GOTY 2017 Gabriela’s New Packaging

I have been trying to keep an open mind about Gabriela, though it’s hard. I don’t like really any of her collection so far, and AG didn’t seem to try. So when photos leaked of Gabriela’s collection packaging, it was kinda the icing on the cake. :|

Photo credit: Hello Savings (Facebook)


Here we have Gabriela herself in the box. It will have a mostly clear front, and a bit of cardboard on the edges. The rest of her box is cardboard. The doll looks like it is secured in the box the same way dolls are now. The book is on its side in the box.

In my opinion, this packaging looks cheap, and more like packaging for an item being sold at Costco. I do not like these new boxes. Other AG fans have reported that you cannot take off a lid, you must cut the box to get the doll out.

Now that I realize it, this type of packaging does make sense for AG selling their products at Toys R Us and Khols. People have been known to open the doll boxes and steal items, so this might be the reason Gabriela’s boxes are harder to open. One person even reported that someone had bought a Lea doll at Khols, switched the doll for an Our Generation (with the Lea dress on her) and returned the “Lea” doll. :(

I still am not a fan of this packaging, and wish this type was only available outside the actual AG stores. I really love the classic AG boxes, as I’m sure most everyone else does. You can reuse, save, and store doll clothes/accessories inside them. If we have to ruin the box to get the doll out, then we won’t be able to do that. :(


Second, we have one of Gabriela’s dance outfits. The packaging is similar to the kind used by Our Generation, which is not a good thing for AG. I think the Wellie Wisher outfit packaging was the test run and they had success, so they decided to keep using the new packaging.

This is one of Gabriela’s outfits for her collection. (Gabriela is rumored to have a very small collection with 2-3 outfits and no ticket item over $300) So far, I am not a fan.


While that is all for packaging, we get a glimpse of other items from her collection!

This set is coming with a trunk, stickers, a small mic, electronic drums and drumsticks, headphones, a computer, and screens for the computer. I’m guessing this will cost around $40-60.

This set is pretty cute. The mic, computer, and headphones would be adorable for dolls other than Gabriela. :D


Gabriela’s tap shoes are indeed sold separately.


Finally we have her dance accessories.

Though I don’t like where AG is headed, I hope they will fix this and bring my interest back up with Tenney and their Truly Me line. :)

What are your thoughts on Gabriela’s packaging?

– American Girl Doll Artist


83 comments on “GOTY 2017 Gabriela’s New Packaging

  1. I think it’s annoying that you won’t be able to save the packaging. When I get a new doll, I like to use their box as a bed for them until I have a real bed for them, so it sucks that I won’t be able to do tat if I get Gabriela.

    • Packaging is terrible, cheap and inexpensive looking. What does that say about the doll???? Definitely a pass this year , and I say this with much disappointment. I can’t believe how ” Mattel-ized” this American Girl doll is. Too bad for such an iconic brand. Hopefully, there will be an improvement with the doll of the year, and it’s presentation….this packaging is really lacking, especially since it is an “American Girl” doll.

  2. The new packaging looks comparitively cheap, and therefore not so nice for giving as a present, which is a shame. At least the tap shoes look promising.

  3. I am not impressed. I am not interested in getting her, but my daughter likes her. I really dislike OG dolls and am disappointed that the AG packaging is going in that direction. I also like using the boxes for other things.

  4. AAAAHHHHHHH! UGH! I do NOT like this. One of the best things about AG was the great quality packaging that makes opening a new doll special. I love saving the boxes to use as beds. Now? It’s the same as opening a Barbie doll! Their quality is quickly decreasing. UUUUGGGGGHHHH. I am VERY upset with this.

  5. Erg. I hate it. If I wanted OG, I would buy OG.
    Although what they say is very true about people opening boxes and stealing stuff…I went to Kohl’s last night, and whilst I was there I checked out the AG stuff. What I found?Not a single Lea to be seen anywhere, a bunch of her ugly Aztec meet dress and Rainforest PJs in girls’ size 7, five or six Wellie Wishers tea sets, two WW PJs, the WW Princess Dress and – WORST OF ALL – a bunch of opened Lea’s Accessories. There was not a single one left that had not been opened and rummaged around in, and there were three or four of her headbands laying around that had already been abused and had hairs popping out of them. A mysterious package of Wish bracelets was sitting out, I considered asking someone if I could have it, but I didn’t.
    It was SUCH a sight. X(
    So I think this definitely means that they will be selling Gabi at Kohl’s, because I’ve seen it myself and those outfit packages look like the WW ones. Plus, a small collection means more stores are likely to sell her, because it won’t take up a lot of space.

