sunday Markdown Sale will be sold and distributed with the same process.

  • All Sunday tickets will be made available during the Ticket Lottery Presale. Any Sunday tickets that do not sell during the Ticket Lottery Presale will be made available for purchase during the General Sale. Any tickets that remain after the General Sale will be available for sale during the benefit sale at the info booth.
  • All Sunday tickets will be sold for $5, both online during the Ticket Lottery Presale and General Ticket Sale, and in-person at the benefit sale in July.

These changes were necessitated by the requirements of the new benefit sale location. The new venue makes it difficult for people to line up for hours before the sale opens to get tickets. Additionally, while the tradition of lining up in the early hours of the morning was enjoyable for some attendees, it meant that others, including families with young children or individuals with disabilities or mobility difficulties, couldn’t get earlier ticket times. With the success of the Saturday online ticketing model (since 2018), it became clear that making all tickets available online was the most efficient and fair way to distribute Sunday tickets to all who want them.

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 Ticketing support questions

First, please review all the information below to see if your question is answered here!

If you still have questions or concerns about your ticket order, please contact us as soon as possible. All help requests are time stamped. We will respond to your question as soon as possible. Regardless of the method of contact, be sure to provide your full name, phone number, email address, order number (if applicable), and a description of your issue.

Please contact us via the methods below:

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 Ticketing FAQ

Ordering Tickets

Ticket Cost, Limits, & Payment Options

Sale Entry Times


Ordering Tickets

How do I buy tickets to the American Girl Benefit Sale?

Tickets must be ordered online and paid for with a credit card, using our online ticket ordering form. We can not accept any mail-ordered ticket requests.

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When will tickets go on sale?

The Ticket Lottery Presale will start at 9 a.m. (CST) on March 18, 2020 and will end at 11:59 p.m. (CST) on March 22, 2020, or when all tickets have been sold. In previous years, tickets have still been available after the Ticket Lottery Presale.

The General Ticket Sale will start at 9 a.m. (CST) on April 1, 2020, and will remain open until all tickets are sold.

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How does the Ticket Lottery Presale work?

The Ticket Lottery Presale will begin on 9 a.m. (CST) on March 18, 2020 and will end at 11:59 p.m. (CST) on March 22, 2020, or when all tickets have been sold. In previous years, tickets have still been available after the Ticket Lottery Presale.

During the Ticket Lottery Presale, you may place an order for up to 6 tickets. You will not know the entry time for your tickets. Entry times will be allocated by lottery, based on the day that each ticket order was placed.

Orders placed on the first day of the presale will be eligible for the earliest ticket times; orders placed on the second day will be eligible for the next-earliest ticket times after all orders from day one are fulfilled, and so forth. For the purpose of the sale, a “day” is defined as the time between 12 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. (CST) on a single calendar date. Entry times in the Ticket Lottery Presale will be allocated from earliest to latest sale entry time, and no tickets will be held back.

For example, all orders placed on March 18, 2020 will be randomly allocated tickets for entry times starting at 7 a.m. (CST) for Saturday Sale ticket orders and 7 a.m. (CST) for the Sunday Markdown Sale ticket orders. Once all of the orders placed on March 18 have been allocated tickets, orders placed on March 19 will be randomly allocated tickets for the earliest entry times still remaining after the fulfillment of the previous day’s orders. As in previous years, the entry times available on each day and the odds of securing a particular time will depend on the volume of orders placed.

Please note that ticket times are randomly assigned based on the date the ticket order was placed, without reference to the time of day. For example, there is no need to place your order exactly at 9 a.m. on March 18 to be included in the first allocation group for the Ticket Lottery Presale; you only have to place your order before 11:59 p.m. (CST) on any given date to be included in that day’s ticket lottery.

This is the same ticket allocation system that was used in previous years for mail-order tickets, to ensure all ticket buyers have a fair and equal shot at early entry times. In 2017 and before, when tickets were ordered by mail, orders were entered in the lottery based on the postmark date, regardless of the time of day that the ticket order form was mailed. The online ordering system continues the tradition of grouping orders by the date the order was placed, regardless of the time of day.

All tickets purchased during the Ticket Lottery Presale will be mailed directly to the purchaser; there is no need to provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

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How does the General Ticket Sale work?

The General Ticket Sale will start at 9 a.m. (CST) on April 1, 2020.

The General Sale offers and advertises tickets to the general public. The only ticket available will be those that remain after the Ticket Lottery Presale. (Sale entry times are visible and selectable for these tickets; however most people choose the earliest time available, as you can enter after the time on your ticket, but not before.)

As in previous years, the entry times and number of tickets available for the General Ticket Sale will depend on how many tickets were sold during the Ticket Lottery Presale. No ticket inventory will be held back, and ticket times available for the General Ticket Sale will not be announced until the General Ticket Sale starts on April 15, 2019.

