FAO and Toys R Us; through the eyes a very smart 9 year old

FAO - Kayla with Penelope Dog

Author, Kayla Cushey and friend

To show a different perspective to our toy industry readers, we enlisted the help of the ultimate insider – Kayla Cushey – a 9yr old avid shopper who has a definitive passion for toys…and writing.  Currently residing in Los Angeles, CA, Kayla recently visited New York City for the first time, and thoroughly enjoyed the sights of the city – especially Toys R Us and FAO Schwartz. 

I had a chance to meet Kayla and her sister while they were visitng New York with their mother.  I was impressed with how amazingly she articulated her impressions of what she had seen.  I asked her if she would write an article for us and she kindly agreed.  Here are some of her observations, and please note, nothing has been edited; these are her words:

“Mommy, Mama, Mom…what is that??  If that’s Toys R Us, we HAVE to go there…now!”

The first time I saw Toys R Us in NYC was in Times Square – it had a big sign and I thought it was going to be like any other Toys R Us, except for how BIG it was!  When I walked in, I couldn’t believe my eyes!  It was so much different from any other Toys R Us store I have ever visited.  The first thing I saw was the really big Ferris wheel – it was amaaazing!  I thought to myself – this is a once in a lifetime opportunity – and I thanked my Mom for letting me go on it.  When we were in line, I saw all of the different brands and characters on the carriages including:  Nickelodeon, My Little Pony, Barbie, Scooby Doo, Cabbage Patch Kids, Phineas & Ferb, Tom & Jerry, Mr. Potato Head and Monopoly.  While we were on the ride, we saw many floors filled with toys that I recognized right off the top of my head.  I couldn’t wait to get off the ride and shop! TRU Ferris Wheel

Once we headed up the elevator, my excitement grew and grew!  I saw so many fun toy brands – everywhere!  Candy Land, Fashion Angels, Barbie, Hot Wheels, Pillow Pets, Lalaloopsy, Winx Club, Monster High and of course, My Little Pony (my 6yr old sister’s favorite) to name just a few.  My favorite brand was Fashion Angels – they even had a section where you could pick out and create your own jewelry, as well as other projects.  I just loved it!

I could only pick one toy (Mom’s orders) – and after a lot of thinking, I chose a Fluffling.  I had heard of Flufflings on television, and I saw it on the shelf.  They sneeze, laugh, whine, hiccup, purr and sing – he’s really super cute!  And my Mom was cool with it because of the price ($22.99) and value of the toy.  I’m learning marketing, and I know that’s important because it keeps us kids busy…tee-hee.

Toys R Us looked colorful with lots of pink and blue.  In the store, I felt like I was in toy heaven!  It was easy to find the toys I liked because the girls’ and boys’ sections were very organized.  I could live there ‘til the day I die because it had so much toys, candy and animals (I could use the plush as a pillow!).   I felt like it was for all ages – just right for kids like me!

I could tell the difference between the sections because of all the branding – the boys had Hot Wheels, Jurassic Park (with the biggest dinosaur that moved and roared!) and lots of boy colors.  The girls had Barbie (lots of them in a lifelike dollhouse!), princesses and lots of pink.  The boys section looked so cool that even I would want to go in it – and that’s a big deal!

Also, I saw tons of signs – the ones I noticed most were Willy Wonka, Candy Land, Jurassic Park, Hot Wheels, Alex Toys and BarbieWhat stood out to me was Hot Wheels because it had all these cars and playsets – the area was as big as the 2nd floor in my house ! 

Visiting Toys R Us was a blast!  How will I ever go back to the Toys R Us little stores anywhere else??

“Mommy, is that FAO Schwartz?”

When I walked into FAO Schwartz, there were toy soldiers that greeted me and I immediately saw tons of plush toys.  Some looked like REAL animals, which made them so fascinating. 

First, I saw these huge toy dogs that were named Penelope and Patrick (FAO’s signature dogs).  Penelope was pink and Patrick was brown – they were massive – bigger than me!  My Mom said there used to be a big clock tower that played music when you walked in – it wasn’t there anymore.  She also told me there were many more animated toys like a Barbie runway.  Because I know Toys R Us bought FAO Schwartz, my guess is they took the big clock tower and characters away because Toys R Us felt that FAO was the best toy store in New York.  I feel Toys R Us wanted to be better than FAO, so they took all the fun out of the store (except for the big toy piano – which I did enjoy!). 

Toys R Us was definitely a lot more fun to go to (you could see the Ferris wheel right when you walked in) and to shop (because of the many floors filled and filled with toys).  There was a bunch of the same brands in both stores like:  Fashion Angels, Monster High, Barbie, LEGO, Alex Toys and Cabbage Patch KidsBut I did not see expensive toys at Toys R Us that FAO had…like Hello Kitty jewelry, Tonner dolls in fancy dresses, life-sized animals and beautiful costumes for dress-up.  FAO wasn’t as great as Toys R Us and in my little girl opinion, wasn’t worth the trip.  But I’d still live there if I couldn’t live at Toys R Us!





5 thoughts

  1. When my kids were 4 or 5 years old, before touching any of my samples, they would always ask if it was production or a prototype, and before opening a box they would ask if it was comp packaging.
    Toy industry kids know the lingo, as Richard said.

  2. Great post! Kayla is a very observant and smart little girl. I’m sure she’ll continue to grow into an amazing writer/reviewer for many years to come.

  3. Great post, thanks. I would have to agree, as well. FAO Schwartz is a little sad these days. It feels like it is running on vapors or glory past.

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