Last week, we checked off one of the things we have on our bucket list for this summer – a trip to Sesame Place. My husband & I wanted to plan something special for Isabelle to kick off the summer and celebrate the end of school. We decided on Sesame Place since it’s less than a 3 hour drive and perfect for the toddler/pre-school aged crowd.
How I planned the trip:
Sesame Place Website: This website has it all – the hotels you can stay at, the character dining tickets, and a variety of other promotional packages. The key is you have a ton of choices – whether you’re going for the day, two days, etc – you can build what works best for your family.
Once you’re at the park, you’ll want to download the Sesame Place App. It has a lot of the same great information as the website, but also includes all showtimes and character meet-up’s for the day(s) that you’re at the park. So if you’re child is a huge Abby Cadabby fan, you’ll know exactly where & when to go to capture an unforgettable picture.
Blog Posts: I used the following blog posts to gain some insight into the park and what worked best for these families:
A Day in Our Shoes
The Domestic Life Stylist
There are tons more out there on the Internet, so go ahead and Google it!
Day 1: Drizzly rain & overcast skies
Despite the less than ideal weather, this was probably my favorite day at the park. There were absolutely no lines and it was the best day to get a good seat for the parade. We literally set up a perfect spot for the parade about 10 minutes before – nothing like what I was reading during the height of the summer. Here’s what we did:
7AM: Left Newtown and headed towards our hotel.
10:30: Arrived at the hotel, unloaded the car, and got organized for Sesame Place. We brought our stroller, which I think is a most. Yes, the park is not big and Isabelle prefers to walk, but at times we used the stroller to move a bit more quickly and keep her contained in the crowds.
11AM: Arrived at the park and walked around a bit to get our bearings and figure out where lunch was. We also rented a locker to store some of our stuff. You can rent lockers for $35 (regular size) or $40 (jumbo size) per day. It’s another expense, but we found it to make sense in light of the water rides.
11:30: Lunch with Elmo, Abby, Grover, and Cookie Monster.
12:45PM – 2:45PM: Let Isabelle go on rides to her heart’s content.
3PM: Neighborhood Street Parade
4PM: Left the park and returned to the hotel to regroup/swim in the indoor pool
Day 2: A sunny day!
10:30AM: Arrived at the park and tested out the various water rides starting with The Count’s Splash Castle, Big Bird’s Rambling River, and Ernie’s Waterworks (perfect for toddlers). The thing to keep in mind with the water rides is that they are a bit spread out throughout the park. They also don’t allow you to go down the regular slides with your child in your lap – we skipped the slides for this reason, but think they would be awesome for older kids who are better swimmers. Slides with rafts like Sesame Streak, Sky Splash, and Slimey Chutes allow you to go down with others, but you sit in your own section of the raft. Life vests are available at many of the water rides.
12:00PM: Changed out of our wet swimsuits and ate lunch at one of the many indoor cafeterias.
1PM – Another round of the rides, including my husband testing out the two roller coasters. There were some lines in the afternoon, but we never waited longer than one round of that particular ride.
3PM – Caught the Neighborhood Street Party again before leaving for our hotel and heading back to CT with our exhausted (and happy) toddler.
Things we loved!
- The timing of our trip was perfect – just before the majority of schools got out in the Northeast. Although there were a decent amount of local school groups there for end of the year field trips, the majority of the other families consisted of pre-school age or younger children.
- Lunch with Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover, and Abby Cadabby: This was our first stop once we got to the park. Isabelle was completely enamored with Elmo & Abby and the 4 mascots put on a little show & visited all the tables. It was adorable to see Isabelle hugging the characters and dancing with them.
- Neighborhood Street Party Parade: Every from about 3PM – 3:30PM, the characters march down the street in a parade. It was high energy and lots of fun to watch all of the kids watching the parade. We had really good spots the day we watched it since it was cloudy and the park was quieter. There is an option to by reserved seating – we skipped this since the timing of our trip was before the summer rush.
- The Rides: I can’t speak for this since I didn’t go on many rides, but I can say my daughter loved absolutely every ride she went on. There are two roller coasters at the park (one you’re allowed on once you’re 3) and my husband tried & enjoyed both of them.
- Sesame Place is a happy & inclusive place!: Every employee or character we interacted with was friendly & helpful. Did you know that Sesame Place is also the first theme park in the world dedicated as a Certified Autism Center? Staff is trained to ensure they. have the skills to cater to all children.
Things we’d do differently:
- Next time we would change up the order of the rides. Instead of doing the dry rides in the afternoon, we would do the water rides then. We thought we were being smart and avoiding crowds by doing the water rides in the morning, but it was way too cool in the morning and man the water in the pools was COLD. And the crowds didn’t really get that bad.
- Water shoes: These are a must and I actually forgot to purchase & pack them. Obviously Isabelle is too young to be climbing up and sliding down water slides on her own, but she could have definitely used them in the splash pads & older kids could use them in order to get more traction when climbing up stairs to slides, etc.
- Consider a different hotel: The Courtyard was on the newer side, clean and super convenient, however the 3 of us were in one room and my husband & I have a different bedtime than Isabelle. Getting her to go to sleep was challenging to say the least. When we go back, we’d most likely consider staying at the Residence Inn instead since the layout of the room separates the living space/TV area from the bedroom.
Have you been to Sesame Street? Do you have any other recommendations on things to do or things to avoid doing? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.