    • Hey, you should tell AG about this mess at your Kohls. I encountered a mess of AG stuff at my Kohls, and I let them know. This kind of thing cheapens their brand. It sounds like they should stop selling at Khols stores.

    • I bought some of Lea’s accessories and clothes from Kohl’s – I was in a rush on a lunch hour and knew what I was looking for so I grabbed the boxes never once thinking to check the contents. A few days later was sorting thru everything when my daughter wasn’t around and discovered one of the boxes was completely empty! I called Kohl’s right away and they made good and replacing but it just made me sick to see this and I was afraid when I called that they wouldn’t believe that I actually bought an empty box. Also once the holiday rush started, the display was a mess and I experienced seeing open boxes as well! Now at Toys R Us, they had an employee in the area, it was very neat and organized and the employee was making sure everything stayed that way.

  6. The packaging is not ok with me. I don’t like it at all, it does look like something our generation. I hate those kind of boxes because I always feel like I’m going to damage the doll, or something. Maybe they’ll make that packaging just for Gabriella? I don’t know. on another hand, The computer is definitely my favorite thing she has. And hopefully the cat is cute.

  7. NOO! Please don’t change the packaging, AG! :-( . I TOTALLY get if they change the packaging for Toys R Us and such, that might actually be a good thing, but the normal boxes are classic and practical, and I think they should be kept for in AG stores and online. I always keep my doll boxes when I get my dolls. I’m not liking the zip ties or packaging or vinyl mini dolls with paper books. It seems like AG is trying to find ways to make things cheap and make more money. :-(
    I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. But to end on a positive note, I do think a few of Gabby’s accessories are pretty cute, though.

  8. As a mom , this upsets me . They finally come out with a African American girl and she gets ripped off . I’m still ordering her as I think she’s beautiful.

    • As a mom I feel horrible about it. I’ll just stick with melody and addy right now. And now I can have excuse to get Cecile on eBay. Leah doll was a huge boring disappointment last year and I or kids didn’t like her as a doll… except we liked her house and stand! Leah was like Lanie mixed with Kanani, But now this is the worst! It’s like Isabelle mixed with saige with a tacky flash dance outfit! Poor Gabriela.

  9. Honestly, my first impression of the the new GOTY is that they just didn’t put that much effort into her. Nothing really speaks to me at this point. It almost seems as if they ditched their original idea and in a last minute effort, put Gabriela together. Not happy at all about the packaging either because it is very much a part of the whole AG experience and makes you feel like you’re buying something special, which you should be feeling with their price point. Then again, they do need to change the packaging for merch being sold at other stores. It’s too easy to steal items. I hope the rumors are not true about this being the last GOTY 🙁

  10. I hate the big “Hello, Savings” on the box! I loved AG packaging because of how different and polished it was compared to other brands, but now that it’s carrying it’s items to ToysRUs, AG seems a lot less special now 🙁

  11. We personally do not like that you have to cut or rip open the packaging. When we buy dolls, we always save the box, so that if they ever need to be stored in the future, but if we get Gabriela or if American Girl does this with their other dolls, we won’t be able to do that.

  12. I am not a fan of the packaging at all. BUT I do see that they need more secure packaging for the new stores they are selling her in. As long as the quality of the actual items is good I will still probably purchase them.

    • I just got a new doll from the store and one leg longer than the other and the next is sewed wrong! Wig is glued weird! Plus a scratch on it! This has never ever happened! The manager of the store acted like it was my fault too!

