As a child, I spent hundreds of hours praying at the altar of Fisher Price. We had the Sesame Street set, the castle and the modernist school; when my brother came along, we added the airport and the parking garage. we had a farm at one grandma’s and a McDonald’s at the other’s. When Eliza was three months old I began scouring ebay for the Little People of my youth, but in the end, Eliza’s first Little People set was the new farm set.
It’s cute. She adores it. We’ve added four new jungle animals, cupcake toppers from her second birthday, so now the farm has a nice wildlife reserve feel. But the fear of choking hazards has expanded the Little People considerably, and while they’re cute, they’re not the same. (David, especially, has grumbled about the little Weeble-like animals from the start.)
When I suggested expanding her Little People world by adding a house, David wanted to go vintage; I argued that we should have all people in the same scale so they’d be interchangeable. (I’m pretty sure our king, queen and Big Bird also went to school and got lube jobs at the parking garage.) He said she wouldn’t care. I pushed back half-heartedly.
Then, while browsing ebay just to see what was out there, I stumbled across this.
Concerns of scale and chokables went down the lidded potty in room 201. I didn’t even know Fisher Price made a Holiday Inn! Oh… but they didn’t. Playskool released the Block Heads line to compete with the Little People and discontinued them soon after, but in the meantime managed to expose millions of children to cross-marketing: in addition to the Holiday Inn, they had a McDonald’s and a Texaco. The McDonald’s I’d remembered from my grandmother’s house had these little cube people, not round ones!
The set arrived yesterday, in good condition but looking as though it had spent forty years in an attic. (We need to get out the Q-tips to do a thorough cleaning job.) Most of the accessories are gone–we have only two tables and a chair, a couch, no beds, but a playground set AND a full going-to-the-shore travel set, with a truck, a car trailer, a car, a boat trailer, and a boat. With a detachable motor (for sailing?). We have four people, whose names are Bob, Alice, and Larry, and the bellhop is Chet. (We’d have gone with Bob, Alice and Ted, but the farmer from the farm set is Farmer Ted.)
My very favorite feature, though, is the SIGN. I loved it in the picture online, but didn’t realize it actually has a cardholder so you can change what the welcome sign says! A warning to all my friends: you can expect birthday greetings to come in the form of a Holiday Inn sign for at least the next six months.
And not only do we both love it, but Eliza can’t keep her hands off it. She’s gone up and down steps, through the sliding doors, and to the ice machine. My concerns about scale were unfounded, as the zebra has had a fine time on the swing, although the elephant doesn’t fit in the revolving door. And both of us were so absorbed in it yesterday that by the time I remembered to ask if she needed to go potty, she was already standing in it and hadn’t even noticed.
Good thing we figured out she can reach it FROM the potty if we position it properly.
P.S. For more vintage toy fun, check out this post at Modern Kiddo!