All tickets purchased during the General Ticket Sale on or before June 1 will be mailed directly to the purchaser; there is no need to provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Orders placed on or after June 2 will be held for pickup at Will Call, on-site at the sale.

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What Are Walk-Up Tickets?

On the days of the sale, a limited number of tickets may be available for purchase at the information booth. Walk-up tickets are drawn from those tickets that did not sell during the General Sale, and from extra tickets that are donated back by customers who did not end up using them. Walk-up tickets are sold for face value ($10 for Saturday, $5 for Sunday) and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For the past two years (2018 & 2019) tickets sold out during the General Sale, so all walk-up tickets were donated from other customers. Most walk-up tickets in previous years have been for later entry times. We cannot guarantee the availability of walk-up tickets so we recommend shoppers buy tickets ahead of time, during the Ticket Lottery Presale or the General Ticket Sale.

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What is the difference between the Ticket Lottery Presale and the General Ticket Sale?

There are two significant differences between the Lottery Presale and the General Ticket Sale:

Tickets bought during the Lottery Presale will have earlier entry times than tickets bought during the General Ticket Sale.

  • The Lottery Presale is offered to our supporters who read our benefit sale Facebook page and subscribe to our benefit sale email list. The General Ticket Sale is offered to the general public.
  • In the Lottery Presale, buyers will not be able to select or view their specific entry times, and in the General Ticket Sale, they will be able to view and purchase specific entry times.
  • The Lottery Presale will include all available tickets starting at the earliest available entry time (7 a.m. CST) and the General Ticket Sale will include any tickets not sold during the Ticket Lottery Presale. It is very likely that the General Ticket Sale will only include entry times for later in the day, and not the early morning. As in all previous years, we cannot guarantee the availability of any particular entry time, as availability depends on the volume of ticket orders received during the Ticket Lottery Presale.

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If I place my order during the Ticket Lottery Presale am I guaranteed a ticket?

Yes. Every purchaser who places an order for either Saturday or Sunday tickets during the Ticket Lottery Presale will receive the number of tickets they have paid for, but no specific entry time is guaranteed.

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Can I order tickets by mail?

No. We will not accept any ticket requests by postal mail, nor any mail-ordered ticket forms, and there is no need to send a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

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How do I find the web ordering form to purchase tickets?

If you are a member of the American Girl Benefit Sale email list, you will be emailed a link to the ticket ordering page two days before each ticket sale. This means you will receive a link to the Ticket Lottery Presale order link on March 16, 2020, and you will receive a link to the General Ticket Sale order form on March 30, 2020.

Links will also be posted to Madison Children’s Museum’s Facebook page, Twitter account, and Instagram page. On the museum’s website, the American Girl Benefit Sale information page and this FAQ will also be updated with links to the web order form.

If you are not signed up for the benefit sale email list, or if you are uncertain of your status, please use the email signup form on our website to sign up and ensure you are included on all benefit sale announcements and notifications.

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Can I purchase tickets online using a smart phone or other mobile internet-enabled device?

Yes, our web forms are mobile friendly, and will be accessible from the internet browser of any internet enabled device.

If you plan to place your order from a mobile device, we advise you to make sure you have access to a wi-fi connection or a reliable mobile data connection before placing your order, to ensure that your order is not interrupted by a poor connection. If you choose to purchase your tickets over a mobile data connection, standard data rates may apply, per your mobile data service agreement.

Please note that some users may find it is easier to use a laptop or desktop computer, as you will be typing in your email address, shipping address, and other contact information, which may be more difficult or time-consuming from a mobile touch screen.

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What if I am unable to place my ticket order online?

We strongly recommend that all buyers place their ticket orders online. The new online ticketing system has been designed to offer the fastest and most user-friendly ticket-buying experience possible, and is intended to be used by all purchasers who are not experiencing technical difficulties or other extenuating circumstances.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we are not able to offer in-person sales or call-in times for ticket purchasing. If you do have the ability to place an order online, please leave a message through one of the following channels and we will contact you to arrange assisted purchasing. Please note that our team is drastically limited this year because of the outbreak and it may days or weeks to get back to you.

  1. Email benefitsale@madisonchildrensmuseum.org (fastest response)
  2. Send a direct message to the American Girl Benefit Sale Facebook page (posts to our wall or comments on posts might not be seen)
  3. Leave a voicemail in our benefit sale mailbox at (608) 256-6445 ext. 777 (please only call if you do not have access to email or Facebook Messenger)

Supported purchasing will not make the buyer more or less likely to receive an early entry time.

If at all possible PLEASE place your order online or ask a friend or family member to assist you in doing so.

We thank you for your consideration and understanding in this matter.

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How and when will I receive my tickets?

Your tickets will be mailed to you directly via the US Postal Service. There is no need to provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

We will begin mailing out tickets starting at the end of April 2020, and will continue to mail tickets through early June 2020. All tickets ordered on or before June 1 will be mailed directly to the purchaser.

