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  • Amandalina Letterio

Welcome to World of Barbie

Immersive pop-up exhibits seemed to be a craze in big cities last year.

Usually based around something with a big cult following or a trending theme, tickets for these events can be pricey. Let's be honest, they're trendy and a bit of a cash grab, with a goal of being all over Instagram. But if you're a big fan of the theme and you're looking for something nostalgic, you might find it entertaining.

My brother's wife, my 14-year-old cousin and I felt compelled to buy tickets to World of Barbie in Mississauga, just outside of Toronto. This exhibit has now closed, but here's my opinion on pop-up displays and if they are worth a visit:

Lisa and I brought Angelina for her 14th birthday, but truth be told, we were ecstatic to recreate our childhood memories of playing with Barbie. Part of the fun for us was dressing the part — who doesn't want to dress like Barbie?

There were three ticket options on the website: - General admission with a set time

- VIP enter at anytime

- VIP anytime with Café — That's the one we chose. $50.00/person.

“Love and imagination can change the world.” - Barbie of Swan Lake, 2003

As Barbie says, her World of Barbie is full of love and imagination. It was amazing. The age of women attending ranged from 2 to 42. The crowd included Moms bringing their daughters and girls in their 20s and 30s excited to take cute pictures for Instagram. Regardless of the demographic, everyone was all dolled-up.

The exhibit was interactive. You could play instruments in Barbie's music studio, jump into a ball pen at her pool house, or rock-climb a Malibu mountain — it was awesome. In true Barbie style, it was also aspirational; we learned with microscopes in Barbie's laboratory and hopped on her spaceship.

Of course, my favourite room was Barbie's television station where you can hop in front of the weather map to tell your friends the daily forecast or sit down at the desk to read the teleprompter like a news anchor. Typical!

We loved the museum with past Barbie dolls and the years they came out. This showcased Barbie's careers and gave information about the brand. It also showed how the doll has evolved since the first Barbie in 1959. That would make Barbie 64 years old in 2023 — but her age is frozen at 19.

They should make a 64 year old Barbie to celebrate (and normalize) aging women. How cute would that be?!

“There is always hope.” - Barbie & The Magic of Pegasus, 2005

The museum showcased Barbie's cars throughout the years. Her past dollhouses were also displayed, highlighting it's evolution by placing them in order from oldest to newest. We spent way longer in the exhibit than expected — that's how much fun we had.

On to the café which was included in our ticket.

The café was visually appealing, but lackluster. It's a nice idea, but the execution was disappointing. The menu was uninspired and the items seemed like they were picked up from a store and just re-sold for a higher price. The food at the café isn't included in the $50.00 ticket — originally, this was not clearly stated on the website.

The company eventually updated the website to clearly state that the café items are sold separately — I'm assuming they were getting a lot of complaints. It said: with the purchase of a Café VIP ticket you get a $2.50 discount off the final bill (per person) in the café.

So... was World of Barbie worth it?

Definitely. I can't say the same for every pop-up entertainment exhibit, but if you're a big enough fan of the theme — it's a great idea for a night out. You'd probably spend that much on a night out anyways, right? The key is to go with great company; someone who is just as excited about the theme.

We spent way more time in the exhibit than expected. However, you could live without spending the extra money on the café ticket.

As I mentioned at the beginning, World of Barbie closed in the GTA but it will be available in other cities, so keep checking the website.


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