  13. I’m not the biggest fan about the boxes, since I like to save them as a doll bed or something. I do love her tap shoes, though! Time for my doll Caroline to take an interest in tap… XD

  14. Oh my goodness, I completely agree! I’m not excited at all about the packaging. :-(
    It makes sense that AG is probably worried of thieves, but it isn’t really fair to the rest of us who wouldn’t even think of stealing from them! I really loved the old boxes, so I hope these pictures are fakes or something. :-(

  15. shes ok but im waiting for tenney because the books are for my age and its long and i LOVE to read and i might get her outfits for me and for her

  16. It’s disappointing to see the new, cheap packaging and now American Girl dolls being sold at Toys R Us and Kohls. I don’t know what AG is doing, but I don’t particularly like it. The quality seems to be going down. Next time you know it they will be righ beside barbies and OG dolls at Target. Also, I am also very sad to see that Gabriela is #46. Couldn’t they have been a little more creative? And bringing back Felicity? I too hope that the contemporary line including Tenney will be better than what we’ve been seeing. I’m not impressed.

  17. Can’t stand the new turn. It makes it easy for us to quit buying AG. So glad we got out collection over the years because we can and will be done

    • I’m feeling the same, sadly. Hey we can save thousands a year!

      Maybe someone can start a new quality doll company with quality clothing, nice boxes, good hardcover books and maps and nicely made stuff. Gabriela will sell but I doubt most of those customers will be repeats and loyala. Melody is great idea. I just wish she had neck ties. My Black friends are sad and one actually works at a store and she’s truly upset about the box and cheap tacky outfit. It just really sucks they have Gabriela in a tacky box or as my Black friend stated “ghetto box for the Black girl”. Its just sad. Integrity and quality of dolls is lowered with exception of using a girl of color!

      • NO ONE likes this new box. When word went out about the first AA GOTY, I imagined a HUGE effort. Everything the best and the most classy doll we have seen. It was a shock and the new packaging made me sick to my stomach ESPECIALLY when I found out from someone working in visual at an AG Place that soon all AA dolls would be moving into these monstrosities

      • What a shame that they are letting the quality of this brand just fade away due to poor packaging. The doll and clothes are adorable. However, the packaging causes holes in some of the outfits. Called AG and voiced my concerns. I think everybody should do the same. Maybe they will bring back the old packaging or at least not put holes in the clothes.

      • There are some new dolls that just came out, they come in there own carry case, they have their own story line, they are not historic characters, they are strictly new age today. It’s called girls & co, price is about 80-90, I believe they have the two available now, but don’t just look at the dolls, watch the video, they are truly an empowering girl tool!! We have ordered both! The owner will reply to you Personally via text.

  18. I hate the packaging. I am someone who drops over $400 almost monthly on american girl products and I am, to say the last, displeased. The packaging for the clothing… are they held in place by the plastic tags? That causes tiny holes in the clothing. Considering I sometimes spend more on american girl clothes than I do my own, I am disgusted by that. The box issue, unhappy. It just changes the entire experience for me. I love the original boxes and the fact that you could only obtain these great dolls in an AMERICAN GIRL store, or on their website. Now the boxes remind me of a cheap cabbage patch kid or something. If “stealing” “switching” or messing with the items are a problem in stores like toys r us or kohls, then either quit selling them there or, use those cheap packaging boxes just for those stores.

      • Very good point, if Mattel is treating AGD like it’s just another doll then they need to price it that way tooo. My 12 year old daughter is just bummed that stores are selling them because she strongly feels it’s about experience of going to the AGD store with family and it being something special. :( She collects so she keeps every single box for everything, now the box will be useless.. just frustrating. I heard this may be last year for “girl of the year”, is that true?

        • My 7 year old feels the same! She saved her money but looks like we will be getting an EBay Cecile instead. We are both so disappointed in this doll.

    • Yes, if that’s what’s happening outside the American Girl stores , then change the packaging for the other stores, but don’t change it for the online or actual American Girl Store’s packaging. It really cheapens the look. New doesn’t always mean better or improved!!!

  19. Sad, the packaging is part of the dolls value…for us who collect. I hate that they are making these dolls like every other doll our there, selling at other retail stores. American girl is not just about the doll, it’s about the experience, bonding between parents n kids, the collector value…just simply sad :(

    • I totally agree with you. AG will be gone in five years if it continued this route. Mattel is shooting itself in the foot.