To ensure that delivery delays do not interfere with your ability to attend the sale, tickets purchased on or after June 2 will not be mailed, and will instead be held for pickup at Will Call on-site at the sale. Will Call will open for pickup at 6:30 a.m. (CST) on Saturday, July 10, 2020, and at 6:30 a.m. (CST) on Sunday, July 11, 2020. You will need to present photo ID to pick up your tickets from Will Call.

If you place your order on or before June 1 you should expect to receive your tickets by June 25. If you do not receive your tickets by this date, please contact us.

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Ticket Cost, Limits, & Payment Options

How much do tickets cost?

Saturday tickets are $10 per person for all time slots.

Sunday tickets are $5 per person for all time slots.

Ticket prices are the same for the Ticket Lottery Presale, General Sale, and Walk-Up sales. Madison Children’s Museum reserves the right to revoke or refuse to honor any tickets that have been resold for more than their face value.

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How many tickets may I purchase?

Each household may purchase up to 6 tickets for Saturday and 6 tickets for Sunday during the Ticket Lottery Presale.

If you have purchased tickets during the Ticket Lottery Presale you may also buy tickets to re-enter during the General Sale.

We reserve the right to refuse sale or cancel the tickets of those attempting to buy more than the maximum number of tickets during the Ticket Lottery Presale.

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What forms of payment are accepted for ticket purchases?

We accept payment by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.

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Sale Entry Times

How can I improve my chance to receive an early entry time on my tickets?

Order your tickets on Day 1 of the Lottery Presale: March 18, 2020. The time of day when you place your order doesn’t matter.  Just order before 12 midnight (CST), because all tickets purchased on Day 1 will yield earlier entry times than tickets ordered on Day 2, and so on, through Day 5. All tickets purchased during the Lottery Presale will yield earlier entry times than tickets purchased during the General Ticket Sale.

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If I buy my tickets in the Lottery Presale, how and when will I know what ticket time I received?

If you purchase your tickets during the Ticket Lottery Presale, you will receive an email on or by March 31, 2020 informing you of your assigned ticket times, and verifying your shipping address for the delivery of your tickets.

If you purchase your tickets during the General Ticket Sale, you will be able to select your entry time when placing your order.

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If I place an order for multiple tickets, will everyone in my group receive the same entry time?

Yes, all tickets purchased on the same order will receive the same entry time. Groups will not be split up into different entry times if their tickets are purchased together on the same order.

If you want your whole party to be able to enter the sale together you should either buy all the tickets on the same order OR plan to go into the sale at the latest time in your group’s tickets. You may enter after the time printed on your ticket, but not before.

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What if I cannot attend the sale at the entry time printed on my ticket or I do not like the entry time I was assigned?

If you are unable to attend the sale at the time printed on your ticket you have a few options:

  1. If you are unable to attend the sale at the time printed on your ticket, but you are able to attend later in the day, please be aware that you can always enter the sale at any time after your scheduled entry time has been admitted into the warehouse. Your ticket will be honored at the door as long as the time on your ticket is not later than the entry group currently being admitted into the warehouse. The last entry time for the Saturday Sale is 2:45 p.m. (CST) and the last entry time for the Sunday Sale is 1 p.m. (CST); no attendees will be admitted after these times.If you choose to attend the sale after the time printed on your ticket, please keep in mind that if we are experiencing delays admitting entry time groups into the warehouse due to crowding, your entry group may enter the warehouse later than the time printed on your ticket. At no time will attendees be allowed to enter the warehouse before the rest of their entry group has been admitted, even if the entry time printed on their ticket has passed. For example, if the entry time printed on your ticket is 1 p.m., but we are still admitting the 12:45 p.m. entry group at 1:15 p.m., you will have to wait until the rest of your 1 p.m. entry group is admitted even though it is after 1 p.m. You will not be allowed to enter the warehouse with the 12:45 p.m. entry group.
  2. If you are unable to attend the sale either at or after the time printed on your ticket, you may choose to give your ticket to another attendee at no charge, or to sell your ticket for no more than its face value, printed on the ticket. Please keep in mind that Madison Children’s Museum reserves the right to revoke or refuse to honor any tickets that have been resold for more than their face value.

If you are unhappy with your assigned entry time, please keep in mind that each American Girl Benefit Sale features a large variety and quantity of American Girl merchandise—including dolls, accessories, furniture, clothes, and more—and sale attendees have a wide selection of deeply discounted merchandise to choose from all day on Saturday and Sunday. We understand that many attendees highly value early morning tickets, and may be disappointed if they receive late morning or early afternoon tickets. But even if you receive an entry time that is later than you expected, we strongly encourage you to attend the sale at the time printed on your ticket. As demonstrated by the quantity of inventory still available every year at the Sunday Markdown Sale, there is never a shortage of treasures to be found at the sale all day on Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets to the American Girl Benefit Sale tickets are non-refundable.

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