Gift Edit 2023

Barbie’s New Pool Party Dreamhouse Is Totally Over-the-Top— Get It Now Before It Sells Out!

published Jul 12, 2023
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barbie dream house
Credit: Target

This feature is part of Cubby's Gift Edit, our editor-curated collection of gift ideas. Need more inspiration? Check out all our guides here.

In this summer of Barbie, with the Barbie movie out July 21, this gonzo 2023 Dreamhouse is the toy I keep coming back to when I consider what will likely be hot for the holidays. The Barbie Pool Party Dreamhouse comes with a Barbie-sized dog that fits in its own dog house, a palm tree for the third-floor patio, the longest slide in Mattel Dreamhouse history, a wheelchair-accessible elevator, plus miniature accessories like an aloe plant. Get this for the child in your life and then you can play with it too and remember the (much smaller) one you had as a child, because this is a classic nostalgia-inducing toy

The 2023 Dreamhouse has lights and sounds if you put three AA batteries in it, but it doesn’t come with any Barbie dolls. (Assuming your kid already has a collection, check out this DIY Barbie doll storage idea.) Also, a parent-to-parent warning that the build is a little painful — buckle up and give yourself an hour to work on it. It’s worth it! In the end this is a little over three-and-a-half feet tall and five feet wide. It’s a serious piece of real estate!

Let’s take a house tour of the five best part of this mini mansion, according to me and my old-school sensibilities.

  • A shallow wading pool. The very first version of Barbie’s house didn’t have a pool. Then a townhouse came out in 1974 where you could glimpse a picture of a pool in the distance. (So near and yet so far.) This 2023 house has a pool accessory that you can fill with water so the dolls have a place so splash around and cool off. Rest assured that it doesn’t fit much water — if it all ends up on the carpet, it’s fine.
  • That three-story spiral slide. Actually sending Barbies down it is not always successful, but if you guide a doll down and into the pool it’s all good. Be ready for younger siblings to want to send toy cars and more flying down the spiral too; it’s irresistible.
  • Its flushing toilet. Back in my childhood you had to buy Barbie’s “commode” (I guess Mattel felt squeamish about saying toilet?) separately and I was beyond thrilled when my parents got it for me. You could put some water in it and when you opened the lid it bubbled around — not kidding. Now the toilet just makes an electronic flushing sound, but it’s still entertaining and a laugh riot for little kids. (The Dreamhouse is age-graded for 3 years and up.)
  • A “working” elevator. It works by your kid moving it up and down; it’s not like there’s a remote control for it or anything. I love the little side basket that can carry a pet! (This Dreamhouse has a pet door on the front door too.) This elevator is ADA-compliant; it’s wide enough for a Barbie who uses a wheelchair.
  • All that furniture. I’m a fan of dollhouses of all stripes because it’s so fun to move the little furnishings and tiny accessories around. Make up Barbie’s bed and set up the dog bed nearby. The living-room console can flip down to be an extra double bed for sleepovers. Choose what Barbie is eating in the kitchen. (Pizza? A fried egg?) OMG look at the funny soap dispenser shaped like a hippopotamus — so random and so cute! And of course you can move all the seating and tables around endlessly. There are more than 75 pieces that come with Barbie’s home.

The Dreamhouse is a dream because you don’t have to vaccum it or take out the garbage like you do in a real house. (Well, except for all that packaging it comes in; there is that.) It’s also swoon-worthy because I promise you it can keep a kid or two occupied for nice, long stretches during which you might be able to answer some emails or cook a real dinner. 

Want something for older kids?

MEGA has a Dreamhouse to build — one that looks just like the movie house. It’s age-graded for 10 and up because there are almost 1800 pieces. (You read that correctly.) But if anything will get your preteen off their screen for a bit, it’s a build like this. In the end they can play with the included Barbie and Ken, but in a cool, ironic way, because they made this themselves.

Want something that costs less than $100? 

Go for the awesome remote-control convertible for ages 4 and up. Between the car and remote it requires seven AA batteries, so it’s a bit of a battery hog, but your kid will have a scream while zipping two Barbie-sized dolls around the house or driveway. The trunk opens and you can put stuff in it.

Want something for younger kids? 

There’s a Dreamhouse for toddlers so no one gets left out. It still has most every feature that we love in the big Dreamhouse: an elevator, a pool, a toilet, a slide, and furniture. This littler house also comes with two figures. Put in 3 AA batteries and your tot can set off nearly 50 songs and phrases from different touch points. Or skip the batteries and let your toddler decide what’s going on in there!

Want something your kid can drag into the tub or pool?

Magic Mermaid has zero to do with the Barbie Movie and everything to do with the trippy Dreamtopia series, but she’s still worth knowing about — more than 14k five-star ratings on Amazon don’t lie. In warm water she turns all pastel, and in cold water (or if you wait long enough at room temperature) her tail and hair feature vibrant colors.

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