    • exactly! When I got my first AG doll, I LOVED the traditional boxes, and even though you couldn’t see the whole doll when the box was closed, it was so special to open the box and hold your dollie. This new look just cheapens everything.. so frustrating especially when you spend so much money on this brand…

  20. Oh. My. Gosh. THE HORROR that an AG doll shares OG doll characteristics! I have taught my daughter NEVER to look down on ANY doll that is sold because some children cannot afford an AG doll. One interesting thing you mentioned? Supposedly an AG doll was stolen from Kohl’s and replaced with an OG doll, which means an AG parent STOLE a doll. How sad is that? I cannot stand materialistic elitist doll snobs, usually PARENTS, who are teaching bad materialistic ideals. OG dolls are adorable at their price point…and AFFORDABLE for ALL children. And you CAN get in and out of the box without cutting it. I learned recently that the actual manufacturing cost for both dolls is almost identical and they share factories in China. Therefore you are paying for hype and materialistic ideals. I’m glad my daughter loves the OG dolls just as much. My children have it right. Happy New Year and one more thing? I dare any of you AG parents to donate a new unopened AG doll to a homeless woman’s shelter to give to a little girl staying there with her mother. I did. And I also donated another 6 OG dolls too…for the cost of one AG doll I donated 6 others so six little girls had a nice Christmas. Happy New Year.

    • We donate dolls every year, actually, this year we donated dolls and my child collected 8 boxes of toys and hygiene products for our local women’s shelter. Not sure how you came up with the fact that an AG parent stole leah. I do know the elitest snobs exist but just because we are collectors that doesn’t make us all bad, doesn’t make bad parents. My daughter saves all her allowance and birthday n holiday money to buy her AG stuff. Not cutting down OG ..dolls to just play with versus dolls to collect aren’t the same. Yes you right kids and parents needs to respect ALL dolls.

    • For me it’s not the materialistic side. Yes they supposedly do share the same factory, it’s the way they are made, when PC sold the line to Mattel they insisted the dolls be made the way they were designed to, for us, the AG dolls are the story lines, we also own both, the hair in the AG dolls are better, the vinyl is thicker, the legs and arm bends are much better, if you do a true comparison you will see the true differences, I had no passion for the dolls until I had grandkids, for me and my GD it has become an amazing bond, we make most of our clothes, we make our furniture, etc. occasionally we will purchase accessories, and we buy from many lines, we have donated dolls, as we feel the eye of imagination play is so crucial, especially in today’s world. The art of giving should be outside of dolls, it should also not be just the wants in life but also the need. I am a firm believer that there’s always someone worse off than us, and we have raised our children that way and grandkids, I truly believe my GD has learned so much about life through the dolls stories and trials. Nothing against OG, but there books are not a story line that is real history,

  21. I hope this only goes for Gabriela because it’s really weird looking. It doesn’t protect the dolls during shipping and looks cheap. I love the iconic boxes, why couldn’t they just change the color of it like they did with Grace? PLUS all Gabby is is TM 47 with a cute outfit. All the other GOTY dolls have something unique – if you wanted to you could just get 47 and buy the outfit on Ebay. :-( Really disappointing AG. I am pleased about Tenney and Felicity though – that will make up for the cruddy GOTY. :-)

  22. And I agree that they should stop selling at Kohls – their toy area always looks like it’s been ransacked and you can’t find anything!

    • That’s so funny! I just complained to manager of our local Kohls! The boxes all squished and paper torn. The manager agreed but little she could do about it! AG will be gone soon if it continues this trajectory.

      • I agree! Half of the toys in there are crushed – once I even saw a collector Disney doll WITH THE BOX CRUSHED AND LIKE HALF OPEN. Unbelievable how bad their toy sections look. :-(

  23. Tacky and cheap packaging! I will not be purchasing Gabriela. She’s beautiful but with this packaging and ugly clothing, she looks so cheap. I own 28 AG dolls and the historical and girl of year collections! I doubt people buying this doll are real collectors of supporters of AG. The accessories of Gabriela are mostly tacky, too. Her story is boring and cliche. I’m horrified, actually. I see this years off to a great start. : (

    • you have a very good point about her story being boring. You could tell it was rushed – I found myself skipping paragraphs just to get to the exciting parts, and the story had no hook to make you actually WANT to read the book. I almost had to force myself to read.

