Smart Buying

Best Toys R Us Black Friday Doorbusters and Deals 2017

Stores are open Thanksgiving Day, but don’t expect bargains on many of the hottest holiday toys during Black Friday sales.

If you ever wanted to test how long it would take to literally shop 'til you drop, Toys R Us on Thanksgiving and Black Friday is for you. Many of the retailer's stores are staying open for 30 hours straight, starting at 5 p.m. local time on Thanksgiving Day. A handful of stores won't be open for the duration, so call ahead. And for hardcore Toys R Us shoppers, the location in New York's Times Square will open at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and stay open until midnight on Black Friday.

If those times don't work for you, don't worry. There are plenty of other opportunities, both before and after Black Friday, to scoop up some deals in-store and online. In fact, the shopping experts we talked to actually recommend procrastinating until closer to Christmas to score the biggest bargains on many toys. Just don't expect the hottest toys of the holiday season to still be available if you drag your feet.

"Things like the Fingerlings Monkeys or L.O.L. Surprise! Big Surprise…are already selling out everywhere," says Rebecca Lehmann, manager at deals site BradsDeals.com. "If there's a risk of a sellout, I would just say buy it when you see it and call it a day."

Scour Pre-Black Friday deals. For go-getters, Toys R Us is kicking off its holiday sales on Sunday, Nov. 19. And unlike in past years, the chance to save is available to all, not just the retailer's Rewards R Us members.

Among these early sale items, which are available both in stores and online while supplies last, is the Nerf N-Strike Elite Terrascout Remote Control Drone Blaster, marked down 50% to $100.

For parents with younger kids, a 5-inch Motorola video baby monitor is discounted from about $110 to just $60. And in general, you may find better deals for the littler ones at Toys R Us than you might see elsewhere. "On items for younger children, many of Toys R Us's category discounts offer a bigger selection of sale-priced toys versus individual deals at other stores," says Brent Shelton of deals site Dealcrunch.com. "So if you're not exactly sure what you want to buy, having 30% to 50% off a large selection of items will help you save more money in the long run."

If you are looking for a particularly hot toy, you're likely going to have to pay full price (and fight tooth and nail for it). But one trendy toy is on sale early at Toys R Us: Playskool Friends Sesame Street Love2Learn Elmo is going for just $20, down from $70. So it's sure to go fast. "Elmo was one of our Hot Holiday Toy picks, and it's great to see a real discount on him," says Lehmann of BradsDeals.com. "Most of our other picks [Fingerlings Baby Monkeys, L.O.L. Surprise! Big Surprise and Hatchimals Surprise] are so hard to come by at the moment."

Don't forget the doorbusters. At the Thanksgiving/Black Friday main event sale, you'll find a few doorbusters only available in stores. Eric Jones, co-owner of BestBlackFriday.com, likes the Power Wheels Boomerang 12-Volt Ride-On on sale for $250 ($150 off the original price). Another kiddie vehicle option (available online, too): KidTrax Disney Hot Rod Coupe 12-Volt Ride-On, your choice of either the Mickey or Minnie Mouse variety, for $200 (was $350).

If you'd rather your kid's ride roll sans motor, "bikes and scooters are a big part of the sale," says Jones. The Toys R Us Black Friday flyer touts 40% off all Huffy Double Take Scooters and $25 off all Huffy Double Take Bikes.

And what are wheels without a home? You can find Barbie's Pink Passport Three-Story Townhouse for just $60, down from $120, in stores starting on Thanksgiving, while supplies last. Or perhaps your kids can build their own home: You can find select Lego construction sets for 40% off online and in stores.

More screen time is also on sale. "Besides having an abundance of toys, Toys R Us is a great place to get a children's tablet," says Jones. One good option he notes is the Nabi DreamTab HD8 Tablet for $60, a $100 savings.

What not to buy on Black Friday. If you're not picky, not in a hurry and you don't have a super-hot toy on you shopping list, don't buy anything on Black Friday, experts advise.

"We suggest avoiding toys at Walmart and Toys R Us during Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday," says Jones. "The sale prices are not awful, but December offers superior prices. The second week of December…consistently has the lowest prices and best selection."

And gamers might consider avoiding the store altogether. "Those in the market for video games should skip Toys R Us this year," says Jones.

Lehmann agrees. "The Xbox One S and PS4 consoles are priced exactly where we expected to see them," she says. "That pricing is usually dictated by the manufacturer, which is why we don't generally see competition on them during Black Friday."

They both recommend heading to Kohl's for gaming consoles. You'll likely find the same prices, but at least you can score some Kohl's Cash with your purchase, they say.

Price matching takes a holiday. Typically, if you've purchased or are purchasing something at Toys R Us, and you find an identical item for a lower price elsewhere, the store will match the price in person within 14 days of your purchase date. You just need a valid receipt of your own purchase, as well as the original, complete competitor ad. However, Toys R Us won't honor price matching during the busy pre-Black Friday/Thanksgiving/post-Black Friday sales period that stretches from Nov. 19 to Dec. 1.

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