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Party City's Toy City concept is something I've been covering for a few months now, and now that the holiday shopping season is truly upon us, it's time to get serious about toys! With over 50 temporary Toy City pop-up store locations now open throughout the U.S., Party City today unveiled its Black Friday ad and 2018 Top Toys List! There's familiar picks (including some from The Rock Father's Holiday Wish Guide™) and some unique ones as well, from Rainbowcorns and robots to Hatchimals, dinosaur slime, Harry Potter, and everything in between. Let's take a look!

As we enter one of the most unusually competitive holiday seasons in recent memory, despite the closure of Toys "R" Us in the U.S., parents and other gift-givers have more options than ever for where to by toys. Local toy stores still exist, and one company that's been around for a few decades is Learning Express. While it might be a chain with around 110 locations, each store is a local, family-owned franchise that's catered to the communities that they serve. That means that while each store may be a little different, they're all focused on delivering what kids want. Staffed by toy experts that can demonstrate the latest toys as they stay on top of current trends, they also offer a personal touch with services like holiday and birthday registries, free gift-wrapping, in-store pick-up and a host of regular events (which I've taken my girls to on occasion). In addition to launching their 2018 Holiday Catalog, Learning Express has named their Holiday Hot Toys of 2018, so it's time to take a look...

The holiday shopping season is upon us, and my friends at Disney Store | shopDisney have revealed their 2018 “Top 15 Holiday Toys” list. While hot holiday toy lists have been a regular staple for years, this is actually the very first year that Disney Store | shop Disney has shared one of their own - highlighting a list of must-haves for Disney fans and gift-givers alike. There's a lot to love on the Top 15 list (a companion to their full Holiday Gift Guide) with exclusive toys spanning Disney, Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar. They're also the only place to shop Disney Parks merchandise outside of the theme parks, including the Disney Parks Holiday Train Set and Cinderella Castle Play Set from Walt Disney World Resort. Check out the Top 15 below, and for more gift ideas, be sure to check out The Rock Father's Holiday Wish Guide™.

When it comes to hot holiday toy lists, you'd be hard-pressed to find one better than the one assembled by my friends at The Toy Insider in New York. Their annual Holiday Gift Guide helps gift-givers shop for kids by age, and as always there's the three big signature lists: The Toy Insider's Hot 20, Top Tech 12 and STEM 10. This year's guide will appear in print, included with the November issue of Family Circle magazine (on stands 10/9), and will feature more than 200 toys from more than 100 different manufacturers. An additional 170 toys can be found in the online version of the guide, representing nearly 200 toy companies in total. Check out the video below and a quick overview on some featured items below, then visit The Toy Insider for more great gift ideas!

It's still strange to think that 2018 will mark the first year without The Great Big Toys "R" Us Book of Awesome here in the U.S. In fact, the name and multiple variations on it are part of the long-awaited TRU IP auction that will hopefully actually take place in October. But what if we did have a 2018 Big Toy Book? Chances are it wouldn't be that much different than our friends to the north, who've just unveiled the Toys "R" Us Top Toy Trends for families in Canada. As they say, "while it might seem early for adults to sing carols and sip eggnog, kids know that Christmas is less than 100 sleeps away!"  So what does Toys "R" Us Canada pick for the Hot Play Trends for the holidays? Let's take a look...

The holiday season continues to loom large on the horizon, and as the toy wars of 2018 continue, another player has entered the octagon - JCPenney! As the retailer continues their evolution and gets back into categories like baby products, this fall marks the one-year anniversary of their successful toy shops. Like many of my generation, the JCPenney Christmas Catalog was a must-read while growing up, and now a hint of that spirit is coming back as they unwrap their Top 20 Toys list, "inviting shoppers to discover the most popular toys sure to top kid’s wish lists this Christmas." The JCPenney Top 20 Toys will be featured prominently within a dedicated toys book, which will be delivered to customers’ homes in time for the holiday season and will include a sticker sheet enabling kids to mark the items they want from Santa.

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