After much deliberation, I found THE castle and it has finally arrived. I know Lydia will enjoy playing with it because I have been playing with it for an hour or so and loving every minute! Someone has to do quality control, right?
As mentioned in an earlier post, I decided on a wooden Melissa and Doug Deluxe folding castle. It costs twice what the plastic Disney castles its size go for, but I like that it is sturdy and gender neutral. It should be able to survive Lydia and be pass down to Joshua, by swapping the princesses for knights and dragons.
In fact, these wooden castles last so long and age so well, that I was even looking on ebay at used castles. That's when I got a HUGE break and found a brand new, still sealed in plastic, shipped in its original packaging castle for HALF PRICE! It seems to have taken a tumble and the very top edge of one tower had broken apart at the glue seams.
The pieces were just glued on so I took the gamble that all it would need was to be glued back in place. in reality, there ended up being one small cracked piece.
After about five minutes and some wood glue, it is hardly noticeable and certainly not worse than the damage Lydia is about to inflict on it. I doubt she will even notice. I couldn't be happier with the price (at this point about equal to one of the plastic Disney castles) or the results of the repair.
What I wasn't crazy about, was giving Lydia an unfurnished uninhibited castle. The plastic castles come with one doll and lots of furniture and my goal is fir this to be as good or better than those. So, I was looking on eBay when I found a sweet deal for everything I needed to complete the castle! The auction included FOUR princess dolls AND clothing AND several pieces of furniture. It was too good to be true, especially the fact that no one else seemed interested! I got it all for $8 with $7 shipping, $15 total!!!!!
Prior to winning the dolls and furniture on Ebay, I had been concerned that this castle was a little TOO gender neutral for a girl who asked for a PRINCESS castle. But now this thing is princessed out! Here's a view if one side of the fold out castle with the furniture in place. The chairs that I made still need to be painted, but they fit pretty well on that ledge...which also has a trap door underneath it!
Jasmin and Tinker Bell sit on two of three round seats. The seats actually open up to store small accessories. The dolls came with tiny shoes and gloves that I think will just frustrate a 4 year old. I hid them in thise round chairs for now! Between the dolls is one of several closets that came from this auction. There were tons of cloths so all of the closets are currently full. I think Lydia will enjoy starting to play and discovering the dresses in the storage spaces!
Here are a few more dresses and a hinged mirror that is really reflective. It's currently blocking the working drawbridge, so I suppose if the castle is under siege, then it's time for a fashion show!
This is one of two beds and a dresser from the auction. I LOVE that its NOT pink! Oh and the drawer really works and there is a tiny hand held mirror waiting for Lydia to discover it! Also fun for her to discover will be the sliding prison door that this castle features. I wonder which princess will get locked up first?
Finally, here are two more dolls hanging out on the balcony. Above them are the final two pieces from the doll auction. Both pink pieces close up and look kind of like more towers on top of the castle. The small one is a closet full of dresses. The larger sleeping beauty case opens up to a bedroom play set. It has a bed, a dresser, and another closet full of clothes.
Here you can see the pink case in its open position along with all the other castle related items. Quite a haul for two eBay auctions and definitely quite a bargain! It's exactly what I wanted for my own little princess!