You all know that Sesame Place is one of my favorite places on earth right now.
My 4.5 year old has been going here since she was 6 months old and her little brother has followed suit. We have had season passes for 3 years now and this year we actually hadn't been at all since our schedules were so busy - but we planned an overnight stay during the week our kids daycare was closed and it was exactly what we all needed.
(it's the same distance as walking to your car in the Sesame Place parking lot)
We added a character breakfast (kids eat free - you CAN'T beat that) and since we picked the first sitting - we got an extra half hour in the park before the gates opened for the general park to go on some rides we wouldn't normally have gone on - and for a very small amount extra - we added season passes for all of us which includes the entire rest of this year (they have AMAZING Halloween and fall programs including free concerts and events and it also includes their new Very Furry Christmas programs) AND we get all of 2014 as well.
We arrived at the hotel in time for the park opening and were allowed to park our car there - we unloaded and went into the park. Got our real season passes at guest services and were on our way! Unfortunately we drove through torrential downpours and the weather forecast changed to say it might be rainy during the day.
We played around for awhile in Ernie's pool which is where we actually end up spending a lot of our time at Sesame cause the kids are little and it's kind of just perfect for them. We then went to ride some rides and eat lunch - that's when the rain came in. I'm talking dark, ominous grey thunderstorm clouds. We parked underneath what we thought was a covering and figured we'd camp out with the rest of the unsuspecting families.
I ended up making a mad dash to the 123 smile with me building with a bunch of other parents and we continued to camp out there for awhile to wait out the storm.
It was clear that once the rain stopped, it wasn't going to stop for long - so I made the call to ditch the park for a few hours - get dry in the car - find some food - (Steve's Prince of Steaks to be exact - SO GOOD)- stop at Barnes and Noble and the Pet Store - check into the hotel - and go swimming.
The pool was an amazing 85 plus degrees which made me the happiest mom on the planet! We swam awhile and I did laundry in the hotel laundry room. (our stuff was that wet and gross) Then we got a text from a fellow super mom who was heading back to the park with her kids for the parade and we decided to brave the park again.
I'm so glad we did. We walked over with no stroller - ate, rode some rides and then watched the nighttime parade which is HUGELY less crowded then the daytime one.
We walked home after the parade and headed home and had the most amazing night ever. There was not one tantrum to be had and both kids actually asked to turn the movie off (Disney Channel was playing UP to go to bed) They both slept all night long and we woke up bright and early and refreshed for our character breakfast in the morning. We walked over with no intention of going in the water cause we wanted to take advantage of the hotel pool before we checked out. (rookie mistake - I'm embarrassed that we made it honestly)
Here is a nice man handing out maps to all the kids waiting for the gates to open.
Here is our tour guide deciding where we should go next.
And here begins an amazing Dine with me Experience. The characters take their time with every person. (the other people in the park are not always very courteous - so expect to have to make your child wait in line while someone elses kid just RUNS up to them and interrupts your pictures - people are clueless and this is NOT THE PARKS FAULT.)
They take their time, they interact with each table and they have a nice set up with Elmo that you can take professional pictures in front of or take your own.
The buffet is decent with admittedly yummy french toast sticks, eggs, sausage, bacon, individual yogurts, oatmeals, cereals, muffins, bagels, etc... They do a decent job and I'm a picky breakfast eater.
Here was the moment that made my year - Grover fed Ben his eggs - not once but two different times. It was amazing and Ben and Katie loved it!!! I was also impressed as plastic forks must be SO hard to grip from the costume:)
Elmo hugs everyone and they let you put your kids in his lap for pictures - even infants. The staff really is amazing and all the characters seem to like what they do - at least it looks that way and that's all that matters right?
Because extra rides were open before the park opened - we took Katie on the roller coaster and then I made the STUPID call to get everyone on the big Rubber Ducky tube ride. I went to the gift shop and bought a towel at 30% off. (since idiots that we were didn't prepare for water just in case) and off we went straight up and on to the rubber ducky float with no wait.
I don't like cold water - and apparently neither does Ben - cause he ended up crying and saying he didn't like the ride cause it was freezing.. (parents of the year)
We wrapped them up in sweatshirts, and towels and trucked it back to the hotel to the super warm and amazing pool and swam until we went back to the park for mostly dry rides because it was kinda crappy out.
Here is the beginning of what turned out to be about an hour long off and on quiet crying session - because "She didn't get to see Abby"
To be clear - Abby was at 123 Smile with me and I told Katie we could go - and she chose to go on the bounce house thing instead - so kid - you had your chance!
Off to dinner we go - we picked Olive Garden just because I for some reason felt better giving them buttered noodles and spaghetti and meatballs versus chicken fingers. We sat and had an "ok" dinner while Katie kept crying about freaking Abby. Not bratty tantrum crying - but seriously sad and disappointed that she had made the wrong decision in choosing the bounce house with a side of exhaustion.
I get another text from a friend at the park asking where we were and decided to make the call to take the kids back to the park for an hour or so since we didn't get to spend all that much time there anyway and the sun had come out. We made a bee-line 123-smile with me and JACKPOT -
We went on the cloud chaser a few more times (their favorite new ride)
Took in an Abby Cadabby and friends concert
And then called it a night. Changed them into pj's packed them in the car - and they blissfully fell asleep on the way home and it wasn't a disaster getting them back into bed once we got home.
- I know people complain about the park - for me - with a 4.5 and 2.5 year old - it's the perfect size. Anything bigger and I think it would be too overwhelming. If my kids were older - I agree - they might be bored but for this stage in our lives it's exactly what we need it to be
- Yes, the people that go there can be a little gross and rude and inconsiderate - but that's not the parks fault. Yes it can get crowded. (Friday was way more crowded than Thursday)
- You can go see 2 different concerts and an Elmo's World Live right there and they play throughout the day. (isn't Elmo's World Live when you go to a theatre like 25 bucks on it's own? And it''s much bigger so you lose out on feeling like you are right there - At Sesame you can touch him you're so close
- They do an amazing parade - although again, other people can be assholes - so don't say I didn't warn you and stalk your spot early and don't be afraid to remind the jerks that you were there first - cause they will step right in front of your kid without a thought
- The characters walk all throughout the park and you can take pics with them if you wait patiently in line (I was waiting at the Taco Truck and was ALMOST THERE when my 2.5 year old woke up groggy from his nap and kinda sad and asked me if we could find Grover - I look up 2 minutes later and who's walking to a spot for pictures but Super Grover - this Super Mom - ditched her spot in line and pushed his little stroller right over to the line so he could get a picture with Super Grover and it made his day (ok in reality it made his like, 5 minutes - but I gotta pretend it was worth more than that cause I never did get those nachos)
- The park gets dirty - it's a water park filled with lots of people (some of which are those a**holes I was mentioning before) We like to go VERY EARLY in the season and then all through the Fall for the hay rides, pumpkin painting and trick or treating. Much less crowded and WAY cleaner!
- If you have a season pass everything you buy is 30% off. Pair up with someone who has one and use their discount to help save you some money. It's totally worth it. I was talking to my friend who was there the same day and explaining how much I use it and he pointed out that I am exactly the demographic they market to - cause I will buy more crap there because I have the discount:) I'm ok with that and he was too cause I got to share my discount:)
- If you want to save even more money - bring your lunch in a cooler or go back out to your car (it's not that far) and have a huge picnic lunch (if your cooler is larger than they allow)
Thanks for continuing to read - it's a fun outlet for me and I'm happy to think that this might be helpful or amusing for anyone in anyway - and seriously people - Grover fed my kid! :)