  24. I agree and we spends tons of money a year on stuff plus travel to various stores around the country! I am also disgusted with the box and the lack of neck strings!

    My 7 year old daughter was just comparing her older beautifully illustrated hard cover AG books to the cheap soft covered AG books. Like comparing a luxurious Gucci handbag to a paper grocery bag. Matell needs to stop making AG so tacky….

  25. “One person even reported that someone had bought a Lea doll at Khols, switched the doll for an Our Generation (with the Lea dress on her) and returned the “Lea” doll.”

    Brilliant! See the type of character of persons that is now being enticed to get these dolls!? The good characters of felicity, addy, kaya, etc were part of who bought the doll.Omg 😲 To me shows it’s really been watered down to save and make money.

    Reminds me of how Apple products went down. Or Craigslist. Started off as a good thing and bad eggs spoil it.

    • “Reminds me of how Apple products went down. Or Craigslist. Started off as a good thing and bad eggs spoil it.”
      Perfectly said!!!!!! I am apple user since 1988 and I’m done. Craig I actually knew.

  26. Really hating the new packaging. Seems like they are trying to increase profit margins but what they are doing is taking away some of the features that make AG special. This looks like a Target or Walmart doll. Also, I think the dolls should not be sold in other stores. Going to the AG store is a special trip and experience. Going to Kohl’s is not.

    • I totally agree. We don’t have kohls here in Canada but we do have toys r us and Eve herd they will be sold there to and that will take a massive turn in AG company but for the better AG is a little girls dream store all dolls and just the experience of knowing what holds behind that huge red beautiful sign is the magic super annoyed at all this would have never thought they would do this. The doll the clothes everything about this years doll is cheap so much money I spent there today!

  27. here it goes…
    So, I am alwAys pumped for the next doll to come out as is my 5 year old who’s been collectioning the GOTY since she was 3 which was grace then Lea now 😑 gabi I had seen leaks and thought ahh… Ok maybe that’s not her I didn’t mind a girl of colour in fact that’s nice that she was different this year it was the whole look they gave her not a bit work went into this doll! The packaging is absolutely horrible it literally looks cheaper then the dogs you can get at Costco our generation or even worse the cheaper ones, I don’t know if you have purchased the Staller any of her outfits but we did today on the release date and let me tell you I wish I hadn’t spent over $250 on the dolls and clothes the clothes is extremely cheapy feeling doesn’t feel like AG ughhh so annoyed the items the packaging with a company as rich as they are why on earth change it!!! They were doing fine and making million.. Sorry billions! Leave it as is we don’t want new we want product for our coin!! Classic is always a win you start messing with this and that and u know what I most guarantee you people will turn heads and find a different root in collecting dolls! Ugh annoyed with AG as am sure many are. Ps sorry for the rant 😔

    • I agree, completely!! I won’t buy this GOTY, which is sad. I don’t think she will be that collectible either, I have seen the leeks on renney and not too impressed, I’m so numbed by the clothing boxes, I will continue to buy older things so we continue to get quality, I have a bad feeling the cheap route is going to disappoint many. I don’t mind paying this much for a doll, but I want quality, at our house we craft a lot, and I did take gabbies scene and made our own for our other girls, I would like to see a business girl, a cheerleader, a lady crosse player, soccer, a science girl, a vet girl, let’s get out if just the dance and gymnastics! I want my GD to see she can do ANYTHING!!

  28. TBH I have mixed feelings on this box issue. Yea it look totally cheap and blah, but at the same time you can see more of the doll so you can tell if she has a scratch on her arm or something. I can definatly say that I don’t want all of AGs boxes to be like this because it looks like crap. Gabriela’s collection was a bummer for me (except her performance case, I really like it), her outfits look cheap and 3 years ago we had Isabelle who danced, AG could’ve been a lot more creative. Idk maybe like a sport other than swimming, gymnastics, and dance. Maybe something like basketball, or softball, sports that aren’t really put in the girls spotlight much.

