Barbie has never been known for her subtleties—and her lavish 2018 Dreamhouse is no exception. The iconic doll is living large in her new digs and I got the official tour to prove it. Don't worry about guest niceties like taking off your doll's shoes upon entry, half of this mansion converts to the outside.
For starters, the Barbie Dreamhouse has an open-air elevator and a koi pond amongst the exterior. (We can imagine Barbie likes to stay zen between dress-up sessions.) Inside, she channeled mid-century vibes with modern light fixtures and convertible furniture—like a desk that turns around to be a fireplace and a purple couch that converts to a set of bunk beds. Who knew she was so practical? But all of that is secondary to the fact that there's a slide that connects the den to the outdoor swimming pool!
Yep, the 2018 Dreamhouse is amazing. For parents already dreading the build, know that it took me exactly one hour to put together. The basic structure was up in 12 minutes, and at the half-hour mark I was on the last step, but then (of course) I realized I had installed a few things incorrectly (all easy fixes!) and had to apply stickers to call it done.
What a payoff! Our news editor's preschool daughter, Eloise, came into the Parents office totoy-test and was mesmerized. She played with the Dreamhouse (and Barbie) for 40 solid minutes, then stepped away but kept coming back for a couple of hours! "That's a lot for her!" says her mom, Marisa LaScala, who noted that the structure, two inches shy of 4 feet tall, is taller than her daughter.
While we'd like to say that Eloise noticed the 2018 touches like a smartphone docking station and laptop computer, her play pattern was the tale as old as time: She went for the kitchen to decide whether Barbie was making cookies or muffins, and to explore the tiny cups, plates, and refrigerator groceries. I was pleased to see that pieces meant to stick onto surfaces—like a teapot that can hold onto the stove—were easy for her to pull off and then put back on. And sending the dolls down the slide was fun for her, too!
Oh! And the toilet makes a flushing noise when you install a battery, so that was a big hit with Eloise. My own Dreamhouse from decades ago called it the "commode" and I was just as fascinated at her age. Barbie's Dreamhouse has actually been around, in new versions practically annually, for 60 years, making it one of the most enduring toys of all time.
I think the appeal of a dollhouse never gets old. In fact, our Parents editors stopped by all day to check it out, too, noticing, for instance, that the house sports solar panels now. Want one in your playroom? The 2018 Dreamhouse and its more than 70 accessories will be $200 at mass merchants nationwide starting this summer.
Entertainment Editor Jessica Hartshorn is preparing to test all the new-to-2018 toys in the next month and a half.