  29. I think it’s a shame about the new boxes that we can’t save them and reuse as we have done in the past. I was surprised so far there is no movie , no mini doll and only one book. I also think with her coming after lea it’s too bad she has such a small collection.

    • Many are speculating that Tenney was actually supposed to be the next GOTY but it was switched last minute – This would explain the lack of items and poor product/character development. Maybe they are planning to do an Amazon special like with Maryellen and Melody? All I can say is – I HATE THE BOXES. :-(

  30. I just bought Gabriela today. She is very pretty and her hair is really nice. It is soft and curly. Regarding the box. I am not crazy about it and it is not as good as the previous boxes. However, it is much easier to open. I did not have to destroy the box to get it open. I opened it at the top and pulled the cardboard containing the doll and it slid right out. Then I cut the tape were she was attached and removed the elastic at the neck and she
    was out. It was so much easier than previous boxes. And my box was not torn or destroyed in any way. I will save the box. As for the zip ties versus neck strings, well I am very happy with the zip ties. The neckline is much cleaner looking without those ugly strings hanging down her back.

  31. I’m not a fan of the new packaging at all!! I fell like AG is moving away from the boutique experience the girls and collectors need and love. The new packaging says ” I hang on a clip in walmart” I have no issues with Walmart, but if I’m paying 120/30 for my doll, I want lovely , quality boxes! And to have the clothes come in a plastic package instead of a boutique shop box, VERY DISAPPOINTED!!!

  32. My daughter loves her so we will likely be getting her, although we just got Melody and they are very similar other than the hair. I think it would have been great if they had made her an athlete, in a team sport like basketball, soccer or volleyball. Her story could have been so much better, it is too much like Saige’s. Her collection could have contained so many clothing items and accessories that would have appealed to sport-loving little girls. I also wish they had highlighted her hair like they did with Lea’s, which is beautiful. It would not have taken a lot of effort to just add this extra touch, especially if the plan is that she will be around for more than a year. I am disappointed that they didn’t add the name tags to her clothing, but I think it might have to do with them planning to add her to the contemporary line. The clothing in the historical line is not tagged.

    I worked in branding for many years, actually even had a Mattel product line as a client for a short while. The reality is that AG has not been that profitable for the last few years, and has lost money several quarters. It’s EXTREMELY expensive to maintain a brand like AG. The reality is that since the new CEO has taken over and they have expanded their distribution and reduced the amount of discounts they offer, the company has been doing better financially. However, selling where there is no product oversight (like at Kohl’s) is a major mistake IMO. It is destroying their brand experience, which IS their brand. In Canada, we have a store-in-store concept in Chapters/Indigo, and the experience, though is a scaled-down version, is at least maintained because there is dedicated sales staff and the area is sectioned off from the rest of the store.

    It is quite possible that Tenney was supposed to be the Girl of the Year, and that the plan for Gabriela was to be GOTY 2018. My guess is that there was a problem with manufacturing the doll (possibly due to her new hands) and they had to make a last minute switch. Which would explain the lack of special details for her, and why Tenney is going to be released so soon after Gabriela.

  33. I think the experience is what makes this brand so special and they have just ruined it. The grandmothers and this mom have spent a good fortune at the store for birthdays, holidays and “just because.” We make it an event to go to the cafe and store together as something special and now, I feel that it is no longer special. If we wanted a doll and clothes tied into outfits, I would buy the dolls from Wal-Mart, Target or Toys-R-Us. I am very saddened by AG and don’t see myself spending the money on AG if they are going to cheapen their product.

  34. Pingback: American Girl Introduces Five New Characters for 2017 + “Perma” Panties | Generation Next

  35. DONT DO THIS AG!!!! There’s a reason why AG is so amazing! It’s the box! its the clothes! It’s the story! Ya take all that away and you have walmart. If your going to make walmart dolls, you’re going to have to price them like walmart dolls. don’t make us pay 115+ dollars for walmart dolls!

  36. Personally, I hate the new packaging. I love the old packaging becasue it was easy to open and did not turn opening a doll into a not fun experience.